Reflections on Biblical and
Christian Philosophy

Home

Search

Table of Contents: What Is Here! (Site Map)

Glossary: A Concise Christian and Biblical Philosophy

How Is This Site Different?

Inescapable Truths

Quick Hitters: Penseés

Bible Texts and Philosophy

Important Bible Words

Musings of the Author

About the Author

Biblical Worldview21

Contact the Editor or Webmaster


Quo Vadis Christian Philosopher?  Some Concerns and Directions among the Successes

 

***This paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Atlanta, GA, November 17. 2015.

 

No Christian in philosophy today would argue that there has not been a virtual explosion of the number of Christians working in philosophy.  William Lane Craig and Paul Copan declare, “Nothing short of a veritable revolution in Anglo-American philosophy has begun! … God is making a comeback.”[1]  Someone has estimated that 30 percent of all faculty at the college and graduate levels, including those secular, who are working in philosophy, are Christians.  Alvin Plantinga played a considerable role in this development with his leadership in several ways and in particular his landmark address in 1984, “Advice to Christian Philosophers.”  Then, there are a plethora of others who deserve mention, but cannot be for reasons of time.[2]  This growth of Christians in philosophy is a cause for celebration—an exciting advancement for the Kingdom of God. 

 

However, rapid growth in any area is never entirely positive.  While I make no claim to the status of Plantinga, I would like to explore some ways that we might be more “Christian” in our work.  Of course, these are MY concerns, but perhaps you might agree on one or more, or I may give you some ideas on which to work.

 

Every age seems to think that it faces the worst problems in history.  I have been reading a novel about the Mongols of the 13th century and their devastation that was to be feared because it was often total annihilation.  Whether we face the greatest threat in history is debatable, there is no doubt that we face grave dangers in the West in general and America in particular.  Christian philosophers should be determined to be part of the solution and not contribute to a worsening situation.

 

My project is that to reduce the threat of atheistic efforts and tyrannical tendencies, the Academy must grasp and widely teach that all beliefs about cosmology, anthropology, epistemology, and ethics are faith-based, that is religious.  One’s choice of which philosophy or religion to commit “gers or houses, horses, salt, and blood on a “word of iron,” as the Mongols did to their kahns, will determine what kind of world in which we live.  Therefore, how one defines “religion” and “belief” will define the future of the world. 

 

Until the Enlightenment, Christianity faced no real philosophical challenge.  Prior to that event, in the West, the ancient philosophies, rightly and wrongly, were integrated into the Christian faith.  But “intellectual man” chafed under the Christian tradition, sometimes for right reasons, but mostly for wrong reasons.  Thus, today, we have stringent voices that are definitively anti-Christian.  We have the falsely contrived divorce of faith and reason.

 

The divide of faith and reason

 

On the one hand, this divorce is seen in the public square, perhaps, most vividly in the common idea of “faith-groups.”  If there are identities known as faith-groups, what are the other groups?  If faith and reason are the only categories, then everyone else belongs to “reason-groups.”  Now, in the eye of the common man, and even intellectuals, who has the most credibility?  Well, obviously the groups who reason and are reasonable.  There is then, therefore, the antithesis of “religious” and “reasoned.”  Even evangelical Christians prefer to be known as “reasonable” or “reasoning” persons, rather than “religious” or belonging to a “faith-group.”

 

World crisis.  Now, whatever may be taken away from my paper here, this thought is one that I want to trumpet as loudly and as clearly as I am able.  Christians must work to tear down this dichotomy or Western civilization may be destroyed.  – Repeat -- 

 

Hyperbole?  Certainly, I am often given to such, but you may decide the extent to which I am exaggerating.  If I present an argument as a “person of faith,” and I oppose a Marxist, he is subtly, but powerfully, a person of reason.  The dichotomy that I have described only allows faith and reason.  As a Christian, I am a person of “faith’ or “non-reason.” 

 

Again, if you are to take anything from my paper, please consider.  First, whether what I am saying is accurate.  If it is, what can YOU do about it.  Wherever you teach, wherever you write, wherever you speak, begin to discuss that all peoples are peoples of faith whether of religious group or not.  The Marxist belongs to a faith-group, as does the socialist, communist, constitutionalist, Republican, Democrat, or whatever banner one is under.  We have lost the ideological and sociological battle before it begins, if we allow this dichotomy to continue.

 

Or, just dismiss me as a false prophet and turn me into a pile of stones!

