The world is a complex of connections. No portion of reality exists in abstraction but is always joined to the rest of the whole. This inter-connectedness of the reality means that consideration of a portion of reality always entails assumptions about the nature of reality as a whole.
A presuppositional (or transcendental) approach to apologetics seeks to uncover the assumptions upon which arguments rest and asks whether there is a legitimate foundation for those assumptions. This approach seeks to evaluate the compatibility between a stated position and the outworking of that position, either philosophically or experientially. It asks:
- What assumptions are necessary for this argument to be true?
- Are these assumptions consistent with the stated position and lifestyle of the unbeliever?
- Where does the position require a foundational presuppostion that it cannot supply?
Every argument against the Christian worldview entails basic assumptions that can only be grounded in the Christian position ("borrowed capital"). A presuppositional approach seeks to demonstrate this incongruity and use it to commend the truthfulness of the Christian position.
For more on a presuppositional approach to apologetics, listen to Dr. K. Scott Oliphint’s lecture “What is Presuppositional Apologetics?" or consult other apologetics resources .