Classical Reformed Apologetics

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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I’m in agreement with the approach toward apologetics espoused on this episode of MoS... I think a solely presuppositional and theonomistic approach to relating to nonbelievers and nonReformed (or even minor aspects of daily living) can fall into works-words righteousness

http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/podcast/45403
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I’m in agreement with the approach toward apologetics espoused on this episode of MOS... I think a solely presuppositional and theonomistic approach to relating to nonbelievers and nonReformed (or even minor aspects of daily living) can fall into works-words righteousness

http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/podcast/45403
It *can* lead into that kind of legalism, but it doesn't have to. The real problem with modern presup today is that none of them really have done any serious reading in metaphysics or epistemology. They don't know the issues. They are good at debating Kantians and hard physicalists, but that's about it.

My own take is something along the lines of Plantinga/Moreland, etc. I think the classical Reformed approach is good in getting people to think about metaphysics and the like, but they also need to understand that some people can disagree with some formulations and not have denied the doctrine of God.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Made me think of the discussion between Crosspolitic & Matt Walsh. I don’t agree with either of their approaches. CP takes a sniper approach while Walsh is strictly rational and natural law...
One was clinically presupp. the other not at all
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
also, I’m YEC which I believe lends itself to a more natural theological position. But I don’t think leading with YEC rhetoric is productive either, it’s simply part of a more consistent understanding/marriage of what is seen and believed. We don’t need to know everything but we should feel confident in what we do know
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I thought most natural theology guys were Old Earth. It's the presups who are mainly YEC.
I guess there is some evidence that points to old earth. I just don’t believe it... but wouldn’t emphasize my nonbelief in this area to a nonbeliever, at least upfront
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I wasn't saying there was evidence for/against Old Earth. Just noting that most of the classical apologists today lean OEC.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
This is interesting, White is taking issue with Fesko (who I don’t believe I had heard of prior). He also mentions RCC. I think I have an idea where White is going and he’s probably right but one thing is for sure, I could never take RCC seriously with so much of their unsound doctrine and practice. I just don’t see a pitfall there but I have to hear his next episode where he will get into his concerns more. Trueman came up (well no, more like alluded to) as did Oliphint. Seems to be getting a little controversial. Which seems to be commonplace these days or maybe I’m just paying attention
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This is interesting, White is taking issue with Fesko (who I don’t believe I had heard of prior). He also mentions RCC. I think I have an idea where White is going and he’s probably right but one thing is for sure, I could never take RCC seriously with so much of their unsound doctrine and practice. I just don’t see a pitfall there but I have to hear his next episode where he will get into his concerns more. Trueman came up (well no, more like alluded to) as did Oliphint. Seems to be getting a little controversial. Which seems to be commonplace these days or maybe I’m just paying attention
In a nutshell, what is White saying?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I do suspect what White will probably get at, and it is something I've noticed as well, being a former presuppositionalist and having read through Turretin (volume 1 twice) and all of Muller, I don't think there can be ultimate concord between presup and classical Reformed epistemology.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
I do suspect what White will probably get at, and it is something I've noticed as well, being a former presuppositionalist and having read through Turretin (volume 1 twice) and all of Muller, I don't think there can be ultimate concord between presup and classical Reformed epistemology.
Right. That’s what brought the former on to begin with. That doesn’t mean there needs to mutually assured excommunication.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
In a nutshell, what is White saying?
He didn’t get to anything really.
As Zack said he didnt really get to anything but he did say that the crux of the matter is that he wont allow an unbeliever to stand in judgment over God's Word. What little I understand of pressup (I consider myself one who is learning) I wholeheartedly agree with White. We cede too much ground when we argue from man to God as Classic apologist tend to do.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
As Zack said he didnt really get to anything but he did say that the crux of the matter is that he wont allow an unbeliever to stand in judgment over God's Word. What little I understand of pressup (I consider myself one who is learning) I wholeheartedly agree with White. We cede too much ground when we argue from man to God as Classic apologist tend to do.
I don't know what it means to let an unbeliever "stand in judgment over God's word." One can employ the traditional arguments et al, including Reformed metaphysics, without saying to the unbeliever, "Please be nice and consider the evidence. Please!"