 

Scholarly and philosophical reasons

 

That is the confrontation in the public square, but on the other hand,  scholarly and intellectually, “faith” is the inescapable starting point for all philosophical or religious systems.  What is the end term of “justified true belief?”  Belief. Let’s review this matter.

 

Faith and reason interdependent.  Reason  and faith are interdependent.  There must be the reasoned structures of an alphabet, words, and grammar in a statement of faith, as well as the mind of the one who hears or reads it.  Then, unless one is content to be ignorantly dogmatic (and too many are), that basic belief should be built into a coherent system that can be apologetically defended.  Reason is necessary to achieve this solid structure.

 

One’s most basic beliefs are tacit and personal, as Michael Polanyi has demonstrated so clearly in his several books.  While one may find a community of similar beliefs, as he has shown, it is still a personal choice to indwell that particular community.  And, even so, few within that group will agree on every single tenet of that belief system.  The tautology and circular reasoning of basic beliefs is unavoidable, just as Kurt Gödel demonstrated in mathematics and shook the philosophical world.  As I have stated, the Enlightenment was an attempt to escape Christian beliefs and ground an epistemology on a totally secular basis.  But, what is that intent but a basic belief in itself?  The logical positivists of the early 20th century believed that only empirical studies could provide knowledge, but that foundational belief itself was tacit and personal, speculative and metaphysical.  It was and is a performative contradiction, that is, if true it was false.

 

I am sincerely astonished that so many for so long still argue faith vs. reason.  While Augustine said that one must believe in order to understand, he also said that reason was necessary to make a statement of belief and necessary to a coherent structure of belief.[3]  Certainly, modern linguistics has put the lie to the simplicity of a simple statement of any kind, much less that of a basic belief.  Such formulation is only possible by a most complex structure of empiricism, deduction, abduction, tradition, culture, and personal choice.[4]

 

By what standard?  Measuring stick?  One of the few—almost—universal beliefs among modern philosophers is that foundationalism, as least in its classical form, is dead.  Conflated with that fact, or perhaps even a re-statement of it, is the reality that after 2500+ years, there is no agreed-upon epistemology, ontology, cosmology, morals or ethics.  One could say that philosophy has no settled answers.  Indeed, philosophers cannot even agree on a definitive definition of philosophy.

 

Christian philosopher, do you hear?  ------ Christian philosopher, “Do you hear?” What right does any person with any other belief system have to even begin to criticize Christianity, much less to launch a full-scale challenge to it.  Where would that person stand to do so?  The ideological world, then, on that unsettled basis should be wide-open to invite Christians and their beliefs to the discussion.  Plantinga’s “warrant” for belief is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. A Christian should be quite willing to argue the fruits of 2000 years of Christianity vs. the fruits of 2500 years of philosophy or any other religious system!

 

But, the intellectual world has never been more closed to the truth of Christianity.  Why?  Indeed, why.  There must be something more than logic, reason, and even empiricism that opposes it.  Perhaps, the Bible has an answer: the world, the flesh, and the Devil?  The principalities and powers of the air?  Vain philosophies?  Satan as the Father of liars and the Angel of Light—light—Enlightenment? 

 

There are only two epistemologies: light and darkness, the light of Scripture and the darkness of man without Biblical revelation.  We should decide into which side our work falls.

 

A brief aside about doubt, skepticism, and higher criticism

 

I recently read an article by professors at a Reformed denomination’s university on the subject of doubt, and I would include “skepticism”  and “higher criticism” here as they are birds of a feather.  This discussion illustrated my contention here that doubt, as representative of this trinity  should not have the  privileged status that it has had historically and presently.  This opposition  merely represents other forms of  basic beliefs.  All debates consist of one faith against another.  And again, they should  to be identified as such.  Polanyi has some 30 pages on the critique of doubt and skepticism.[5]  You would do well to read it for it gives great power to modern debates that invoke these terms.  I have seen nothing like it anywhere.

 

This powerful influence must be recognized for what it is. The failed quest of foundationalism demonstrates that there are no universal basic beliefs, only passionately held, competing beliefs or competing faiths,  none privileged over the others except to the extent allowed by listening persons.  Orthodox Christianity gains considerable ascendency in its epistemological status by this re-phrasing of its competition.

 

Herein is the fact of the matter.  Doubt and skepticism are merely other faith positions—they have no privileged status! The presence of doubt is merely the question, “Where and in what will I place my faith?”  Biblical truth which presents an omniscient God , OR modern science OR  my own religious idolatry?  As Christians, we make too much of doubt because we do not consider, and worse have not been taught, that doubt is simply transferring our faith to an inferior epistemology, not some serious challenge to God’s Word.

