Presuppositional apologetics, if it is really based on mere presuppositions, is not sound reasoning. read more about presuppositional apologetics) However, most people who think that they are using presuppositional apologetics are actually using revelational apologetics. They are simply speaking of their experiences of being led by Jesus Christ, the real Person. They are living by the Life of Christ Who is in them. That’s what revelational apologetics is.(
Revelational apologetics is more honest than straight presuppositional apologetics. Revelational apologetics doesn’t have problems with circular reasoning or any other logical fallacy. Revelational apologetics is sound, based on the Rock of Revelation, the Rock, Christ Jesus. 2 Peter 1:16 “For we have not followed cleverly devised fables, when we made known to you the Power and Abiding Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Utterance of genuine and absolute fullness of life;” Revelational apologetics is also simple. Lies and tactics of ungodly people are complex, since people can rationalize anything. We simply speak of our experiences with Christ. This doesn’t mean that experience trumps the Bible. The Bible is a large part of our experience with the Living Christ. He is the One Who Speaks to us through the Bible. In fact, Christ is the One Who tells us that the Bible is His Word without error–His revelation is the only way we could know such a thing without circular reasoning. And His revelation is the only way anyone can understand what He is saying through the Bible. For instance, Atheists may read the Bible while giving Satan a high degree of control of their minds, so they can’t understand what they are reading.
Christ-followers have Christ dwelling within. They are the visible Christ in the Earth–the Body of Christ that is joined in submission to Christ the Head, Who is in Heaven. Your life as a Christian should make unbelievers question their unbelief in God. Revelational apologetic is the act of allowing the Christ who is hidden within you to be seen. It is letting the love of God be shed abroad in your heart, your innermost mind, by the Holy Ghost. He is seen in how you think, speak, and act. You may have to answer some questions. You may have to ignore some rude remarks. But you must be Christ to those around you. If you become upset, angry, argumentative, abusive, or any such thing, you manifest your own flesh. But the ministry, Christ within you, will get the blame. And you will do great damage to what Christ is doing if you take on the characteristics of the ungodly while proclaiming the Name of Christ.
The difficult part of revelational apologetics is that the person using revelational apologetics must have a real relationship with Christ. The person using revelational apologetics cannot be serving a theory or theology of Jesus Christ. The person using revelational apologetics cannot have rationalized faith in a rationalized Jesus. He or she must be actually following Jesus, and Jesus must actually be leading him or her. At the same time, every Christ-follower is learning to hear Christ’s Voice and to respond in submission to Him. Don’t be discouraged by the dullness of your own spiritual hearing. Don’t get over-confident or prideful or you will fall. Don’t add to His Words. Don’t exaggerate your experience. Always have a humble mind and remember that you have brothers and sisters in Christ who also have real experiences with Christ. The Body of Christ is a multi-membered Body, and each of us only receives part. We don’t have significance alone, and we can easily go astray because a part of the truth, when it is believed to be the entire truth, is a lie. Read 1 Corinthians 12-14 to understand this further.
There are some who are using, “God is still speaking,” as a marketing ploy for their denomination and as an excuse for their anti-biblical teachings. This is the main fear when considering whether to believe that God speaks, though whether or not there are false prophets and false teachers has no impact on the reality of whether or not Christ leads His people. It seems that the argument goes something like this, “The human mind can be easily deceived (true premise), so we can’t trust God but must trust the human mind to understand the Bible (false conclusion: it does not follow). We do need to realize that if we know anything (the things God has made real to us), we don’t know them as we ought to know them. We must be open to correction from God directly and also from other followers of Christ.
“For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.” Martin Luther
It’s not about proving that God exists.
We know that Atheists know about God. God is telling us that He reveals Himself to them through the things that He has created. But they refuse to acknowledge Him. So, our conversations with unbelievers are never about proving that God exists, no matter how hard some people work to turn everything into an ugly debate. (read more) It’s not about winning an argument, so don’t be drawn into that. It is about manifesting Christ. That means kindness, telling of your experience with Christ, and inviting them to know Christ. It means that you will probably have to tell them some rather upsetting news about their need for Christ because of their fallen nature and sin condition.
Revelational apologetics is very simple. I believe what I believe because God reveals it to me. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God without error because God has made that real to my innermost mind. It is a miraculous thing that is going on here. God speaks through many means. (More about this later under the heading of God Speaks.) (some caveats about hearing God’s Voice)
Remember this: “Do not add to His Words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30:6
Every attack against the Bible, against Jesus Christ, and against the creation account and the flood account in the Bible is based on made-up stories, flimflam, irrational thoughts, outright lies, arbitrary assumptions, or some combination of these.
Christians ought not to be ashamed of Jesus Christ Who lives in them and guides and directs their lives. Of course, many Christians don’t pay enough attention to that leading. They fail to acknowledge Him. However, a Christian who is walking in the Spirit and keeping pace with the Spirit can use revelational apologetics.
How will ungodly people try to refute revelational apologetics? Here is a fairly comprehensive list. They have nothing that has substance. In every case, they bring some kind of rationalization: a made-up story, a unsubstantiated assertion, an arbitrary assumption, an irrational thought, an outright lie, or some combination of these. You can just point out that these are rationalizations and then present the Gospel in all cases rather than just knocking down arguments. Here are a couple of examples of how the Gospel might be presented:
“Life is available through Christ alone. I know this by revelation. Christ is now offering His Life to you, but, so far you have been choosing death. All of your arguments against Christ are based on rationalization–nothing of substance–ideas pulled from air.”
