Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy

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Similarities between Philosophy and Christianity

There are numerous similarities between the statements made by philosophy and Christianity that are generally true. The two will assert that they have answers to life's big concerns and difficulties. In order to understand how the two relate to one another in relation to the book Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy. The book guides readers through popular theories about how Christianity and philosophy are related by analyzing their real-world applications. Each author maintains highlights the propositional relationship Christianity and philosophy with the section dedicated to going after wisdom. Some of the views of the contributors include conflict; view trumps Christianity by Graham Oppy and covenant; Christianity trumps philosophy by Scott Oliphint. Graham Oppy treats the question on the topic with utmost severe as he claims that philosophy trumps Christianity (Oppy et al. 21). Oppy admits that his take on the philosophy of Christianity is not persuasive especially for people who are familiar with arguments that have been put in place before. He does not come up with anything new on the topic in question.

Differences Between the Views

The other three views taka a more positive perception of Christianity about philosophy. Despite the reason that there are agreements between the three views, contrasts between them stir up interesting differences. The second view called the covenant is presented and defended by K. Scott. He claims that there is metaphysical necessity concerning any philosophical activity that is undertaken (Oppy et al. 72). Thus, the claim by Scott is more helpful in thinking about philosophy from the biblical point of view. The other view is called confirmation model and is brought and presented by Timothy McGrew. McGrew maintains that the subject of philosophy is simply an acceptance of Christianity and Christianity, on the other hand, makes the subject of philosophy complete (Oppy et al. 124). He has a natural theology perspective and is biblically oriented and persuasive. The final model is conformation that is presented and defended by philosopher Paul Moser. He suggests that wisdom and philosophy will only be beneficial to the faith of Christianity only when they are confirmed to the mighty of God through Christ (Oppy et al. 176).


The book has a broad significance because it has a far-reaching implications to the Christianity. It does not only address the question of the relationship between Christianity and philosophy, but it focuses on how Christianity can relate to anything that is deemed outside the revelation (Oppy et al. 43). Therefore, for any Christian who has an interest on how Christianity should link up with anything outside the bible especially philosophy. The book serves as an excellent starting place for students from college to seminary. However, for those with the background of issues in the book will share the same discontent at the brevity of the things highlighted in the book. MacGrew section has a lot to admire and little to criticize. He pulls together the various strands of Christianity and vividly elaborates them in defense of his view with relation to the topic. He has a section on justification where he promotes internalism, opposes the ideology of Plantinga on externalism, and acts as the most controversial part of all in the book.


Practitioners of theology and philosophy have most of the times regarded themselves as mortal enemies. Early Christians such as Tertullian were of the perception that any intrusion by the philosophical concept that is secular was out of order. This is also evident in the book as the counter arguments of the authors seems to sharply contradicting themselves on the grounds of Christianity and theology (Oppy et al. 78). Each contributor perceives they are right and no one recognizes their blind spot. Oppy and McGrew appear to be the most engaging and reasonable of the four may be because Oliphint and Moser seem to be embracing a professional approach by believing that philosophy and Christianity do not go hand in hand. Moreover, the brevity of the chapters and responses sometimes might appear frustrating specifically on the introduction section put forward by each contributor. Each contributor seems to be only briefly introducing their issues and bringing down their perspectives in a manner that is transitory. For instance, Oppy brings up multiple presentations of over criticism of Christianity. After a couple of the paragraphs, the reader feels like they are bombarded with a series of weak arguments.

It also attributed to the fact that enough space for argument is also not allocated for the contributors to adequately highlights their views about the topic under investigation (Oppy et al. 79). Similarly, the book does not give room for the expansion of various views. For instance, the discussion between Oliphint and McGrew often propelled to the extent that they talk past each other especially with the responses given by Oliphint. If more space could have been given to the two then maybe some of the pending issues between the two in their counter arguments could have been clarified. Presentation by Oliphint is to some extent sympathetic, but he does not know how to frame his issues properly hence having little to argue for his claims.

Support of Covenant Model

The reformed perspective of Oliphint is evident throughout his essay in the manner in which he limits his discussion of the Christianity to the Reformation theology (Oppy et al. 93). He expresses that principles of faith must come before any principles in all the other disciplines. The approach is encouraging and gives hope to humanity especially in the brink of many challenges that are associated with upholding other principles before theology beliefs. If people put abstract principles before theology, then there are adverse consequences as ordinary virtues such as honesty, trust, and justice will not be practiced making the world a very hostile place. It is the reason why Oliphint maintains that human has no capability to determine what is and what is not possible. The covenant model highlights that theology precedes philosophy through providing a solid foundation on which theory can be established and outlines the core objectives and scopes of philosophy. It is through the Christian ideologies that people can comprehend the reality.

Support of Convergence Model

McGrew provides colorful engagement through referring to a variety of scholars. His essays, as well as the responses, are interesting to read compared to other contributors in the manner in which he embraces natural theology openly. The theology upheld by McGrew maintains that the knowledge of God can be assembled from the natural world. According to McGrew, philosophy is only a discipline and not a belief (Oppy et al. 224). However, he acknowledges that some commitments such as the laws of logic are necessary. It is, therefore, important to note that philosophy gives humanity guidelines through which they can relate to one another in the society on the principles of philosophy. McGrew believes that philosophy is a tool provided by God to help understand the concept of Christianity through reading a way in which one might be brought closer to God. Indeed, it is a high point given that for one to have the wisdom and in this case, philosophy, one needs to be closer to God because it is through the reverence of God that full comprehension of concepts and understanding is attained. He further maintains that revelation is necessary for people to have the close relationship with God and God requires a revelation beyond simple reasoning.

Support of Conformation Model

Paul Moser believes that it is sinful for any given person to use genetic evidence for God because it is only possible to reach God through some revelation that is accompanied with some experience. The point is valid in the perspective of one who has undergone sufferings and tragedies in life and had the experience outside the life of salvation. It is through the experience that one would seek conversion to Christianity or some belief so that they may find peace and redemption from the daily life experiences in the world. Moser supports his point by pointing to the sentiments of his co-author McGrew by pointing out that he is not certain if McGrew is a Christian because he is not led by the Spirit of God (Oppy et al. 224). The views of Moser and Oliphint might appear distinct, but they are practically identical in practice no wonder they praise each other perspectives with a few exceptions.


The book concludes with a piece of editors Davis and Gould noting that it is evident that mind matters and ideas of people also matters. It is right in that not all philosophical concepts are opposed to Christianity and the reverse is true. If the two are meant to come up with logics that focus on the affairs of the society, then they are worth applying in the daily lives of individuals. Therefore, the speculative philosophy that does not accept the irreplaceable role of God through manifestation is outrightly misleading to the Christian community. Similarly, the believers should also be willing to listen to their counterparts and only disagree with the views that they think go against the proper ways of humanity. It must be done without fear or favor just as confirmed by Paul Moser in his move to defend Christianity in the conformation model. It is, therefore, important to note that both Christianity and philosophy are vital in the daily lives of people in the society as long as the right ideas and brought forward as far as the two are concerned.

Works Cited

Oppy, Graham, et al. Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy. Zondervan, 2016.

April 13, 2023


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