The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Van Til, Common Ground, and the Point of Contact




Thomas Booher
AP 21 Introduction to Apologetics
December 5, 2014

              In many Christian apologetic methodologies, much energy is spent in an effort to determine or establish common ground between the believer and the unbeliever. Some conclude that the common ground is historical evidences, while others argue it is man’s rational capabilities or the physical creation itself.[1] Still others say that there is no common ground or point of contact whatsoever, and only subjective impulses from the Holy Spirit can convince someone of the Christian faith.
Cornelius Van Til would implement the transcendental argument, that is, he would attempt to show the skeptic that without a belief in God, one could not believe or know anything. There is no common area of knowledge because the believer and unbeliever have a fundamental disagreement about the nature of man himself.[2] Van Til emphasizes that there is no neutral position from which the believer can argue or reason with the unbeliever, particularly due to the noetic effects of sin and the fact that, as Romans 1 states, man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. Until the Holy Spirit works, the unbeliever’s reasoning is faulty and does not desire to see evidence that points to God.[3] Rather, the unbeliever sees himself as autonomous, and therefore a sovereign God is a repulsive thought to him.
Van Til would therefore pursue a reductio ad absurdum argument, dismantling the worldview and epistemology of the unbeliever by showing him that his premises are impossibilities and lead to the denial of meaning altogether.[4] He would then ask the skeptic to come over to his position for argument’s sake, so that the skeptic can see that only by presupposing God can one account for reality, reason, and truth itself. Van Til believes that using rational arguments or evidence without first making the unbeliever submit to God’s existence and autonomy is a futile effort: a man who believes he is autonomous will never accept an autonomous God.[5] Evidences are therefore, “the application of Scripture to controversies primarily of a factual nature.”[6] Evidences are only effective if used on a Christian basis; the evidences must submit to Scripture and be interpreted by Scripture, God’s Word.[7] Otherwise, evidences are utilized illegitimately and to no avail: autonomous man will twist the evidences away from God on his own presuppositions.  Van Til’s solution to this dilemma is in appealing to the image of God in all men and to the law of God within them. It is here that Van Til says all men are in contact with the truth. This sense of deity, by virtue of having been made in the image of God, is ineradicable, and Christian apologetics must appeal to this embedded sense and call unbelievers to submit to the God whom they suppress even though they know He exists and rules as sovereign.[8]
While it is clear that Van Til’s argument against the modern, reasonable man has some benefits, it is doubtful that this transcendental argument is the only valid argument. This paper will attempt to show that while Van Til’s argumentation has some things to commend it, it is not the only way to do apologetics because there is other common ground. To substantiate this claim, an examination of the alleged common ground between the believer and unbeliever is required.
Van Til claims that Christians can only argue with unbelievers by means of a head-on collision. That is, whatever systems of belief the unbeliever constructs, they must be shown to be impossibilities if one does not presuppose the existence of God, the one who gives order and structure to all things.[9] The Christian cannot go over to a point of neutrality by hypothesizing about the existence of God with the unbeliever.[10] Instead, he must demand that God exists for any argument or structure to be possible or intelligible. Rather than dealing directly with the evidences themselves, Van Til says the Christian should attack the presuppositions of the unbeliever. Van Til’s method is therefore indirect. It cannot be direct because the unregenerate’s distorted mind will not see the evidence properly from his godless presuppositions. Despite this, Van Til argues that every unbeliever actually knows God made all things and that he should submit to and glorify Him:

The natural man at bottom knows that he is the creature of God. He knows also that he is responsible to God. He knows that he should live to the glory of God. He knows that in all that he does he should stress that the field of reality that he investigates has the stamp of God’s ownership upon it. But he suppresses his knowledge of himself as he truly is. He is the man with the iron mask. A true method of apologetics must seek to tear off that iron mask.[11]

