Philosophy and Theology Are Like an Old Married Couple, and They’re Not Getting Divorced [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

This week’s Question That Haunts Christianity came from Davidson, a 15-year-old high school student:

I’m not quite sure if this is how your readers present their questions to you, but if it is, I have one for you. I am a scholar at heart. I love to learn just about anything. I plan to study theology, English, and philosophy at Liberty University. The latter is, well, part of my question.

I have always thought that philosophers have been God-gifted men who have led nations with their brilliance, but one question keeps plaguing me: Can philosophy and Christianity mix?

My father always tells me whenever I ask him this question: “There’s nothing new under the sun.” In a nutshell, he’s telling me that theology is chief, and philosophy and psychology have nothing new or different, despite what they say. I call the three above subjects “The Trinity of Humanity”, if you will. Each is essential to life, and though theology is chief, philosophy and psychology are still essential nonetheless. Anyways, do you believe that one can be a Christian and shape their lives around both Christian and philosophical ideals?

Many of you took up his question in the comments, and there are some great ones!

Davidson, I’m glad you asked your question. As opposed to how I usually answer these questions, I’m going to address you directly. You’re only two years older than my oldest child, so I have some sense of what you’re thinking as you consider your future. And the first thing I want to say to you is this: Please consider going to a college other than Liberty University.

[Read more...]

Rob Bell Is (Not) a Universalist: The Thief on the Cross

All this week, I’ll be posting about Rob Bell’s controversial new book, Love Wins. And this Sunday, April 10, I’ll be guest hosting Doug Pagitt Radio from 12-2pm CDT, talking with Keith DeRose, Michael Horton, and a special surprise guest! The entire two hours will be devoted to a discussion of the book, in advance of Rob’s appearance the following night at Wayzata Community Church.

I was sitting in a college course entitled, “The Theology of Augustine,” when the estimable and eccentric professor, Charles Stinson, asked us what episode in the Bible most clearly accentuates the doctrine of grace.  As the rest of the class looked at the tops of their shoes, I timidly raised my hand and answered, “The thief on the cross?”

“Yes, Mr. Jones, that is correct,” he responded, “That is the archetypal example of a person who has done nothing to earn eternal favor yet is promised a dwelling in Paradise.”

In Love Wins (pp. 54-55), also wisely turns to this episode to make his point that God’s pursuit of us is inexorable, and that we have a choice. [Read more...]


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