Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Presuppositional apologetics/archive1

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Presuppositional apologetics[edit]

This was nominated two months ago by me -- it was eventually voluntarily removed from FAC so that I and the article's principal author could work on more clearly defining apologetics, more fairly presenting the criticisms of this particular approach, and fixing some issues people had with unfamiliar vocabulary. I believe we've addressed this, so this is a self-nomination. The reading level is still reasonably high, but I think acceptably so. The only potential objection I am anticipating is the lack of a picture, but I can't envision a picture that would add to the article (except perhaps of a theologian who helped develop it, but we haven't found one yet). Jwrosenzweig 02:33, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Support Object. 1.) Those resources that were actually used as references for additional material or to fact check material in the article need to be explicitly listed as such and not lumped in with those that were not. The references section is the accepted way to do that. 2.) Only two schools of PA are discussed, even though the article specifically states there are others. What about them? Are they so insignificant that they warrant nothing more than saying they exist? If so, that is a POV that needs to be cited to a source. - Taxman 19:28, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)
    • I've left a note for the article's principal author on the article's talk page, since I was not involved in the creation of the article -- I don't know which books were used as references, and I don't know if there really are more versions of PA, as the article asserts (or how influential they are). If, as I have a hunch is correct, the article was written with the benefit of having read all of the books mentioned (although they were not cited specifically in the text), should they all be "references"? I'm unclear on that point. The second one, I'll get to work addressing. Jwrosenzweig 23:34, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
      • P.S. I've looked into it a little more. The article stated "There are at least two systems of apologetics..." known as presuppositional -- looked awfully weak to me. I can find no evidence of a third branch of PA. I imagine the words "at least" were inserted because any theologian could alter a few fine points of a school of thought and claim it as "presuppositional" but his/her particular variety of it. I decided they looked like weasel words and took them out -- until we see any evidence of a third school of thought, I don't think it's worth implying that one exists. Perhaps this addresses your second point, Taxman? If you think I went about it wrong, tell me -- I can do more in-depth searching if you suspect I was wrong to remove the wording, and that other schools of PA exist. Jwrosenzweig
        • If all the major references in the field say that those two are the two major schools of the subject, then that is fine. Then cite one of them to a statement such as "The two major schools of PA are .... (Doe 1976)". But yes, I think it needs a good search to see if there are other important shools unless you can find that something akin to the above example is well accepted in the field. Otherwise it is POV to fail to cover a notable branch of a subject. - Taxman 13:51, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
          • I still haven't found said citation, but I hope to soon. I have, however, added a reference section for some recent additions of mine -- I know it doesn't cover the entire article, but perhaps it partially resolves the objection, at least? I'm curious to hear your response. Jwrosenzweig 22:16, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
            • That's pretty good for me. So all the sources you've seen, no other ones mention any other major schools of PA? What makes you say those are the major schools when Bahnsen and Frame also contributed? The answer to that will probably answer my above question. By the way the new history section telling us when this school of thought came out is an excellent addition. Great work. Is saying in the intro it is a 20th century school of thought problematic to you? I think that is helpful to tell the reader straight away what era the school of thought is in/from. As for my point 1 above, at least put the sources you have used personally in properly cited form in a 'References' section, websites can be included. - Taxman 00:37, Nov 19, 2004 (UTC)
              • So far, every mention of PA either talks about it as though it had no origin (people have so little consideration for us wiki researchers), or else it traces PA to either Clark or Van Til (and most mentions of Clark note that Van Til predates him). Nothing says it quite explicitly enough, though, for me to quote a site as defining those two schools as the only two. I would call them the two major schools, as Bahnsen, Frame, and Robbins (though differing in minor points from their teachers) essentially present themselves and their perspectives as being unified with that of their teacher. Their intense focus on defending the ideas of their predecessor indicates (in my opinion) that Van Til and Clark provide the dominant two views of presuppositional apologetics. I'm fine with the mention in the intro, and will add it in my next pass. And a references section will be duly added. :-) Jwrosenzweig 02:34, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
                • Taxman, I've added the references I consulted and altered the intro. :-) Jwrosenzweig 22:04, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Mild objections: First, I find plenty of evidence of three types of apologetics. My F. A. Cross ed. of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says that apologetics has traditionally fallen to three endeavors, "(1) to show that it is more reasonable to have a religion than not; (2) to show that christianity can give a more rational account of itself than any other religion; (3) to show that it is more reasonable to profess orthodox Christianity than any other form." However, my objections are two fold. One is easy to fix, the other not. i) The reference to Fideism in a dismissive tone, as if it were a childish gesture, was wrong. Fideism is not an intellectually or philosophically empty concept, and it's arguable, in fact, that existentialist Christian apologetics, which is no slouch in the brains department, is ultimately fideism with its emphasis on mysticism. ii) The harder subject is the general notability of this type of apologetics. The article says at the outset that this is a Protestant development, but it's clear in the article that it can only be a Protestant one, and, at that, a fundamentalist one. How prevalent is this type of endeavor? How much is it running the field now? How stiff is the opposition? I would imagine that the old churches would be a bit out of the loop with this, as it is a pretty hostile type of apologetic (and arguably not apologetic at all, since it works from within a closed system and demands that all listeners do the same). I can't really see a severe minority development (which I gather is recent) in apologetics as a Featured Article if it doesn't at least allow breathing room for the rest of the churches. Geogre 03:48, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • George, we're talking about specific forms of this specific type of apologetics, not types of apologetics in general. - Taxman 13:51, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
