Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics -- By: Bruce A. Baker

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 155:619 (Jul 1998)
Article: Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics
Author: Bruce A. Baker

Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics

Bruce A. Baker

Bruce A. Baker is Pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Bates City, Missouri.

Anthropologist S. H. Kellogg notes that human beings should be considered unlike the rest of the animal kingdom because man alone is a “religious animal.”1 Besides the fact that everyone is universally religious, the religions of all people, according to Kellogg, hold certain tenets in common. These common doctrines are fascinating when considering the relationship between general revelation and apologetics because they show “both the theistic consciousness and its distortions in pantheistic worship of the creation.”2

First,3 every religious system assumes the existence of a Higher Power (or powers) on which people are dependent and which can influence their personal destinies. While the nature of this Power or powers differs with each religion, people instinctively feel they are born into this relationship and are powerless to free themselves from it. Second, because of a person’s relationship with this Power or powers, certain actions are required and others must be avoided, or suffering will result. Third, between mankind and this Power or

powers something is wrong.4 In Kellogg’s words, “All religions more or less distinctly express or appeal to man’s sense of sin.”5 Fourth, all religions assume existence after death is affected by a person’s actions in this life.

Kellogg considers these four tenets to be true of all religions, whether monotheistic, polytheistic,6 pantheistic, panentheistic, nontheistic, or animistic. Regardless of the nature of the religion, all religions hold these truths in common.

Two questions immediately arise. First, why are human beings universally religious7 with a common set of doctrines? Second, how should Christian apologists respond to this basic universal religious system? In response to the first question, only two answers are possible. Either the truths within this belief system are self-evident or Kellogg is wrong. The answer to the second question depends entirely on how one answers the first. 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 exist...

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