Another Oliphintian Philosophical Challenge

Posted: September 2, 2014 in General Presup Issues
Tags: , , , , ,

In a previous post, I cited Dr. Scott Oliphint’s call for competent Reformed philosophers.  The need for this class of professional is apparent to anyone interested in presuppositional apologetics.

Recently, Jared Oliphint lent his voice to the chorus.  In Reformed Media Review episode 86, he and Camden Bucy review “Molinism: The Contemporary Debate”.  Around 31 minutes in, Jared levels a challenge at the Reformed community – presumably, at enterprising young Reformed students of philosophy:

What can we say about [Molinism: The Contemporary Debate] from a Reformed perspective?  It was interesting to read Paul Helm’s review of this book…He actually doesn’t really engage much with the specific content of the book either.  He kind of hovers over it and gives a general overview  of his thoughts on the topic.  What’s interesting about that review is, I might have detected some kind of…bitterness is too strong a word, but something like that.  He notes, and rightly notes, that there’s an exclusion of Reformed philosophers from these debates.  I think that’s pretty clear….I think Helm is right in one sense, that there’s a notable absence of Reformed philosophers from this discussion, but also, to be fair, there’s a notable absence of Reformed philosophers period.

For what it’s worth, I think one way forward would be for those who are competent in both Reformed theology as well as some of the more technical philosophical details to demonstrate competency both at the technical philosophical level that rivals this book and then to apply his or her Reformed theology to this discussion.  I’d love to see that happen that someone comes along and demonstrates top tier philosophy and applies it to solid, robust, rigorous Reformed theology as well.

I don’t know why there is a lack of good Reformed philosophers, although I suspect it’s because those who are zealous about Reformed theology are siphoned into the seminary system and transformed into theologians.  And, to be honest, there’s so much hostility towards Christianity in academic philosophical circles, that few are willing (or emotionally able) to brave the daily blasphemies while simultaneously maintaining high academic standards. 

This not only serves to discourage Calvinists from becoming philosophers, but it also causes the theologians to step up their attacks on philosophy from within the safe walls of the seminary.  The impression (right in most cases) is that philosophers are the enemy, and up to no good.

May God answer the Oliphintian challenge with a flood of young talent…

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    I need to listen to Jared Oliphint’s critique on his show


  2. James Anderson and Greg Welty are the only ones I know of who are somewhat stepping up to the challenge. It’s truly baffling that there aren’t more!


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