Ken Ham vs. the SES Apologetic

This is a little on the long side, but it explains parts of apologetics very well, especially coming from a Young Earth perspective.

Daniel

hipandthigh

I wanted to spend a few moments interacting with this article over at the Southern Evangelical Seminary blog,

Does Ken Ham’s Defense Biblical Authority Lead to Biblical Skepticism?

It’s an article written by my past internet foil, Adam Tucker. He has provided us with a helpful treatise expaining the methodology behind how SES teaches apologetic engagement. He excellently contrasts a classical/Thomist approach to apologetics from a presuppositional/Bible-based one that I believe lends us insight for sharpening our apologetic focus.

Bear with me, this is gonna be a long one

A Little Background

Now the first thing one is probably wondering about is what exactly does Ken Ham have to do with all of this. Well, since about 2012, folks over at Southern Evangelical Seminary have expressed dismay at Ken Ham’s presentations defending biblical creationism. The first real vocal critic was SES professor, Richard Howe, who wrote an emotional critique of…

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  1. What are your thoughts on this debate Daniel? I don’t really do much in terms of apologetics. I got drug into it against my will when I first started blogging, but it’s not my thing really. I certainly never tried to use much in the way of classical apologetics as I’m just not that versed in the intricacies of all of the science and philosophy. But, I can grasp the huge flaws in the atheist worldview and can articulate them fairly well. So, I suppose that makes me a presuppositionalist. I do agree with Ham on Scripture being the starting point also.

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    • I have been finding more and more people who disagree with presuppositional apologetics (PA), but I keep finding their arguments weak if not silly and flawed. For example, a few apologists have argued that we merely need to show people the evidence to convince them Christianity is true. However, no amount of evidence will work if they are convinced the way they already understand the evidence is true. PA seeks to demonstrate the flawed thinking/ideas we inherently hold (See Romans 1, 1 Corinthians, 1 Peter 1).
      Now, some in PA will argue there is no need for evidence, that we merely need to rely on the Bible. I would argue that there will be times when evidence bolsters the argument, such as demonstrating the historicity and reliability of the Bible. But I do agree that our foundation should always be the Bible.
      Evidential Apologetics (EA) relies too much on human reason. PA seeks to show the futility of our reason apart from God. EA proponents often give up biblical ground for the sake of fairness, but they often sacrifice scriptural inerrancy and reliability in the process. Most PA tend to believe in Young Earth, while most EA tend to believe in Old Earth. Many EA even call Young Earth beliefs silly, a stain, an embarrassment (see William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, and many of the Biola crew, for example.)
      None of this is to say they are not Christian nor good apologists. I find many compelling and interesting arguments coming out of other apologetic approaches. It just seems to me that PA has the strongest appeal scripturally and logically. Using Scripture as the foundation of every argument insists on not relying on sinful minds alone but gets past the futility of our thinking.
      I was fortunate/blessed to have seen through some of the futility of modern science (NOT science as a practice/method, but the ideology of scientism) while in high school and before my friends invited me to church. I was willing to believe just about anything else, because the so-called reasoning for evolution (biological and astronomical) seemed tenuous at best, outright stupid at worst, due to the contradictions I was seeing taught. But I challenged the church leadership on every thought and teaching. Fortunately, they never backed down. It taught me that there are answers, and Christ/God makes the most sense overall. (And the evidence for a Young Earth is also very compelling. Especially when the age given by scientists fluctuates rather drastically, and “evidence” for evolution is at best flimsy.)
      All of this led me to reaching out to people of other religions and atheism to respond to challenges to the Christian faith. I did not know for years it was called apologetics, but I was using PA from the outset. I wanted to help people see they were thinking incorrectly about our world and God. The age of the world is secondary to belief in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, but I have certainly come to see that it is very important for the consistency of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

      Wow. That was a long thought. I hope I did not bore you! (I could have gone on for MUCH longer!)

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      • Not boring at all Daniel. In fact, I concur totally. Evidence didn’t convince me for 45 years. It was when some preacher clearly presented the gospel in terms that I could get that I was convinced. Maybe that’s why that appeals to me in my own work.

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