An unbeliever (and a believer, for that matter) is going to sit in judgment on God's word. We do that every day. He is going to judge for himself whether he accepts it or not. That's life. I know all of the Van Tillian talking points. They weren't good against some naive forms of Neo-Thomism, which we should all reject, but they err when they think everyone who isn't a Van Tillian is saying "Sit in judgment on God's word."
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
I think it’s interesting that Fesko is going to RTS as a passionate classical apologist to teach alongside Anderson a dedicated presuppositionalist.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
An unbeliever (and a believer, for that matter) is going to sit in judgment on God's word. We do that every day. He is going to judge for himself whether he accepts it or not.
You are right but we shouldn’t accommodate his suppression of the truth as if the Triune God is something we can reason to apart from the work of the Spirit.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
You are right but we shouldn’t accommodate his suppression of the truth as if the Triune God is something we can reason to apart from the work of the Spirit.
And aside from a few Catholic Neo-Thomists, nobody does that. Even the Papists who believe in a Nature-Grace dialectic admit we can't reason to the Triune God.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
How are these approaches not truly compatible?
They are not. They are different. The question should be are they both acceptable and are we going to respect persons who differ or not?

Are infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism compatible? Is pedobaptism compatible with credobaptism? The answer is no.
 
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Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
And aside from a few Catholic Neo-Thomists, nobody does that. Even the Papists who believe in a Nature-Grace dialectic admit we can't reason to the Triune God.
I would see it otherwise that when people try to first argue for 'some" god or a 'possible" god that is exactly what they are doing- accommodating the unbeliever's judgment upon Scripture.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I would see it otherwise that when people try to first argue for 'some" god or a 'possible" god that is exactly what they are doing- accommodating the unbeliever's judgment upon Scripture.
You are welcome to see it otherwise. I don't see it that way, so there's that. When I argue for the finitude of the universe, I am not positing a generic god in general. I am simply making the claim that it is impossible to transverse an actual infinite. This removes, claim by claim, the unbeliever's routes of escape.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I do suspect what White will probably get at, and it is something I've noticed as well, being a former presuppositionalist and having read through Turretin (volume 1 twice) and all of Muller, I don't think there can be ultimate concord between presup and classical Reformed epistemology.
What is a Reformed epistemology?
 

Apologist4Him

Puritan Board Freshman
I’m in agreement with the approach toward apologetics espoused on this episode of MoS... I think a solely presuppositional and theonomistic approach to relating to nonbelievers and nonReformed (or even minor aspects of daily living) can fall into works-words righteousness

http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/podcast/45403
I'm not looking for a debate here but I recently participated in an online debate:
DEBATE: Apologetics Methodology Presuppositionalism vs Evidentialism

Also posted on my blog: Presuppositionalism 101

Thought you might be interested.

Unfortunately I will not be able to finish the debate, Christianforums.com banned me for posting an off topic post in the free for all political forums. Nearly every warning came as a result of posting in the free for all political forums. Anyway, I might add one more response to my blog, maybe, discouraged atm.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I still don’t see that these 2 approaches are multually exclusive. I love the fact that we are all born in God’s image, and yet the Bible has answers. I don’t see a problem here. If we are too scriptural we are probably going over heads, if we are not, what do we truly have to offer? God’s fingerprint is everywhere and if we go against his moral and natural laws nothing but misery and self destruction, and in the end without mercy and grace is physical and spiritual death. Why limit our approach?
 

