A Defense Against Strong Presuppositionalism

Biblical Grounds for Using the Teleological and Moral Arguments as Evangelism Tools

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Introduction

The term “strong presuppositionalism” is used to specifically refer to presuppositionalists who believe it’s wrong to use arguments1 for God’s existence during evangelism. David Turner illustrates this position well when he says in “evangelism and apologetics the Christian should not attempt to prove the existence of God to the unbeliever. The unbeliever, if he is honest with himself, knows this already. The Christian should proclaim the gospel, God’s appointed dynamic for turning the lost to Himself.”2

Not all presuppositionalists fully agree with Turner’s statement and so the term “strong” is also necessary to avoid misrepresenting presuppositionalists by painting them all with the same broad stroke of the brush. It’s instructive to draw attention to unhealthy extremes within a camp, but it’s dishonest to accuse everyone within it of holding to those extremes. William Edgar describes this unfortunate practice in apologetic methodology well when he says “It is regrettable that so much polarization has occurred between various schools, which often caricature each other’s positions without doing the careful work of investigation needed in order to take a stand.”3 Presuppositionalists that may not be “strong,” at least not in the sense I defined, will be quoted when they make “strong” comments or present arguments that lead to, or are illustrative of, a “strong” position. This is because, as will be shown, the foundation that presuppositionalism is built upon lends itself well for Turner’s conclusion. It is this foundation that will be carefully investigated.

First I will explain why strong presuppositionalists believe using arguments for God’s existence during evangelism is unbiblical. Then I will critique their view and show that, not only is it not wrong, but that it has God’s stamp of approval as an excellent way to share Christ with the lost. In addition, I will also disprove the caricature some have created that all non-presuppositional4 apologists rely more on rationalism than the Holy Spirit during evangelism. While this may be true of some non-presuppositionalists, the warning not to mislabel everyone in a camp as holding to an extreme within the camp applies here as well.

The Strong Presuppositional Perspective

Only the Holy Spirit Can Open Blinded Eyes

The presuppositional view stems from a strong Calvinistic understanding of how God works in bringing someone to salvation. The underlying themes of Calvinistic soteriology stretch all the way back to St. Augustine, but it was John Calvin who excelled at articulating and systemizing these doctrines. It is in his writings that the seed of presuppositional apologetics can first be clearly seen. “It was John Calvin, the sixteenth-century Reformer, who provided the underpinnings of modern Reformed apologetics”.5 Not until centuries later did those associated with his Reformed tradition fully construct their presuppositional approach. “Cornelius Van Til, the father of presuppositional apologetics, arrived at these conclusions primarily as an outworking of his own Reformed faith”.6

The foundation of Calvinism is total and complete depravity. Adam and Eve’s fall not only distorted mankind’s morality but even “our ability to reason has been affected by sin.”7 In their book about different apologetic methods, Boa and Bowman write “Calvin’s rejection of any apologetic that is ultimately rationalistic is plain. Calvinists, following Calvin, have argued that the corrupting influences of sin on the human mind—what are often called the noetic effects of sin (from the Greek nous, “mind”)—must be taken seriously in the apologetic task.”8 John Whitcomb says “the Bible exposes men’s hearts as sealed shut against any and all finite pressures for conversion. The basic problem of the non-Christian is not merely academic and intellectual. It is moral and spiritual.”9

The strong presuppositionalist feels that it’s futile to try and convince an unbeliever that God exists. To do such is to incorrectly view him as spiritually neutral and his reasoning faculties as untainted by sin. “The intelligent investigator is far from being neutral and unbiased in spiritual matters. He cannot sit in judgment with complete objectivity as one religion after another passes in review, waiting to find one that is logically coherent, historically and scientifically factual, and personally satisfying before adopting it as his own.”10 Whitcomb continues “To give an unbeliever the impression that he has a right to demand answers to all the rational problems relating to the Bible and Christianity before he repents of his sin and turns to Christ for forgiveness is to set him up on a pedestal of intellectual and spiritual pride from which he will never descend.”11

The unbeliever’s problem is not a lack of proof that God exists but his sinful suppression of that proof. The Bible says they already know God exists but they hold down this internal knowledge through self deception.12 Providing more proof in the form of arguments for God’s existence will not persuade an unbeliever because he will just suppress those too. What is necessary for true conversion is the removal of that suppression by the Holy Spirit. Only the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit can cause someone to believe in God.

