Search Results for: Michael Rea

The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy

In 2018, Cambridge University Press will publish The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy, edited by Gabriele Galluzzo and‎ Michael J. Loux. Gabriele Galluzzo is Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter. Michael J. Loux is Shuster Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

From the publisher’s description of The Problem of Universals: 

Are there any universal entities? Or is the world populated only by particular things? The problem of universals is one of the most fascinating and enduring topics in the history of metaphysics, with roots in ancient and medieval philosophy. This collection of new essays provides an innovative overview of the contemporary debate on universals. Rather than focusing exclusively on the traditional opposition between realism and nominalism, the contributors explore the complexity of the debate and illustrate a broad range of positions within both the realist and the nominalist camps. Realism is viewed through the lens of the distinction between constituent and relational ontologies, while nominalism is reconstructed in light of the controversy over the notion of trope. The result is a fresh picture of contemporary metaphysics, in which traditional strategies of dealing with the problem of universals are both reaffirmed and called into question.

Pope Francis and the Caring Society

In 2017, Independent Institute published Pope Francis and the Caring Society, edited by Robert M. Whaples. Whaples is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Co-Editor and Managing Editor for The Independent Review, Professor of Economics at Wake Forest University, Director and Book Review Editor for EH.NET, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center on Culture and Civil Society at the Independent Institute.

From the publisher’s description of Pope Francis and the Caring Society:

Pope Francis and the Caring Society is a thoughtful exploration of the Pope’s earnest call for a dialogue on building a truly compassionate society. Francis’s fervent support for uplifting the poor and protecting the environment has inspired far-reaching discussions worldwide: Do capitalism and socialism have positive or negative social consequences? What is the most effective way to fight poverty? And what value does a religious perspective offer in addressing moral, political, and economic problems?

Pope Francis and the Caring Society is an indispensable resource for consideration of these vital questions. Edited by Robert M. Whaples, with a foreword by Michael Novak, the book provides an integrated perspective on Francis and the issues he has raised, examining the intersection of religion, politics, and economics. Readers will discover important historical and cultural context for considering Francis’s views, along with alternative solutions for environmental preservation, a defense of Francis’s criticism of power and privilege, a case for market-based entrepreneurship and private charity as potent tools for fighting poverty, and an examination of Francis’s philosophy of the family. Pope Francis and the Caring Society is essential reading for anyone interested in creating a better, more caring, and prosperous world.

EPS members, Charles Taliaferro and J.P. Moreland say of the book:

From Taliaferro:

Pope Francis and the Caring Society is outstanding and absolutely essential reading for those seeking to engage the theology and values of Pope Francis on the issues of our day: the economies in contemporary democratic republics, the wealth and poverty of peoples, the political implications of a Christian theology of care and compassion, the values of liberty and family, and, of increasing importance for national and international relations, the challenge of addressing climate change. It will also be of great interest for non-Catholic and general readers seeking an intelligent, critical guide to the interrelationship of politics, economics, and religious faith.

From Moreland:

Pope Francis and the Caring Society is a stunning achievement. It is high-level scholarship put in prose that is accessible to the lay reader. And it is must reading for biblical exegetes, theologians, pastors and Christian leaders in general because, in a fair and careful way, the book brings conceptual economic clarity to those who often speak to and for the church about matters economical without the training to do so. One main purpose of the book is to clarify and defend the proposition that the teachings of Jesus (and scripture generally) set the ends for Christians (and many of these ends are set for everyone by way of natural law) regarding a cluster of related issues taken up within its pages, but it is the science of economics that provides knowledge of the best means to reach those ends. Much—usually unintentional—harm has been done by people who have failed to learn the economic justification for those means, but with the publication of Pope Francis and the Caring Society, that problem can now be laid to rest. A marvelous book.

Learn more about Pope Francis and the Caring Society by going to the website of the Independent Institute.

