Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 9:1 (Fall 1991) p. 82
Books By The Faculty
A Handbook for Christian Philosophy by L. Russ Bush. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991, 339pp.
This volume by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is the end-product, Dr. Bush tells us, of 15 years of guiding students through the thought and vocabulary of the philosophy of religion. A Handbook for Christian Philosophy is a resource for beginning philosophy of religion students and contains an extensive glossary. It is exactly what the title indicates—not a systematic statement of Dr. Bush’s own views, nor a comprehensive statement of any other thinker’s perspective—-although elements of this frequently emerge—but rather an initial exposure to many of the relevant concerns that face the beginning collegian or seminarian venturing into this sphere of study.
Dr. Bush sees the Christian philosophy of religion as the supreme interdisciplinary discipline and he proposes a fresh look at the biblical worldview. He places a premium on logic and cognitive evidence, and rightly distinguishes logical validity from truth. He stresses the limits of induction, and hence of empirically-based affirmation, yet he contends that no worldview can be established as true “if it does not have adequate empirical evidence”(p. 87). The three major worldviews of the contemporary era—postulating the way things are—are idealism, naturalism, and theism.
Rational consistency is a test of truthfulness, but it is not of itself sufficient. A true view must meet the tests of rational consistency, empirical adequacy, explanatory power and practical relevance, in that order (p. 91).
The claims by naturalists, pantheists and others holding non-Christian views “can be shown to be false either because they are self-defeating or because they do not fit the facts, or both” (p. 193). The naturalistic view that humans are genetically, chemically, or environmentally determined removes all basis for thinking any view is correct (p. 82).
Dr. Bush seems to vacillate at times between a deductive and inductive approach. He relies on divine revelation as a privileged postulate (p. 96 ft., 113 ft.), and thus begins with God in his revelation; again he discusses the so-called theistic proofs as if they establish God’s existence. He seems to imply that to reject empirical evidence as inadequate to demonstrate God’s existence requires the believer to fall into fideism (p. 98). A refusal to begin with God’s existence would seem not only to break with the Reformer’s insistence that belief in God is pre-philosophical, but also to counter Hebrews 11:6. While he commend...
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