 

The presence of doubt, then, is the challenge to increase one’s study of God and His Word until one arrives as the solid ground of Biblical epistemology. 

 

Definitions of Faith—An Aside

 

After love, faith is the most mis-understood word in the Christian vocabulary.  I have spent years on the subject, intrigued by Jesus’ command to several persons whom He had healed, “Go your way, your faith has made you well!”  I want to very briefly share my conclusions with you.  Generically, faith is the predisposition to act according to one’s personal knowledge with an expectation of a particular result that will or will not be proven true by the events of reality.

 

Or, for a Christian, faith is the willingness to act righteously according to Biblical knowledge, expecting God to act in a particular way and receiving His Providence as a result.

 

The blessing of faith, whether generic or Christian, is that one is able to make a decision with incomplete knowledge or without one’s being omniscient.

 

I presented a paper which developed those themes more fully at the spring meeting of the SE-EPS, if anyone would like that paper.

 

Starting points

 

Starting points.  What then should be the starting points of Christians in philosophy or one might say, what starting points are most foundational of a Christian pursuit of philosophy or any other area of knowledge?  I propose the two that Abraham Kuyper grounded his encyclopedic efforts in the 19th century: palingenesis or regeneration and Scripture. 

 

Regeneration.  First, there is the reality and necessity of regeneration.  Now, to consider regeneration—only briefly—is to invite all manner of misunderstanding.  But, in my personal and informal survey of  two publications, Faith and Philosophy and Philosophia Christi, regeneration seems to be a neglected topic among Christians and evangelicals in recent decades in philosophy.  Perhaps, however, I can state some central agreements along this line.

 

Regeneration is and is not “conversion.”  There are several lengthy articles and books on conversion by both Christians and non-Christians.  As such, it is a change, possibly a dramatic change, from one belief system to another.  I once read about John Denver’s “mountaintop conversion” to something, and there is the early and later Wittgenstein.  Conversion in this sense is epistemological and ethical, and it comes as a conviction to new premises.  Regeneration is that, but much more.

                                      

First, and foremost, it is a work of God the Holy Spirit (John 3).  Whether one is Arminian or Reformed seems to be mostly a matter of timing and perspective on the human will, and whether the change is permanent regardless of the thinking and behavior of the regenerate person.  Yet, the radical nature of the change should be beyond dispute, as it consists of one’s destiny of Heaven instead of Hell; dwelling in light rather than darkness; “a new creation” vs. “the old man”; calling Jesus Christ as Lord vs. using His name in vain, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength vs. commitment to idols.   I have come to think of regeneration as an ontological change, but I do not have time to discuss that here, and that reality is not necessary to my essay.

 

Surely, then, we can agree that this change is minimally epistemological—dramatically so, if our just-reviewed distinctions hold.  Again, Biblical texts indicate this dramatic grounding of epistemology.  In the 1st Chapter of I Corinthians, there is the contrast of “wisdom of God” vs. “foolishness of men”;  in the 2nd Chapter, Christians “have the mind of Christ”;  in Romans 12:1-2, we present “a living sacrifice,” that is, we worship and are “metamorphosed” by the “renewing of our minds”; in Colossians 2:3 we find that “in Christ are hidden all the ‘storehouse” of wisdom and knowledge”: in Psalm 111:10 David says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” --- wisdom?  Love of wisdom… the definition of philosophy?

 

Scripture and the EPS.  The other starting point is Scripture. At first glance, this starting point seems coherent with the EPS statement of belief.

 

The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and therefore inerrant in the original manuscripts. God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.

 

In 2004, the meaning of “inerrant” was expanded by a resolution of the Evangelical Theological Society to the following statements.

 

For the purpose of advising members regarding the intent and meaning of the reference to biblical inerrancy in the Doctrinal Basis of ETS , the Society refers members to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978). The case for biblical inerrancy rests on the absolute trustworthiness of God and Scripture’s testimony to itself. A proper understanding of inerrancy takes into account the language, genres, and intent of Scripture. We reject approaches to Scripture that deny that biblical truth claims are grounded in reality.

 

I have not been able to find where EPS has or has not acted on this clarification. However, the above oath for membership has not changed, so my proposal would not seem to be affected.

