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This is the forum to discuss the spectrum of views within Christianity on God's foreknowledge and election such as Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, Open Theism, Process Theism, Restrictivism, and Inclusivism, Christian Universalism and what these all are about anyway. Who is saved and when is/was their salvation certain? How does God exercise His sovereignty and how powerful is He? Is God timeless and immutable? Does a triune God help better understand God's love for mankind?

While this area is for the discussion of these doctrines within historic Christianity, all theists interested in discussing these areas within the presuppositions of and respect for the Christian framework are welcome to participate here. This is not the area for debate between nontheists and theists, additionally, there may be some topics that within the Moderator's discretion fall so outside the bounds of mainstream evangelical doctrine that may be more appropriately placed within Comparative Religions 101 Nontheists seeking only theistic participation only in a manner that does not seek to undermine the faith of others are also welcome - but we ask that Moderator approval be obtained beforehand.

Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 or General Theistics 101 forum without such restrictions. Theists who wish to discuss these issues outside the parameters of orthodox Christian doctrine are invited to Unorthodox Theology 201.

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Does Theology Need Philosophy?

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  • Does Theology Need Philosophy?

    Richard Howe wrote an article defending the idea that theology needs philosophy. Here is the link: http://richardghowe.com/index_htm_fi...idISCA2016.pdf

    Here is the thesis of the paper:

    My aim in this paper is to argue that there is a very real sense in which sound philosophy is also necessary for sound Christian thinking. In other words, I contend that the task for the Christian vis-à-vis philosophy is not only a negative one (being aware of and avoiding unsound philosophy with its erroneous theological implications), but also a positive one (advancing sound philosophical arguments as a prerequisite to sound theology). It is not only the case that there are elements of philosophy to be avoided for Christian theology (using the phrase 'Christian theology' here as a synecdoche for 'Christian thinking'), but that there are also elements of sound philosophy that are essential for Christian thinking.
    One example Howe gives for theology needing philosophy has to do with "adjudicating literal descriptions of God from figures of speech." According to Howe, The Dake Annotated Reference Bible has study notes that say that God has a literal body with literal body parts. This body and these body parts are not physical; they are spiritual. Howe argues that we need philosophy in order to discern what should be understood literally and what should be understood figuratively.

    Here is an article by Paul Gould that discusses the same topic: http://www.paul-gould.com/2016/04/20...-a-case-study/

    Here are some quotes from Gould's article:

    Lesson #1: Philosophy can bring clarity and coherence to biblical theology. Carson’s use of a term that has a standard usage in philosophy contributes to confusion in theology. There needs to be a two-way conversation between theology and philosophy. As the early Church Fathers put it, theology is the queen of the science and philosophy is the handmaiden (the servant). Carson would benefit from allowing the handmaiden to help!

    Lesson #2: Often, the biblical texts are underdetermined with respect to a position, and it is left to philosophy to fill out the details. Even as divine sovereignty and human responsibility are demanded by Scripture, the exact nature of each of these doctrines is underdetermined by Scripture and it is left to the philosophical theologian to press on for more clarity and precision. This is why we have Calvinists, Molinists, Thomists, Arminians, Open Theists, and more. As McCall nicely summarizes, the biblical theologian helps us with “narrative coherence” and the philosophical theologian can assist with “logical coherence.”

    Lesson #3: Some theological claims are demanded by Scripture (e.g., divine sovereignty and human responsibility), others are consistent with Scripture (compatibilist and incompatibilist views of freedom, divine atemporality and divine temporality) and some are inconsistent with Scripture (e.g., Arianism, Gnosticism, Pelagianism, etc).Consistency with Scripture is the minimum “revelational control”[8] that should guide the philosophical theologian. We first ask, what is Scripture’s clear teaching on the matter, and then push forward using the tools of analytic philosophy. The goal of this “faith seeking understanding” approach to theology is clarity, precision, and ultimately truth. With respect to the doctrine of God, it will also lead to an expanded view of God’s greatness, a renewed sense of awe, and worship.
    What do you think about all of this?
    Last edited by Hornet; 05-07-2019, 12:31 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hornet View Post
    Richard Howe wrote an article defending the idea that theology needs philosophy. Here is the link: http://richardghowe.com/index_htm_fi...idISCA2016.pdf

    Here is the thesis of the paper:



    One example Howe gives for theology needing philosophy has to do with "adjudicating literal descriptions of God from figures of speech." According to Howe, The Dake Annotated Reference Bible has study notes that say that God has a literal body with literal body parts. This body and these body parts are not physical; they are spiritual. Howe argues that we need philosophy in order to discern what should be understood literally and what should be understood figuratively.

