Updated: May 11
I am reading the “Presuppositional Method of Apologetics” by John Frame, again, in the book, Five Views on Apologetics seeking to understand the Presuppositional Method of Apologetics better. Cornelius Van Till is the most famous of the Presuppositional Method, and Greg Bahnsen also employed it, and today John Frame is another proponent of it, as is Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries.
I came across some excellent statements about Francis Schaeffer, one in the Five Views book, and another in a past issue of the CRI Journal. Francis Schaeffer applied the Presuppositional method in his evangelism at L’Abri Fellowship; but he didn’t just debate or win arguments, he loved people who were seeking answers, sometimes they were skeptics and unbelievers and Schaeffer really listened to them and interacted with them and answered their questions honestly and also did so in an environment of hospitality.
Western Christians need to learn that in applying good evangelism and Biblical apologetics to reaching out to Muslims. It is going to take sacrifice and love and a willingness to eat meals with Muslims and invite them into your home and accept their hospitality, and learn some things about their culture, in order to get into an environment to where they are going to really listen to what we are saying.
“Francis and Edith Schaeffer led many to Christ through their ministry at L’Abri in Switzerland. In my view, the power of their ministry was found in the combination of a thoughtful apologetic (“honest answers to honest questions”) and a loving ministry of hospitality.”
John Frame, “Presuppositional Apologetics”, in Five Views on Apologetics, (Zondervan, 2000, edited by Steven B. Cowan), p. 220, footnote 17.
Cornelius Van Til in a letter to Francis Schaeffer:
“You have the advantage over me. You converse constantly with modern artists, modern existentialists, etc. as they eat at your table, you study their literature; whereas I am only a book-worm” Cornelius Van Til (see below)
Cornelius Van Til, “A Letter to Francis Schaeffer”, in The Works of Cornelius Van Til: 1895-1987, edited by Eric Sigward. (Jackson Heights, NY: Labels Army, 1997) Cited in CRI Journal, “Armchair Apologetics, Eric Brook, volume 25, number 4, 2003, p. 62.
This is what is greatly needed today in the Evangelical church; both equipping in sound Biblical apologetics and Evangelism; along with hospitality and listening and love.