I know this is a broad question, so let me lay down some grounds. I am coming from a presuppositional angle, from assertions made by Cornelius Van Til, which I find very compelling.
Van Til asserts that 1) we cannot find common ground with unbelievers because “their heart was darkened” (Rom 1:21), and “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit” (1 Cor 2:14) and 2) mainstream modern apologetics (or classical apologetics) - “flowing from the Enlightenment with its commitment to rational autonomy” (1) - can, at best, serve as a secondary supplement.
As I read Van Til, I am convinced that I know these truths because God has first opened my eyes. That all these great rationales given by these legendary apologists make sense and that they are edifying because I accept them to be true in the first place. It’s a circular argument, and Van Til acknowledges that it is. But then again, he would defend his position by saying that all metaphysical claims are circular in the end. It’s like the naturalists only accepting those evidence that fit his/her worldview. Van Til further asserts that because all truths are from God (God is the very definition of truth), you can’t find any truths (or true knowledge) outside God.
Now I am not implying that all these apologetic efforts (in the classical sense) are inherently futile. But their utility seems much more limited than I previously thought. We can’t change minds with apologetics; it’s only the supernatural works of God that can change the heart. In light of this, the best apologetics (again, in the classical sense) can do is point out the logical inconsistencies in the mind of the unbeliever. Gospel must be proclaimed, not reasoned. So I am back to the basics. What does it mean to give a reason, to give an apologia, to the unbeliever?
This doesn’t even scratch the surface of Van Til but I just want to hear your thoughts on Van Til, reformed traditions, presuppositionalism, different apologetic methods including the more conservative types as I couldn’t find too many posted.
(1) Gaffin, Richard, Revelation & Reason, Epistemological Reflections on 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, 2007