The Robbery of Neutrality

One distinctive of presuppositional apologetics is the observation that worldview analysis is worldview dependent. If a Christian sets their faith on a shelf and evaluates the evidence in a so-called “neutral” way they have in fact compromised the very faith they seek to defend. No one made this point clearer than Greg Bahnsen. Here’s an excerpt from his article “Evangelism and Apologetics“:

To put aside your Christian commitments when it comes to defending the faith is willfully to steer away from the only path to wisdom and truth found in Christ. It is not the end or outcome of knowledge to fear the Lord; it is the beginning of knowledge to reverence Him (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). Paul draws to our attention the impossibility of neutrality “in order that no one delude you with crafty speech.” Instead we must, as Paul exhorts, be steadfast, confirmed, rooted, and established in the faith as we were taught (v. 7). One must be presuppositionally committed to Christ in the world of thought (rather than neutral) and firmly tied down to the faith which he has been taught, or else the persuasive argumentation of secular thought will delude him. Hence the Christian is obligated to presuppose the word of Christ in every area of knowledge; the alternative is delusion. In verse 8 of Colossians 2, Paul says, “Beware lest any man rob you by means of philosophy and vain deceit.” By attempting to be neutral in your thought you are a prime target for being robbed - robbed by “vain philosophy” of “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” which are deposited in Christ alone (v. 3). The unbeliever’s darkened mind is an expression of his need to be evangelized.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that to follow the methods dictated by the intellectual outlook of those who are outside of a saving relationship to God is to have a vain mind and darkened understanding (vv. 17-18). Neutralist thinking, then, is characterized by intellectual futility and ignorance. In God’s light, we are able to see light (cf. Ps. 36:9). To turn away from intellectual dependence upon the light of God, the truth about and from God, is to turn away from knowledge to the darkness of ignorance. Thus, if a Christian wishes to begin his scholarly endeavors from a position of neutrality he would, in actuality, be willing to begin his thinking in the dark. He would not allow God’s word to be a light unto his path (cf. Ps. 119:105). To walk on in neutrality, he would be stumbling along in darkness. God is certainly not honored by such thought as he should be, and consequently God makes such reasoning vain (Rom. 1:21b). Neutrality amounts to vanity in God’s sight.

-Greg H. Bahnsen, “Evangelism and Apologetics”, Synapse III (Fall, 1974)

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Posted on December 10, 2012, in Apologetic Method, Great Quotes, Presuppositional apologetics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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