PHILOSOPHY AND THE CHRISTIAN

The Quest for Wisdom in the Light of Christ

Tertullian famously asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Since the first century, Christians have hotly debated the relationship between faith and reason, between Scripture and natural revelation, and between Christian doctrine and non-Christian philosophy. Too often, though, the history of this conflict has been misrepresented and misunderstood. Thus, before we seek to answer these questions for our own time, we must first come to grips with the answers of the past. What did "philosophy" mean for our spiritual forefathers? When Christian teachers raised warnings in the past about its dangers, what precisely did they have in mind? And most importantly, where does this leave the church today?

This volume surveys how Christians have navigated this treacherous—but unavoidable—territory throughout the history of the Christian church. By careful attention to and critical reflection upon their examples, the Church today can be equipped with the discernment needed to continue the search for wisdom in a world groaning for the full unveiling of the light of Christ.

Paperback. VIII + 495 pp. $24.95

CONTRIBUTORS

Blake Adams, Christopher Cleveland, Gayle Doornbos, Peter Escalante, Andrew Fulford, Andre A. Gazal, Nathan Greeley, David Haines, Ryan Hurd, E.J. Hutchinson, Joseph Minich, Derrick Peterson, Matthew A. Stanley.

ABOUT RETRIEVALS

DAVENANT RETRIEVALS seek to exemplify the Davenant Institute’s mission of recovering the riches of the Reformation for the contemporary church, offering clear and collaborative expositions of a doctrinal topic key to the Protestant heritage and defending its relevance today.

PRAISE FOR THIS WORK

"Does Protestantism have anything to offer to philosophy? The contributors to this volume answer with a resounding yes as they examine a variety of topics, from natural theology to the relationship between science and Scripture. Theirs is an encouraging response in an age in which many Protestants have rejected philosophy out of hand. The authors here encourage believers to reconsider the meaning and role of philosophy for the Christian. The result is a valuable and thought-provoking book that invites the reader to share in that sense of wonder about God’s world that is at the root of all true philosophy.”

—KEITH MATHISON

PROFESSOR OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY | REFORMATION BIBLE COLLEGE

“Philosophy and the Christian is a valuable collection of essays arguing, largely from a Calvinist Reformed standpoint, that the Christian believer must not view philosophical disciplines as enemies of the faith, but as areas requiring serious theological interaction. The breadth of content is especially impressive (even Renaissance thinker John Colet of Seebohm's Oxford Reformers receives attention). The book is written for the well-educated and its arguments should be accessible to the college or theological seminary graduate.

In an era when anti-intellectualism is rife in so many religious circles, the treatments offered in this volume are a welcome addition to contemporary Christian thought. You will not necessarily agree with everything in Philosophy and the Christian—but why should you? Isn’t one of the great values of philosophical reflection that you are encouraged to think critically? If you perhaps believe that philosophy is an obscure activity limited to esoteric intellectuals, you badly need to read this book!”

—JOHN WARWICK MONTGOMERY, Ph.D., D.Théol,, LL.D.

DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF APOLOGETICS, EVANGELISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS, STRASBOURG (FRANCE)

“These passionately written, highly lucid essays build a much needed Protestant bridge between theology and philosophy, joining together the voices of Dante’s virtuous pagans with those of the scriptures, the early church fathers and the Protestant reformers. In clarifying and championing the role that classical humanism and natural law played in the writings of the reformers, they initiate a vital dialogue that I hope will continue for many years to come.”

—LOUIS MARKOS

PROFESSOR IN ENGLISH AND SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE, HOUSTON BAPTIST UNIVERSITY; AUTHOR OF APOLOGETICS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY AND ATHEISM ON TRIAL

“Christians seeking to understand and engage with philosophy benefit greatly from taking the long view, situating this or that local debate within the rich historical tradition of which it is part. The benefit is all the greater when we can discern and evaluate the recurring intellectual patterns that have come to characterise this tradition. This impressive collection of essays brilliantly delivers on both counts: it provides a Reformed overview of the historic breadth of Christian engagements with philosophy from Tertullian and Justin, through the magisterial Reformers to Barth, reformed epistemology and presuppositionalism, and its essays also build a cumulative argument around recurring themes that illuminate not just what but how Christians have thought about philosophy. It is a splendid resource for anyone seeking to understand both the continuities and diversities in this important and ongoing conversation.”

—CHRISTOPHER WATKIN

FRENCH STUDIES, MONASH UNIVERSITY

“This book opens old books in order to bring the refreshing breeze of ages gone by into our minds. It asks important questions and enters into dialogue with the past to create a new conversation for the present about the relationship between theology and philosophy. This collection of essays is encouragingly provocative and will give readers good food for thought as they navigate through the issues.”

—J.V. FESKO

WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

“Philosophy and the Christian is an accessible and unique text on philosophical theology. Rather than being mired down by all issues in the field (e.g., there is no chapter on the problem of evil), it is selective and chronological in its largely topical approach. The book is self-consciously Christian, Protestant and Evangelical without using any of these qualifiers as excuses to oversimplify or ignore a level of rigor inherent in the philosophical task. The best that can be said is the work demonstrates, through the variety and diversity of its authors and their offerings, an underlying unity of Christian philosophy. That is, it represents its ideas as well as presenting them. Those interested in thinking philosophically about their Christian faith will be aided and challenged by this book.”

—J. T. BRIDGES

SOUTHERN EVANGELICAL SEMINARY

Contents

1 Introduction: On the Possibility of a Protestant Evangelical Philosophy

Joseph Minich

1
2 The Metaphysics of Scripture

Andrew Fulford & David Haines

9
3 Early Christian Apologists and Their Peers: Philosophy as Praeparatio Evangelica

Blake Adams

50
4 The Goal of Philosophy in Medieval Theology

Christopher Cleveland

157
5 Considering “The Weave of the Text”: John Colet’s Neo-Platonic Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 11

Andre A. Gazal

175
6 Reason Diabolical, Reason Divine: Philosophy, Classical Humanism, and the Scripture Principle in Philip Melanchthon and Niels Hemmingsen

E. J. Hutchinson

214
7 Natural Theology in Reformed Orthodoxy

David Haines

250
8 Early Modern Protestant Philosophy

Nathan Greeley

292
9 Modern Reformed Philosophies

Gayle Doornbos

326
10 Postmodernity and the Structures of Creaturely Life: A Hermeneutical Proposal

Matthew A. Stanley

356
11 On Analytic Theology

Ryan Hurd

380
12 Scribbling in God’s Two Books: Some Historical and Normative Reflections on Scripture, Theology, Natural Philosophy, and Science

Derrick Peterson 

401
13 Philosophy as a Way of Life: Reforming the Quest for Wisdom

Peter Escalante & Joseph Minich

461

MORE FROM THE DAVENANT PRESS

The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.

Below are some of the works we've published towards that end.