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RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics #54915
Mon May 14, 2018 1:16 AM
Mon May 14, 2018 1:16 AM
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Tom Offline OP
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RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics
In the following link RC Sproul gives about a 24 minute video on why he favours Classical Apologetics over both Evidential and Presuppositional Apologetics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4xyK1t6eyQ

After watching the video, here are some of my reflections. I would not mind some feedback on this.

I believe Sproul explained quite well the difference between Evidential Apologetics and Classical Apologetics. Mainly that Evidential Apologetics it seeks to give a reasonable defence of the Christian faith. Where-as Classical Apologetics doesn’t just seek to give a reasonable defence of the faith. It seeks to give a 100% reasoned defence of the Christian faith, so the person (unlike Evidential Apologetics) is left with no excuse for not believing.
In Sproul’s defence of Classical Apologetics he sounds like he is in agreement with the Presuppositional Apologetics in the fact that as Christians we must presuppose the existence of God. Yet, he does not believe this is a good way to prove the existence of the biblical God to non-Christians. He believes the idea of arguing from autonomy that Presuppositionalists accuse Classicalists of is flawed because all reasoning starts with being made aware of their own thoughts; not God or anyone else’s. He goes onto say that it is impossible to start with any thought that does not come from self; then after that they soon discover they are not autonomous at all. This is what the Classical position tries to show, if you reason the correct way. "God is first in the order of being; but not first in the order of knowing."
My first thoughts are to admit that the whole issue is difficult to wrap my head around. I also agree with RC Sproul that it is an in-house debate among the Reformed Community. I know many in the Reformed community that are not in the Presuppositional camp.
However, the bottom line to me is what apologetic best agrees with Scripture? On that, I do not see any example in Scripture of anyone using the Classical approach as RC Sproul describes. Yet, unless I am missing something, even in Paul’s Mars Hill address he just presupposes God and presents truth in the best way the situation showed itself. I also see in Romans chapter one the fact that the reason people do not believe is because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness and therefore are trying to be autonomous. Back to what Sproul says; he doesn’t deny they suppress the truth in unrighteousness; he just seems to believe that a well formed defence can show people they are not autonomous and therefore are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
Examining this, if I understand what Sproul is saying he seems (I don’t want to assume too much) to believe that sound reasoning (rather than Scripture) is sufficient to do this. After all he did explain that Classical as opposed to Evidentialist Apologetics doesn’t just seek for reasonable defence; which gives a very small likelihood of the Christian faith being wrong. It seeks to give 100% sound reasoning for the Christian faith, so they are without excuse. Therefore, rather than saying God said it so it must be true, we must prove it first.
First of all, am I even capable of showing anyone what Classical Apologetics tries to do? Doesn’t Scripture say that the “Gospel is the power of God…”?
Am I missing something?
Tom

Last edited by Tom; Mon May 14, 2018 1:22 AM.
Re: RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics [Re: Tom] #54916
Mon May 14, 2018 9:21 AM
Mon May 14, 2018 9:21 AM
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No, you are not missing anything. grin I see the main difference between the Classical vs Presuppositional methods is that the basis for the Classical method is "reason", i.e., appeal to man's reason with cogent arguments in order convince the unregenerate of the truths of the Christian faith. The basis for the Presuppositional method is the Scriptures which is the truth and then with logical arguments show that by rejecting these truths nothing can be logically nor reasonably exist, even the arguments against them. Nothing needs to be "proved" for God has revealed these truths both externally (creation) and internally (by virtue of all men being created in the image of God). Paul clearly states these two truths in Romans 1:18-21:

Quote
Romans 1:18-21 (ASV) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, [even] his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened."

Both systems use logical and rational arguments. Classical apologetics tries to convince the person of the truth vs. Presuppositional apologetics states the truth and then shows how the person's rejection of the truth leads nowhere, i.e., it is not logical, rational without affirming the truth in their arguments.


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Re: RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics [Re: Tom] #54917
Mon May 14, 2018 12:55 PM
Mon May 14, 2018 12:55 PM
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I will say that what Sproul said cleared up my questions concerning the difference between Evidential and Classical Apologetics.
Mainly that the former only seeks to provide a reasonable defence and in the process no matter how remote, it leaves a loophole so the unbeliever can find a possible excuse.
Whereas the later, agrees with Scripture that the unbeliever is without excuse and believes reason proves this.
Although I do not think Classical Apologetics is as bad as Evidential Apologetics. The bottom line however, is both put God on trial.
Tom

Re: RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics [Re: Tom] #54918
Mon May 14, 2018 2:27 PM
Mon May 14, 2018 2:27 PM
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I do have a question regarding Romans chapter one and unbeliever's suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
When it speaks of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness; does it mean that they are consciously lying to try to remain autonomous? In other words if someone grew up in an atheist household, where they are taught from a very early age, that there is no God. Do they consciously need to lie in order to keep with atheism? Or are they in a state where they are blind to the truth?

Tom


Last edited by Tom; Mon May 14, 2018 2:48 PM.
Re: RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics [Re: Tom] #54919
Mon May 14, 2018 4:25 PM
Mon May 14, 2018 4:25 PM
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Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted by Tom
I do have a question regarding Romans chapter one and unbeliever's suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
When it speaks of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness; does it mean that they are consciously lying to try to remain autonomous? In other words if someone grew up in an atheist household, where they are taught from a very early age, that there is no God. Do they consciously need to lie in order to keep with atheism? Or are they in a state where they are blind to the truth?

The rejection of the truth and exchanging it for a lie is done most freely and often without thought. The natural man hates God and His revealed truth. There is definitely an emotional reaction against the truth when it is perceived or heard. This opposition is innate due to their natural corruption/total depravity. I am not sure what your phrase "conscious need" means? The natural man is certainly aware of his rejection of the true God for he wills to do so.


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