Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Dave Armstrong on Presuppositional Apologetics (Updated)
04/12/2007 - James WhiteOn Tuesday I noted in passing the importance of the relationship between theology and apologetics, and how a sub-biblical theology can only result in a sub-biblical apologetic. I have been a bit concerned about some of the replies I have seen. There is a lot of confusion about the relevant categories. One glowing example of completely missing my point (and I do mean completely), is provided by Roman Catholic Dave Armstrong. The entire post is a classic example of missing categories and utter epistemological confusion (let alone a glaring example of how someone can be the prisoner of their own bias when it comes to reading what I've written), but here is one portion that stands out:
White mocks the notions of "preponderance of the evidence" and "greater probability" as antithetical to biblical Christianity and the proclamation of the gospel, yet this is precisely what the early Christians did: they proclaimed eyewitness testimony of what they had seen and heard. If they presented "legal"-type testimony, then why cannot an apologist use the same sort of argument today? No one alive was an eyewitness of these events, so it is necessarily the case that we have to make legal-historical arguments in order to do an intelligent rational apologetics.Now, lay aside the normal Armstrongian loquaciousness and hand-waving and hear how completely he has missed what I said. I never once said a word against the presentation of eyewitness evidence. I never once "mocked" the direct proclamation of the resurrection of Christ by the eyewitnesses. In fact, that was my point. The apostles did not say, "Well, we are pretty certain Jesus rose. I mean, no one can be totally certain, of course, but we think that on the balance, the best data we can give you points to the greater probability that He rose than that He didn't." My point was that the apostles did not speak in such a fashion. They did not say that God might have raised Jesus from the dead, so you get to judge the facts for yourself as if you are some kind of neutral observer and "greater probabilities" will persuade you. No, God has spoken with clarity and force, and has rendered man avnapolo,ghtoj, without a defense. That does not mean, "with an argument that is less probable than the Christian one," but without any argument. The non-Christian worldview devolves down to absurdity, and it is our task to point this out.
Sadly, Armstrong truly has no concept of what he identifies as presuppositionalism. Anyone who has spent any time at all with Van Til or Bahnsen cannot help but shake their head at Armstrong's wild swings at a phantom far removed from the truth.
Dave Armstrong continues to beat himself in the head over his utter lack of understanding of the issues involved related to his very confident claims regarding presuppositionalism. To prove his great and in-depth study, he has now told us that RC Sproul is a critic of presuppositionalism! Shocking! I am so glad to learn of this! Oh...wait! I used Classical Apologetics as a text book in my Christian apologetics class I taught at Golden Gate Seminary at least six years ago! How could I have forgotten? Oh, I remember now! I was lecturing on the methods of apologetics and was providing my students with material from both sides! That's right! I even referred them to the Bahnsen/Sproul dialogue on apologetic methodology! So, Armstrong has a book I have assigned to my students! And what does this mean? That despite having such a book, he still couldn't understand what I was talking about and properly follow the categories!