For those who do apologetics (defense of the Christian faith), there are two basic approaches; (1) Evidential and (2) Presuppositional.
Both have biblical examples but only one can deal a death blow to an unbelieving worldview and be biblically shown as the basis for all Christian defense.
Let me explain… when the disciples when out and gave the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus they were dealing with people that mostly believed in the God of the Bible (the Jews) or pagans who believed in the supernatural. Therefore, all they needed to do was preach the “book” and the “man.” They would presuppose the Old Testament prophecies were divine and that their senses had correctly perceived (seen, touched & heard) the resurrected Son of God in the flesh (1 John 1:1-4).
However, their evidence wasn’t their starting point, it was God as Hebrews 11:6 states, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” In other words, they understood that faith had to start with God not evidence because if they would have tried to prove every single belief with evidence they could never even prove they existed- it would be an infinite regress (ex., “Where did I come from? Where did my parents come from? Where did the universe come from?… etc.”)
How do you prove you exist without first having faith that you are in fact a “you?”
Now in the present we need to understand the early church’s method of presuppositional apologetics and only give evidence in the way they did- from the starting point of God being the foundation of all truth.
If we don’t, like the picture shows, we are left arguing in circles trying to use the flesh to convince people of Christianity with “evidence,” as if Jesus is on trial and the unbeliever is the judge! God exists, just like gravity, whether people acknowledge Him or not. Paul said in Romans 1:18-20, “18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Therefore, in reality, you’re never talking to person who doesn’t believe in God, but a person who is suppressing their belief in God.
That is why after I have preached the gospel to a sinner and presented the evidence of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection- if they reject it- I go on the offense and destroy their worldview by showing that it’s impossible for the unbeliever to know anything- including their own existence without first starting with the God of the Bible. Paul also said in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Some might ask, “How should Christians do apologetics with other religions?” I respond, “Stay with the book and the man… just like Paul did on Mars Hill- he tore down their false gods and even used their own poets to confirm Christianity.” All false religions will be self-contradictory and false when examined in light of Jesus and the Bible (our book and Man). For example, “Mohammed” and the “Quran,” “Joseph Smith” and the “Book of Mormon” or “Krishna” and the “Bhagavad-Gita”- all get demolished by Jesus and the Bible- all day, everyday!
Much more could be said, but I leave you with some links below for your further study on this subject.
- How to Answer the Fool Movie with Scenes from Street Ministry
- Watch the Method in a Professional Debate with Atheists
- My Presuppositional Class
Proverbs 26:5, “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”