            Van Til insists that any apologetic methodology that does not seek to rip off the iron mask of the unbeliever is not a reformed, biblical apologetic. If the Christian apologist does not command the unbeliever to presuppose the existence of God in order to construct his own arguments and examine the evidence, but instead argues from a neutral standpoint with the unbeliever, he has dishonored God’s Word by allowing the unbeliever to stand in authority over God’s Word. Besides, with the unbeliever’s neutral outlook, no argument will convince the hard-hearted that God exists and that the God of the Bible is the one true God whom all creation must worship.
            There are several remarks to be made concerning Van Til’s apologetic. First, as others have noted, all God has given man to determine truth is human reason, and rather than affirm that reason itself is the standard of truth, reason is the tool for figuring out the truth.[12] Reason understood as the tool for discovering truth may very well determine, by God’s grace, that man himself is not actually ultimate and he must submit to the One who is Truth. It is an unavoidable fact that one must use the human faculty of reason not only to understand revelation, but also to determine whether what is claimed to be a revelation from God actually is a revelation from God. Second, as indicated above, Van Til thinks that unbelievers already know that God exists and that they are covenant breakers who ought to glorify Him. For Van Til, knowledge itself has an ethical characteristic and unbelievers are guiltily aware they reject the God of the Bible.[13] If this is the case, what is left to argue? Van Til’s method could devolve into little more than demanding that the unbeliever stop lying to himself and confess what he already knows deep down about God. Third, it should be noted that not all presuppositionalists who find inspiration from Van Til agree that the reductio and transcendental argument are the only valid arguments to use. John Frame has said as much himself: “I do not agree with some of my presuppositionalist colleagues that the reductio is the only argument compatible with biblical teaching, but I believe it is very useful.”[14] He also commends the evidentialists and their literature, only wishing that they would be more explicitly theistic in their methodology.[15]
Van Til’s apologetic becomes more unclear when he says that, “Not all those who are at heart covenant breakers are such self-consciously. It is a part of the task of Christian apologetics to make men self-consciously either covenant keepers or covenant breakers.”[16] So which is it? Is the unbeliever aware that God exists or not? If he is unaware that he is a covenant keeper, then he is also unaware of the Covenant Maker. At yet another point Van Til says that unbelievers are aware of God’s existence and their responsibility to Him, but are in denial of such a reality.[17] It seems that it would be better to say that unbelievers at one point in time, on account of creation and the law written on their heart (per Romans 1-2), knew that God existed and that they were responsible to Him. Yet, because of their sinfulness, they have so suppressed the truth in unrighteousness that they have actually convinced themselves that God does not exist and that they are not responsible to a divine being (though they may still have a sense of guilt and even judgment for things that they do). They are self-deceived, but one who is self-deceived is nonetheless convinced of that with which he has deceived himself. This would mean that not all unbelievers are necessarily aware that they are covenant breakers. They in fact may not be liars at all when they say they believe that God does not exist. They may be so warped that they actually do believe that all things can exist apart from a God who created and gave order to the cosmos. Van Til seems to deny this as a possibility,[18] and yet at the same time he wants to force the unbeliever to admit that God does exist, not so much by way of appealing to evidences, but rather by appealing to the image of God in all men. This appeal to the image of God in all men is the point of contact that allows one to presuppose God as the only reality capable of explaining anything.  
            A well-known defender of Van Til has attempted to explain Van Til’s notion of the antithesis of thought between the believer and unbeliever in this way:
When he [Van Til] spoke of the inability of the unbeliever to know anything in terms of his espoused presuppositions, he was speaking of the unbeliever epistemologically – that is, speaking in principle, about systems of thought and their self-conscious implications. When Van Til spoke of the unbeliever inescapably knowing God and knowing things about His world, when he spoke of common grace making co-operation possible between the believer and the unbeliever, and when he spoke of common ground between the two or of the point of contact that the believer always has with the unbeliever, he was speaking of the unbeliever psychologically – that is, speaking about the actual (though unadmitted) inner thoughts and practices of the person who wants to (but cannot) escape from his awareness of God and the authority of God over him.[19]

