Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy

Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy

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Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about many of the same things. They both claim to provide answers to the deep questions of life. But how are they related to one another?

Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy introduces readers to four predominant views on the relationship between philosophy and the Christian faith and their implications for life. Each author identifies the propositional relation between philosophy and Christianity along with a section devoted to the implications for living a life devoted to the pursuit of wisdom.

The contributors and views include:

Graham Oppy--Conflict: Philosophy Trumps Christianity
K. Scott Oliphint--Covenant: Christianity Trumps Philosophy
Timothy McGrew--Convergence: Philosophy Confirms Christianity
Paul Moser--Conformation: Philosophy Reconceived Under Christianity

General editors Paul M. Gould and Richard Davis explain the background to the discussion and provide some historical background in the introduction, as well as helpful summaries of each position in the conclusion. In the reader-friendly Counterpoints format, this book helps readers to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of each view and draw informed conclusions in this much-debated topic.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 17mm | 199g
  • Grand Rapids, United States
  • English
  • 0310521149
  • 9780310521143
  • 444,693

Table of contents

Introduction (Davis and Gould)

View 1
Conflict: Philosophy Trumps Christianity (Graham Oppy)

Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about the same things; further, they're both ways of life. However, the deliverances of philosophy either refute the truth claims of Christianity (rebutting defeater), or at least undermine their rational or epistemic foundations (undercutting defeater); AND philosophy replaces Christianity as a way of life (e.g., pursuing truth, living a good life). That is, it either offers everything Christianity does (so that, by Ockham's razor, we don't need the Christian faith), or philosophy offers a superior way of living to that found in Christianity. (One might think, e.g., that Christianity included certain harmful elements, say, taking things by faith alone or being intolerant or uncritical.) The epistemic/methodological starting-point here is philosophy and the empirical data. Christianity contributes nothing to the warrant enjoyed by our ordinary philosophical beliefs.

Response by Oliphint to Oppy
Response by McGrew to Oppy
Response by Moser to Oppy

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Covenant: Christianity Trumps Philosophy (Scott Oliphint)

Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about the same things; further, they're both ways of life. However, the deliverances of Christianity (e.g., biblical truths) provide the ontological and epistemic foundations within which philosophy can properly do its work. Any philosophical claim that conflicts with orthodox theology is, by definition, illicit; AND Christianity replaces philosophy as a foundational discipline (e.g., properly pursuing truth, living a good life). It offers us a ground that philosophy cannot offer; and it describes and controls the approach to living if one wants properly to do philosophy. (One might think, e.g., that only Christianity can properly accommodate such moral essentials as redemption, reconciliation, and forgiveness.) The epistemic/methodological starting-point here is Christianity itself. Christianity doesn't depend on philosophy for its warrant.

Response by Oppy to Oliphint
Response by McGrew to Oliphint
Response by Moser to Oliphint

View 3
Convergence: Philosophy Confirms/Completes Christianity (Timothy McGrew)

Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about some of the same things, including some of the same important things, though there is significant unique material on each side; further, they can both be a way of life, though one may (and some do) pursue philosophy on the intellectual side without the sort of personal commitment that Christianity demands. However, philosophy, very broadly construed---i.e., reflecting on and reasoning (deductively and non-deductively) from the data of human experience, including historical data, and attempting to answer fundamental questions in a manner that is conceptually precise and dialectically rigorous---is the best way of acquiring and extending our knowledge, BUT, such philosophical reflection provides the tools for a logical, systematic, intellectual defense of Christianity based on public evidence; AND a philosophical way of life at its best, with its wholehearted commitment to finding the truth and following the argument wherever it leads, while not identical with the Christian life, is certainly consistent with it and can enhance and support it in many respects. The epistemic starting-points here include the data of general revelation, subjected to philosophical reflection, BUT these data alone do not allow us to answer the deepest questions about human nature and human destiny; it is therefore necessary to see whether there is any authenticated revelation that can answer these questions. AND philosophical reflection on the historical data of the Christian revelation shows that revelation to be well supported, not only for philosophers but for many believers who have not the advantage of a philosophical education or the leisure for sustained ph
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About Paul M. Gould

Graham Oppy is Professor of Philosophy at Monash University. He is author of: Ontological Arguments and Belief in God; Philosophical Perspectives on Infinity; Arguing about Gods; Reading Philosophy of Religion (with Michael Scott); The Best Argument against God; Reinventing Philosophy of Religion: An Opinionated Introduction; and Describing Gods: An Investigation of Divine Attributes. He is editor of The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, and (with Nick Trakakis) The History of Western Philosophy of Religion.

K. Scott Oliphint is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Reasons for Faith: Philosophy in the Service of Theology and Covenantal Apologetics. He is also coeditor of the two-volume Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader and a contributor to Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy.

Richard Brian Davis is Professor of Philosophy at Tyndale University in Toronto, Canada. He is the author or editor of four books, including Loving God with Your Mind: Essays in Honor of J. P. Moreland. He has published thirty book chapters or articles in such places as Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Religious Studies, Acta Analytica, Philo, The Modern Schoolman, Philosophia Christi, Heythrop Journal, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and Axiomathes. Rich blogs at:

Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.
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