Sye Ten Bruggencate - Another Sympathetic Review!
- Plus Readers' Comments! :o)
"How To Answer The Fool"
-- The Destruction of a Cottage Industry
By Tony Miano
May 1, 2013
"'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge.' You cannot know anything at all unless you
start with God."
And so begins the film, "How to Answer the Fool: A
Presuppositional Defense of the Faith." The movie chronicles
the presuppositional apologetic of Sye Ten Bruggencate
(Proof That God Exists), who is quickly becoming one of the
premier authorities regarding this biblical apologetic
I will begin this review of the film by asserting a few of
my own presuppositions. Sye Ten Bruggencate is my friend
and my brother in Christ. I've served alongside him. I've
broken bread with him. I've had conversations into the wee
hours of the morning with him. And I've learned much from
him that has not only sharpened my ability to biblically
defend my faith in Jesus Christ, but the Lord has also
used Sye and his biblical approach to defending the
Christian faith to make me a better open-air preacher.
Sye is a godly, albeit imperfect, man whose love for Christ,
love for Christians, and love for the lost is evident in
his ministry and his unwavering, sheepdog-esque defense of
the Christian faith.
Who's The Judge?
Within the first couple of minutes of the film, Sye
succinctly defines his approach to presuppositional
apologetics. The remaining 80 minutes of the film
builds upon that foundation.
"When we give evidence to unbelievers, we make them
the judge and we put God on trial."
It's true. Over the last few years, with Sye's help
and as a result of my own study of Scripture, I came
to realize that there were many times in my open-air
preaching and one-to-one evangelism that I had allowed
myself to fall into the unbeliever's trap of playing God's
defense attorney in their blasphemous courtroom--a courtroom
where the Supreme Judge of the Universe, the Creator God,
is put on trial, examined, and interrogated by the guilty criminal--the unrepentant unbeliever. And when I did that,
when I sought to defend God as if He needed to be proven to
and exonerated by the unbeliever who already knows God exists
(Romans 1:18), I not only facilitated the unbeliever's
blasphemy, but I also blasphemed God in doing so. "How To
Answer The Fool" teaches Christians how to lovingly, yet unapologetically, avoid stepping outside the Christian
worldview to prove something to unbelievers they already
know (God exists) and how to never, for a moment, allow the unbeliever's sinful worldview serve as the authority and
place of reason in the conversation.
Sye Ten Bruggencate is a dangerous man.
In one scene, Sye tries to reason with a college student on
a college campus, while other students listened in and tried
to interject. As Sye gently and surgically defined, disassembled,
and destroyed the young man's fallacious worldview (a worldview
that claims to have purpose, meaning, rationality, and logic
without God), another student in the crowd can be heard shouting, "You're a dangerous man! You're a dangerous man!"
Sye is a dangerous man. He is dangerous to the hold atheistic-
minded professors, pundits, and propagandists presently have on
a generation of university-aged people who enter places of higher learning knowing things for certain, only to be taught they can't know anything for certain, and that they can be certain of that.
He is also dangerous to a more-than-a-generation old, multi-
million dollar cottage industry in Evangelicalism.
In one 80-minute film, Sye Ten Bruggencate, Crown Rights,
and American Vision have rendered obsolete and, frankly,
unbiblical an entire genre of books, conferences, and maybe ministries--the genre of evidentiary apologetics.
Sye affirms in the film that "God can take a bent stick and
strike a straight blow." God can use the presentation of
evidences, along with the proclamation of the gospel to bring
people to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The problem is with those who say they are Christians because
of the evidence.
Such a profession of faith is spurious--one that, unless righted
by the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit, will lead a person
to be cast into hell as a worker of lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23).
Only the gospel is the power of God for salvation. (Romans 1:16).
Evidentiary apologetics has no such power.
Sadly, well-intentioned evidentiary apologists like Strobel,
Lennox, Turek, McDowell and son, Lane-Craig, and others--men
who often set aside the Bible as their authority and replace
it with archaeological, astronomical, cosmological, linguistic,
and literary evidences--are like a police officer who obeys a criminal to drop his weapon in a gunfight. They might win the argument, but they are playing right into the enemy's hands.
They drop their only weapon (the Word of God) while not expecting
the same of the unbeliever. They play by the enemies rules.
They claim moral and intellectual victories and seem proud of
the fact they accomplished such feats without mentioning Jesus
Christ or referring to His Word.
Isn't that arrogant?