            The quote indicates that Van Til believed all men know intellectually that God exists, but in their suppression of the truth, their man-centered epistemology is incapable of producing any knowledge of God as they ought to know God.[20] Whether this is what Van Til meant or not (and what it means to know God but not as one ought) can be debated. The author quoted above also indicated that Van Til found the issue of the unbeliever’s knowing and not knowing God to be very complex, paradoxical, and difficult to understand. Yet this paradoxical concept is at the heart of Van Til’s apologetic.[21] Frame concedes that, “Cornelius Van Til, who rarely admitted that there were difficulties in his apologetic system, recognized that this [the mixture of truth and error in the unbeliever’s mind] was a ‘difficult point’. In my [Frame’s] view, Van Til’s own formulations are somewhat inconsistent, though some are insightful.”[22]
Though he may have been inconsistent, it is clear Van Til believed that by virtue of God fashioning the unbeliever in His image, the unbeliever never succeeds in escaping from the reality of God. Made in the image of God, men always sin against better knowledge. Yet if men do in fact bear the image of God, is there not common ground between believer and unbeliever? If the unbeliever can understand the argument that God must be the ultimate presupposition for thought to be possible and for evidences to be useful, surely he can understand other arguments as well. Van Til admits that the Holy Spirit must work in the heart of the unbeliever in order for his transcendental argument to be received and not suppressed.[23] But if this is the case, why does Van Til object to the use of other arguments such as the cosmological, teleological, or moral when it is presented on neutral grounds? Is the Holy Spirit incapable of using these arguments to convince the unbeliever that he is not in fact autonomous and that God is? If Van Til believes that Christians ought to explain to the unbeliever that the Christian apologist only finds his arguments useful when the existence of God and the validity of Scripture is presupposed, what use are evidences to an unbeliever who does not presuppose the existence of God? Indeed, how can one rationally come to a position of presupposing God since evidences and presumably reason itself are disqualified as being effective until one does so? Van Til’s only possible appeal is his belief that, deep down, the believer already knows God’s existence and in fact already presupposes the existence of God, but simply will not admit this to be the case.
The Christian apologist can put another position forward, however. The Christian can apologize by using the consistent points of logic that the unbeliever retains even in his distorted worldview. He can show the unbeliever that even their (consistent) logic leads to God and the God of Scripture. This position actually complements Van Til’s presuppositional argument. With the laws of logic (such as the law of contradiction, law of causality, and others) which unbelievers still uphold, one can demonstrate that these laws indicate the existence of a rational God, rightly interpret evidential data and thus reveal God, and thereby demonstrate that God must exist if the laws of logic are to actually be valid laws. When the unbeliever sees that the laws point to God, they then can see that the laws could not be without God. Indeed, if Van Til and his sympathizers are right in saying that all of man’s life is confronted with the covenantal Lord, the receptors of this all-pervasive covenantal data (namely, the laws of logic in the mind of man) must at least be capable of functioning properly for the data to be processed. It is indisputable that the laws of logic function in unbelievers because these laws are foundational; all attempts to deny them actually establish them.[24]
            Van Til does assert that believer and unbeliever have common ground, or a point of contact, by virtue of being made in the image of God. Yet he does not seem to notice just how much common ground there is, in spite of his claim that the common ground is in an actual knowledge, on some psychological level, of not just any god, but the God of Scripture. That claim is questionable, but what is not questionable (as demonstrated in the last paragraph) is that believer and unbeliever alike still use the same laws of logic. This is because logic and reason come from the mind of God Himself.[25] For an unbeliever to be converted, for the Spirit to work in the heart of the unregenerate, the mind must be engaged and functioning properly. The gospel must be understood logically, and the Spirit uses the reasoning of even fallen man to convince and convict him of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). Without the law of contradiction working in the mind of men, no argument, not even Van Til’s transcendental argument, could be intelligible. Which is to say, Van Til’s ultimate presupposition that only the Trinitarian God of Scripture is capable of accounting for reality is dependent upon an even more foundational presupposition: the law of non-contradiction must be an area of common ground for both believer and unbeliever. The presupposition of this law is required in order to make possible the argument that one must presuppose the existence of God and validity of Scripture in our apologetic methodology. In fact, one must presuppose the laws of logic to even believe and understand the transcendental argument itself. If we do not have the common ground of communication with the unbeliever, then we must despair of all methods of apologetics, including presuppositionalism.[26] The only argument left would be that at some point, apart from reason and all argumentation, the Holy Spirit gives the capacity to think rightly to the unbeliever once again. This would force the Christian to say that reasoning with the unbeliever is useless, and all that matters is that at some point the Holy Spirit restores common sense to the unregenerate and gives them a new heart. Such a position would be the height of absurdity and fly in the face of Scripture itself.[27]
            Van Til is not silent regarding the law of contradiction:

Romanism assumes that God and man stand in exactly the same sort of relation to the law of contradiction. To think and know truly, it is assumed, both must think in accordance with that law as an abstraction from the nature of either. The consequences are again fatal for both systematic theology and apologetics. For systematic theology it means that truth is not made ultimately to consist in correspondence to the internally self-complete nature and knowledge that God has of himself and of all created reality. Hence man’s dealings in the realm of truth are not ultimately with God but with an abstraction that stands above God, with Truth as such. For apologetics it means that the basic principle of the non-Christian conception of truth cannot be challenged. According to this most basic assumption it is man rather than God that is the final reference point in all predication.

