by C. Michael PattonMay 31st, 2012 5 Comments
Robert Bowman and Ken Boa write of the four approaches to apologetics in their extremely helpful work Faith Has its Reasons:
1. Classical – Primary use of reason in defending the faith. Here, rationality is the key. We can come to know about God and his existence through creation and natural revelation. From there we build our case concerning the truthfulness of Christianity. Thomas Aquinas, William Lane Craig, and Norman Geisler are examples of classical apologists.
2. Evidentialist – Emperical in methodology, the evidentialist uses the evidence to point the way to Christianity. Probability is the key for the evidentialist. What is the most probable senerio, for example, to explain the resurrection story. The evidentialist would look at the evidence and build an emperical case for the faith. Joseph Butler and John W. Mongomery would be examples of evidential apologists.
3. Reformed (Presuppositional) – We are to presuppose the authority of God and the authority of Scripture (as God’s word). This presupposition is justified due to the properly basic belief that God is authoritative. In this model, we can have absolute assurance because God’s authority is absolute. John Calvin, Cornelius Van Til, and John Frame would be examples of presuppositional apologists.
4. Fideist – Faith is an intuitive leap that is taken in spite of rationality or the evidence. Faith is blind by definition and by nature. It transcends the things of this world. Therefore, we don’t build a rational or evidential case for Christianity since doing so would destroy the nature of faith. Blaise Pascal and Soren Kierkegaard would be examples of fideist apologists.