Epistemology and Biblical Theology

In 2017, Routledge published Epistemology and Biblical Theology: From the Pentateuch to Mark’s Gospel (Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Biblical Criticism) by Dru Johnson. Dru Johnson is an Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at The King’s College in New York City. He is currently a Templeton Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews (Logos Institute); Associate Director for the Templeton Jewish Philosophical Theology Project (Herzl Institute, Jerusalem); Series Editor for Routledge’s Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Biblical Criticism monograph series; and co-chair for the Hebrew Bible and Philosophy program unit in the Society of Biblical Literature.

From the publisher’s description of Epistemology and Biblical Theology:

Epistemology and Biblical Theology pursues a coherent theory of knowledge as described across the Pentateuch and Mark’s Gospel. As a work from the emerging field of philosophical criticism, this volume explores in each biblical text both narrative and paraenesis to assess what theory of knowledge might be presumed or advocated and the coherence of that structure across texts. In the Pentateuch and Mark, primacy is placed on heeding an authenticated and authoritative prophet, and then enacting the guidance given in order to see what is being shown in order to know. Erroneous knowing follows the same boundaries: failure to attend to the proper authoritative voice or failure to enact guidance creates mistaken understanding. With a working construct of proper knowing in hand, points of contact with and difficulties for contemporary philosophical epistemologies are suggested. In the end, Michael Polanyi’s scientific epistemology emerges as the most commensurable view with knowing as it appears in these foundational biblical texts. Therefore, this book will be of interest to scholars working across the fields of Biblical studies and philosophy. Dru Johnson’s other “Bible and Philosophy” books include Scripture’s Knowing and Knowledge by Ritual. See also Dru’s paper here at the EPS website, “A Biblical Nota Bene on Philosophical Inquiry.”

Dru Johnson’s other “Bible and Philosophy” books include Scripture’s Knowing and Knowledge by Ritual. See also Johnson’s paper here at the EPS website, “A Biblical Nota Bene on Philosophical Inquiry.”

Join Dru Johnson, Oliver Crisp, Joshua Blander, and Kevin Vanhoozer for an EPS session, “Engagement with Scripture in Philosophy and Analytic Theology” at the 2017 SBL/AAR annual conference in Boston, November 19th.

Philosophia Christi Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer 2017)

The Summer 2017 issue of Philosophia Christi features wide-ranging discussions in epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion, ethics, philosophical theology, and apologetics including contributions from J.P. Moreland, Paul Copan, Charles Taliaferro, Walter Schultz, Michael McFall, Bradley Seeman, and many others!

Topics include:

  • whether naturalistic theories of emergence are compatible with science 
  • whether “New Wave” Kantian philosophy of religion is compatible with Kant’s Deism 
  • an assessment of the latest philosophical defenses of the sanctity of the unborn 
  • whether benevolence is insufficient for Christian love 
  • how should the conditions and tasks of apologetics be reassessed in light of various epistemological challenges. 

Among the articles, philosophical notes, or book reviews, this Summer 2017 issue also features extended interactions with the works of Charles Taylor, Brian Leftow, Stuart Kauffman, James Mumford, and Myron B. Penner.

Become a first-time member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society [includes annual subscription to Philosophia Christi] or a journal-only subscriber!

New Dictionary of Christianity and Science

In April 2017, Zondervan is set to publish the Dictionary of Christianity and Science, edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss. Paul Copan is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. Tremper Longman III is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies and the chair of the Religious Studies department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California Christopher L. Reese is marketing manager at B&H Academic publishers. Michael G. Strauss is a David Ross Boyd Professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. From the publisher’s description:

The Dictionary of Christianity and Science provides, in one volume, entries on over 450 key terms, theories, individuals, movements, and debates at the intersection of Christian faith and contemporary science.

In addition, because certain topics such as the age of the Earth and the historicity of Adam and Eve provoke disagreement among Christians, the dictionary includes “Counterpoints”-like essays that advocate for the views most commonly held among evangelicals. Representatives of leading perspectives present their arguments vigorously but respectfully in these advocacy essays, allowing readers to compare options and draw their own conclusions. The dictionary is also fully cross-referenced and entries include references and recommendation for further reading.

Edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss, the Dictionary of Christianity and Science features a top-notch lineup of over 140 contributors in the fields of biblical studies, theology, philosophy, history, and various sciences. A unique reference work, it will be useful for scholars, pastors, students, and any Christian wanting to better understand the most relevant issues and ideas at the intersection of Christian faith and science.

Gordon R. Lewis (1926-2016), an Integrative Theologian

Last night we received notification of the passing of noted evangelical philosopher and theologian, Dr. Gordon R. Lewis:

Gordon R. Lewis, went to be with the Lord on June 11, 2016. He was born November 21, 1926 to Fred C. Lewis and Florence Winn Lewis in Johnson City, New York. He was married to Doris Berlin in 1948. She passed away in 1999. He married Willa Waddle in 2001. He is survived by Willa Waddle Lewis, Nancy & (Alan) Carter, Cindy & (Jim) Clark, and Scott Lewis, five grandsons Halden & (Ginny) Clark, Caleb & (Marlys) Clark, Daniel & (Ashlie) Clark, David & (Kaci) Clark, and Ian Carter, eight great-grandchildren and a niece and nephews.

After graduating from Johnson City High School in 1944, Gordon studied at Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, New York, earned a BA at Gordon College in Boston and an MDiv at Faith Seminary in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was a student pastor of People’s Baptist Church. While teaching at Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City from 1951-1958, he earned an MA and Ph.D in philosophy at Syracuse University.

He and his family moved to Denver, CO in 1958 when he joined the faculty of Denver Seminary as Professor of Theology and Philosophy. He retired from full-time teaching in 1993. He also served as interim pastor in several churches and helped start Foothills Fellowship Baptist Church where he was currently a member and senior elder.

During a sabbatical in 1973, he taught at Union Biblical Seminary in India. He interviewed national and missionary leaders in several Far Eastern countries on similarities and differences of the eastern and western mind. He published seven books and many articles in academic journals. His major work, co-authored with colleague Dr. Bruce Demarest, is Integrative Theology in three volumes, published by Zondervan in 1996. It presents a distinctive method to help people to discover truth when facing conflicting claims in a diverse world.

The memorial service for Professor Gordon Lewis will be held at Denver Seminary Chapel, June 15, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Donations may be given to “The Gordon Lewis Centre for Christian Thought and Culture“, c/o Denver Seminary, 6399 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO 80120

Dr. Lewis’s work included contributions that spanned into areas of theology, apologetics, and spirituality. In apologetics, perhaps he was most known for his survey handbook, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims: Approaches to Christian Apologetics (1980). In at least article form, he wrote about issues of biblical infallibility and spirituality, and sometimes both, such as when discussing the value of propositional revelation for spiritual formation.

Serving as both past presidents of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society, along with his tenure as a theology, philosophy and apologetics professor at Denver Seminary, his leadership shaped both “minds” and “hearts,” of both scholars and practitioners alike. Gordon Lewis earnestly sought to enable disciples of Jesus to be learners of Bible, Theology, and Apologetics. Philosophy, including his own training and that of the discipline, was a servant not a colonizer of this endeavor.

My own encounter with Dr. Lewis’s work began with his Integrative Theology, and that was also the first time, in 1998, that I was significantly exposed to the work of “contemporary evangelical theology.” Lewis and Demarest’s work molded my first impressions of how evangelical theology could done in such a rigorous, faithful and fruitful way. I thank my friend and professor, Michael Gurney, for exposing me to Lewis’s work as a result of his Introduction to Theology course at then Multnomah Bible College. Lewis and Demarest’s work sought to bring the many “tongues” of historical, biblical, systematic, apologetic and practical theology to sing together as “one voice” on crucial questions of theology.  

Integrative Theology sought to “equip the equippers.” Lewis was not content for the work of theology to be simply left and limited to the seminary classroom or left only for the professional(ized) theologian, philosopher or apologist. His Decide for Yourself: A Theological Workbook is evidence of that intent. Originally published in 1970 by Intervarsity Press, it sought to equip younger Christians, and indeed future leaders of the church in the U.S. In a particular way, Lewis did theology as apologetics and world-and-life view formation; a demonstration of the truthfulness and livability of Christianity as a body of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. As he wrote in the Preface of Decide for Yourself,

Jesus Christ calls his followers to a disciplined life – morally and intellectually. Lord of our minds as well as our hearts, he challenges us to grow, not in grace only, but also in knowledge.

