Young Earth Presuppositionalism -- By: Jason Lisle

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 11:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: Young Earth Presuppositionalism
Author: Jason Lisle


Young Earth Presuppositionalism

Jason Lisle

Jason Lisle is Director of Research at the Institute for Creation Research.

How should we defend the Christian Faith? There are several methods of apologetics: evidentialism, the classical method, the cumulative case method, and presuppositionalism, to name a few. Which of these is best, or is there a clear winner at all? What are the criteria by which we can answer these questions?

Criteria

One criterion to consider is the conclusiveness of the method. An apologetic method that merely argues that the Christian worldview is likely to be true will not be as powerful as one that demonstrates the Christian worldview conclusively. Some Christians also consider the pragmatic effectiveness of the method to be a good criterion. Essentially they ask, “Which method results in the most people led to Christ, or at the very least refutes any possible objection?” This is not necessarily the same as the first criterion. After all, an argument might

be conclusive and yet so difficult to understand that it is not effective in persuading people to consider Christianity.

As a third criterion, we might consider the time and difficulty it takes to become skilled in a particular method. We would surely prefer an apologetic method that is easy to learn to one that is far more difficult (and of equal cogency and effectiveness.) Finally, we must ask, “Which apologetic method (if any) is most faithful to Scripture?” This is the most important criterion because it has moral implications. If the Bible endorses one method over another, how could we as followers of Christ rationalize ignoring such direction? Only if two different apologetic approaches were equally biblical would it make sense to even consider the remaining three criteria.

It is my conviction that presuppositional apologetics is the best method by each of the four criteria. Let us now define and explore the presuppositional method. As we do so, we will see how it satisfies each of these criteria.

Presuppositional Apologetics And Biblical Authority

It is always necessary to define terms at the outset in order to avoid confusion later on. This is particularly important with “presuppositionalism” – a term that has been used in several different ways. To be clear, by “presuppositional apologetics” I refer to the method of defending the Christian faith that was used by Dr. Greg Bahnsen and Dr. Cornelius Van Til. It is this method of apologetics and only this method that I will define, outline, and defend below. Unfortunately, presuppositionalism has often been misrepresented. And I...

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