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Reasons for Faith: Philosophy in the Service of Theology Paperback – November 1, 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Reasons for Faith: Philosophy in the Service of Theology
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  • Revelation and Reason: New Essays in Reformed Apologetics
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Directs us to an apologetic that is many-sided, to meet the needs of the vast diversity of people we will likely encounter. . . . very accessible and a great encouragement." Dick Keyes, L'Abri Fellowship


"Effective apologetics is an art: it addresses the whole person--mind, emotion, and will. With insight and practical wisdom, William Edgar outlines, clarifies, and illustrates the complex apologetic tasks."

--James W. Sire, author, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All

"An excellent brief introduction. . . . insightful, well-written. . . . lays a good foundation for further classroom exploration . . . whether in undergraduate or graduate courses." --Stephen R. Spencer, Bibliotheca Sacra

"The size of this book belies its contribution. . . . Edgar opens up to the reader a rich and diverse apologetic." --Mark P. Ryan, Reformed Theological Review

About the Author

Sinclair Ferguson and K. Scott Oliphint are professors at Westminster Theological Seminary on their Dallas and Philadelphia Campuses.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 363 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875526454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875526454
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
K. Scott Oliphint's book 'Reasons (for Faith): Philosophy in the Service of Theology' (363 pp) is a difficult read. That and the fact that Scott is unaware that I don't know Latin, are my only two negatives.
--The book is broken up into 4 Parts and 16 chapters:
1. Introduction and Survey
2. Epistemology
3. Metaphysics
4. Implication and Application
--This is basically an addition to philosophy of religion. It serves as an 'offensive' apologetic, laying out the philosophy the Bible presents. This being the case, it is close to theology, but Oliphint is very conversant with the major philosophers. In the preface he writes, "Thus my goals are (1) to set forth a theological structure, for epistemology and metaphysics, that shows the relevance of Reformed thought, centrally set forth in Van Til's works, to current discussions in philosophy and philosophy of religion (natural theology); (2) to demonstrate that Reformed though has already broached virtually every discussion now in play in philosophy of religion; and (3) to interact with (at least some of) the main proponents in philosophy of religion.
--What was great about this book is that Oliphint is not your normal philosopher of religion. He is first and foremost a Reformed theologian. Scripture, not reason, is his ultimate commitment. Philosophy is the handmaid to Theology. Reason is ministerial, not magisterial (following Turretin). He argues for a dual metaphysic (creature/Creator), and a covenantal epistemology (Revelation). Parts of this book are tough to wade through. Maybe I should take some philosophy electives and come back to this one in a few years.
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I am Joe Moody, Susan's husband and I read the book. This is a very well-thought out presentation of the relationship between philosophy and theology. Dr. Oliphint makes a compelling case for his position. He brings the work of many prior philosophers to bear and provides a fair and clear analysis of their positions. I found the book somewhat challenging, as Dr. Oliphint is interacting at a philosophical nuts-and-bolts level using language somewhat unfamiliar to me, but defining it along the way. Despite the challenge, the book is wonderfully valuable for its perspective. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in philosophy or theology or the relationship of the two.
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Oliphint provides an excellent discussion from the Reformed perspective--one that is certainly needed. His assessment of other views is respectful, yet he clearly outlines reasons for their inadequacy. His Eimi/Eikon discussion is particularly insightful and helpful and should help each of us to reflect upon the reality that God is beyond our ability to fully comprehend and yet He has graciously condescended covenantally in such a way that creation, the Scriptures, and, most importantly, Jesus Christ reveals God to the world in a very knowable way.
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I'm a philosophy Ph.D candidate and a practicing Anglican Christian with a history of theological study, so I have at least a passing familiarity with the topics Dr. Oliphint is discussing in this book. I picked up the book because while I am not Reformed, I have enough friends who are that I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the theoretical motivations for presuppositional theology. Alas, I found this to be a thoroughly disappointing book in terms of its scholarly quality. Foremost, the writing is terrible. The book is filled with awkward sentences, confusing grammar, lack of transitions, and there is no thread that gives any coherence between the chapters or the sub-chapters. Oliphant just moves from topic to topic without any clear reason for why it is important to give the reader a detailed understanding of, say, Aristotelian metaphysics. He often rambles and I have found whole sections which add not new content and which simply reiterate that it is important to acknowledge that there are controversies. I lost track of the number of times Oliphant mentions an issue without explaining it whatsoever, and then proceeds to ignore it without any explanation for why he bothered to mention it at all. He frequently drops names of famous (and not-so-famous) theologians or philosophers without any introduction or mention of who they are or why they are worth noting here. And list goes on.

If the writing is bad, the philosophy is worse. The first part of the book provides one of those most haphazard and mislead histories of philosophy I've ever read. This wouldn't pass a freshman seminar on philosophy at a research one university, and I find it hard to believe Westminster really tolerates this kind of shoddy, revisionist philosophy.
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Some areas of secular philosophy can bring up issues that seem to challenge Christian truth; theology in particular. Nonetheless professor K. Scott Oliphint (professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary) not only defends Christian theology, he employs philosophy in service to theology. He discusses epistemology, metaphysics (aspects of ontology) ethics, apologetics, all under the authority of the theology revealed in scripture.

This is a fairly easy read aimed at intellectually-able high school graduates while he often quotes from Turretin as well as other relevant scholars.

Oliphint echoes previous scholars as he notes: "Given any fact or experience, it (TA) asks the question as to the presuppositions behind that fact, and which make it possible." Michael Butler adds that "only the Christian worldview provides the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of human experience. That is, only the Christian view of God, creation, providence, revelation, and human nature can make sense of the world in which we live."
also see the presuppositional apologetic works: Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction
and
Truth, Knowledge and the Reason for God: The Defense of the Rational Assurance of Christianity
and some of Bahnsen's works too.
Oliphint gives students, apologists, ministers, and philosophers a fine resource that advocates philosophy's servitude to theology. He is Reformed, presuppositional, and erudite. now that it is a few years old, you can get it a a good price.
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