But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15).
The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
Read the second of the above passages in context and you will see that it is not talking about controlling one’s inner thought life, although that is a worthy discipline. Paul is talking about belief systems under the metaphor of fortresses. Everyone has a belief system which functions as a protective fortress from which he views the world and reality. It could also be called a world view. The question is not whether you have a belief system or not, but rather: is your belief system based on truth? Is it in line with what God says about the nature of things, or is it in opposition to Him and His Word? Paul tells us he was in the business of destroying fortresses raised up against the knowledge of God. He says every thought or idea must be brought under the obedience of Christ because He is the Lord of all knowledge.
So what does this have to do with presuppositional apologetics? Let me give an answer that is adequate without being too wordy. First, God saves sinners. He elects, draws, regenerates, justifies, and glorifies them. He is both the ultimate and efficient cause. Man does not contribute anything to his salvation. Scripture teaches monergism: salvation is the work of a single agent–God. Synergism is the erroneous belief that salvation is a joint effort of man and God and that man is able to somehow cooperate with God and contribute to his salvation.
But even though God saves sinners, He sovereignly uses secondary means and agents to accomplish His plan. As God draws sinners to Himself he uses prayer, circumstances, events, and relationships. When the sinner is ready to hear the Gospel God uses a human mouthpiece to communicate the message. God used the death of my friend Lance Farmer in 1971 to shatter my youthful sense of immortality and motivate me to cry out to Him. After I was saved I learned that a local pastor had put me on his prayer list several years earlier.
Here is where presuppositional apologetics fits into the equation. God can use the skillful application of the presuppositional approach to obliterate the unbeliever’s fortress and cause him to doubt his belief system. Just as Lance’s death caused me to face my mortality and cry out to God, leading to my salvation three days later, the practice of presuppositional apologetics can create a healthy sense of insecurity in the mind of the pagan. It causes him to re-examine his epistemology (theory of knowledge) and cry out to God for truth. It does not save him, but God can use it in the drawing process as preparation for the hearing of the Gospel.
God can also use the evidential approach in spite of its shaky presuppositions and wimpy methodology. God can use anything He chooses. Remember, it was no credit to Balaam’s jackass that God spoke through her.
I hope these four brief posts have at least piqued your interest in the subject of presuppositional apologetics. Really, I have just scratched the surface with my explanation and single example of how to use this approach. If you want more on this I would suggest the following materials. First, get the book Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended, by Greg Bahnsen and Joel McDurman. Second, check out the DVD Collision, featuring a series of debates between presuppositionalist Douglas Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchins. Both are available at reasonable prices on Amazon.