Book Review: Doing Philosophy as a Christian

In Doing Philosophy as a Christian, Garrett DeWeese, Ph.D.[1], contends (contra Kant) that our approach should be one of Reason within the bounds of Religion (rather than the reverse). For him, this is a basic governing principle for how Christians do philosophy. Here is his thesis:

Doing philosophy as a Christian means doing philosophy under the authority of the Lord Jesus and of the Bible, the Word of God. It means reasoning within the bounds of religion. It means, in the end, doing philosophy in a way that aims intentionally at the ultimate goal of personal transformation into the image of Christ, and of extending a meaningful invitation to others to enter into that transformation — that is, of extending the kingdom of God on earth.

DeWeese applies this approach to overviews of the different sub-disciplines within philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics and aesthetics. He then takes on two interesting areas of discussion in contemporary philosophy, the philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. Nowhere do we see his approach more clearly than in his arguments for dualism based on the biblical case for the soul, and his arguments for a real Adam despite leaning toward some form of old earth, progressive evolution.

One sees throughout the influence of philosopher Dallas Willard, but no more so than in the final chapter on the end of philosophy, which in fact is transformation through the renewal of our minds. Philosophy, he believes is an important adjunct to the spiritual disciplines in cultivating clear thought and intellectual virtue.

A very helpful book for anyone wondering about the possibility of doing philosophy Christianly, especially undergraduate philosophy majors. Also included in Doing Philosophy as a Christian, as well as all volumes in the Christian Worldview Integration Series, is a superb prefatory essay by J.P. Moreland on the “call to integration”. To God be the glory!

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Notes

    1. professor of philosophy and philosophical theology at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. Click here for his faculty page. ↩
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Bob Trube

Bob Trube is Senior Area Director for InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Ministry team in the Ohio Valley (Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania) and leads the ministry to graduate students and faculty at The Ohio State University. He resides in Columbus, Ohio, with Marilyn and enjoys reading, gardening, choral singing, and plein air painting.

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  • meckel@lbc.edu'
    Mark Eckel commented on November 19, 2013 Reply

    For years I have taught my students in a Christian context the simple phrase “Revelation rules reason.” When I hired Christian philosophy professors my first question was always the same, “Do you believe philosophy is the handmaiden of theology?” DeWeese offers a strong argument in the same vein for those who think philosophically, practice philosophy, and teach philosophy.

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