And then from Integrative Theology, we have an extension of the above point applied to the task of doing theology:

Developing a theology that relates biblically revealed truth to humanity and nature is not an elective for Christians who believe in the Lord of all, but a requirement. God knows, sustains and gives purpose to all that is. God provides a focal point not only for our limited personal experiences or special interests but for all thought. The question for Christians is not whether they will relate all their fields of knowledge to God’s purposes, but whether they, as stewards of God’s truth, will do so poorly or well.

In a 2006 article for Philosophia Christi, titled, “Jesus’s Uses of Language and their Contemporary Significance,” he concluded his paper with this prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for having spoken to us in these last days through the effective relationships and true affirmations of your Son. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for lovingly witnessing to the truth the Father gave you, even unto death. Thank you, Spirit of truth, for raising up the members of the Evangelical Philosophical Society to witness, as Jesus did, to loving relational fellowships grounded on loving propositional revelation, even unto death. Amen.

May God bless the influence, stewardship and leadership of Dr. Gordon R. Lewis!

Special Invitation from Ratio Christi

All current EPS members are encouraged to collaborate with Ratio Christi, a student apologetics alliance, in light of this invitation from president Corey Miller:

Ratio Christi is eager to open the door to various EPS members to speak at our more than 150 university chapters via our Speakers Bureau, to consider being a faculty advisor or even starting a Ratio Christi chapter at your university (even if you’re a professor), and also to encourage those current and future professors at secular universities by providing resources for faculty ministry as winsome and productive but bold and shrewd “missional professors.” We wish to subvert the notion of an occupation in favor of a vocation such that professors do not see it as a job but as a calling and think creatively toward what that might look like for each individual. We provide resources and details including PROF Talks videos that are by professors for professors in secular universities that prove helpful in understanding what it might look like to be missional in that environment and academic discipline. We welcome those who wish to cooperate with us for the benefit of all in making more of these videos so that we have one in every academic discipline. We envision a movement of missional professors such that every student knows at least one of them and so that every academic discipline has a core group of Christian scholars working together to rebuild the plausibility structure of the Christian world and life view on secular campuses. 

For more information, see

See also recent books by Ratio Christi associates, including Corey Miller and Paul Gould’s book Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science, and Rhetoric (Routledge, 2014), which was based on a William Lane Craig Alex Rosenberg debate at Purdue; it includes entries by Victor Stenger, Paul Moser, Timothy McGrew, Robert Kaita, Michael Ruse, etc. For those interested in apologetics ministry and leadership, Mike Sherrards, Relational Apologetics: Defending the Faith with Holiness Respect and Truth (Kregel, 2015).

Finally, do not miss their upcoming symposium on February 5-7, 2016:

For the Sake of Character: A Trinitarian Family Ethic

This paper explores connections between the parent-child relationship, the Trinity, and character formation in the context of family life.

First, it offers a Trinitarian argument for the existence of parental rights. Then it discusses ways in which the doctrine of the Trinity is relevant to how we understand the family. Next, it argues that a Trinitarian understanding of the family, which includes the claim that the family should reflect several im-portant attributes of the Triune God, underscores the relevance of a variety of character traits including patience, humility, forgiveness, and love.

Austin does not offer a sustained philosophical argument for one conclusion, but rather engage in a philosophically oriented approach to important is-sues related to family life at the theoretical and practical levels. The claim this paper does lend support to, however, is that reflection upon the Trinity and related theological concepts has great potential for articulating and defending a Christian understanding of important issues related to the family in general, and the parent-child relationship in particular.

The full-text of this paper is available for FREE by clicking here. A version of this paper was presented as a plenary address at the annual national meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society in Atlanta, November 18, 2015.