Apologist4Him

Puritan Board Freshman
I still don’t see that these 2 approaches are multually exclusive. I love the fact that we are all born in God’s image, and yet the Bible has answers. I don’t see a problem here. If we are too scriptural we are probably going over heads, if we are not, what do we truly have to offer? God’s fingerprint is everywhere and if we go against his moral and natural laws nothing but misery and self destruction, and in the end without mercy and grace is physical and spiritual death. Why limit our approach?
A short quote from the debate:

"I hope my indirect responses address this belief, I hope when we are done you will conclude Calvinistic presuppositionalism is: “the basis, the foundation, as an apologetical framework for all other apologetic methods from reason, facts, experience, and faith.” (See Axioms and Science heading)"
Here is part of a quote from Van Til which I included into the context of the debate:

“Historical apologetics is absolutely necessary and indispensable to point out that Christ arose from the grave, etc. But as long as historical apologetics works on a supposedly neutral basis, it defeats its own purpose. For in that case it virtually grants the validity of the meta- physical assumptions of the unbeliever. So in this case a pragmatist may accept the resurrection of Christ as a fact without accepting the conclusion that Christ is the Son of God. And on his assumptions he is not illogical in doing so. On the contrary, if his basic metaphysical assumption to the effect that all reality is subject to chance is right, he is only consistent if he refuses to conclude from the fact of Christ’s resurrection that he is divine in the orthodox sense of the term. Now, though he is wrong in his metaphysical assumption, and though, rightly interpreted, the resurrection of Christ assuredly proves the divinity of Christ, we must attack the unbeliever in his philosophy of fact, as well as on the question of the actuality of the facts themselves. For on his own metaphysical assumptions, the resurrection of Christ would not prove his divinity at all."​

To answer the question, I do not see Revelational Epistemology or a Calvinistic Presuppositionalism as limiting at all, rather the necessary preconditions of a Reformed worldview to justify (warrant) all other approaches.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
That’s fine, if we don’t want to give an inch, but give me an example in this day and age when such an approach worked off the bat with a nonbeliever. Heck, we can’t even keep Reformed brethren from buying into cultural Marxism... we give more leeway to our own reformed brethren, maybe we need to hit them with this approach, a second time, if need be. I don’t think most skeptics even buy into historical apologetics, so Van Til would be giving too much benefit of the doubt from the onset to today’s nonbeliever
 
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Apologist4Him

Puritan Board Freshman
And aside from a few Catholic Neo-Thomists, nobody does that. Even the Papists who believe in a Nature-Grace dialectic admit we can't reason to the Triune God.
I have to disagree, non-Calvinist apologists have and do just that. Christians who deny the doctrine of total depravity and monergistic regeneration make compromises in their debate tactics, often assuming a "neutral" ground, and end up in "god of the gaps" probability arguments. I would provide quotes or sound bites, but it's been so many years (15 or 16 years) since I devoted much time listening to or reading from non-Calvinist apologists like William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland for example. I suspect if you listened/read Catholic Peter Kreeft carefully, you would find he does this too. Any Christian who believes anyone can choose Christ, and believes faith precedes regeneration, will be more accepting and inclined towards a "neutral" ground from the start. All while there is no neutral ground between the Christian and non-Christian. I think many have taken the neutral approach so as to be respected intellectually in places where faith is mocked and ridiculed. King Solomon wrote truthful words for scoffers though.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have to disagree, non-Calvinist apologists have and do just that. Christians who deny the doctrine of total depravity and monergistic regeneration make compromises in their debate tactics, often assuming a "neutral" ground, and end up in "god of the gaps" probability arguments. I would provide quotes or sound bites, but it's been so many years (15 or 16 years) since I devoted much time listening to or reading from non-Calvinist apologists like William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland for example. I suspect if you listened/read Catholic Peter Kreeft carefully, you would find he does this too. Any Christian who believes anyone can choose Christ, and believes faith precedes regeneration, will be more accepting and inclined towards a "neutral" ground from the start. All while there is no neutral ground between the Christian and non-Christian. I think many have taken the neutral approach so as to be respected intellectually in places where faith is mocked and ridiculed. King Solomon wrote truthful words for scoffers though.
But give me an example of one who holds to a classical reformed apologetics approach who does that. I would never withhold the doctrines of grace but I’m not going to hit them over the head with it. There is a name for guys who do that.....
 
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