The Holy Spirit Only Uses God’s Word to Open Blinded Eyes

According to presuppositionalists, regeneration takes place in those that God sovereignly chose in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). God’s Word is the means He ordained through which to accomplish this. In light of Luke 16:31 Whitcomb says “the Lord emphasized again (through the mouth of Abraham) the absolute priority of the powerful Word of God, through which the Holy Spirit has chosen to accomplish His exclusive work of spiritual illumination.”13 God’s Word alone is what He uses to enlighten the understanding of a sinner so they are able to understand and accept who God is. “Only the “living and powerful” Word of God can penetrate the unbeliever’s shield of defense and pierce into his heart (Heb. 4:12), and thus only God may receive the glory for the genuine conversion of sinful men”.14 Hence, witnessing to an unbeliever should only consist of telling them God’s Word. “Nowhere does Scripture indicate that the Spirit uses any instrument other than His Word to bring true conviction and conversion”.15 Therefore, arguments for God’s existence are not useful in evangelism.  

Evaluation and Response to the Strong Presuppositionalist’s Arguments

Areas of Agreement

Strong presuppositionalists faithfully remind us that successful evangelism is completely dependent upon God. “The Scriptures offer no hope of bringing about a fundamental change in a man’s thinking about God apart from a profound change in his “heart”, the moral/spiritual center of his personal being.”16 Salvation is 100% the work of God and nothing we can do or say will convince a sinner to accept Jesus Christ if the Holy Spirit is not at work in his heart. God says the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (1 Cor. 2:14).

Many non-presuppositionalists fully support this. In their explanation of classical apologetics Boa and Bowman write “Logical argument in apologetics does not produce faith, nor is it the proper basis of Christian assurance or knowledge; these are the work of the Holy Spirit. Rather, the purpose of apologetic argument is to serve as means through which the Holy Spirit can lead nonbelievers to acknowledge the truth of Christianity.”17 Classical apologist Norman Geisler says, “No amount of evidence apart from the work of the Holy Spirit will convince anyone of the significance of the fact that the Bible is God’s Word.”18

Another of their strengths is an unshakable dependence upon the Word of God. In a day of subjective interpretations and liberal views of the Bible, they rightly remind us that “What is really needed is the development of a Christian worldview which begins from a commitment to the authority of Scripture, and then looks to interpret all of life under the lordship of the author of Scripture”.19 From this commitment to the Bible flows their emphasis on preaching the simple gospel. This also should be commended because people are born again through the living and enduring word of God (1 Pet. 1:23) and faith comes from hearing by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). Apologists who spend all their time debating God’s existence to the neglect of sharing the basic truths of the gospel should be rebuked. The evangelism encounter must always be flooded with salvation truth, gently bringing the sinner back again and again to the truths of sin, Christ’s work on the cross, and their need to repent and turn to Jesus in faith.

The Bible Records the Apostles and Prophets Reasoning with the Lost

The major crack in the foundation of strong presuppositionalism is that it views the Holy Spirit working through the Word as being opposed to persuasive rational arguments. This is a false disjunctive syllogism because the two aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not an either/or situation as some make it out to be.

For example, John Whitcomb writes “God never intended that Christians should win the lost through purely philosophical and academic arguments or even that they should by this means remove the mental/spiritual obstacles within unbelievers so that the Word of God might penetrate their hearts.”20 In response to 1 Cor. 14:24-25 he says “It is perfectly obvious from this remarkable passage that neither human wisdom nor empirical signs were an adequate substitute for the clear proclamation of God’s Word.”21 In his comments about using 1 Peter 3:15 as proof text for apologetics he says “Does this mean that the Christian must go outside the sphere of revelational truth to provide intellectual and academic justification for his faith in God’s Word to the unbeliever?”22 It’s clear Whitcomb views reasoning as the opposite of presenting God’s Word when he says “To turn off the light of God’s Word, as it were, in order to establish first a “common ground” with the unbeliever is thus to abandon truth in order to grope together with an unregenerate mind in the darkness that characterizes this world-system apart from God.”23

This attitude comes in part from an incorrect assumption that reasoning with an unbeliever makes God subject to our logic and places mankind in an autonomous position where we are the ultimate authority. Edgar says “ultimately there is no proof above God by which he must be justified.”24 Logic and reason are not external standards that God is subject to. They flow from His very nature just like His own internal righteousness governs what moral actions He does or doesn’t do.

