Monday, June 24, 2013

Consider Your Witness

There is a good discussion on Presuppositional versus Evidential Apologetics on a recent Unbelievable podcast. You can listen to it here. (HT: AOMin)

Kurt Jaros speaks on the evidential position and Scott Oliphant speaks on the presuppositional position. They discuss alternate terms for the positions and sometimes use them. The alternate term for Evidential Apologetics is “Natural Theology”. The Alternate term for Presuppositonal Apologetics is “Covenant Apologetics”. I mention that so you won’t be thrown off if you dive into the middle of it without listening to the whole thing.

One thing I wanted to point out: At just past the 1 hour mark, 1:03:00 Jaros asks, “How do we know?” He’s asking the epistemological question about how we convey with certainty the assertions regarding our Christian theology over and against other beliefs. The argument Jaros is making is that presuppositonal apologists still need to provide evidence to back up their assertions.

Oliphant’s response is that God can use all kinds of things, but that doesn’t make those things true or epistemologically revealing. Evidential apologetics are still constrained to probability. Jaros understood the response well enough, but I wanted to unpack this briefly.

Neither Evidential nor Presuppositional apologetics are convincing unless the Holy Spirit opens someone to the truth of the gospel. Now, my non-Reformed friends will disagree with this. That’s what makes evidential apologetics more appealing to the non-Reformed.

But in either case, the most convincing presentation isn’t evidential in the classical sense, it’s testimonial in the legal sense. That’s why our witness is of the utmost importance. Those of us who have the Holy Spirit can testify as to his work in our lives. We can testify as to the living work of Christ through the Holy Spirit today.

It’s not like a science experiment where we can say that this is most likely to be true, but like a court case where we take the stand as eyewitness testimony to the living God. Yet we do not make our case to the jury as it were. We call out fellow witnesses to recognize their own testimony of the work of God in their lives. That is the truth that Presuppositional Apologetics upholds. Consider, therefore, your witness.

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