News broke over the weekend that the noted Christian philosopher, Dr. Arthur F. Holmes, died on Saturday, October 9. He was 87. Holmes “inspired generations of Wheaton College students and the broader Christian community through his thoughtful scholarship,” observed a Wheaton College press release.
On remembering Holmes’ life and legacy, Alvin Plantinga, the emeritus John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, said at the Christianity Today blog: “Arthur Holmes was a great Christian and a fine philosopher. We Christians who value the life of the mind must thank and praise the Lord for Art and his life, and we must do our best to see that his tradition is carried on and developed.”
Below is the following statement from Paul Copan, President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University
This past Sunday evening, I read the sad news of the death of the well-loved Christian philosophy professor Arthur Holmes; he had taught at Wheaton College for over four decades. One of the two influential philosophy professors I had at Trinity Seminary, Stuart Hackett, had been a good friend and colleague of Prof. Holmes for many years at Wheaton College. In fact, it was Prof. Holmes who helped bring Prof. Hackett out of obscurity—from a small Southern college to a highly-esteemed evangelical college, giving him a far wider influence in the Christian philosophical community. The well-established reputation Prof. Hackett earned at Wheaton would pave the way for his coming to Trinity Seminary. So, indirectly, I am a beneficiary of Prof. Holmes’ initiative and foresight.
I myself had the opportunity to meet and interact with Prof. Holmes personally at the annual Wheaton Philosophy conferences and as I bumped into him here and there at other philosophical gatherings. Though I found him to be modest and unassuming, he influenced many student lives and helped contribute to the rising tide of Christian philosophers shaping this generation, including Stephen Evans and William Lane Craig. I myself have been influenced through Prof. Holmes’ writings. When I took my first philosophy class at Trinity Seminary in the fall of 1985, “Religious Epistemology” with Prof. Hackett, we students read and dissected Prof. Holmes’ book All Truth Is God’s Truth—to our great benefit. And during my final year at Trinity Seminary, I took a class with Dr. Carl F.H. Henry, and another of Prof. Holmes’ books was our text—Contours of a World View. These textbooks inspired me to hunt down and read Prof. Holmes’ other works: Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions; Fact, Value, and God; The Idea of a Christian College; Building the Christian Academy (edited); and War and Christian Ethics (edited). All of his books are now a valuable part of my library. They are lucidly written and insightful; indeed, they are solid resources for Christians in the liberal arts and for any believer who wants to think Christianly.
Though Arthur Holmes has died, he still speaks through the lives of the Christian students he has influenced and the books he has written. I commend his writings to present generation of Christian philosophy students and to all interested in more fully understanding what it means for Christ to be Lord over every facet of life.
Do you have any personal memories of Holmes? Any favorite Holmes-isms? How was Holmes a model for your scholarship?