Reviews [#3] -- By: James N. Anderson

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 11:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: Reviews [#3]
Author: James N. Anderson


Reviews [#3]

James N. Anderson

As I understand it, this three-way debate arose out of the concerns of Dr. Richard Howe and others at Southern Evangelical Seminary about the promotion of presuppositional apologetics (PA) by some Young Earth Creationist (YEC) ministries. Presumably, then, the central issue in this exchange is whether there is a strong connection between YEC and PA.1

The answer to this question is largely independent of whether YEC is correct and whether PA is correct. One could believe that YEC and PA go hand-in-hand without holding to either YEC or PA. Likewise, one could affirm both YEC and PA yet think that they are independent issues. Only those who hold to one but not the other have to answer the central question at hand in the negative. Since the cases for YEC and PA (considered separately) have been debated at great length elsewhere, I will not revisit that ground but will direct my remarks to the distinctive element of this debate, viz., the relationship between YEC and PA.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will lay my own cards on the table at the outset. I advocate a presuppositional approach in apologetics;

I find myself in substantial agreement with Cornelius Van Til about the implications of Reformed theology and Reformed epistemology for Christian apologetics. However, I have argued that presuppositionalism does not rule out the use of more traditional arguments (e.g., the cosmological and teleological arguments) provided they are formulated and presented in a presuppositionally-sensitive manner. On matters of creation, I firmly reject theistic evolution as inconsistent both with Scripture and with good science. I embraced YEC early on in my Christian life, but after further study came to the conclusion, on exegetical and theological grounds, that the ‘days’ of Genesis 1 are best understood as divine workdays that are not identical to human (24-hour solar) workdays.2 I therefore hold that Genesis is consistent with (but does not require) the view that the universe is billions of years old. In short, I affirm PA but not YEC; I believe that PA is consistent with YEC but does not require it.

As such, I find myself in the pleasant position of concurring with all three participants on some important points. I agree with Lisle and Oliphint on presuppositionalism,3 with Oliphint on whether Genesis teaches a literal six-day creation, with Howe and Oliphint that there is no strong connection between YEC and PA, ...

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