Defining Presuppositionalism and Evidentialism at a 4th grade level... HELP!

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Damon Rambo

Puritan Board Sophomore
As some of you know I am currently working on a vocabulary workbook and theology primer for children 8 years and older. I am having trouble with short definitions for evidentialism and presuppositionalism. Presuppositionalism, in particular, is difficult to define. Here is what I have, though it is still not quite right. I think I need sleep. Does anyone see anything wrong with what I have wrote, or a way I could state it better? Remember, my goal is to be succinct, and spark a conversation between child and parent, NOT to be exhaustive!

Evidentialism ev-uh-dent-shul-iz-um The type of apologetics which starts from a neutral position, and uses evidence to show that the Christian belief system makes more sense than other belief systems. Also called “Classical Apologetics.”

Presuppositionalism pree-sup-uh-zi-shun-ul-iz-um The type of apologetics that starts from the position that the Bible and Christianity is true, and from that position attempts to show that other systems are not only impossible, but actually assume a Christian view of the world in their reasoning. Presuppositional apologetics recognizes that men cannot come to God, except by the Gospel; so the emphasis is on conversion of the other person, not proving a point.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
I think what you have written is great; however, I'd point out that even though presuppositional apologetics focus on conversion, it does prove a point. The point that it proves is that all other world views borrow from Christianity and that man is utterly sinful in this process.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Not every presuppositionalist is the same. And Van Til sometimes gets lumped in the rest of them and that isn’t the best way to describe. Vantillians in general would probably rather lose the title presuppositional because it can mean so many fundamentally different things.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings:

I will take a stab at it:

Presuppositionalism: The idea that God comes first when we think about things. You cannot think about anything without thinking about God first.

Evidentialism: The idea that the facts speak for themselves. Thinking about facts first will lead you inevitably to thinking about God.

Hope this helps.

-Rob
 

Damon Rambo

Puritan Board Sophomore
Greetings:

I will take a stab at it:

Presuppositionalism: The idea that God comes first when we think about things. You cannot think about anything without thinking about God first.

Evidentialism: The idea that the facts speak for themselves. Thinking about facts first will lead you inevitably to thinking about God.

Hope this helps.

-Rob
Hey, that's pretty good! :)
 

DeniseM

Puritan Board Freshman
Here's my best stab at it. These do seem like difficult ideas to sum up on a fourth grade level.

Presuppositionalism: a defense of Christianity that starts with the belief that the bible is completely true and gives support from God's creation to confirm the truths that are asserted in the bible and seeks to disprove all other beliefs.

Evidentialism: a method of proving that the bible is true by using evidence from creation as support.
 

Apologist4Him

Puritan Board Freshman
Richard Pratt Jr.'s book "Every Thought Captive" might be helpful, as it is written for laypersons. Let me take a shot at it...

presuppositionalism: generally speaking, a meta-apologetic, a method which investigates the underlying assumptions behind propositions which come from a worldview.

Evidentialism: a method which investigates the empirical (based on observation or experience) facts, often involving fields such as (natural) Science and archaeology.
 

Apologist4Him

Puritan Board Freshman
Not every presuppositionalist is the same. And Van Til sometimes gets lumped in the rest of them and that isn’t the best way to describe. Vantillians in general would probably rather lose the title presuppositional because it can mean so many fundamentally different things.
Good point brother James, I agree. We can define presuppositionalism in a generic sense because, at heart, everyone is a presuppositionalist, holding basic assumptions which make up their worldview, and are not neutral.
 
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