A Presuppositionalist answers a non-valid question

Posted: April 23, 2012 by rickyroldan in Apologetics
Tags: , , ,

This was the question posed in objection to Clarkinian Presuppositionalism: How does one presupositionally defend the canon? What in the canon of 66 books of scripture defends the canon of scripture being 66 books?

My good friend and brother in Christ Jason Bradfield aka King Neb of Reign of Christ (reignofchrist.com) answers this objection beautifully below:

It has been answered because the premise to your question is the same premise that all of these other questions against presuppositionalism contain. You are basically asking the same question, with a different twist. Any answer that a presup gives will not satisfy a mind that seeks to think autonomously from the Scripture itself.

We accept the canonization of the 66 books for the same reason we accept the truth contained within them – “We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”

To quote Oscar Cullman, “the books which were to form the future canon forced themselves on the Church by their intrinsic apostolic authority, as they do still, because the Kyrios Christ speaks in them.”

I would come at this in the same manner i did with “evidences” and “classical arguments” for “God”: how can you NOT argue the canon presuppositionally? How do you think you can “prove” the canon any other way? I don’t think you can.

———

Every philosophical system must have a starting point. This starting point is axiomatic, meaning, it cannot be proven. It is indemonstrable, for if it could be proven, then it would no longer be the starting point. Critics of presuppositionalism cry out, “this is question begging! You are assuming what ought to be proved.” Well, in a sense, this is true. I am question-begging. But this is what non-presuppositionalists fail to understand: this “problem” of question-begging” is NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY! It is a “problem” for EVERY philosophical and theological system out there.

ALL worldviews ultimately rest on an axiom, a starting point. And thus, ALL worldviews, ULTIMATELY, cannot “prove” themselves in accordance to strict logic.

Take any worldview…atheism, darwinism, Christianity, naturalism, deism…it doesn’t matter. Every view can be reduced to its foundational premise, ie. its highest authority. And that foundational premise cannot be “proven” in terms of strict logic, for if it could then it would no longer be its foundational premise and that which was used to “prove” the original starting point now becomes the new starting point. Well, at some point, you have to stop “proving” or you end up with the problem of infinite regress, thus never being able to prove anything at all.

See, any route you take, either axiomatic thinking or infinite regress, we ALL suffer the “problem” of not being able to fully “demonstrate” (prove) our starting point. Every SINGLE SYSTEM is “faith-based”, if you will; meaning, everybody ends up accepting beliefs that they cannot ultimately prove.

There is no way in heck that i can possibly “prove” to you that God spoke the world into existence. I wasn’t there. I didn’t experience it. NO ONE experienced it. Even Adam, who was closest to the scene, didn’t show up until day 6. Why then do i accept it? Because that is what God said he did and i don’t accept Dawkins ridiculous notions of origins because it contradicts what God tells me. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3 ESV)

“Yeah, but you’re assuming that the Bible is true to start with.”

Yes, i am. And? What’s the problem? You can’t tell me its a problem because as i mentioned above, we ALL have this “problem”. If the atheist is going to reject my apologetic on the basis that i am “assuming” things without “empirical evidence”, then he has in turn destroyed his own system, because atheism is based on unverifiable assumptions as well.

We have to stop letting the atheists bully us into this infinite-proof nonsense. They can’t meet their own criterion, so why should i be bullied into meeting it?

What we need to be doing is insisting that they stop this game and deal with the real, bottom line issue: my axiom destroys your axiom. My axiom provides a source for knowledge, universals, and so on. Yours is incapable of doing anything other than making yourself out to be a fool. Your axiom explains nothing. In fact, it is self-contradictory, etc., etc.

By faith, i accept the testimony of Scripture as well as the providential working of God in history and through the church in giving us exactly the books i need. That’s where i start. I know that isn’t going to satisfy them, but that isn’t my problem. I don’t feel pressure to deal with “problems” just because they wanna make something a “problem”.

By: Jason Bradfield aka King Neb

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Comments
  1. rickyroldan says:

    I also attempted to answer this objection in the following:

    Brother, you asked me that question on my facebook page many months ago when I was debating a bunch of atheists. I guess you don’t remember. Here is the thing you non-presupp guys are not understanding…..For the presup apologist (Clarkinian) Scripture IS the starting point or Axiom and one does not have to prove one’s axiom but rather is ALREADY presupposed hence why its called Presuppositionalism. More importantly, to “make a defense” doesn’t equate to having to PROVE anything but is actually rather one stating why he believes what he believes and this is where the Classical and Evidentualist get it confused. We Christians don’t have to prove jack squat to heathens as if God needed some kind of defense. What we do is present the truth and one will either take it or leave as the Holy Spirit see’s fit to reveal. While exposing the irrationalism of the unbelievers worldview and presenting the real truth and logic, the presup individual is actually at the same time presenting the wonderful news of the gospel. That is a point commonly missed. Again, we don’t have to prove God to anyone but rather defend what one believes and show the other person that Scripture is the only logic and in doing that one is indeed proving the Scriptures to be true.

  2. Matt says:

    “And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”

    Now THAT is a well-written sentence.

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