Recently there has been a rash of pre-suppositional worldview adherents posting their particular brand or flavor of Christ cult mentality all over this site. Much like the bird fecal matter that covers park benches, these droppings dot the pages of this site and I decided to provide a short synopsis of the package these “Presuppositional apologists” are trying to sell.
First of all, presuppositionalist thinkers make bold admissions. They admit that they simply choose to accept that the Bible is the Word of God without external proof or evidence. They also confess to adopting a circular reasoning pattern to support the position.
Reformed in theology, Pre-sups accept Five Point Calvinism as the best representation of Biblical soteriology and remembered succinctly by the acronym TULIP which stands for: the total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints.
TULIP has been rejected by popular Evangelicalism as too harsh of a system, but Calvinistic belief is foundational to the Reformation period of history. Catholics were “free-willers” and Calvinists were, “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.”
Briefly, mankind is considered lost and depraved –“the natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit.” In order to be “born again” the natural man must be unconditionally regenerated by the Spirit of God. “For by grace are you saved and through faith, it is not of yourselves, it is the gift of god.” Once regenerated unconditionally, the newly regenerated and now “spiritual” man irresistibly accepts Christ as lord and savior. The reason the atonement is considered limited is because it is limited to those chosen for regeneration and rebirth. “God desires all men to be saved.” If God really wants everyone saved, then everyone is saved, says the “Pre-Sup.” Therefore, what the verse means is that God desires the chosen, or elect, to be saved, and they are saved – irresistibly. Finally the perseverance of the saints does not mean “once saved always saved” as some pseudo-Calvinistic Evangelicals preach, but rather it means that those chosen to salvation persevere in the faith because the Spirit of God preserves them in it.
Since all “God’s” chosen few will be saved regardless, there is no need to witness in the modern Evangelical way. Pre-sups preach to everyone because they are commanded to do so. If God saves any, that is His affair. Numbers of converts are irrelevant, it is “preaching in season and out” that is important. As a result most “Pre-sups” will drop their load and fly away, believing they have obeyed the intent of their god.
“Pre-sups” have also adopted an eschatology to complete the package. No longer holding the Dispensational model which includes the rapture, 7 years of horror and the final judgment of the world, most “pre-sups” prefer the “post-millennial” end of the world scenario. In post-millennialism the true church will usher in a millennial kingdom here on Earth which will last 1000 years, after which comes the judgment. When will this millennial kingdom begin? It depends on when the “true church” gets its act together. It may take 100, 1000, or 100,000 years, but it is coming and “we look forward to that day.”
None of the theological concepts “pre-sups” present are new. In fact, many of them germinated in the first centuries following the birth of the cult. Some were abandoned altogether; others mutated and were adapted to “fit” better with reality. We might say that these “old” ideas are simply cycling through once again, grouped together in new packaging, so as to pump new life into a the dying concept that “Jesus is coming in our generation.”
For an in-depth study of these ideas, please check out the links provided below.
Christian websites explaining pre-suppositional apologetics:
Now, what the “pre-sup” apologist does is discount the unbelieving position based on the bold proposition that everyone argues from some pre-suppositional foundation. That being true, the Christian position is as valid as any other and requires no proof of validity. “You don’t believe in God, show me the proof of your pre-supposition, and I will show you mine,” becomes the issue instead of the very logical question of “Why do you believe in an invisible dude who impregnated an unmarried woman so he could have a flesh and blood son who is actually the same person as the invisible horny dude in the sky?” Arguing about what validates a person’s pre-suppositional stance is an easier topic to win than trying to defend antique weird mythology. The weakness to most Christian apologetics is its untenable intellectual position on nearly everything. “Pre-sup" apologetics attempts to shift the playing field to where supportable philosophical debate can actually take place. Simply ignoring the bizarre stories in the Bible and accepting the words on its pages as a non-negotiable foundation, the apologist demands that all discussion launches from there. At the same time, when someone confronts the "pre-sup" who disagrees with this approach to discussion, the “pre-sup” accuses that person of having no foundation from which to discuss the matter, and demands “proof” of the validity of a “presupposition” of disbelief in the Bible.
The approach works well to encase the believer in an unbreakable bubble of illogical logic.
“I think, therefore I am” is a presupposition most of us accept as obvious. A Christian “pre-sup” thinks of the Bible in the same way. “It is obviously true.”
Pre-suppositional theology was the final straw that helped me throw off the shackles of Christianity. My mind reacted against blindly accepting any presupposition at all. Whereas the Christian “pre-sup” accuses me of standing on simply another presupposition of my own, namely unbelief in his religion, my chosen position is much more flexible than his or her own. My presuppositions are undoubtedly flawed in some ways. This I am willing to admit, and in that admission allow myself the freedom to grow as a human being when new information fills in the gaps of my own worldview. The Christian "pre-sup" has no such freedom, but is confined to the tight circular reasoning which places the Bible as the hub and the five points of Calvinism as the spokes to a tightly closed wheel of fortune.
For some really good articles on this philosophic apologetic approach read the articles by Michael Martin posted on the Infidels.Org: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/presup.html
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)