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“We must not be satisfied to present Christianity as the most reliable position to hold among the competing options available. Rather, the Christian faith is the only reasonable outlook available to men.” ― Greg L. Bahnsen, Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended.
In February 1973, Jesus Christ redeemed me in a darkly lit pub in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was in the final months of my senior year at Western Michigan University. My athletic career had faltered a few years before. I performed just well enough to keep my scholarship.
I graduated from college a few months later and within a year I was a student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, where I was taking courses in Greek, Hebrew, systematic theology, church history, hermeneutics, and apologetics.
It was at RTS that I met Greg L. Bahnsen (1948-1995) who was an Associate Professor of apologetics and ethics.
While we were both new to the seminary, I was new to everything. Greg was a brilliant theologian and apologist, and I was a student who had a whole lot of learning to do. Within a few years, Greg and I became friends. But he was always the teacher and I was always the student, and that was OK with me. “A man’s got to know his limitations,” and I knew mine. I still do.
This is the work we all longed for Bahnsen to write. This monument of apologetics will provide must-reading for Christian defenders of the faith for generations to come. If there were only one resource for the exposition and defense of the Reformed presuppositional apologetic, this would be it—by far, its clearest expression by one of the sharpest Christian thinkers of the 20th century.
For the advanced student.
Over time, Greg and I worked together on some conferences and publishing projects. His Always Ready book includes articles that he wrote for American Vision’s Biblical Worldview Magazine.
For three years, Greg spoke at American Vision’s week-long Life Preparation Conferences in the 1990s. He was the anchor speaker for each of the three years he spoke. The young people in attendance gave him a standing ovation after his information-filled messages at each of the conferences. He was in constant demand as the young people peppered him with questions.
I and many others were devastated at the news of his untimely death in December of 1995. Who would replace him? Who could replace him? No one has.
Our friendship proves that God has a sense of humor. My undergraduate degree is in Physical Education. In 1970, Greg graduated magna cum laude from Westmont College, receiving his B.A. in philosophy as well as the John Bunyan Smith Award for his overall grade point average. From there he went on to Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied under Dr. Cornelius Van Til.
When Greg graduated in May 1973, he simultaneously received two degrees, Master of Divinity and Master of Theology, as well as the William Benton Greene Prize in apologetics and a Richard Weaver Fellowship from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He next entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California, where he studied philosophy, specializing in the theory of knowledge, and received his Ph.D. in 1978 while teaching full time at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.
It’s been a privilege to publish a print edition of Greg’s messages at American Vision’s first Life Preparation Conference titled Pushing the Antithesis. American Vision also published the long-lost manuscript of Greg’s book on Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended (2008).
Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen believed that to deal with the academics of the day and their arguments against the Christian faith, it is necessary to do battle with them at the highest levels of scholarship using their intellectual tools against them. He could quickly analyze and give direct and compelling answers to all their objections.
Now we come to Against All Opposition: Defending the Christian Worldview, the first volume in a two-volume set on presuppositional apologetics by Dr. Bahnsen.
Not long ago I started listening to the talks that Greg gave at American Vision’s second Life Preparation Conference. I was struck with how fundamentally basic and profound the material was. Many books dealing with biblical apologetics assume too much of the reader. Most Christians don’t have the time or inclination to study the topic in depth.
To make biblical apologetics accessible to more Christians—especially young people—American Vision decided to transcribe and edit the lectures that Greg gave at the second and third Life Preparation Conferences and publish them in a way that would benefit a growing interest in biblical apologetics from a presuppositional perspective.
In addition to the transcribed lectures, each chapter includes a glossary and study questions with a comprehensive glossary as an appendix.
While rummaging through a box of papers and magazine articles, I came across a letter that Greg sent to me dated October 30, 1985:
I am writing to a few “friends of presuppositionalism” in the hope that we can work together on a particular project which will publicly promote and defend this approach to apologetics. We need to take such opportunities, especially since so few seminaries train men in this outlook today and since “the traditional method” is being again popularized and pushed in Reformed circles.
American Vision’s long-term goal is to continue and enhance the legacy of the work of Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen to the Glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.