Philosophy and Theology: Exclusive?

*Disclaimer: I received this book from InterVarsity Press (IVP, IVPress) in exchange for an honest review.

Who made God? Why are we hear? If there is a God, why is there evil? Is there life beyond death? Can we know a/this God exists? All of these questions are posed, generally, by those outside of the church for one reason or another. Often times we as Christians hear these questions, read them, or are asked them personally and have no answer. We (including myself) stand dumbfounded. As one reviewer said, “No one wants to stimulate their mind.” I somewhat agree with them. However, if you are the intellectually curious, eager learner, theologically curious type then this book needs to be in your hands.

J.P Moreland and William Lane Craig’s “Philosophical Foundations For A Christian Worldview” is a fantastic primer on the ability for one to be sound in knowledge in philosophy and theology in its relation to philosophy. Sometimes Christians are told not to read philosophy because it is mysterious and too intellectual. Moreland and Craig are wanting to disregard that question and want to draw you into the conversation.

Moreland and Craig set-up each chapter with the introduction to the topic, different subjects within the particular topic, examples, chapter summary, and terms to grasp. So even if you do not comprehend “reason and rationality” the first read through, there are tools built into the chapter to guide you. As my Old Testament professor told us this semester concerning one of our books, “If the author uses a word you do not know, write that word down, define it, and re-read the chapter/section and replace the unknown word with the known definition.” That is fantastic advice for any book that reads a bit rough. I would suggest the same here.

Something else the authors do well is by setting up the chapters the way they do, they accomplish two things: first, minimal to no prior knowledge is needed to learn from this text, and due to the first note, secondly, the language they use helps those who do not have enough/any knowledge in the topics covered per chapter. Commendable of Moreland and Craig to say the least. As one who majored in history and not philosophy in undergraduate work, I am thankful for these two authors and their writing to allow me to understand what they are communicating.

I also enjoyed the last three “sections” that cover the Christian Doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and exclusivity of Christianity. Normally those are found in monographs on the topic or historical/systematic theology texts. I am glad the authors included these three somewhat controversial doctrines in a text over tough subjects.

There is only one other textbook that I would recommend (that I have read thus far in life) be on your bookshelf. John Frame authored that text (A History of Western Philosophy and Theology). I would place the text by Frame and this text together on my bookshelf (in fact, I have) for key resources on integrating philosophy and theology.

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