April 2015

Theology and Philosophy

In an article discussing the theology of Albert Ritschl, Herman Bavinck writes that throughout history Christian theology “fashioned for herself a philosophy or appropriated an existing one such that as that of Aristotle as she had need of it and could use it without doing harm.”[1] The relationship of Christian theology to philosophy is a complicated subject....
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. . . all eschatological interpretation of history, when united to a strong religious mentality cannot but produce the finest practical theological fruitage. To take God as source and end of all that exists and happens, and to hold such a view suffused with the warmth of genuine devotion, stands not only related to theology as the fruit stands to the tree: it is by reason of its essence a veritable theological tree of life.

— Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, 61.

Let us take a moment to consider our habits of speech. We often talk, for instance, about trusting the finished work of Christ rather than the living person of Christ for our salvation. We talk about our sins being nailed to the cross rather than our sins being borne away in the body and soul of Christ. We even talk about taking our prayers to the cross rather than taking them to our resurrected and ascended Lord. The situation demands that we be altogether clear: these dichotomies diminish the scope of our salvation and the grandeur of the gospel. What is more, these dichotomies not only reflect but also reinforce our tendency to miss that the incarnation is central to our reconciliation with God, that the reality of Christ’s atonement is grounded in the reality of his incarnation.

— John C. Clark and Marcus Peter Johnson, The Incarnation of God: The Mystery of the Gospel as the Foundation of Evangelical Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 104.