In his Christian Apologetics (which remember is under $5 on Kindle), Douglas Groothuis presents 8 criteria for evaluating worldviews. Though not a presuppositionalist himself, and he explains (unconvincingly) why on 62-64, this kind of worldview evaluations is very presuppositional. According to Groothuis, “the best method of apologetic reasoning is hypothesis evaluation and verification” (49). Toward that end, he provides these critera:
- A worldview must explain what it ought to explain (52)
- A worldview must exhibit internal logical consistency (53)
- A worldview should be evaluated by its coherence (54)
- A worldview must obtain factual adequacy (55)
- A worldview must possess existential viability (55)
- A worldview must demonstrate intellectual and cultural fecundity (56)
- A worldview must not resort to radical ad hoc readjustments (57)
- And, all other things being equal, simpler explanations are preferable to unnecessarily complex ones (58)
Using these 8 criteria, Groothuis is pursuing a general method he calls “constructive apologetics.” As he defines it, it “builds a case for Christian theism by arguing that Christianity best fits the apporpriate criteria for worldview assessment.” (51-52) This is perhaps what sets Groothuis apart from presuppositionalist (who are very interested in worldview apologetics). Van Til, Bahnsen, et al., can be characterized as “Deconstructive Apologetics.” This is both in the sense that they are aimed primarily at deconstructing competing worldviews (though they do not ignore building a positive, sometimes the best offense is a good defense) and in the sense that use tools from deconstructionism and undo worldviews from within their own internal tensions. This is pretty impressive as well when you realize Van Til predated deconstructionism as a school of philosophy.
Anyway, I’ve enjoyed Groothuis so far, and these criteria are particularly useful. Since as Groothuis says, “the central point of this book it constructive apologetics” (52), I’ll look forward to seeing him build his case!