I've been impressed lately with the presuppositional apologetic work of Sye Ten Bruggencate and how his arguments seem to be irrefutable by those he debates.

The only problem I have is that he claims the Bible is the only ultimate authority that can be used in this argument. (See Bruggencate's site, question 4)

Other religions have their own scripture which are held in the same regard as the Bible (for example the Quran in Islam, the Book of Mormon for Mormons, the Jehovah's Witness translation of the Bible). These other scriptures, though they may be dismissed by non-believers, seem to be of equal value in the presuppositional apologetic argument.

Can anyone explain why the Bible is seen to be the only "scripture" that holds true in the presuppositional apologetic argument?

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    Welcome, and nice question! I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and check out how this site is different from others Jul 13, 2015 at 17:57
  • I don't think this is really a question about Christianity. Either philosophy or other religions. Jul 13, 2015 at 19:34
  • @SkepticalSkeptic Basically you are asking about the uniqueness of Bible..!
    – shakAttack
    Jul 13, 2015 at 19:41
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    @DJClayworth Presuppositional apologetics is a major area of study among well-known Christian theologians like Cornelius Van Til and John Frame. John Frame has actually responded to someone making the claim presented in this question. Jul 13, 2015 at 20:21
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    @DJClayworth I don't think the OP is asking us to apply this philosophy to other scriptures; rather, he is asking why it shouldn't be applied to other scriptures, from the perspective of those who hold presuppositional beliefs. Jul 15, 2015 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


One argument of the Christian presuppositional apologists is that only the Bible is self-authenticating. Other sacred texts, like the Quran, are not.

Consider the way Ten Bruggencate's tract on Islam addresses the issue. To Muslims who claim that they could not be wrong, he presents "contradictions in [their] source of knowledge"; that is, he claims that there are contradictions inherent in Islam and the Quran.

John Frame and Steve Hays deal with the issue similarly, in a response to a similar challenge:

As a matter of public record, Muhammad did not, in fact, claim that his message was self-attesting. To the contrary, when confronted with doubters, Muhammad appeals to the People of the Book—the Jews and Christians—to validate his message. In the event, then, of conflict between the Bible and the Koran, Muhammad’s prophetic pretensions are thereby invalidated by his own appointed standard of judgment. Case closed.

Steve Hays provides more detail in a subsequent response, calling the Quran's textual history "checkered" and expounding on contradictions between the early (Meccan) verses of the Quran and later (Medinan) ones:

In the earlier—Meccan—verses, Christians are accorded the right to judge the Koran. Muhammad appeals to the People of the Book (Jews & Christians) to vouch for his prophetic credentials. So he sets up the Bible and its Judeo-Christian interpreters as the standard of reference. By the time we get to the Medinan verses, there's a dramatic about-face. This is one of the major hurdles in Islamic apologetics.

Thus, the argument goes, the Quran is contradictory and therefore not self-authenticating, and thus that it cannot serve as the basis for knowledge.

  • Another point is that the Islamic and Mormon conceptions of God are so sharply different from the God of Israel and Jesus that they cannot reasonably be claimed to be the same being. An issue similar to the above that is also important is that in many of these sources, verses are consider to abrogate other verses in the same source, or in Scripture.
    – JAGAnalyst
    Jul 14, 2015 at 22:43
  • @JAGAnalyst "... in many of these sources, verses are consider to abrogate other verses in the same source..." But don't we see that in the Bible too? For example, the New Testament puts an end to Jewish dietary laws, sabbath laws, circumcision, etc. I don't see how that's functionally different from the Quran's approach of newer writings taking precedence over earlier ones. Jul 15, 2015 at 17:10
  • @BruceAlderman Presuppositional apologists don't believe that newer takes precedence over older -- if God is God, he is never contradictory. They might explain the biblical examples you gave in the context of promise/fulfillment, and attempt to show that the same thing cannot be done with the verses in the Quran. But you should ask this as a question! Jul 15, 2015 at 17:34
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    @BruceAlderman Additionally, the understanding of why dietary laws, etc. change in some Christian traditions, including mine, is seen as an issue of them becoming unnecessary due to God's continued action. They are not seen as being abrogated in the sense of being nullified, and are considered a unified whole. . Rather, they are eternally fulfilled in Christ, and since His sacrifice is eternal, they are eternally fulfilled. This is very different from some other sources who themselves consider verses in their own scriptures to abrogate other verses in their own scriptures.
    – JAGAnalyst
    Jul 15, 2015 at 23:14

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