This paper is also part of the ongoing EPS web project, “Philosophical Discussions on Marriage and Family.”

Web Symposium: Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar

What is an academic discipline? How might we think about the mission of God, the work of Christian professors and their work among the disciplines? What does it mean to think Christianly about scholarship? How might the character of a scholar shape the work of scholarship? These questions and more are addressed in this unique web symposium centered around a paper written by Paul Gould. [Readers may also be interested in an EPS interview with Gould regarding his recent book, The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor].

An Essay on Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar

by Paul Gould

This essays argues that an academic discipline is best understood as a social practice composed of guiding principles, a guiding methodology, a data set and a collective narrative (with characters, acts and various sub-stories throughout its history).

Mission takes place at the point of intersection between the dominant western stories (scientific naturalism and postmodernism) and Christianity. Within the academic discipline, these intersections are at each level: the Christian professor will utilize her own set of guiding principles and methodologies (which might or might not agree with those of the dominant story within the discipline); she will approach the data set of the discipline from her own unique point of cognitive access, which may lead her to ask a different set of questions than those who embrace the dominant story of the discipline would ask; and she will look to her own set of Christian mentors and guides within the discipline (historical and contemporary) for leadership.

As a missional professor who always has the progress of the gospel in view, she will seek “missional connections” within her academic discipline so that Christianity will be viewed as plausible and gain a hearing in the secular university and in culture. 

Scholarship and Character as a Christian Academic

by Michael Austin

This paper considers examples of how a Christian in philosophy can embrace positions within the discipline but also provide a unique and more cogent grounding for those positions. He argues that the best way of accounting for a conception of human rights based on fundamental interests can be grounded in God’s trinitarian nature. A Christian philosopher, depending on her audience, can be explicit about this ultimate grounding or she may instead produce a work of what C.S. Lewis called latent Christianity, in which the theological underpinnings exist in her mind, but are not made explicit in her argumentation.

Austin also discusses an example of how the fact that, as Gould puts it, “Christ is the source and telos of all things, including all truths that can be discovered,” can inform Christian scholarship, related to the dual nature of the Christian virtue of humility.

Finally, Austin briefly examines the importance of a robust Christian character for the Christian academic.

by Gregory Ganssle

The task of the Christian in the academy is complex. Paul Gould’s Essay includes some helpful conceptual tools.

The first helps us visualize the multiple implications of the fact that God is the prime reality. These implications open up the resources of the Gospel for thinking about the task of the scholar.

The second helps us give a more nuanced analysis of the contours of one’s academic discipline.

In this essay, Gregory Ganssle develop these tools to help make them more comprehensive, and, hopefully, even more applicable. 

A Perspective on Perspectival Factualism: Response to Paul Gould

by Richard Davis

Paul Gould’s Essay defends what he calls ‘Perspectival Factualism’ as the best approach for a Christian scholar to adopt towards her academic discipline. Richard Davis raises some questions for Prof. Gould’s proposal along with some alternative proposals. This paper also reflects Davis’s recent contribution in Philosophia Christi, where he [and Paul Franks] critique another form of perspectivalism. 


Reflection on Gould’s Model of Faith and Scholarship: Consistent, Holistic, Realistic?

by David Naugle

In this response to Paul Gould’s Essay, David Naugle mentions seven positive things he sees in his essay, including: that Gould emphasizes God’s mission and our scholarly faithfulness to it, his helpful definitions of academic disciplines, his examples of missional professors, the good Christian resources Gould uses, his boldness, and many other solid points too many to discuss.

Negatively, Naugle mentions, in summary fashion, the following points: a possible contradiction, a failure to be truly holistic in the faith-learning nexus, and finally, whether Gould’s model will lead to the transformation he seeks. Each major section is followed by summaries of various kinds.

Further Reflections on Academic Faithfulness: A Reply to Friendly Critics

by Paul Gould

In this paper, Paul Gould responds to essays by Michael Austin, Gregory Ganssle, Richard Davis, and David Naugle as they interact with his model of faith-scholarship integration as articulated in his “Essay on Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar.”