How A Muslim Could Employ Van Til’s Apologetic System: A Response To Frame And Hays -- By: John Johnson, ;

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 05:3 (Oct 2006)
Article: How A Muslim Could Employ Van Til’s Apologetic System: A Response To Frame And Hays
Author: John Johnson, ;

How A Muslim Could Employ Van Til’s Apologetic System: A Response To Frame And Hays

John Johnson, M.A.;

currently candidate for the Ph.D., Baylor University

This article is a result of a piece I published in Evangelical Quarterly1 on the merits of Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional system of apologetics, in which I took the position that his approach may indeed prove the validity of theism in general, but not Christianity in particular. In fact, I suggested that a Muslim apologist could use Van Til’s system with as much success as could a defender of Christianity. Dr. John Frame and Steve Hays published a rebuttal in a subsequent issue of EQ, in which they took me to task for failing to properly understand Van Til’s thought, and, more importantly, not adequately demonstrating how an Islamic apologist could use Van Til’s ideas to defend Islam. EQ’s editorial staff did not wish for the debate to continue in its pages, so I am resuming the matter in this journal.

I would like to begin by thanking John Frame and Steve Hayes for their rejoinder. Their response was all the more gratifying when one considers that Dr. Frame is a giant in the field of Christian apologetics, and has devoted his life to powerfully presenting the gospel to a skeptical modern world. Also, I agree with them that my paper would have been stronger had it included more interaction with books by, and about, Van Til. To that end, in this essay I will quote fairly extensively from Van Til, and also from Frame’s writings, since he considers his own work on the subject to be a “major exposition” of Van Til’s thought.2 By delving deeply into the writings of these two men, I hope to show, more thoroughly than I did in my previous essay, that all of the major presuppositional assumptions that Van Til and Frame make for Christianity can just as easily be made for Islam. My point is not that Islamic apologists are using the Van Tillian system to promote Islam.3 Rather, I wish to show that they easily could if they so desired. And, if this is the case, the Van Tillian method for doing apologetics must be seriously questioned as to its ability to prove the reality of the Christian, as opposed to the Islamic, God (or any similar theistic being).4

I. The Concept Of Sin In Islam And In Christianity.

In their rejoinder, Frame and Hays take me to task because I stated in my critique of Van Til that a Muslim could agree with what Paul says in chapter one of Romans. They write that a Muslim could not accept what Paul says there, because,...

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