The Philosophy of Dallas Seminary -- By: James T. Spangler

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 100:397 (Jan 1943)
Article: The Philosophy of Dallas Seminary
Author: James T. Spangler


The Philosophy of Dallas Seminary

James T. Spangler

The philosophical attitude of the Dallas Theological Seminary is not unique, it being the position of the New Idealism, the Aufklärung in German thought, a protest against the subjective idealism of Bishop Berkeley and lesser figures of his time, and of later thinkers. In its most offensive form subjective idealism is now found in Christian Science, the vagaries of Mary Baker Eddy.

The claim made for the Dallas Theological Seminary is that the subjective-objective philosophy supports the doctrinal position of the school, and, further, that this position does not violate the canons of philosophy or science.

Man is involved in nature in his physical and psychical constitution; but he is above nature in his spiritual constitution, in his spiritual supremacy, which constitutes him a supernatural being, having been created in the image of God, with a religious nature, and, therefore, with susceptibilities to revelations from God. However, we are assured and abashed by Paul in Romans 1:18–32, that this image has been woefully marred by sin, even to depravity. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them, For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom 1:18–23).

The investigations made by Dr. Wilhelm Schmidt of Vienna and his collaborators reveal that in nearly every tribe

of man and in every part of the world, there are traditions of a primitive monotheism, even of fatherhood in God. A considerable number of other, independent investigations have made similar discoveries. Incidentally, these investigations also show primitive conceptions of prayer and sacrifice, with their origin; the origin of fire-worship and fire as a symbol of deity; the origin of monogamous marriage and of primitive ethics; and the origin of the belief in immortality as well as the origin of the world and of man. Some of these traditions, ma...

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