“I am concerned for you. You could die within the next minute. If you do, I know, by revelation, that anyone who is not made clean by the blood of Jesus Christ will end up in Hell. I don’t want that for you, yet you keep rejecting Him based on nothing but rationalizations. You do know He exists. I know that by revelation. And you deny it based on rationalization, yet you know that He exists, that He is your Creator God and your Judge, and yet you make an effort of will to be ignorant of this.”
Paradigms and Presuppositions
Ungodly people usually think that they are being perfectly logical. Most of them are unaware of the problem of paradigms. Concepts outside their paradigms seem, to them, to be weird and insane.
A paradigm is a worldview or fake-reality. Paradigms are not reality, but they seem more real that reality itself. Everyone has one–even Christians. They are based partly on observation but more on assumptions, lies, stories, and irrational thoughts that have become presuppositions. And they act to filter out any truth that conflicts with the paradigm. The human mind gets closure by filling in the gaps and not thinking about the internal inconsistencies of the worldview/paradigm. The human mind is deceptive and desperately wicked to the point that we can’t know our own minds.
The human mind makes assumptions without effort. When trying to understand ourselves and our environment, we make assumptions, often without being aware that we are making them. When we read something or listen to something or watch a presentation, movie, show, etc., we are receiving many assumptions, though we don’t consciously process them. Presuppositions are hidden assumptions that are merely accepted without question because we are overloaded with information and can’t possibly question everything, or our minds are just drifting and taking in random messages without any regard to their real basis. (read more about paradigms and assumptions)
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My Voice.” and “Whoever is on the side of truth listens to Me.”
That doesn’t mean that everyone who follows Him hears an audible voice, though I have known some to have that experience. It doesn’t mean that everyone will dream dreams or see visions, but many do have this experience. (read more)
If God were not to speak to each of us individually, there is no way that anyone could possibly know that the Bible is the Word of God without error.
If any person claims that God does not speak to them but that the Bible is the Word of God that person is forced to use circular reasoning. Plus, such a person would have to deny the Bible, since the Bible says that God speaks to us.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by [the] word (Greek: rhema = utterance) [of] God.
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (this is true when it was written and whenever it is read or remembered)
John 10:27 My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
John 18:37b Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this purpose: to affirm the truth as an actual witness. Everyone who is on the side of truth hears My Voice.
Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, “Today if you will hear His Voice, don’t harden your innermost minds, as in the provocation.”
1 Corinthians 12:2-3 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute [incapable of articulate speech] idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the utterance of God which you heard from us (the apostles), you received it, not as human utterance, but as it is in truth, the Utterance of God, Which effectually works also in you who believe.
1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the very mouth of God…Luke 10:16 He who hears you hears Me; and he who despises you despises Me; and he who despises Me despises Him Who sent Me.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, Who is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter has come, Whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me:
John 16:13 However that may be, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak separately Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come.Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don’t know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit, Himself, makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.
Numbers 12:6-8 6 And He said, Hear My Words now: If there is a prophet among you, I Jehovah will make Myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all My House. With him will I speak Mouth to mouth, in a way that can be seen, and not in something that must be guessed, and he shall look at the form of Jehovah. Why then weren’t you afraid to speak against My servant Moses?
1 Kings 19:7-13 And the angel of Jehovah came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” Elijaharose and ate and drank and walked in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mountain of God. He came to a cave and lodged there. The word of Jehovah came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And Elijah said, “I have been very zealous for Jehovah God of hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and slain Your prophets with the sword; and I’m the only one remaining, and they seek to take my life.” And Jehovah said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before Jehovah.” And, Jehovah passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces before Jehovah, but Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind an Earthquake, but Jehovah was not in the Earthquake. And after the Earthquake a fire, but Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire a still small voice. Elijah listened in obedience, wrapping his face in his mantle. And he went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, a Voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Romans 1:20-21 For that which cannot be seen of Him is clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made, not only His eternal Power but also His Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, when they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor were they thankful, but they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish innermost minds were darkened. ]
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their measuring line has gone out through all the Earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the Sun,
1 Chronicles 16:30-34 Dance before Him, all the Earth: the world also shall be stable so that it is not moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the Earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “Jehovah reigns.” Let the whole sea roar. Let all the fields rejoice. Then the trees of the wood shall give out a ringing cry of praise and exultation at the Face of Jehovah, because He comes to judge the Earth.
Concerning extra-biblical doctrines:
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (This would apply to all the reasonings of men in trying to understand Scripture and also to those who claim special revelation but are being deceived by their own minds. For instance, God may speak to you and tell you to help some person, but God will not tell you to commit a sin.)
Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. (Paul knew that he must check the revelation that he had received with the revelation that the other apostles had received. He could not establish doctrine on his own.
Peter, though God had given him such a vision and confirmation of the vision, did not try to establish doctrine on his own but went to the other apostles in Acts 15. Note that doctrine was determined not by rationalization mixed with logic but by revelation through apostles.