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For Faith and Clarity: Philosophical Contributions to Christian Theology [Paperback]

James K. Beilby

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Book Description

1 Jun 2006
The apostle Paul warned believers to be wary of deceptive philosophy, and many Christians have taken this admonition to mean avoiding any involvement with the subject. What, though, is the proper relationship between philosophy and theology? How can philosophy contribute to theology? In addition, how can philosophy help believers understand core doctrines of the Christian faith? James Beilby and some of the leading Christian philosophers of the twenty-first century address and answer these questions in For Faith and Clarity. The renowned contributors include William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Alan Padgett, Alvin Plantinga, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Those interested in philosophical theology and apologetics whether they be professors, students, or general readerswill benefit from this book.

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About the Author

James K. Beilby (Ph.D., Marquette University), assistant professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University, has coedited Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views and edited Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unremarkable Introduction to Philosophical Theology 31 May 2009
By A. Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The tagline of this book is "Philosophical Contributions to Christian theology." Thus, the 11 essays in this book are by professional philosophers who apply their own methodology and insights to theological issues. That being said, it is ideal for theology majors or interested laypersons. Most of the essays are not too technical, and they cover a wide range of issues--pantheism, speech acts and inerrancy, divine attributes, metaphysics of human persons, and theological/philosophical methodological issues. Further, most of the essays are crafted as to not be hostile to theology, but rather to instruct and aid it.

However, the anthology, as a whole, is relatively unremarkable. At least three of the essays are shorter glosses on full length books (Wolterstorff's, Hasker's, and Richards'). This isn't bad per se, but for a more elaborate treatment of those topics (justice, emergent dualism, and divine simplicity, respectively), one will do better to buy the respective book. And, the glosses add no substantial information for those already familiar with the topics. (This certainly isn't to say that these three essays are poor in quality--indeed, they are some of the finest in the book.) Two of the essays--Craig's on pantheism, and Clark's on inerrancy and speech acts--are particularly strong, and deserving of a read. However, two or three of the essays are not very good--with one in particular lapsing into a rant of sorts against relativism (whatever that may be--it's not defined). Plantinga's essay "Evolution and Design" is worth highlighting because it makes a serious effort to be relevant to theological issues regarding creation, evolution, and modern science. Similarly, Keith Yandell's essay successfully navigates the reader through all the major forms of the problem of evil, even sketching some preliminary responses to each form.

Overall, the book is mixed. Some of the essay are very strong, some strong, and others downright bad. Some of the essays will be interesting and useful to the intended theologically -interested audience, others will not. It's certainly not one of the best example of philosophers contributing to theology (a less accessible, but very impressive, example would be Philosophy and the Christian Faith (University of Notre Dame Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, No. 5)), but it can't be the worst. It also tries, in style and tone, to be accessible and amicable to theology, which is worth a great deal. But, in practicality, it simply is only an option for those who want to "get their feet wet" in philosophical theology, and it's not a very good one at that.
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