            It is true, to take the law of contradiction as an abstraction apart from God and man in the final analysis is the death-knell for theology and apologetics. Van Til would go further and say it is pride and an illegitimate use of the law of contradiction not to ascribe it immediately to God. But in what sense should it be ascribed to God? If Van Til means that the law of contradiction is not basic to God’s nature Himself, there is disagreement. God cannot violate the law of contradiction, not because the law stands above Him or was created beneath Him, but because that law flows from the very nature of God Himself. God cannot lie; by His very nature God is not contradictory, and this eternal truth God holds out to us for encouragement and to give us hope (Hebrews 6:18). Made in the image of God, even fallen man normally objects to contradiction and places hope in honesty and consistency. This then is a point of contact, common ground, because without the law of contradiction, all argument, all sound functioning of society, and all understanding of God’s revelation, would be impossible. The Holy Spirit works through the law of contradiction, not apart from it, because for the Holy Spirit to work apart from the law of contradiction He would not be working by Himself, but apart from Himself, and therefore apart from truth.
It follows therefore that arguments for the existence of God are beneficial when they are shown to be reasonable, believable, and consistent, not violating this law of contradiction. The Christian must show the unbeliever that reason does point to the God of the Bible, and it does so precisely because we are made in the image of God, and because He has given us a mind to understand Him and think His thoughts after Him. Indeed, this is why the unbeliever stands guilty before God. Even fallen in sin, he ought to know God. Nature and Scripture have revealed Him, leaving the unbeliever without excuse. This does not have to be demonstrated only in a presuppositional manner, however, because proximately man must start with his own mind.[28] It is one thing to merely assert that without God the law of contradiction is an impossibility; it is another thing, and a very important thing, to demonstrate why this is so. Part of demonstrating is showing that the consistent application of the law of contradiction (or, e.g., laws/beliefs in morality or the law of causality) demonstrates God’s existence and nature. Someone may say that evolution alone can account for the universe and mankind. Natural selection can explain the ideas of morality and give a teleological purpose to the universe. Christians must refute such arguments, not just dismiss them as impossible but also logically show why they are impossible. Van Til would not be inclined to do this because of the unbeliever’s suppression of truth in unrighteousness (his yellow tinted glasses) and because deep down the unbeliever already knows these things to be true. Yet as mentioned before, Van Til admits that the unbeliever will always suppress his own transcendental argument unless the Holy Spirit works.
Here is the discrepancy between Van Til and those who see greater (or different) common ground. Simply put, if the unbeliever presupposes the law of contradiction (or other laws of logic) to construct his worldview, he has not presupposed a lie but a truth inherent in the nature of God Himself. The problem is that the unbeliever has applied his presupposition poorly (due to suppression of the truth in unrighteousness). The presupposition itself is good, the application and conclusion bad. If an unbeliever constructs a worldview on a sense of morality, the notion of morality is good, but the application is bad. Apologetics should take the time to indicate the inconsistencies in the applications of the foundations of the unbeliever’s arguments, and the apologist is not restricted to only the transcendental argument in order to do so since the unbeliever uses the same laws of logic as the believer uses. The Spirit uses clear reasoning dispensed from the mind of the regenerate to the mind of the unregenerate to convict the unbeliever of God, sin, righteousness, and judgment.    
It is true, the noetic effects of sin and the sin nature of man distorts his thinking (including the thinking of the regenerate). This is precisely why it is the job of the apologist, in part, to straighten out the reasoning of the unbeliever (which will only happen as the Holy Spirit overcomes the unbeliever’s suppression of truth) and force him to become consistent. Since God is the God of truth, and since creation leaves man without excuse, the truth of God’s existence through natural revelation is demonstrable to the mind of fallen man. Coupled with the gospel, could not the Holy Spirit use all sorts of apologetic arguments, whether Van Til’s transcendental argument, or the arguments of the evidentialist or classical apologist, and bring an unbeliever to saving faith? The arguments of other earnest Christians who wish to see unbelievers submit to Christ as Lord and Savior should not be disqualified. If they are disqualified because they start on neutral footing, the response is that it does not finish on neutral ground. Further, for one to say he is going to reason and debate on the grounds of his opponent does not mean that he has abandoned his commitment to God as sovereign.[29] In fact, the idea from the beginning would be to demonstrate to the unbeliever the necessity of the God of Scripture by using what common sense the unbeliever has. If the unbeliever hardens his heart and begins to deny the common sense he claimed to have beforehand, then he is dishonest. If he affirms the validity of the law of contradiction and a Christian demonstrates that the law of contradiction (being applied in any argument/proof for the existence of God) indicates the existence of God, he will either concede the existence of God or live with the guilt of embracing an enormous contradiction (that is, a lie).[30] This does seem to share some of the same ultimate purposes of Van Til, but he thinks that only the transcendental argument is capable of accomplishing the task. The real question is clear: is the Holy Spirit limited to the transcendental argument? Can the Spirit not use the light that graciously remains in the mind of fallen man, the witness of creation, and His word in Scripture to convince the unbeliever to submit to the one Creator, Lord, and Savior?
Appeals to Common Ground in Scripture
            What exactly does Scripture say about common ground between believer and unbeliever? How do the faithful argue for God’s existence, sovereignty, and goodness? A prime example from the Old Testament is I Kings 18:20-45. Here Elijah tells the people to decide who the true God is by means of fire. He even prays to God that God would make Himself known through the miracle in verses 36-40:

