Presuppositional Apologetics

Lesslie Newbigin in Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture provides a wonderful example of presumptional apologetics.

At the end of the book he suggest missionary engagement with Western European and North America culture “to hold and to proclaim a belief that cannot be provided to be proven in terms of the axioms of our society. … Our modern scientific culture has pursued the ideal of a completely impersonal knowledge of a world of so-called facts that are simply there, that cannot be doubted by rational minds, and that constitute the real world as contrasted with the opinions, desires, hopes and fears of human beings, a world in which the words purpose and value have no meaning. This whole way of trying to understand the totality of human experience rests on beliefs that are simply not questioned.”

He continues, “for every attempt to understand and cope with experience must rest on some such belief. Every such belief is, of course, open to critical question, but no criticism is possible except by relying on other beliefs that are—in the act of criticizing—exempt from criticism. All understanding of reality involves a commitment, a venture of faith. No belief system can be faulted by the fact that it rests on unproved assumptions; what can and must be faulted is the blindness of its proponents to the fact that this is so.”

Thus, “the gospel is not a set of beliefs that arise, or could arise, from empirical observation of the whole human experience. It is the announcement of a name and a fact that offer the staring point for a new and life-long enterprise of understanding and coping with experience. … It has always been the case that to believe means to be turned around to face in a different direction, to be a dissenter, to go against the stream.” (page 148)


About adoption through propitiation

I like theology. And I love my wife Katie. Enjoy my blog. View all posts by adoption through propitiation

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