I learned to teach my students how we interpret based on presuppositions, then when another teacher tried to reinterpret the facts, the students would challenge that teacher's basic assumptions. Now it wasn't the students who came back to me, but the other teacher, upset that the students were challenging the very basis of his thinking! I learned to teach the students how to think rather than just what to think. What a difference that made!

Debate Terms

If you agree to a discussion without using the Bible, you allow the other person to set the terms of the debate:

1.  "Facts are neutral." There's no such thing as a "brute fact"—all facts are interpreted. Once the Bible is eliminated, the Christian's presuppositions are gone, leaving him unable to effectively interpret the facts. The opponent has the upper hand: he still has his presuppositions.

2.  "Truth can/should be determined independent of God."  The Bible states that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge," and "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:14).The spiritual nature of the battle cannot be divorced from the battle itself. A non-Christian is not neutral. The Bible makes this very clear: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30).

Agreeing to such terms of debate implicitly accepts the proposition that the Bible's account of the universe's history is irrelevant to understanding that history!

Ultimately, God's Word Convicts

1 Peter 3:15 and other passages make it clear we are to use every argument we can to convince people of the truth, and 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says we are to refute error. Nonetheless, we must never forget Hebrews 4:12: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Even though human arguments may be powerful, ultimately it is God's Word that convicts and opens people to the truth. In all our arguments, we must not divorce what we are saying from the Word that convicts.

Practical Application

When someone tells me they want "proof, not the Bible," I tell them that though they don't believe the Bible, I do. I believe it gives me the right basis to correctly interpret the facts around me. For instance, the Bible states that God made distinct kinds of animals and plants. When I build my thinking on this presupposition, I can explain and interpret the science of genetics, including processes such as natural selection and genetic drift. You can do this in many ways. Sin and judgment are relevant to geology and fossil evidence. The curse on creation makes sense of harmful mutations, violence, and death.

Once I've explained this, I can say, "Now let me ask you to defend your position concerning these matters. Please show me how your way of thinking, based on your beliefs, makes sense of the same evidence. And I want you to point out where my science and logic are wrong."

In arguing this way, you do the following:

1.  Use biblical presuppositions to build a way of interpreting evidence.
2.  Show that the Bible and science go hand in hand.1
3.  Challenge the other's presuppositions (many are unaware they have these).
4.  Force the debater to logically defend his position in a way consistent with science and his own presuppositions (many will find they cannot do this).
5.  Honor the Word of God that convicts the soul.