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Archive for the ‘christian apologetics’ Category

Christianity and the Role of Philosophy by K. Scott Oliphint

(NOTE: For videos and my reviews of other booklets in this series click HERE)

Like other books in this series (Christian Answers to Hard Questions) I look to this book as a resource for discipleship to introduce to a believer concerning the Christian worldview and apologetics.  This particular work is foundational to the other work since it touches on the relationship between Christianity and philosophy.  The author Scott Oliphint is more than capable to address this topic, having written on this topic and teaching it for several decades at Westminster Theological Seminary.  I appreciated that the author is coming from a Van Tillian approach towards apologetics.

The book begins with a brief discussion of what are the three broad categories of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology and ethics).  Readers familiar with philosophy wouldn’t find anything new in the introduction of the book but Oliphint later gave a good compact summary of a distinctively Christian view of these three branch of philosophy with the metaphysical question of what is the ultimate nature of reality being the Triune God, the epistemological question of how do we know is because God has revealed it and the ethical question of what is right and wrong being based upon what God says is right and wrong.

Oliphint gave a good analogy of the GPS as God’s revelation that tells where we are at, where we should be going, etc, and how without the “view from above” of where one is at we are lost.  This analogy is a helpful guide for later discussions in the book and makes his point easier to grasp.

I appreciated the book laying out the four possible ways people have seen the relationship of Christianity with philosophy.  Of course one’s view of the relationship between the two discipline will be shaped by one’s definition of the respective discipline which will set (or we can even say, “rig”) the answer already at the get go; yet Oliphint manages to push the discussion forward by asking the question of what is the foundation for theology and philosophy.  Oliphint then articulate the Reformed position and the reason for why Christians are obligated to believe theology govern philosophy if one holds to a high view of Scripture.  He concluded the book by sharing and expounding on Francis Turretin’s four good uses of philosophy by theology followed by four errors in the use of philosophy by theology.

In the end I would say this is a good book ideal for discipleship and also for a believer who have no idea what philosophy is to read on his own as a place to start.  It might be too basic for some though.  Like other books in the series there are “Before We Move On” questions for interactive conversations or personal reflection.

You can purchase the booklet at a discounted price from Westminster Bookstore by clicking HERE.

 

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Here are links related to Presuppositional apologetics gathered from the World Wide Web between June 15th-21st, 2014.

1.)Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: Why Are Christians Always Arguing?

2.) Refuting Belligerent Atheist Peter Boghossian and Combative New Atheists: ‘A Manual for Converting Atheists’

3.) The Teaching of Christianity as a Challenge to Unbelief

4.) Dealing with An Atheist that Won’t Discuss Presuppositional Apologetics

5.) 

6.) The Vantillian Cow

7.) Vern Poythress’ Rethinking Accommodation in Revelation

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1.) Peripatetic 30 – Simplicity, Systematic Theology, and Sanctification

2.) The Ultimate Proof of Creation – Jason Lisle

3.) Theological Memeology: The Noble Pagan

4.) 

5.) James White review Sye Ten Bruggencate and Matt Dillahunty

6.) Greg Bahnsen: Prominent Public Speaker

7.) Steve Hays take on the phrase “On the wrong side of history

8.) Relativism and Truth: All Things Are not Relative

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The links are between June 1st-7th, 2014 related to the topic of Presuppositional Apologetics.

What links were you blessed with?

1.) SYE (With Eric Hovind) POST DEBATE INTERVIEW on Dogma Debate

2.) Steve Hays Take on “Coming out videos

3.) CELESTIAL TEAPOTS, FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTERS, AND OTHER SILLY ATHEIST ARGUMENTS

4.) Responding to Pastor Danny Cortez: Preparing for the Tsunami

5.) Reason is Essential but is Not Everything: Sorry Ehrman God’s Necessary for Reason

6.) Random Theology on Matt Dillahunty v. Sye Ten Bruggencate

7.) James Anderson Review of 

8.) Sye / Matt Debate – Why Are Both Sides Claiming Victory?

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Two weeks ago I posted videos related to a booklet series of Christian Answers to Hard Questions Series by Westminster Theological Seminary.  I’ve enjoyed reading these booklets and hope to eventually review them all.  I find them to be helpful tools as introductory discipleship on a Christian worldview from a Reformed and Van Tillian perspective.

It can be purchased for a discounted cost if you click HERE.

Here’s my review of David Garner’s How Can I know for Sure?

The book begin by noting the problem with how philosophy and religion often fail to answer the most fundamental questions in life.  Concerning philosophy, the author observed the difficulty of rationalism with trusting in our intellectual powers that suffer insurmountable limitations while with empiricism it leaves us trusting in our experience but then we can’t experience everything.  Religion, like philosophy has often failed to give answers that transcend mere human speculation.

The book then addresses our need for God’s revelation in order to answer life’s important questions.  I was happy that the author approached the issue of epistemology theologically and managed to talk about the concept of man’s suppression of the truth, and the self-attesting revelation of God.  Here we find in the book a very good definition of self-attesting:  “we mean that is authority cannot be measured by comparison to something outside itself, because as God’s voice it possesses final authority.”  I also appreciated the book bringing the doctrine of illumination to bear in answering the question of how we can know for sure what Scripture has to say.  Of course handling the subject of certainty and theory of knowledge from a Reformed and Van Tillian perspective will inevitably lead to the discussion of circular reasoning.  The author notes here that the certainty we get from Scripture isn’t a “woodenly” circular reasoning (I just thought of the adjective “woodenly” right now); but theologically the position is more nuance, in that it’s the Spirit’s testimony to the Scripture.  I also appreciate the author’s discussion of circularity in terms of a moral dimension in which he noted that the sinful circularity of unbelief that reasons in darkness and autonomously.

In terms of constructive criticism I wished the author could have spent more time showing how empiricism and rationalism failed.  The booklet has great footnotes.  When he made passing reference to the fact of the Bible’s fulfilled prophecies, fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah and the basic reliability of the Bible, I don’t think it’s fair to demand he fleshed that out for a small booklet (not to mention it would become another book than on certainty of knowledge for a Christian); but I think it would help footnoting further references.  I heard the author’s interview of this booklet over at Reformed Forum and felt the interview covered other grounds people might be asking that the limitation of a booklet presents.  It might be helpful to read the book and listen to the interview.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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Sye Matt

On May 31st, 2014 Christian apologist Sye TenBruggencate debated atheist Matt Dillahunty.

The debate has now been loaded up online on Youtube.

You can see the debate below:

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1.) Noetic Effects of Sin: Updated

2.) Book Review – Who Made Truth? Kids Can Prove God Exists

3.) Naturalism and the burden of proof

4.) Another Atheistic Weakness: The Lack of Moral Absolutes

5.)My Favorite Debate on the Existence of God: Bahnsen vs. Stein

6.) Book Review: How Can I Know for Sure? by David B. Garner

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