Monthly Archives: February 2014

Classical Apologetics

In my last post, I explained that there are three kinds of Apologetics: presuppositional, classical, and evidential. My last post also gave an overview of presuppositional Apologetics. This second post will introduce the second of the three schools of Apologetics, classical Apologetics.

Michael Houdmann is the CEO of GotQuestions.org. He defines classical Apologetics this way: “Classical apologetics is a method of apologetics that begins by first employing various theistic arguments to establish the existence of God. Classical apologists will often utilize various forms of the cosmological, teleological (Design), ontological, and moral arguments to prove God’s existence. Once God’s existence has been established, the classical apologist will then move on to present evidence from fulfilled prophecy, the historical reliability of Scripture, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus to distinguish Christianity from all other competing forms of theism.”

Classical and evidential Apologetics are both very different from presuppositional Apologetics and very similar to each other. They both include the step of arguing that miracles and other such evidences demonstrate the existence of the Biblical God. However, as noted by Michael Houdmann above, classical Apologetics includes another step that comes first. That step is demonstrating the existence of a deity through various proofs.

Four common proofs used to establish the existence of a deity are these:
1. The Cosmological Argument (Uncaused Cause)
2. The Teleological Argument (Designed Universe)
3. The Ontological Argument (Greatest Conceivable Being)
4. The Moral Argument (Objective Morals)

After we overview evidential Apologetics in my next post, we’ll return to these proofs and examine them more in-depth.

Three Kinds of Apologetics

In speech and debate we talk about Apologetics a lot. We don’t tend to draw any sort of distinction within Apologetics as a whole. However, there are actually at least three distinct types of Apologetics–also referred to as “schools” of Apologetics. In this post I’m going to give a brief overview of the first school of Apologetics, while my next two posts will address numbers two and three.

These next few paragraphs are excerpted from an article I wrote for the Families for Reformation newsletter a few months back. You can read more of the article on this website by clicking here, or read the entire thing by going to the Families for Reformation website.

The first type of Apologetics is presuppositional Apologetics. What is presuppositional apologetics? According to that great source of human knowledge, Wikipedia, “Presuppositionalism is a school of Christian apologetics that believes the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought.”

What is a presupposition? According to apologist John Frame, a presupposition is a “belief that takes precedence over another and therefore serves as a criterion for another. An ultimate presupposition is a belief over which no other takes precedence. For a Christian, the content of Scripture must serve as his ultimate presupposition…. This doctrine is merely the outworking of the lordship of God in the area of human thought. It merely applies the doctrine of scriptural infallibility to the realm of knowing.”

Basically, presuppositional apologetics argues that everyone has certain fundamental assumptions that we accept without external proof. Moreover, it asserts that any rational discussion presupposes the truth of the presuppositions of Christianity.