      • I agree with Taxman on the initial point. On Fideism, Geogre, I'll definitely look at it and see what I can do -- it shouldn't be referred to dismissively. The final objection, however, doesn't seem actionable to me -- unless I misunderstand you, your objection is that this field of apologetics appeals to only certain denominations. I have no control over which denominations accept or reject this practice. I don't know what you mean by "old churches" -- I'm confused, in fact, by the entire objection....perhaps it's your objection to this kind of apologetics, but I don't see it as an objection to this as an FA. I'm not arguing it should be featured based on what it's about -- I can't envision this article ever making the Main Page. But it's my opinion that it's essentially done and well written, and I thought that was fundamentally what an FA was supposed to be. Jwrosenzweig 14:58, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
        • P.S. I removed the Fideism comment -- I couldn't see a way to include the comment in that context without either leaving it somewhat dismissive or else going to lengths to explain a more complex definition of Fideism. As the mention was an aside intended to further illustrate a point already made, I decided to cut it. Hopefully that resolves your objection? Jwrosenzweig
          • It may solve one objection, it gives rise to another. To those who know about both fideism and presuppositionalism, the two seem to be very similar if not identical. Fideism is, at least to me, the honest answer given by a believer who understands that arguments for the existence of God are all flawed. Presuppositionalism seems to be a system built on a fideist base. At least, this is what Reymond's New Systematic Theology seems to claim. -- Smerdis of Tlön 21:30, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
            • Hmmm, well, if Fideism needs to be reintegrated as you suggest (thanks for the note, btw), it certainly needs to appear in a different context than it did initially (the context Geogre objected to). Once again, I'll go back to the drawing board and see what I can come up with. Ihcoyc, if you can include the comment from Reymond on PA's talk page (or else add it to the article) I'd really appreciate that -- don't own a copy myself, but it would be great to add the perspective to the article. Jwrosenzweig 00:17, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • I'll try to be more precise. Presuppositional apologetics is a narrow field. That's fine, and certainly no reason to object. However, I feel like it is not presented in the general context sufficiently. The old churches are the various Orthodox Christian churches and the Anglican churches -- i.e. those prior to Luther. In fact, however, it would appear that this field is even more specialized, requiring a Zwinglian or Calvinist background. My objection is that some placement of this development is necessary, rather than merely desirable. When did it arise (I gather that it's new)? Does it have active opposition? Is it widespread now and dominant among Protestant apologetics, or is it merely a hardline expression of the fundamentalist movement? At the very, very outset a mild statement appears indicating that this is predominantly Protestant, but I get the impression that it is much more than that. Without a location in the general field, especially in terms of novelty and support, I remain a reluctant objector. I do think it's a well written article. Indeed, I would have thought it unnecessary to define Apologetics, but I think that any movement needs to be located in the general context. A few sentences would be all that is necessary. I appreciate letting up on the poor Fideists. It looked like they were being a punchline in that sentence, and I know the authors know more than to have meant it that way. Geogre 18:20, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Let me give you an example. From the "Varieties of" subhead: "There are two systems of apologetics that commonly are called presuppositional. The first -- and by far the most widely followed -- was developed by <the X church or at least X nation> Cornelius Van Til <when?> and his students, especially <denomination theologian> John Frame and <ibid> Greg Bahnsen." That would give the reader a sense of when this school emerged. Later on, an "Opposition to" or "Doubts about" or "Place in general apologetics" subhead would give the reader an idea of whether or not this type of apologetics is triumphant, emregent, or persistent. Geogre 21:36, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
      • Ah, sorry I misunderstood! Makes perfect sense -- I'll fall to work right away. Jwrosenzweig 22:21, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
        • Geogre, I've written a section called "History of presuppositional apologetics" (shifting some text up in the article and adding quite a bit more) to help place the movement in time and to suggest its general area of influence. Please tell me how it looks. :-) Jwrosenzweig 22:16, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • Full support: Excellent! This gives me a good way of locating this development and an idea of how well it has thrived. A naive reader looking at the article will realize that this is not fringe but will also recognize that it is located in the Calvinist tradition. I'm delighted to give support to an excellent theological article. Geogre 03:17, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Excellent article, though the wording in places is a bit...pretentious isn't the word I'm looking for, but along those lines. In any case, this is a minor quibble. Ambi 23:20, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. I love it when I find something that describes something I didn't previously have a word for, especially when it is described so well.--ZayZayEM 03:25, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)