And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.

Jesus Himself did something similar to verify that He indeed was the Son of God to John the Baptist. Luke 7:21-22 says that Jesus healed many who were sick and gave sight to the blind in order to prove to John the Baptist and others that He indeed was the Son of God. Peter also alludes to Christ’s miracles and resurrection to validate His teachings (see Acts 2:22-24). If these types of arguments were acceptable then, why are other arguments based on evidence not acceptable now? What about John 20:30-31, which states that although Jesus did many signs that have not been written, “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”? Surely, the Holy Spirit does not refuse to use these means today as He used them in the time of Elijah or Christ and His apostles. The only possible conclusion is that God Himself presupposed that unbelievers have working cognitive faculties that could deduce from the witnessing of miracles both God’s existence, nature, and His true messenger. Nowhere in the passages above does Elijah, Jesus, or Peter demand that the pagan embrace Christian or even theistic presuppositions. Rather, God offers evidence on common ground, God appeals to common sense, which is still available by virtue of the indelible stamp of the image and mind of God on man. Even fallen man cannot think except through means (reason and logic) that are akin to the way in which God Himself thinks. There are no other tools or rules for thought, because there is only one God who has given men the tools for thought, and they are like unto the way in which He Himself thinks (the difference being we think as creatures, he alone as Creator). On this point, Van Til would probably agree but object to such methodology because the nature of man himself has not first been addressed. This is a false dichotomy. If miracles testify to the existence, nature, and power of God, do they not also testify to the nature of man? On judgment day, God will not have to ask the unbeliever to presuppose His existence in order for the unbeliever to recognize that God exists. The rational faculties of the unregenerate will tell him plainly that God is standing right before Him, and the presence of the Holy One will serve as ultimate evidence that the God of Scripture exists. The miracles themselves are evidence of this sort. They are evidence of the supernatural, the holy, the divine. To witness the supernatural is to witness some being greater than the laws of nature.[31] One can add Paul, who appeals to the testimony of reliable eyewitnesses of the risen Savior in 1 Corinthians 15 to instill belief in the Corinthians. These evidences persuaded some to believe that Christ was God. Today arguments for the inspiration of Scripture such as its general historical reliability, fulfilled prophecy, and the historical claims Jesus made to divinity (and the fact that many of his time believed him to be resurrected and divine) serve as evidence and rational arguments for Scripture and God Himself.[32]
            In summary, an argument has been made that common ground is not restricted to a deep-seated sense that God is sovereign and man is not. Even in suppressing the truth, man must use the tools given to arrive at truth. The Holy Spirit is needed for all argumentation to take root in the heart of the unbeliever, and because the Spirit has worked and continues to work through evidence and reason, evidence and reason can be used in a Christian apologetic to convince the unbeliever that they are wrong in believing that they are autonomous and God is not. Van Til offers some keen insight into the nature of man and the covenant relationship of man with God, but his restriction of Christian apologetics solely to his transcendental argument is deficient. An unbeliever may suppress the truth to the point that they are no longer aware of the truth and become self-deceived. At such a point the Christian apologist does not need to restrict his method to asserting that only the Christian God can explain reality or give meaning to anything, but demonstrate this to be the case by arguing by means of whatever rules or laws of logic that the unbeliever is guided by and deems to be trustworthy. If the foundation is one that is contradictory to the laws of logic, or is a misapplication of a valid law of logic, the Christian apologist must demonstrate the contradiction or misapplication. At any time in the apologetic process, the Christian may ask the unbeliever to take the perspective of the Christian, who believes that God is the Creator of all things and that He has revealed Himself infallibly in His Word. At any time, the Christian may point out to the unbeliever the inability to know anything with certainty beyond oneself apart from an eternal being who has given man a mind to know Him and to know His creation. The ordering of all these pieces, as well as others, are movable for the Christian apologist. Arguing from the unbeliever’s position to God and arguing from God to the unbeliever are valid, complementary, and effective methodologies because the image of God upon fallen man remains in all his being.
Apologetics and evangelism are intimately connected, and there is much common ground between believer and unbeliever. They each have the same faculties of sense perception, and their minds work according to the same rules. The unbeliever’s will is hardened, and this distorts his thinking, but it does not break his ability to think rightly (logically). The Holy Spirit does not grant the unregenerate a new tool for thinking, but rather guides and corrects the thinking process and softens the heart so that the unbeliever at last will admit, based on reason and evidence, that the God of Scripture exists and He is Creator, Lord, and Savior. The gospel then will no longer be a stumbling block or foolishness, but the power of God unto salvation.  In the last analysis, man made in the image of God secures a contact point and common ground between believer and unbeliever. Yet this common ground is not that man is necessarily aware that he is a covenant breaker and should glorify God, but rather that man cannot help but think by means of the laws of logic, which reflect the logic of the nature of God Himself. This precludes any teaching that says only presuppositional apologetics is Christian apologetics. Rather, any apologetic that seeks to show the unbeliever the truth of God through the right use and application of the God given tools for receiving and understanding the truth and revelation of God (logic), for the glory of God, is a Christian apologetic. Such is used by the Holy Spirit of truth to convict the unbeliever of sin, righteousness, and judgment.    