It’s common for strong presuppositionalists to accuse other apologists of relying too much on rationalism. In his critique of contemporary apologetics, John Whitcomb says “Whereas pure rationalism in apologetics would claim that unbelievers can be argued directly into the kingdom, semi-rationalism claims that “the purpose of apologetics is always merely to clear away intellectual obstructions so that the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit can do their work.””25 They fail to understand the difference between the use of good reason to discover truth, which God commends (Is. 1:18, Math. 22:37, and 1 Pet. 3:15), and the mistake of using rationalism to determine truth.26 Boa and Bowman describe classical apologists accurately when they say “they are generally frank about saying that reason may be validly used to test and verify the claim of the Bible to be a revelation from God. Doing so does not elevate reason above Scripture; rather, it takes account of the fact that God communicated his revelation to us in a rational form and expects us to recognize and receive it through our faculty of reason.”27 They go on to explain “classical apologetics does not substitute reason for faith. Classical apologists regard some of the beliefs essential to sound faith to be demonstrable by reason, but faith itself includes beliefs that reason cannot demonstrate. Moreover, faith is more than an assent of the mind to beliefs; it is also a response of the will to God, and this is something that reason cannot produce.”28

Evidences and persuasive reasoning aren’t essential to saving faith like the Gospel (Acts 4:12), but to deny that God uses them congruently with the Holy Spirit to bring people to faith is simply to ignore the Biblical record. God commanded Moses to perform signs so that people would believe God had appeared to him (Ex. 4:1-9). Jesus said the works which the Father gave Him to accomplish testify that the Father has sent Him (John 5:36). See also Matthew 9:6, John 20:30-31, and Acts 2:22. Paul reasoned from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead (Acts 17:2-3). See also Acts 18:28. Whitcomb is correct that “the biblical sign-miracle, is not occurring today”29 and “that such miracles, even when they did occur at rare occasions in human history, did not in and of themselves change the hearts of men from sin to God”.30 But neither does the preaching of the Gospel in and of itself produce faith, it only profits the hearer if it is united by faith (Heb. 4:2). It is the power of God only to those that, by God’s grace, believe it (Rom 1:16). This is not a valid reason to stop preaching the Gospel nor to stop making a reasonable case for Christianity.

Many presuppositionalists recognize the importance of reasoning and correctly remind us of its place in relation to the authority of God’s Word. For example, John M. Frame says “human senses and reason are themselves means of God’s revelation. Human beings are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Therefore, our rational facilities, rightly used, will not lead us away from God’s Word, but rather toward it.”31 He continues “Scripture never suggests that human reasoning about the Word, in itself, leads us to substitute the authority of reason for the authority of the Word. On the contrary, to think about the Word is to bring ourselves more consciously under its threats and promises.”32

Some have accused presuppositionalists of fideism but most of them do not agree with that label. Edgar says it “begins and ends frankly with authority. Not the blind authority of fideism, mind you, which is a leap of faith that denies reason.”33 But, as shown above, the thrust of the strong presuppositionalists’ position is that trying to persuade someone, either with persuasive arguments or Christian evidences, is detrimental to evangelism and takes glory away from God in the salvation process. This line of reasoning easily leads to fideism. This strong presuppositional attitude stems from its Calvinistic root. For presuppositionalists, “Clark as well as for Kuyper, Dooyeweerd, and Van Til, we know that the God of the Bible is the true God because he has sovereignly chosen to illuminate our minds by the regenerating work of the Spirit.”34 If the elect are going to believe by being sovereignly zapped with irresistible grace, then there is no need to try and reason with the lost.

One of the main proponents of presuppositionalism, Cornelius Van Til, wrote that “The only ‘proof’ of the Christian position is that unless its truth is presupposed there is no possibility of ‘proving’ anything at all”.35 He fails to explain why this simply isn’t an “evidence” for the truth of Christianity that the unbeliever wouldn’t suppress as well. In addition, we need to ask “did the Biblical authors ever attempt to prove their message was true by arguing that unless what they had to say was presupposed, there was no possibility of proving anything?” The answer is no. They used miracles as evidence to show their teaching had divine authority and rational arguments to show the reasonableness of what they were saying.   