 

While my paper is only in part about epistemology, these words convey the ultimate epistemology: “the Word of God written” and “inerrant.”  Where else in the universe of epistemology or concerns for truth is there such a claim?  God speaking to man as the revelation of Himself..  The omniscient God, Creator of man who is made in His image, revealing what he wants man to know… what is necessary for his relationship with God, with his fellow man, and about the meaning of his life on this planet.  This Word has made a greater impact for good in the history of man when measured by any standard of “flourishing.”  And, such superlatives could be expanded greatly.

 

Yet, if one peruses issues of Philosophia Christi, one finds few articles of substance that develop Biblical themes relative to philosophy.  Most Scripture that is cited is token reference to other issues in the text.  In fact, many of our most renown philosophers purposefully avoid Biblical references.

 

Then, there  is God’s own call through His Word that should be central to all Christian concerns.  (1) “The Word of God is living and active, piercing to the division and joints and marrow” (Hebrews 4:12).  (2) God has promised that His Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  He makes no promise about any other knowledge.  And, I would declare that , Scripture has more claims to epistemological truth than any other source of knowledge known to man on planet Earth.

 

Caveat.  Please, do not think that I am excluding what philosophy offers to the Kingdom of God.  I am not a Bible-only fundamentalist.  I strongly believe that philosophy in the service of Biblical hermeneutics and theology can markedly contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the Kingdom of God.  I simply want to call for a more robust inclusion of Biblically derived theological themes in our discussions.

 

 

A Biblical, educational turn?

 

Thus, I am calling for a “Biblical” turn among Christians in philosophy.  This change may be already happening, as I have been encouraged by recent issues of Philosophia Christi, since I first delivered this paper in 2011. But I think that we can and must do better. If most of a Christian’s education concerns secular philosophy, how is he or she to be truly “Christian” in their later work?  Their greatest commitment to the truth of Christianity will be extremely weak, if it makes attempts on the basis of “milk”—that is, only a Sunday School education in  one’s philosophical work.

 

As a physician, I have a long and extensive background in psychology.  The intensive and extensive training that psychologists undergo trains them to think like secularists.  Great harm has been done to Christians by using the world’s understanding of thinking and behavior.  I strongly believe that the same is true of Christians in philosophy.  The young aspiring philosopher, then, may be jolted to muse, “Who wants additional years of theological study added to the many years already necessary for a degree in philosophy?”

 

Well, I stand before you as a physician,  board-certified for the 6th time last year, yet I have achieved a strong background in theology and am working to develop my skill and understanding in philosophy, not to mention that I am almost a scratch golfer at age 72.  The idea that one must have formal degrees is one that must be re-considered without lowering expectations to achieve mastery in fields where one is believed to be called.  I spent 23 years preparing to practice medicine, is not the philosophy and theology of the soul infinitely more important?

 

Barna polls indicate an appalling ignorance among evangelical Christians.  In our churches, we have no expectations of scholarly advancement.  We give admittance to a very minimal understanding of what it is to be a Christian.  Worse, we have little more expectation of deacons, elders, and other church leaders.  We have sermonettes for Christianettes.  We have little or no training for Sunday School teachers.  Yet, garden societies, of which my wife is a member, have higher standards than evangelical churches.  Scripture describes regeneration as a profound personal and worldview change, as we have seen, and that change includes, or perhaps is more foundationally, a soundly developed mind.  I wonder the amount of time that congregants spend surfing the web, watching television, trundling children to soccer practice, and otherwise spending precious time that could be spent in serious study of the Bible and theology?

 

Now, for the record, length and even depth of education, does not guarantee truth and correct action, but a short and superficial education does guarantee unnecessary ignorance.  I wonder how much more unity in the body of Christ we might achieve with a higher level of Biblical, theological, and logical education by which to demonstrate and argue our beliefs, especially on a more sound hermeneutical and rational basis.  So many of our conflicts are superficial and emotional.

 

Questionable Areas of Christian Philosophy

 

From these two starting points, there are several areas that are questionable pursuits for Christians.  Unfortunately, I do not have the time to discuss them more fully, but I have done so in the past and on my website. 

 

Classical theism is one.  There is the God of Scripture, but there is no god who exists as described by classical theism.  In discussions within Western philosophy, classical theism must borrow from the zeitgeist of hundreds of years in order to formulate such a description.  Then, whatever description is used, that god does not exist—he is only a figment of philosophers’ imagination.  Pascal recognized this distinction in his “god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” vs. the “god of the philosophers.”

 

Philosophy of religion is another.  If all beliefs are religious by advocating a worldview, then philosophy of religion is no different than philosophy per se.  In congruence with this thinking, note that many definitions or descriptions of “philosophy of religion” cover virtually all categories with general philosophy. What, then, is unique about this category?

