We're Not Uncomfortable with Faith

An article in Relevant magazine by Sungyak Kim worries that apologetics that deploys reasons and arguments for Christianity has adopted the world's values and rejects faith.  Behind his claim is two categories of apologetics, presuppositionalism and evidentialism.  He's coming from a presuppositional view; the apologists he's critiquing are evidentialists (STR is, too, though presuppositional tactics have their place in a full toolbox).  I don't intend to enter into the debate between these two camps, and it isn't necessary to disagree with Kim's complaint. 

Kim appears to claim that reasoning for Christianity precludes faith in Christianity.  We're "uncomfortable" with faith because we're giving arguments for Christianity.  The view appears to be that fatih and reason are opposed, so that the more we reason, the less room there is to exercise faith. 

This isn't the heart of the differences between presuppositionalism and evidentialism.  After all, presuppositionalists - including the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen, whom Kim cites - believe faith and reason are not opposed.  Dr. Bahnsen spoke at STR events and was a guest more than once on STR's radio program before his untimely death.  He didn't think STR's method of apologetics was "uncomfortable with faith."  Presuppositionalists believe in reason just as much as evidentialists do.  One of the primary differences is when reason and arguments are used and how they're grounded in apologetics. 

Using reason is hardly adopting the world's methodology.  Both presuppositionalists and evidentialists recognize that reason is found in God's nature; He's a rational being who has made us rational beings in His image.  God encourages us to reason.  Jesus gave reasons to believe His claims.  The Apostles used arguments to appeal to people to place their faith in Jesus.  Faith and reason are partners, completely compatible. And Biblical. 

Presuppostionalists and evidentialists may disagree on the time to use of arguments and reason in apologetics, but not that they are compatible with faith.  Faith isn't an "F-word" as Kim says.  We exercise faith - active trust in the truth of Christianity - when we defend Christianity with reasons and arguments because we've placed our lives in the truth of what God has promised and we appeal to others to do the same. Arguments and rational assent isn't sufficient for salavation.  No one believes that.  The entire goal of giving evidence is to move people to exercise faith through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Hardly being uncomfrotable with faith, that is the entire goal of apologetics.

Greg has more to say about the compatibility of faith and reason here and here.

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Melinda Penner

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