Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Christian Apologetics - The Presuppositional Nature of Evangelism

In my understanding of presuppositional apologetics so far, one of the lynchpin tactics is to challenge the presuppositions of the non-Christian and demonstrate first that they are borrowed from Christian presuppositions and second that without Christian presuppositions their conclusions cannot stand.

This applies particularly well to morality and Van Til discusses it briefly in the section on ethics. From page 37:

“There is no alternative to the Christian view of the will of God as ultimate but the idea of man’s moral consciousness itself as being ultimate… It is therefore the business of Christian apologetics to challenge the non-Christian view of morality and to show that unless the will of God be taken as ultimate, there is no meaning to moral distinctions.”

On a fundamental level, this is what happens in true evangelism. The non-Christian will always detect that he is internally conflicted with regard to his own state of morality. There will be some agreement that some “natural law” exists from which to derive moral judgments. However, it is a matter of submitting to the truth that any morality so held as true has been transgressed by the one holding it true. The conflict comes from self-justification for such transgressions. Why self-justify if man is his own moral arbiter?

So the evangelist presents the gospel as our need for salvation in the justification of Christ on the cross. Only the gospel of grace so places morality ultimately on the nature of God’s will. True submission to this truth and trust in God’s grace requires the recognition of God as the natural creator and arbiter of morality.

Therefore, evangelism is the highest practice of presuppositional apologetics and such draws its strength directly from the gospel of grace.

And I bet you thought that all this Christian philosophy and apologetical musing was merely academic.

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