Besides Hyper-Calvinists who refuse to evangelize at all, most Calvinists correctly point out that, although God’s work in the heart is the sole cause of a person’s salvation, He uses human instruments to share the message of the cross. The same concept applies to evidences and rational persuasion. If we shouldn’t stop all person to person evangelism simply because God is the sole cause of salvation, then we should not cease from using rational persuasion and evidences as part of our evangelism. Both are human means God has ordained to reach the lost.

To know the proper boundaries for our evangelism technique, it is most prudent to follow the Biblical examples of the prophets and apostles. Surely what the inspired authors said and taught must be considered the ideal method of sharing our faith. Their methods are stamped with God’s approval as being part of His infallible and inerrant Word. If we are to follow the pattern of the Biblical authors, we should use Christian evidences and rational reasoning in our evangelism, including the moral and teleological arguments.

The Moral and Teleological Arguments are Part of God’s Word

The strong presuppositionalist’s premise, that God only saves through His Word, is sound. For example, Whitcomb rightly says the evangelist must “keep the heart and mind of his unbelieving friend exposed to God’s Word in one way or another, all the time praying that the Spirit of God might bring conviction of sin and a willingness to trust the Savior.”36 But then to conclude that presenting arguments for God’s existence is not effective, their second premise must be that such arguments are not found in God’s Word. Whitcomb continues “If he does not respond to God’s infallible Word, which is His special revelation, what assurance is gained from the Bible that he will respond to the witness of general revelation, such as the various theistic proofs for God’s personal existence and historical evidences for the truth of Christianity?”37 The argument could be illustrated as:

  1. God only saves through His Word.
  2. The Word doesn’t include arguments for God’s existence.
  3. Hence, evangelists should not use arguments for God’s existence.

The argument breaks down because of the second premise. They fail to recognize that the teleological and moral arguments are part of God’s Word.

Presuppositionalists point to 1 Cor. 2:1-5 where Paul says he “did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom”, sharing with them nothing “except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” in a message that was “not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” To take these verses to mean Christians should only share the basics of the gospel in evangelism, you would have to ignore the many accounts of God’s prophets and apostles using persuasive apologetics that were already discussed.

It would be similar to finding a hypothetical verse that was interpreted as teaching that Christians shouldn’t preach in synagogues. We know that an interpretation of such a verse is wrong because the apostles are described as doing that very thing. What verses like 1 Cor. 2:1-5 remind us is that it’s the power of God which ultimately saves a lost sinner. But this does not exclude us from presenting the truth in the most clear, concise, and convincing way possible. The moral and teleological arguments are prime examples of the Biblical authors explaining how God can be seen by just observing the universe we live in. They point to the fact that God’s existence best explains the way we find the world and the people who live here.

The moral argument is an excellent way to show how the Biblical worldview explains the reality we experience every day. During evangelism an unbeliever will often agree that people have an internal compass for knowing what is right and wrong. They may even bring the issue up themselves if they dismiss Christianity because of the problem of evil or because all religions have similar rules about morality. The moral argument becomes a powerful way to show an unbeliever that every time they make such value judgments, they are implicitly demanding an absolute Lawgiver. The apologist can then explain that people instinctively know what right from wrong because God’s law is written on their hearts in the form of a conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). Common morality among different cultures is best explained by the existence of an absolute morally perfect God.

The teleological argument is another persuasive way to explain that the proof for God’s existence is all around us. Creation tells us of God’s glory, declares the work of His hands, pours forth speech, and reveals knowledge (Ps. 19:1-2). Scripture may not specifically explain what about the creation is such a powerful revealer of God. But it’s not too much of a stretch to say that the marvelous beauty and intricate design of the universe are just two things that show us there was a grand Mind behind its creation. The teleological argument is simply a way to articulate exactly what the Bible says. Namely, that God’s power and nature are clearly seen and understood, that He makes Himself evident to us through what He made (Rom. 1:19-20). This teleological argument from God’s Word can be used with an unbeliever to draw attention to the evidence which surrounds them every day.

