In an address given in 1980, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Charles Malik, identified what he saw as the two tasks of evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind; converting people not only spiritually, but also intellectually. The western church, he warned, is lagging dangerously behind with this second task.
Things have changed little since then. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview is intended to help believers challenge the culture of anti-intellectualism within the church, equipping them in turn to help foster a wider culture in which Christianity is regarded as an intellectually credible option. Moreland and Craig, both professors of philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, California, intend the book to be an introduction to their discipline, which is foundational to every field of study and therefore a key area to be influenced for Christ.
Philosophy has always played a crucial role within the church right back to the times of the Old Testament prophets who appealed to broad arguments from nature to justify the faith of Israel (see Isaiah 44,45 for example). The authors identify ways that philosophy aids our gospel ministry and helps to integrate our Christian beliefs into a coherent worldview.
Philosophical Foundations addresses an enormous range of topics from the existence of God and the problem of evil, to the mind-body problem and theistic science, to theories of truth, existence and knowledge. The sections addressing the integration of science and faith, and those providing a Christian perspective on ethical theories, are particularly helpful. Each chapter weighs differing viewpoints fairly and concludes with a useful summary and list of keywords. My one frustration (apart from the long words) was the book’s lack of real biblically-based critique, but the authors provide a vast range of further reading.
I’m not going to pretend I understand all, or even most, of the concepts that Moreland and Craig tackle and this certainly isn’t a book to read in one sitting; but that isn’t the point. They acknowledge that some of it will be difficult for readers new to philosophy, but they hope that its huge detail will provide ‘fertile soil for discussions’. Philosophical Foundations succeeds where so many other Christian books slip up, providing broad, meaty coverage of issues, rather than just a basic introduction, for readers who really want to engage with the subject matter. It would be a useful investment for any thinking Christian.
Clinical student at Imperial College, London