Monday, June 30, 2008

Four Noteworthy Articles on Philosophy and Apologetics

Today's mail brought four significant articles on Christian philosophy and apologetics: two from Books and Culture and two (happy surprise) from Christianity Today, a magazine that has lost much of its intellectual muscle in recent years.

1. Douglas Groothuis, "The Great Debate," Books and Culture, July/August, 2008, reviews four recently books related to the intellectual debate between theism and atheism. I spend considerable time critiquing Alister McGrath's approach to the issue and commending Bill Craig and (the newest version of) Anthony Flew.

2. Alvin Plantinga, "Evolution and Naturalism," Books and Culture, July/August, 2008, gives Plantinga's argument that naturalism defeats human rationality.

3. William Lane Craig, "God is Not Dead Yet," Christianity Today, July, 2008. Craig explains the resurgence of natural theology and explains why it matters for apologetics. This is a welcome tonic for postmodern "nobody cares about truth and rationality anymore; just tell your story" nonsense.

4. Troy Anderson, "A New Day for Apologetics," Christianity Today, July, 2008. A brief account of recent interest in apologetics by youth and others. The article speaks of "hotbeds of apologetics education--Biola University and its Talbot School of Theology, Southern Evangelical Seminary, and Liberty University--are crammed with students pursuing graduate degrees in philosophy and apologetics."

Well, yes, but... there is this school called Denver Seminary (founded 1951), which has a fully accredited Masters Degree in Philosophy of Religion (started in 1981, well before any of the other schools had such degrees). We have the rich history of many decades of teaching by Dr. Vernon Grounds and Dr. Gordon Lewis, Christian philosophers who preceded the recent renaissance of such folks. We may not be a "hot bed," but we average 25-35 students in this program per year; several or our graduates are pursuing for have achieved doctorates in philosophy; many others are in various Christian ministries or teaching at the community college level. We are one of the few seminaries that requires an apologetics course for all our M.Div. students. Moreover, we have another full-time philosopher joining us this fall, Dr. Troy Nunley. So there.

10 comments:

Heath Countryman said...

Wow... I am good friends with Aaron Nunly, Troy's brother. I know Troy from college. It is amazing sometimes how small the world is!

pgepps said...

Here's a shout-out for Denver Seminary! Thanks for the round-up.

I tracked Craig's (and my friend Bruce Gordon's) attempts to used modified Molinism as a Calvinist-Arminian rapprochement; I didn't think the strategy succeeded, but I did think it was more than a little worth the effort, and quite illuminating (it fails for me because compatibilisms don't work).

CT is not particularly reliable, but they do come through with some fine, fine writing occasionally, don't they? I recall a wonderful essay on how Ned Flanders was the best representation of a Christian in pop culture today (several years ago).

pgepps said...

"to use" not "to used"

David said...

I am one of the Denver Seminary graduates that is pursuing doctoral work in philosophy--I'm specializing in epistemology at the University of Arkansas. The experiences I had studying under Doug Groothuis, Gordon Lewis, and Stan Obitts were extremely formative in my development as a philosopher and critical thinker.

I continually pray that Denver Seminary will continue to expand its philosophy program in the coming years. The recent hiring of Troy Nunley is certainly a step in the right direction; but there is still an urgent need for these kinds of programs--SES and Talbot cannot do it all!

Daniel said...

Is your only problem with Alister McGrath his theistic evolution, or something else? I'm just curious.

-- Daniel

Doug Groothuis said...

Daniel:

Please read the article; it is more than theistic evolution.

DG

Matthew Love said...

Do you think that you were intentionally ommitted because of your liberal views on women?

The others schools are traditionally associated more with conservative Christianity. It is a shame that they'd snub you simply because you are egalitarian. I think it is very unchristian and I'm already disappointed by the liberalism within Christianity Today.

Doug Groothuis said...

I think CT left Denver Seminary out simply because we aren't as BIG as the other schools. But remember the mustard seed...

Susan said...

CT will include DS when it becomes "hip" to be a small school...

Bjørn Are said...

I have not read your article (not easy to subscribe in my country, but have been doing it on and off), however, I have for some time had misgivings, especially after the rushjob he did with "Dawkins Delusion".

Not he least as he is not providing any good reasons for believing in God, he automatically comes across as fideistic. And a usefull idiot for atheists.

Showing that Dawkins has minsunderstood and distorted most of what he writes, does not a proof of God make (to quote Shakespeare).

Hopefully he will spend more time on a better book in the future, a bit like he used to do.