Since unbelievers already understand that God exists through the testimony of creation and their own conscience (Rom. 1:21), presenting these two arguments is simply a way to appeal to what they already know to be true. Many presuppositionalists agree with the first part of this statement. For example, while discussing Paul’s encounter with Athenians on Mars Hill recorded in Acts 17, Whitcomb writes “Dominated by a fallen nature and satanically blinded, these men shared with the apostle an epistemological “common ground” that consisted only of their mutual possession of the image and likeness of God through creation”.38 Edgar says “Because of this, we have a point of contact with the unbeliever, despite the great chasm between us. When we face a friend who challenges our faith, we know we have in front of us someone who already knows God!”39 He says “here before us stands no tabula rasa, but God’s image bearer, fleeing what he knows to be true in his heart.”40 This is what David Turner means when he says “apologetics is largely an appeal to the image of God in man, which image includes an ineradicable sensus deitatis (sense of deity).”41

Still, the strong presuppositionalist thinks it’s wrong to present these arguments for God’s existence because “If men already know God exists, it is a mistake to attempt to prove it to them in the usual ways.”42 Later he caricatures non-presuppositionalists by incorrectly claiming this truth is “rejected by traditional apologists, who appeal primarily to man’s rational capacities or to his sense perceptions.”43 He says of Rom. 1:19-20 that “Paul is certainly not attempting a “cosmological argument”. Rather, he is speaking of an actual knowledge of God obtained from nature.”44 Even though Paul’s sentences here aren’t in proper syllogism form, they clearly teach that God makes Himself evident to us through what He’s made. Gently sharing this Biblical truth in evangelism is an appeal to what the unbeliever already knows, not catering to “man’s desire for autonomy”45 and asserting “that man responds positively to natural revelation”46 as Turner mistakenly claims non-presuppositionalists do.47

Bruce A. Baker says “For if these truths are self-evident, then apologists can confidently appeal to truths already known to unbelievers. Specifically, if everyone already knows there is a God, there is no need to prove His existence through the use of evidence and reason.”48 He makes a false distinction here between appealing to what an unbeliever already knows and making a case for His existence with reason and evidence. Yet he ends up with a conclusion similar to what I am arguing for in this paper when he writes “unbelievers already know of the existence, not just of a god, but of the biblical God. Evidence is used therefore not to seek to prove the reality of God’s existence but to make unbelievers conscious of what they already know to be true.”49

He sees this false distinction because he thinks the non-presuppositionalist uses the arguments because they are powerful in and of themselves and thinks the presuppositionalist uses them because they are an appeal to what unbelievers already know. In actuality, both reasons to use them are correct. His comment that the “Biblical data on the universal knowledge of God show that the statement, “The eternally powerful biblical God exists,” is foundational to knowledge and should therefore be rationally accepted without evidence”50 is wrong because the reason we have the universal knowledge of God that is foundational is that there is evidence, i.e. the powerful evidence of creation that is clearly seen and understood. He says this very thing when he writes “In contrast (to fideism), presuppositionalism embraces the evidence that God’s creation provides. The fact that every person clearly understands God’s revelation of Himself in nature is confirmation that the knowledge of God is self-evident.”51 His confusion lies in that he mistakenly sees a difference between the “evidence in nature” and the “arguments for God’s existence” whereas the two are actually the same.  

Some presuppositionalists agree that arguments for God’s existence can be useful. Frame writes “we can expect that the unbelievers to whom we witness both know God and seek to suppress the truth. Their primary need is not to know that God exists, although various kinds of argumentation may be useful to remind them that they know that.”52 He goes on to say presuppositionalists “do not reject the use of evidences, even the use of theistic proofs. We only insist that these be scriptural arguments – i.e. arguments which appeal to scriptural criteria.”53 He goes on to say “Perhaps the Spirit will use this presentation to overcome his resistance to the gospel.”54 “So the presentation of evidence, done rightly is itself a presentation of the Word of God. It is an application of the word of God to the data of experience. Theistic arguments are another example. It is certainly reasonable to maintain that such data as causality, purposiveness and morality indicate the reality of God.”55 Clearly Frame isn’t in agreement with “strong” presuppositionalists like Turner.  