Isn't that blasphemous?
Sye is dangerous to the apologetic known as "Pascal's Wager."
As Sye remarks in the movie,
"God is not a bet.
He's not a good bet.
He's not even the best bet.
He's the certain God that has proclaimed Himself certainly."
The "Building/Builder" Analogy: No Controversy, Here
"But I've always done it this way."
Some will likely take Sye to task for what some may perceive
as a slight against Ray Comfort and his "building/builder"
analogy. I know Sye loves Ray and the people who serve with
Ray at Living Waters. Sye's mention of Ray's analogy is in
no way a personal slight against Ray.
Sye's critique of the "building/builder" analogy, which takes
all of a few seconds of the film, merits thought and attention.
In the movie, Sye takes the evidentiary "building/builder"
analogy and simply tweaks it to fit it into a presuppositional apologetic. Sye says, "God is not a builder. He's the builder.
They [unbelievers] know it and they are without excuse."
I used Ray's "building/builder" analogy for years.
I continue to use many things I've learned from my friend
and mentor. But I cannot continue to use this particular
analogy the way I have in the past simply because that's
what I've done so often. While it is true that buildings
do not happen by chance, just as the Universe did not
self-create itself by chance; the reality is that every
person knows that God is the Creator.
They simply suppress that truth by their unrighteousness.
They love their sin and themselves more than they love God,
but they know He exists.
As I grow in my knowledge and understanding of who God is
and of the truth of His Word, the things I say will change.
My presentation of the gospel will grow to conform to the
truth of God's Word, and so will my apologetics.
This means that things I once said I may not say any more,
either because I've learned that what I once said was incorrect,
or that there is a better way of communicating the same truth.
No analogy formulated by man (no matter how wonderful the man)
The Christian must take every thought captive to the glory
The Christian must be willing to change his thinking,
presentations, and rhetoric whenever necessary as he grows
in wisdom, discernment, and understanding, and in order to
grow in his conformity to the image of Christ.
If I took the time to share my thoughts about the entire
film, this review would be far too long. What I've shared
thus far covers only about the first 20 minutes of the film.
There is another hour of footage packed with biblical truth
and glorious exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
It is one I will watch on a regular basis as both a refresher
course in presuppositional apologetics and as an encouragement
to my Christian faith.
As I seek to disciple younger open-air preachers, "How To
Answer The Fool" will be required viewing and a topic of
discussion for each young man I am blessed to train.
As important as "180" has been to helping Christians and non-Christians understand that abortion is murder, and as
important as "Babies Are Murdered Here" will be to answering
the question, "So, what do we do about it?", "How To Answer
The Fool" will, I'm sure, be used by the Lord to equip many Christians around the world to defend their Christian faith
without compromising the truth or acquiescing to the unbeliever's demand that we check our biblical worldview at the door, before entering the conversation.
"How To Answer The Fool" is the most important Christian
apologetic film of this generation--one that will stand the
tests of time.
READERS' COMMENTS (Partial List)
From: Sye Ten Bruggencate
Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Time: About 4:00 PM MT
Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words Brother!
Indeed, all glory goes to God.
Sorry that I am going to miss you in Kentucky.
From: Robert Baty
Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Time: About 6:00 PM MT
I ran across Sye on one of Eric Hovind's FaceBook pages
and Sye has been on the run from me ever since; with his
sympathizers providing cover for his continuing evasions.
I propose that Sye's much-touted "proof of God" is NO
"proof of God".
Sye has not been honest in what he has had to say about
The invitation remains open for Sye or his appointed
surrogate to come out, come clean and openly and honestly
negotiate for the proposed exchange involving Sye's
affirmative "proof of God" claim and my rebuttal thereto.
Perhaps there is someone here who has the moral influence
to get Sye to initiate the negotiations; by simply sending
an email message to:
If deemed necessary, we can negotiate an alternative venue
for the negotiations.
The website associated with the above email address has
public archives which can be accessed at:
The historic record regarding my dealings with
Presuppositionalism, and Sye in particular, are found in
the archives there and span the last few weeks.
If you search the archives there you might even find
references to where Sye and his sympathizers have
implicitly admitted that Sye's "proof of God" is NO
"proof of God".
If Sye agrees and wants to make an explicit admission
of that and the propriety of my complaint against him
and his claim that would make the proposed issue in
If Sye does not agree, the invitation remains for him
to accept and initiate the negotiations...or his appointed