Philosophy and the Christian
The Quest for Wisdom in the Light of Christ
Edited by Dr. Joseph Minich
Publication Date: October 13, 2018
About this book
“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 | 530 PAGES | 5×8 | PubliSHed October 13, 2018 | ISBN: 978-1949716986
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From the Book
“THESE ESSAYS, therefore, are not offered in a spirit of telling the reader what to think. They are offered in the spirit of aiding the reader in how to think, how to perform fresh acts of philosophical faithfulness in the murky wood of our own modern context.
This is urgent because we can easily get the impression that we have moved into a portion of the jungle that is entirely new and for which the fathers cannot, therefore, be reliable guides. As it turns out, however, our fathers also found themselves in portions of the jungle which were (then) without precedent. While we do detect some discontinuities as we examine these moments in their original context(s), we also discover some principled patterns that show up again and again in different situations. Sufficient attention to these moments can aid us in developing philosophical instincts concerning contemporary claims. For instance, Christians have often found themselves in contexts where the Christian faith was deemed primitive and unreasonable. Christians have often confronted philosophies which supposedly discarded everything that came before it. Christians have often been told that philosophical integrity require a willy-nilly handling of Scripture. And what we find in the history of Christian witness is not the shutting of one’s eyes and a hoping for the best.
What we find is that Christians have met these challenges with fresh philosophical insight, with incisive philosophical critique, and with a newfound appreciation for the depth and insight of Scripture when it is mined faithfully for its bottomless wealth.
As we will see in these essays, this is not because Christians are wiser than other men. It is rather that, added to their natural capacity for knowing and wonderment is the divine guidance of the Logos speaking through the Scriptures, and pulling them forward toward the maturity in Christ which is the destiny of the human species. Their orienting point is not merely the markers left by their brethren in the forest (though that is essential), but the light shining through the trees at its other end. The end of all philosophizing is God Himself.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Response to the Claim that our Church is Corrupted with Popish Forms of Worship – Joseph Minich
The Metaphysics of Scripture – Andrew Fulford & David Haines
Early Christian Apologists and Their Peers: Philosophy as Praeparatio Evangelica – Blake Adams
The Goal of Philosophy in Medieval Theology – Christopher Cleveland
Considering “The Weave of the Text”: John Colet’s Neo-Platonic Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 11 – Andre A. Gazal
Reason Diabolical, Reason Divine: Philosophy, Classical Humanism, and the Scripture Principle in Philip Melanchthon and Niels Hemmingsen – E.J. Hutchinson
Natural Theology in Reformed Orthodoxy – David Haines
Early Modern Protestant Philosophy – Nathan Greely
Modern Reformed Philosophies – Gayle Doornbos
Postmodernity and the Structures of Creaturely Life: A Hermeneutical Proposal – Matthew a. Stanley
On Analytic Philosophy – Ryan Hurd
Scribbling in God’s Two Books: Some Historical and Normative Reflections on Scripture, Theology, Natural Philosophy, and Science – Derrick Peterson
Philosophy as a Way of Life: Reforming the Quest for Wisdom – Peter Escalante and Joseph Minich
About the Editor
Dr. Joseph Minich (Ph.D, The University of Texas at Dallas) is a Residential Teaching Fellow at The Davenant Institute in Landrum, South Carolina. He is the author of Enduring Divine Absence and Bulwarks of Unbelief, the editor of several works with The Davenant Press, as well as the founding editor of Ad Fontes. He is also a host of The Pilgrim Faith Podcast.
“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.”
– Dr. Christopher Watkin
Senior Lecturer, Monash University, Melbourne
“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.”
– JT Bridges
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Southern Evangelical Seminary
“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
“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
“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)…..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…..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.
Emeritus Professor of Law and Humanities, University of Bedfordshire, England (UK)
MORE FROM 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.