 

 Is not philosophy of religion in the West heavily infiltrated with Christian ideas?  When a God of theism is constructed, why should it be one who is omniscient, omnipotent, the greatest idea conceivable, perfect, etc.  How do these ideas originate except within the Christian tradition?  And how is there a Christian tradition without the Bible?  When Plantinga and others speak of the sensus divinitatis of Augustine and Calvin, where did these scholars get this concept except from the writings of the Apostle Paul of the New Testament?  Why not discuss the sensus divinitatis as an idea of Revelation, rather than a man originated concept?  Do we not tacitly deny what we know by revelation when we present ideas in this way?  Are we honoring our God and His Revelation in reverence and awe?  Is this onto-theology?

 

Natural theology, especially “ramified natural theology” suffers the same difficulties.  Natural theology borrows greatly from the intellectual milieu of the West.  Could it have developed in its classic form within the Oriental world of ideas?  Such does not seem likely.

 

***Inclusivism.  And, what is the flirtation with “inclusivism” of some Christians?  What do other “religions” have to offer epistemologically or ethically?  Judaism is incomplete, without a Messiah.  The fruits of Islam in its subjugation of other religious peoples, its treatment of women, and its stifling of public education, much less its barbarities of conquest and perversions of its prophet Mohammed, condemn it for what is.  I saw a political cartoon that vividly describes the contrast of the distortion of Christianity and Islam in today’s world.  It showed two toilets—commodes—what we sit on to do our business.  In one toilet was the Koran and in the other was a Bible.  The captions read, “Modern art” and the other read “Hate crime.”  You know which was which.

 

Hinduism is a variety of beliefs that are quite varied and even contradictory.  The history of Indian poverty and caste system shows its fruit.  Buddhism is a focus on self, with no transcendent being.  And on and on.  “Religion” is a false category, failing to have common core characteristics and the word, “religion,” masks that all epistemologies are personal, basic beliefs.

 

***Application to the inerrancy debate.  In preparing for this paper, I tried to read extensively on the inerrancy debate that is still vigorous today.  If we re-frame the debate into one basic belief competing against another basic belief, the nature of the argument changes.  One scholar has contended that it is “a virtual impossibility to be both an evangelical believer (in inerrancy as stated by the ETS and EPS) and a critical scholar at the same time.”[6]  To re-state in my terminology here, his concern becomes competition between “faith” in Scripture as the very Word of God who is truth vs. “faith” in critical scholarship.  Wherein lies the greater authority of these “faiths?”  While in reality the latter is necessary to the former, one must predominate, else it is not a basic belief.

 

Application to science and Scripture.  There is a vast literature on the philosophy of science that seems to be almost unknown in the evangelical world with the exception of the Creation-science debate.  I have already mentioned Michael Polanyi whose major work is entitled Personal Knowledge where he gives many, many examples where “faith” in science has been misplaced.  He demonstrates most persuasively that the most basic belief in science known as “the scientific method” involves personal choices and commitments from beginning to end.  Yet, this method is espoused in colleges and universities throughout the world as infallible and the source of truth.  I give one example in Polanyi’s own field of physical chemistry.  As theories of crystal formation were being developed, researchers began their study with certain beliefs about crystals.  Those specimens that met these beliefs were formed into a system.  Those that did not fit these beliefs were simply tossed aside!  Where is the objectivity in that process?

 

Finally, Biblical dichotomies must be taken seriously

 

Harry Blamires, while speaking of Christians working with secularists, stated we forget that there is “a gigantic  battle between good and evil that splits the universe.”[7]  Is this the way that we approach our work in Christian philosophy?

 

One apologetic for Christianity as the only true religion is stated herein: Scripture’s appeal as one’s basis for epistemology.  While there have been debates about inclusion or exclusion of Scripture in the work  of Christian philosophers, only in Scripture do we find the notion of “having the mind of Christ” I Cor. 2:14.  I submit that there is no greater source of truth for philosophical pursuit.

 

Orthodoxy must be taken more seriously.

 

***Narrowing Plantinga’s call.  Orthodoxy must be taken more seriously.  Can Christopher Hitchins see orthodoxy more clearly than some Christians?  In an interview with an avant garde minister who claimed not to believe in the doctrine of the atonement, Hitchens responded.

