Editorials -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 105:418 (Apr 1948)
Article: Editorials
Author: Anonymous


Is Philosophy a Substitute for Systematic Theology?

Those who are in a position to observe, and who do observe, must recognize the trend in ministerial training to substitute philosophy for systematic theology. Such a trend calls for a comparison of these two disciplines and some evaluation of each. In the days of Paul’s ministry, philosophy of the Greek schools was about all that educated men contemplated. While at Athens he confronted the Epicureans and Stoics, or those who had nothing to do but to tell or hear of some new thing (Acts 17:18–21). But Paul’s evaluation of philosophy is to class it with “vain conceit and the traditions of men” (Col 2:8). Of all this he warns that believers beware, lest they be spoiled by the rudiments of this cosmos world. In this connection it is interesting to note that, as translated, the Apostle’s one reference to science is to say that it is “falsely so called” (1 Tim 6:20). As the rudiments of this cosmos world-system in harmony with the tradition of men, philosophy is no more than a display of human reason, based on mere conjecture and suppositions of men. Being as it is so distinctly human in scope and origin, men find little difficulty in an approach to it or in an analysis of it.

Systematic theology is concerned with the revelation God has made of Himself and His works. There is also a logical obligation on the student or teacher of this discipline to defend the revelation. That calls for a personal belief in God and His revelation. No progress can be made in the defense of revelation apart from an acceptance of the Scriptures as verbally inspired and true in every particular.

It is doubtless true that many men who pursue

philosophy with a zest are wholly unprepared to defend the revelation which God has made. The Scriptures teach that God created all things by the word of His power. Human philosophy will not accept that. The Scriptures teach that man is hopelessly undone in sin and that the only cure is centered in the substitutionary death of Christ. It is probable that no class in philosophy either in college or seminary has been opened by singing:

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.”

Philosophy, which is an important discipline in college or university, requires no spiritual preparations for its understanding. It is of the rudiments of this world; however, systematic theology does require a spiritual understanding...

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