    Here is an article by Paul Gould that discusses the same topic: http://www.paul-gould.com/2016/04/20...-a-case-study/

    What do you think about this?
    Not only is philosophy needed for theology, I would go so far as to claim that by the mere act of engaging in theological study and reflection you're automatically engaged in philosophical reflection as well.
    ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

    Comment


    • #3
      Colossians 2

      6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

      7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

      8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
      9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

      1 Timothy 6

      20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—

      21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith
      James 3

      15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
      1 Corinthians

      13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words
      Etc.


      Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mossrose View Post
        Colossians 2




        1 Timothy 6



        James 3



        1 Corinthians



        Etc.
        Using these as passages against theologically/biblically informed philosophy hinges on the supposition that what Paul meant by "philosophy", "knowledge" "earthly wisdom" and so on is the same as the modern notion of philosophy, something which I am not at all convinced about. I don't see anything in these passages that would make engaging in biblically and theologically informed philosophical reasoning problematic.
        ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
          Using these as passages against theologically/biblically informed philosophy hinges on the supposition that what Paul meant by "philosophy", "knowledge" "earthly wisdom" and so on is the same as the modern notion of philosophy, something which I am not at all convinced about. I don't see anything in these passages that would make engaging in biblically and theologically informed philosophical reasoning problematic.
          What is the definition of biblical and theologically informed philosophical reasoning?


          Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mossrose View Post
            What is the definition of biblical and theologically informed philosophical reasoning?
            Philosophy that presupposes the truth of and works from biblically informed starting presuppositions/axioms, would be a good working definition, I think.
            ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
              Philosophy that presupposes the truth of and works from biblically informed starting presuppositions/axioms, would be a good working definition, I think.

              Maybe. And what do you do when someone starts adding their own worldly wisdom to the discussion.

              If you are strictly talking with others of like mind, then yes, I suppose it's fine. But trying to discuss in this manner with unbelievers can only lead to exactly what scripture teaches against.

              Anyway, I just wanted to throw those scriptures in. I am not up for discussing philosophy of any kind, even with my favourite blue-haired Finn.



              Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                Maybe. And what do you do when someone starts adding their own worldly wisdom to the discussion.

                If you are strictly talking with others of like mind, then yes, I suppose it's fine. But trying to discuss in this manner with unbelievers can only lead to exactly what scripture teaches against.

                Anyway, I just wanted to throw those scriptures in. I am not up for discussing philosophy of any kind, even with my favourite blue-haired Finn.

                ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                  Anyway, I just wanted to throw those scriptures in. I am not up for discussing philosophy of any kind, even with my favourite blue-haired Finn.

                  Don't those people over there use whole bunches of consonants, particularly the Kven component? Shouldn't "Finn" be "Fink"?


                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    Don't those people over there use whole bunches of consonants, particularly the Kven component? Shouldn't "Finn" be "Fink"?


                    Oh, you big meany.


                    Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                      What is the definition of biblical and theologically informed philosophical reasoning?
                      Doing the following while accepting what the Bible teaches and rejecting what contradicts the Bible:
                      1. Evaluating arguments.
                      2. Finding out if one's assumptions are true.
                      3. Discerning whether there are good reasons for believing in certain viewpoints concerning ethics, aesthetics, the nature of reality, and how we know what we know.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        drcraigvideos, a (I believe) WLC fan-channel uploaded a short clip where he talks about precisely this question:

                        ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm pretty sure the Bible warns against vain philosophy ... could be wrong.
                          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                          • #14
                            Philosophy is simply the love and study of wisdom. The Scriptures speak about wisdom and philosophy. The question is what is the foundation? Scripture makes a distinction between vain man made philosophy (Colossians 2:8; Jams 3:15), and a wisdom that has God as its foundation (Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10; 15:33).

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                            • #15
                              Mr Holding made a video about this.

                              Honestly, reading philosophy has helped my faith. A good question is still a good question regardless of who asked it.
                              sigpic

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