Bahnsen, Greg L. Van Til's Apologetic: Readings and Analysis. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., 1998.
Cowan, Steven B. Five Views On Apologetics. Counterpoints. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 2000. Accessed November 20, 2014. Amazon Kindle edition.
Gerstner, John H. Reasons for Faith. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1995.
Notaro, Thom. Van Til and the Use of Evidence. Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1980.
Van Til, Cornelius. Christian Apologetics. 2nd ed. Edited by William Edgar. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., 2003.
Zacharias, Ravi K. Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith That We Defend. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007.

[1] John H. Gerstner, Reasons for Faith (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1995), 3
[2] Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 2nd ed., ed. William Edgar (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., 2003), 84
[3] Ibid., 79
[4] Steven B. Cowan, Five Views On Apologetics, Counterpoints (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 2000), location 3296 of 7207, accessed November 20, 2014, Amazon Kindle edition.
[5] Steven B. Cowan, Five Views On Apologetics, 98
[6] Thom Notaro, Van Til and the Use of Evidence (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1980), 28
[7] Ibid., 27
[8] Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 120-121; 126-127
[9] Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 127-129
[10] Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic: Readings and Analysis (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., 1998), 92
[11] Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 131
[12] Steven B. Cowan, Five Views, location 3850 of 7207
[13] Notaro, Van Til and the Use of Evidence, 32-34
[14] Steven B. Cowan, Five views, location 3297 of 7207
[15] Ibid., location 6606 of 7207
[16] Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 62-63
[17] Ibid., 196
[18] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 454-458
[19] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 442
[20] Notaro, Van Til and the Use of Evidence, 33-34
[21] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 444-445
[22] Steven B. Cowan, Five views, location 6522 of 7207
[23] Van Til, Christian Apologetics, 135
[24] Ravi K. Zacharias, Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith That We Defend (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 319-320
[25] Steven B. Cowan, Five views, Location 3713 of 7207
[26] Steven B. Cowan, Five Views, location 3801 of 7207
[27] See Matthew 16:2-3 for just one example where Jesus affirms that unbelievers have what might be called “common sense”.
[28] Gerstner, Reasons for Faith, 49
[29] Steven B. Cowan, Five Views, Location 3727 of 7207.
[30] Zacharias, Beyond Opinion, 319
[31] Gerstner, Reasons for Faith, 90
[32] Gerstner, Reasons for Faith, 86-87