The Biblio-Files

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.

1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.

11.6.07

Always Ready


Greg Bahnsen was scholar in residence at the Southern California Center for Christian Studies. He earned his M.Div and ThM simultaneously from Westminster Theological Seminary and did his PhD on epistemology (the theory of knowledge) from USC under Dallas Willard. Bahnsen's mind is razor sharp. He is the foremost representative of Van Tillian presuppositionalism. Sadly, the Lord took him at age 47, due to a heart condition. Always Ready (274 pp) is an excellent introduction to apologetics. An intro philosophy class (particularly with Dr. Wellum) would be quite helpful before reading this one. Bahnsen spends a lot of time on epistemology and the need for a truly Christian theory of knowledge. He writes, "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" (5)....God's Word (in Scripture) has absolute authority for us and is the final criterion for truth" (24). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This fact is important for believers today as postmodern epistemology can be detrimental to the gospel. Bahnsen argues persuasively throughout the book, showing the only biblically faithful apologetic is presuppositional. God's authoritative, self-attesting Word must be the starting point for all apologetics. Neutrality is impossible, and immoral. The book also has several very practical (and theoretical) examples of how to show the unbeliever the foolishness of unbelief. Following Van Til, Bahnsen argues transcendentally for the Christian faith, showing the impossibility of the contrary. Christian theism is the precondition for intelligibility. Anti-theism presupposes theism.

Quotes:

"In answering the fool a Christian apologist must aim to demonstrate that unbelief is, in the final analysis, destructive of all knowledge" 57

"Effective apologetics necessarily leads us to challenge and debate the unbeliever at the level of his most basic commitments or assumptions about reality, knowledge, and ethics. Our approach to defending the faith is shallow and ineffective if we think that the unbeliever simply lacks information or needs to be given observational evidence." 120

"The proof that Christianity is true is that if it were not, we would not be able to prove anything." 122

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