Everyone agrees that lost people suppress their knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18). However, what does not follow from this is that we should refrain from reminding them of what gives them this knowledge in the first place, i.e. the creation and their conscience. If this line of reasoning were to apply to other areas of evangelism then we’d have to conclude that it would also be a mistake to try and prove to an unbeliever that they’re a sinner, something else they know internally but suppress. We know this conclusion is not correct because Paul does this very thing in Rom. 1:32-2:3. He condemns the moralist who shows that he knows the right thing to do in that he judges others for it, but he suppresses that knowledge by not applying it to himself. Even though an unbeliever knows internally that he’s a sinner because the Law is written on his heart (Rom. 2:15), he deludes himself into thinking he’s better than others. We may need to appeal to arguments from Scripture to show him that he is in fact a sinner before a Holy God. Similarly, we may need to appeal to arguments from Scripture that God exists.    

God’s Word is the tool He uses to bring lost sinners to faith, but His Word includes more than just the simple Gospel. If we are to teach the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27), then we should not exclude these magnificent arguments for God’s existence that come from God Himself. We should confidently tell people that common morality and the intricate design found in creation point us to understand that God really does exist.

Conclusion

God’s grace alone is able to turn the lost from their sin to faith in Christ through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Powerful and articulate sermons cannot save a lost sinner yet we are called to be His instruments in pronouncing the good news. We should work hard at making the Gospel message clear and understandable. Apologetics, including persuasive arguments for the existence of God, cannot save a lost sinner yet we are privileged to be used by Him as instruments to make a defense to everyone who asks for the hope that is in us with gentleness and reverence (1 Pet. 3:15). When sharing these truths with people, an evangelist shouldn’t try to coerce someone into making a hasty decision by dominating the conversation with his self-proclaimed brilliance. Instead he should gently make a reasonable case for believing God exists by using His Word to do it, all the while saturating the interaction with prayer asking that God would work on his heart to believe.  

The most important part of an evangelistic encounter is sharing the basic truths of the gospel; explaining to the unbeliever that they are sinful and worthy of God’s punishment, that God loves them and sent His Son to die for them, and that they need to place their faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins. This can easily be done at the beginning of the conversation as a way to explain what the message of Jesus really is and eliminate any misperceptions the unbeliever might have about Christianity. Then, if the evangelist finds out that the unbeliever he’s witnessing to claims he doesn’t believe in God existence, it is Biblical to gently show them evidence, which is found in creation and human conscience, that God is real. These moral and teleological arguments for God’s existence are part of His Word. We shouldn’t hold back from sharing these Biblical truths because it might just be the part of God’s Word the Holy Spirit uses to open the blinded eyes of a lost sinner.


Footnotes

[1] In this context, argument does not mean fiery tempers and raised voices, but instead it is making a gentle yet persuasive case to someone for something that is truly in their best interest.

[2] David Turner, “Cornelius Van Til and Romans 1:18-21: A Study in the Epistemology of Presuppositional Apologetics,” Grace Theological Journal 2, no. 1 (1981): 45-81, 45.

[3] William Edgar, “Without Apology: Why I Am a Presuppositionalist,” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 1 (1996): 17-27, 18.

[4] I use the term non-presuppositional to broadly refer to the many other apologetic methods which exist.  These other methods could broadly be defined as traditionalism or evidentialism.  The major difference is that the former starts with arguments for God’s existence while the latter begins with specific evidences for the Christian faith.   

[5] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, 2nd ed. (Waynesboro: Paternoster, 2006), 222.

[6] Bruce A. Baker. “Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 154, no. 616 (1997): 280-98, 282.

[7] William Edgar. “Without Apology: Why I Am a Presuppositionalist,” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 1 (1996): 17-27, 20.

[8] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, 2nd ed. (Waynesboro: Paternoster, 2006), 222.

[9] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part I: Human Limitations in Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 534 (1977): 99-106, 104.

[10] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part II: Christian Apologetics and the Divine Solution,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 535 (1977): 195-202, 200 (emphasis mine).

[11] Ibid., 201.

[12] For an extended discussion on this, see Greg L. Bahnsen. “The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics,” Westminster Theological Journal 57, no. 1 (1995): 1-32.

