Five Views on Apologetics by Various contributing Authors. Edited by Steven B. Cowan

Week 4 Book Report

This uses a debate format where the proponent of each Apologetic method detail their approach after which 4 other in turn, critique the  view presented. This means that though you find yourself convinced of a method at each junction, adjustments to your new found stance must be made in the light huge holes poked into method by very strong rebuttals.

The following are the views represented;

William Lane Craig and Classical Apologetics

This method uses a two-step approach of converting to Theism (Belief in a God) and then showing that Christianity is the only viable and accurate representation of this God. Time consuming, yet has the early church fathers on it’s side. You surely cannot argue against Augustine, R.C Sproul too.

Gary R. Habermas and Evidential method 

Luke and Acts employ this method. The early Christians after their conversion needed to be assured that their belief in the Christ, his resurrection and Deity were not mistaken. Therefore, early writings were dedicated to documenting a case for Christianity. Therefore, this method relies a lot on historical arguments to show the truthfulness of Christianity. Question: what if all the evidences are rejected, what then?

Paul D. Feinberg and Cummulative case method

The goal here is to prove that Christianity is the only sufficient lens through which all of life can be successfully made sense of and navigated. In other words, the truthfulness probability of Christianity as a worldview is higher than any alternatives. The 9 worldview tests in the Samples book make cameo appearances.

John M. Frame and Presuppositional method

I listened to a debate between Greg Bahnsen and Gordon Clark a few years ago and was immediately sold on Bahnsen’s argumentation method especially its dedication to God and Scripture, not once hypothetically giving up one’s stance for argument’s sake and also not falling for the false assumption of neutrality especially by secularists. It usually is real spectacle when a definite collision occurs as two competing worldviews lock horns e.g. Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson. A DVD of their debate was even released afterwards, called collision.
Yet, after Frame stated his case and his neighbours came to question him, I was left shaken. Could this method merely be a heart stance and not an Apologetic/debate method. This is somewhat supported by the fact that Cornelius Van Til – the person primarily responsible for it – is himself primarily a theologian and not purely an Apologist like William Lane Craig. I listened to the Bahnsen debate again to reaffirm my views.

Kelly James Clark and Reformed Epistemological method. 

The Reformed Epistemologist has the advantage of having Platinga in its camp and who is not impressed by such a colossal mind of our time. His ‘basic belief’ argument seems to be a viable solution to faith and reason question, although not without objections e.g. can any such belief be later proved to be false. Maybe?

All in all this was again a great read though I wonder if the format was efficient as it at times felt like we were going round in circles, I got dizzy a few times.
Interesting that each contributor at one point or another accused each other of using or borrowing from another method. This is not simply because the task was the same but that the methods do genuinely blend into each other.


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