Presuppositionalism of the Heart

Partisans of apologetic methods would have you believe that ‘presuppositional apologetics’ is antithetical to the ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ approach. As always, John Frame mediates between various forms of the “movement mentality.”

It may no longer be possible to distinguish presuppositional apologetics from traditional apologetics merely by externals – for the form of argument, the explicit claim of certainty or probability, etc. Perhaps presuppositionalism is more in attitude of the heart, a spiritual condition, than an easily describable, empirical phenomenon. To call it “spiritual” is certainly not to say that it is unimportant – quite the contrary. Our biggest need in apologetics (as in all other areas of life) has always been spiritual at the core. And our “presuppositionalism of the heart” is not something vague and indefinable. The presuppositionalism we are talking about is (1) a clear headed understanding of where our loyalties lie and how those loyalties of fact our epistemology, (2) a determination above all to present the full teaching of Scripture in our apologetic without compromise, in its full winsomeness and it’s full offensiveness, (3) especially a determination to present God as fully sovereign, as the source of all meaning, intelligibility, and rationality, as the ultimate authority for all human thought, and (4) an understanding of the unbelievers knowledge of God and rebellion against God, particularly (though not exclusively) as it affects his thinking. And if there are some apologists who maintain these understandings and attitudes without wanting to be called Van Tillians or presuppositionalists, I am happy to join hands with them.

-John M. Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction, 87-88.

Frame is fully committed to the essentials of Van Til’s vision of an approach to apologetics consistent with Reformed theology, and yet concludes that Van Til, sometimes, too quickly reduced the differences between groups to methodology rather than issues of the heart. On some issues I might take issue with parts of Frame’s analysis, but overall I think he’s on the mark.


Posted on September 17, 2012, in Apologetic Method, John Frame and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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