[13] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith, Part IV: The Limitations and Values of Christian Evidences,” Bibliotheca Sacra 135, no. 537 (1978): 25-33, 30.

[14] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part II: Christian Apologetics and the Divine Solution,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 535 (1977): 195-202, 196.

[15] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith, Part IV: The Limitations and Values of Christian Evidences,” Bibliotheca Sacra 135, no. 537 (1978): 25-33, 31.

[16] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part I: Human Limitations in Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 534 (1977): 99-106, 105.

[17] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, 2nd ed. (Waynesboro: Paternoster, 2006), 116.

[18] Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology: Volume One (Bloomington: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 559.

[19] William Edgar, “Without Apology: Why I Am a Presuppositionalist,” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 1 (1996): 17-27, 25.

[20] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part II: Christian Apologetics and the Divine Solution,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 535 (1977): 195-202, 195 (emphasis mine).

[21] Ibid., 197 (emphasis mine).

[22] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith, Part III: Proof Texts for Semi-Rationalistic Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134: 536 (1977): 291-298, 292 (emphasis mine). 

[23] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part II: Christian Apologetics and the Divine Solution,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 535 (1977): 195-202, 199.

[24] William Edgar. “Without Apology: Why I Am a Presuppositionalist,” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 1 (1996): 17-27, 20.

[25] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith, Part III: Proof Texts for Semi-Rationalistic Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134: 536 (1977): 291-298, 292.  His definition of semi-rationalism is a quote from Edward John Carnell in “How Every Christian Can Defend His Faith,” Moody Monthly, February, 11950, p. 431).

[26] Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology: Volume One (Bloomington: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 559.

[27] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, 2nd ed. (Waynesboro: Paternoster, 2006), 118.

[28] Ibid., 130.

[29] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith, Part IV: The Limitations and Values of Christian Evidences,” Bibliotheca Sacra 135, no. 537 (1978): 25-33, 26.

[30] Ibid.

[31] M. Frame, John. “Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction: Part 1 of 2: Introduction and Creation.” IIIM Magazine Online 1, no. 8 (April 19 to April 25, 1999).

[32] Ibid.

[33] William Edgar, “Without Apology: Why I Am a Presuppositionalist,” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 1 (1996): 17-27, 19.

[34] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, 2nd ed. (Waynesboro: Paternoster, 2006), 246.

[35] Cornelius Van Til, “My Credo,” Jerusalem and Athens: Critical Discussion on the Theology and Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til (ed. E.R. Geehan; Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1971), 21.

[36] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith: Part II: Christian Apologetics and the Divine Solution,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134, no. 535 (1977): 195-202, 199.

[37] Ibid.  To be fair, in a footnote to this statement, he adds “If theistic proofs are “formulated in a distinctively Christian way, rejecting any ‘proof’ based on a non-Christian epistemology,” they deserve “strong endorsement” according to Van Til. Cf. John M. Frame, “The Problem of Theological Paradox,” in Foundations of Christian Scholarship, ed.  Gary North (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1976), p. 301.

[38] John C. Whitcomb, Jr. “Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith, Part III: Proof Texts for Semi-Rationalistic Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 134: 536 (1977): 291-298, 296. 

[39] William Edgar. “Without Apology: Why I Am a Presuppositionalist,” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 1 (1996): 17-27, 20.

[40] Ibid.

[41] David Turner. “Cornelius Van Til and Romans 1:18-21: A Study in the Epistemology of Presuppositional Apologetics,” Grace Theological Journal 2, no. 1 (1981): 45-81, 46.

[42] Ibid., 55.

[43] Ibid., 46.

[44] Ibid., 53.

[45] Ibid., 55.

[46] Ibid., 56.

[47] Again, if there are non-presuppositionalists who hold to such extreme positions, then their views should be addressed and corrected.  But it is not right to label all non-presuppositionalists as holding to these extremes.

[48] Bruce A. Baker. “Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 154, no. 616 (1997): 280-98, 281.

[49] Ibid., 296.

[50] Ibid., 297.

[51] Ibid.

[52] M. Frame, John. “Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction: Part 2 of 2: Fall and Redemption; and Summary and Conclusion.” IIIM Magazine Online 1, no. 8 (April 19 to April 25, 1999).

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

Convincing Proof