I watched a conversation between Sye Ten Bruggencate and Mike Winger dialogue about the Biblical apologetic methodology. I am a bit rusty about the methodology debate but I will try to add my thoughts if I can. I went and watched the original video by Pastor Winger and I’ll make a few comments about my perspective.
1. Winger starts off by stating that presuppositionalist don’t believe in Atheist. That they believe Atheist consciously lie about their lack of knowledge of God. The issue is the presuppositionalist don’t actually think the unbeliever is always conscious of his unbelief. That is what Dr. Bahnsen was getting at with his thesis about self-deception. The reason presuppositionalist use that line about there being no atheist to show that in the sense that there are these atheists that would believe if they merely were told. That the problems with man are epistemological rather than ethical.
2. I don’t think presuppositionalism is at odds with giving evidence. To be fair he is responding to Sye, but presuppositionalism isn’t against evidence. So, he equivocates on evidence with classical and evidential methodologies.
3. A problem with classical and evidential apologetics is that is doesn’t place God and his word as the ultimate criterion of truth. So, those methods are inconsistent with Sola Scriptura. Are our beliefs not justified by God’s own testimony about himself?
4. Another problem with other methods is that they suffer weakness about the issues of inerrancy. I don’t know if Winger affirms it, but his camps defend general historical reliability. That is great for claims about Christ resurrection but does that work for the resurrection of Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter? So, we lack sufficient evidence for things like this in the NT and therefore Winger should disregard it on the lack of its evidence.
5. Another problem that Greg Bahnsen highlighted was the attempt to be neutral about ultimate matters. Pastor Winger needs to deal with Bahnsen’s orchard:
6. The other problem is that the apologetic they provide doesn’t take into account man’s total depravity. Man’s problem is that they know God but deceive themselves into thinking they don’t. That isn’t a place where you are going to find agreement. Of course Winger may be a Semi-Pelagian like Leighton Flowers, but in that case, we have already been there and done that:
7. How does Pastor Winger make sense out of reality apart from the Christian God? If Pastor Winger can’t, then why does he suppose the unbeliever can? I would challenge Pastor Winger to account for laws of logic, induction, etc apart from the Christian God and see how far he gets.
8. Pastor Winger thinks that we are really evidentialist claiming to be presuppositionalist. That TAG is an “evidence” for God. We already noted the equivocation between evidence and evidentialism. The TA is used to set a framework for any evidence to be analyzed in it’s proper created context. Pastor Winger is operating off a naive view that facts are understood in a way that they are neutral amongst worldview, but the point is that nobody is neutral. The unbeliever has beliefs he holds that are antithetical to the Christian faith. So, I think a classical and evidentialist is at their best when acting as a staunch presuppositionalist.
Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIVkYaEigTY