As you probably know, there is a somewhat friendly (though sometimes unfriendly) intramural debate among Christian apologists as to the correct methodology one should utilize when approaching intellectual objections.
Of course, apologists are infamous for sagacity, not civility, and so the outside observer may, at times, be tempted to over-play the rivalry and raise their hands in feigned dismay at the supposed turmoil within Christianity.
Well, the divide isn’t as great as they would assume, but it is significant all the same. And so it’s in the spirit of good-natured Christian civility that I offer you this book by Cornelius Van Til in the hopes that we Presuppositionalists have a competing call to your attention, alongside Mr. McDowell (whom, I noticed, has managed to get his book on your desk.)
In contrast to Mr. McDowell’s classical apologetics, Cornelius Van Til approaches the unbeliever with the God of the Bible firmly presupposed at the outset. In a way, Van Til’s method is the proactive and assertive presentation of Christian theology in the arena of debate.
The idea is to demonstrate that the preconditions of human intelligibility necessarily presuppose Christian theism, and that for the unbeliever to debate at all, he must already depend upon the truth of Christianity!
Van Til has a famous quip for summing up this method:
“The proof of the Christian God is that without Him, you can’t prove anything!”
Proof itself presupposes Christian theism!
Now, I don’t intend to downplay the brilliance of Mr. McDowell. I readily acknowledge the value in his work and wish it the best.
Additionally, if you are already well-aware of the discussion over apologetic methodology, and perhaps already own a version of Van Til’s “Defense of the Faith”…then forgive me for being presumptuous. Perhaps, at worst, you can pass the extra copy on to someone else who may enjoy it?
At any rate, I hope you are blessed in your apologetic endeavors, and I hope this, if nothing else, serves to brighten an otherwise dreary work-day.
Soli Deo Gloria!
A fellow laborer
(Post Script for the readers of my blog: I don’t post this here with the intent to brag of my own holiness or some such nonsense. The anticipation of that sort of criticism has, in fact, kept me from posting this for some time. However, arguments in favor of the posting won out in the end. Maybe someone out there will be inspired to act in a similar fashion?
I made quite the sight; surreptitiously sneaking down the hallway with a copy of “Defense of the Faith” under my arm. The one possible witness to my plan was on the phone and temporarily glancing down at her notepad. I made my move…slipped in and dropped the book on the desk of my co-worker, and hopped out of the room!
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Ihope to pass on the spirit by which this action was carried out. I was thinking nothing of myself, but was concerned solely for the excitement of my co-worker. My subsequent “high” is a distant benefit in light of his surprise…(at least, I hope he was surprised.)