Prof. James Anderson has conveniently listed his writings that help Christians “give reply” for the reason they hope in Christ’s work. “Apologetics” is a funny name to give to the study of defending the faith but initially, in the first Christian century, the use of that Greek word meant: “to give answer,” or “reply.” Some methods are better than others and by studying God’s word we will be more competent. The calling, convincing, and saving of sinners is an act of God where He ordains the means as well. As Christians we are to disciple all nations until the full number of the Gentiles are brought into the fold.
One criticism of presuppositional apologetics is that its advocates rarely if ever offer serious arguments for their distinctive claims (e.g., the claim that our ability to reason presupposes the existence of God). The criticism is overstated, but there is a measure of truth to it. I count myself a presuppositionalist, but I’ve been frustrated in the past by presuppositionalists who seem to imagine that declaring what Van Til’s “transcendental argument” purports to demonstrate is tantamount to actually making that demonstration. Simply asserting that “without God you can’t prove anything at all” or that “your very ability to reason presupposes the existence of God” does nothing whatsoever to explain why those weighty assertions should be believed. Likewise for the failure of non-Christians to answer questions asking them to account for their ability to reason, to know truths about the world, to make meaningful moral judgments, etc., in terms of their own worldviews. Questions cannot substitute for arguments, no matter how pointed those questions may be.
So it’s important for presuppositionalists to present arguments in support of their claims, and to ensure their critics are aware of those arguments so that they can be critically evaluated. In that spirit, I thought it would be useful to gather in one place my own presuppositional arguments, as well as my attempts to explain or reconstruct the arguments of other presuppositionalists:
- If Knowledge Then God (2005) — a paper in which I summarize Van Til’s transcendental argument (actually multiple versions of it) and contrast it with the theistic arguments of Alvin Plantinga.
- The Theistic Preconditions of Knowledge (2006) — an argument that human knowledge presupposes the existence of God.
- Presuppositionalism and Frame’s Epistemology (2009) — an essay on John Frame’s distinctive contributions to epistemology and apologetics, in which I sketch out (in the final section) a triperspectival presuppositional critique of naturalism.
- The Lord of Non-Contradiction (2011) — an article (co-authored with Greg Welty) which argues for the existence of God from the laws of logic.
- In Defense of the Argument for God from Logic (2013) — our responses to several critiques of the argument in the previous article.
- Antitheism Presupposes Theism (2011) — a defense of Van Til’s provocative claim, which extends the argument for God from logic into an argument for God from any belief stance (including agnosticism).
- Atheism, Amoralism, and Arationalism (2016) — the outline of an argument to the effect that atheism cannot account for objective rationality.
In addition, my book Why Should I Believe Christianity? offers a broadly presuppositional (and evidential!) case for the biblical Christian worldview.