Presuppositional Redux, feat. your favorite Youtube addiction

Have I plugged Worldview Everlasting on this blog before?  Yes, I have, but let me do so again: if you’re looking for a source of confessional Lutheran Bible exposition, issues of Doctrine & Practice, or answers to questions wide and varied, this is the place to bookmark.  Pastor Fisk puts out videos on a biweekly basis: exposition from the Greek text of the New Testament on Tuesdays, answers to viewer questions on Fridays.  The WEteam of Lutheran pastors on the website is always happy to address your questions (my Pastor being among them).  ‘Tis a great work that they are doing.

Having said that, I’ve been catching up on the videos, and I’ve got to pick on something Pastor Fisk said in his Ask Da Pastor segment on June 29th.  I’ve elected to put the whole thing up because a) almost all of it is just that good and b) I don’t want to take his remarks out of their context.  The relevant portion comes from 8:10 to 8:41, and ties in with my posts from a couple of months ago on presuppositional apologetics, which you may need to review in order to understand what I will say below. (1, 2)

Here’s the video:

That’s the proof for God; and, either you trust that proof – which is pretty solid, but I get it if you don’t – I mean, resurrections don’t happen every day.  So if you’re like one of these a priori “I refuse to believe it, it’s just impossible,” I get that, that’s kind of reasonable.  Except for, the facts are like, against you but you know, I get it.
– Pastor J. Fisk: Religion, Feelings, and the Nu Haters (8:25-8:41)

What was that?  That, my friends, was a classic evidential case for the existence of God, which inevitably ends up kind of sputtering there at the end as it tries to grant unbelievers some sort of autonomy.  As you may remember from my posts on the subject (referenced above): the evidentialist approach ultimately places man in the judgement seat and bids him to “weigh the evidence” for himself to determine whether God exists or not.  The problem with this, of course, is that the mind of fallen man is antithetical towards God (Romans ch. 1) and – when confronted with evidence – will always choose to bang the gavel down with the cry, “Insufficient!” or “Dismissed!”, and demand more evidence be brought forward or he will not believe.

And I think this may be my biggest qualm with evidentialism: that it stops short of the ringing certainty of God that the Apostles proclaimed.  Evidentialism says, “Hey, the evidence is there, the odds are in favor of the conclusion that God exists”, but when did the Apostles ever appeal to probability?  When did Peter, James, John, or Paul ever finish their presentation with, “So if you’re like one of these a priori ‘I refuse to believe it, it’s just impossible’ [types], I get that, that’s kind of reasonable”?

Now, maybe I’m being a bit hard on Pastor Fisk – I’m pretty certain that he would rephrase his words if he thought about it a little (could be wrong, though).  But still, this is what evidentialism has to do.  At the end of the day, when all the evidence has been presented, it has to sit back and say, “I personally think the evidence is solid, but it’s your call, man”, to the unbeliever.

How much different would it be to approach the unbeliever by:

1) Acknowledging the Scriptural truth that he doesn’t need more evidence – he already knows that God exists (again per Romans 1)
2) Refusing to allow him to reason on the basis of the worldview he rejects – namely Christianity (the Bible does not say it is the “kind of reasonable” man who says in his heart, “there is no God” [Psalm 14:1], but the fool) – by granting his premise of autonomy of reasoning


Probably a lot like this debate:

At any rate, much love to Pastor Fisk and much appreciation for all he does – I’ve been a follower of WE since the early days, and will continue to be!  I would love to see him pick up some Greg Bahnsen one of these days, though, just to see what he thinks… :)


  1. says

    I bookmarked your and Pastor Schuldheisz’s posts and have meant to go back over them and maybe this video will kick me in the pants. I’m interested in the video because I read the first few comments from it and they would dismiss #1 and I’m interested to see how #2 is applied, because the commenters didn’t actually watch the video or it the argument wasn’t convincing.

    Another reason that I’m interested to see #2 applied is what I’ve always presumed as the strength of Evidential Apologetics is that Christ and Him crucified is the heart and center of approach. And as you said, “We do not see the apologist’s job as moving someone from unbelief to faith, this is the Holy Spirit’s job.” So in Evidential Apologetics we can be confident that He will be working through the proclamation of the Gospel. I’ve assumed that it’s easier to drift away from Christ as the center of the apologetic. I’m sure my assumptions are wrong and that’s why the video is intriguing.

  2. says

    Brian: By “video”, I’m guessing you mean the debate, as opposed to Pr. Fisk’s? :) I haven’t spent too much time with the comments, to be honest; it’s like facebook – rarely is there someone with a point of any substance to make, and even when they do, the formatting makes for a headache trying to follow the conversation. Props if you can get through them, though!

    Christ is definitely the heart and center, but that’s precisely where presuppositionalism would say that, as Christ is Lord, He is Lord over my thoughts, and therefore I dare not adopt a “neutral” or, so to speak, “open-minded”, stance with unbelievers. Yeah, sounds radical – but so does the Gospel. Really, the presuppositional method is evangelistic to the very core, and the proclamation of the Gospel is its essence. You might be interested in this article by Dr. Greg Bahnsen called, “Evangelism and Apologetics“, for a presuppositional look at evangelism which keeps Christ at the very center.

    Thanks for weighing in! Much appreciated!

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