 

I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

 

Now, I would not begin to let Hitchens define orthodoxy, but he nailed this “liberal Christian” (her own words) from any real identity of being a Christian.  I contrast this exclusive position defined by an avowed atheist with three Christian authors in the 2nd issue of Philosophia Christi in 2009, entitled, “Religious Diversity.” I find such discussions to be dangerous to traditional orthodox beliefs and to the souls of those in other religions.  According to the stance of the ETS, and presumably EPS, those flirtations and others that are ongoing are heretical.  While I do not necessarily want to be involved in witch hunts, our philosophies must serve Christian orthodoxy and identify heresy when we believe it to exist.

 

Further, this exclusivism is demanded by the nature of belief itself.  If any belief is possible, no belief is possible.  If anything goes, nothing goes.  All belief sets its limits—limits are inescapable.  So, any philosopher who does not recognize that exclusivism is both necessary and demanded by the concept of concrete beliefs, believes in nothing.  And, that is not to even mention the exclusive nature of orthodox and evangelical Christianity which reflects Jesus Christ’s own exclusivism that “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.”

 

If we agree that there is an orthodox Christianity, what is it? 

 

------------------------------------------------------

 

 

1.  Some statement about the final authority and “inerrancy” of the Bible should be included.  By “Bible,” I mean the 66 books that all three major branches of Christianity agree upon and about which I have coined the term, “agree-upon Bible.”  By “inerrancy,” I do not necessarily mean agreement with the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), but something close to it.

 

Practicum.  The points at which our world is being destroyed.  Perhaps, continue our “ivory tower” conceptual pursuits, but equal (?) time to the public square.  1.  Philosophy of science.  Expose the lie of scientism and the scientific method.  Only two contenders for knowledge today:  scientism and evangelical Christianity.  2.  Expose the lie of “faith-groups,” and expose the lie of separation of church and state.  All thought is circular and requires conversion.  3.  Continue to proclaim the apologetic claims of Christianity.  We seem to be doing this quite well.  4.  Teach students and congregants to think and reason.  Formal theology and philosophy are not beyond their reach.  5.  Increased study in theology and Bible study required in attaining degrees in philosophy.  Examined basic beliefs. If you express universal ideas, they should jolly well be well thought out.  The difference between emoting (political correctness) and rational reasoning.  5.a.  Adopt Scripture as our starting point according to our statement of belief and as the outworking of the Holy Spirit in personal sanctification and advancement of the Kingdom of God.  6.  Expose the lies of Islam, its injustice, and its predilection for violence.  7.  Expose the lies of political correctness.  8.  More discussions and debate for the core of orthodoxy—“anything goes” is incompatible with Christianity.  The reality of church discipline.  8.  Teach that there is no privileged status for doubt—it is only another faith position. (9) Getting secular and college universities to have classes that present honest appraisals and debates on “religions.” (10) Challenge other religions in college and university on an apologetic basis.   

 

 Philosophies incompatible with Biblical, orthodox Christianity

 

Other worlds,  possible worlds

Open theism

Theodicy

Philosophy of religion

Natural philosophy

Natural theology

Natural law

Inclusivism

Apologetics to convince by reason

Physicalism and brain only without soul/spirit

Evolution: some forms

“Soft sciences”: psychology, sociology, medicine, etc.

Empiricism as a means to truth; empiricism as a basic belief

Evidentialism, as a persuasive apologetic

 

 

Other world crises.  (1) Mass movement of immigrants into the U.S. and Europe.  (2)  Severe restrictions on Christians’ free speech and behavior.  (3) Mass migration of Muslims into America and Europe and their unwillingness to assimilate into Christian culture.  (4) The idea of “faith-groups” as a political entity.  (5) Pastors unwilling to preach what they know, as Biblical truth (Barna).  (6)  Debt of the U.S. government and other government institutions.  (6) Abortion.  (7) Implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  (8)

 



[1] “Trajectories in Philosophy and Apologetics,” http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Trajectories-in-Philosophy-and-Apologetics.html

[2] For example, Gordon H. Clark, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Arthur Holmes, George Mavrodes, Stephen Evans, William Alston, Eleonore Stump, James Sire, and others named elsewhere in this paper.

[3] B.B. Warfield, Augustine and Calvin.

[4] I recommend Christian Smith’s analysis of persons as “believing” beings in his book, Moral Believing Animals and Michael Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge.

 

[5] Personal Knowledge, 269-298.

[6] Bovell, Carlos R., “Scriptural Authority and Believing Criticism,” Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 3(1):17-27.

[7] The Christian Mind, (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1963), 70.

 


 

Copyright ©2008 Covenant Enterprises
Site Design 2008 Adaptive Web Solutions