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Philosophy And The Christian World View


Some of you may remember Francis Schaeffer who  wrote at least 23 books from the early 1960’s into the 1980’s.  His books concerning philosophy, science, culture, law, ethics, church and the Christian world view warned Evangelicals about the encroachment of non-Christian philosophy into Christian thinking.  I’d recommend his writings to anyone interested in philosophy and social concerns and how they relate to Christian thinking.


Schaeffer wasn’t the only one who warned Christians about non-Christian philosophy.  In Col. 2:6-8 Paul writes,  “... as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him… See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world and not on Christ”. 


Our English word “philosophy” comes from the Greek word “philosophia”  that Paul uses in Col 2:8.   “Philosophia” denotes the love and pursuit of wisdom, knowledge and the understanding of things”.   Of course your presuppositions and approach to finding wisdom, knowledge and understanding will determine the outcome of your pursuit as seen in your belief system.  Paul’s presupposition was Jesus, thus his belief system was built upon this foundation.  


Paul tells people to receive Christ as Lord, and then be rooted in Him.  The temptation always exists to forsake Jesus as our foundation to truth and turn to the prevailing thinking of the day.  One reason why some Christians forsake this foundation is because they never “received Christ as their Lord” in the first place, as Paul says.  They’ve been told that they just need their sins forgiven, so they’ve stopped at that.  Handing your life over to the Lord Jesus and sticking with Him through thick and thin is what being a Christian is all about, something that seems to be missing in some circles these days.  


Paul says that the philosophy of the world is based on human tradition, something he knew lots about. 

He spent his whole pre Christian life in the pursuit of God through human effort and human tradition, being the educated man that he was.  Not that education is bad because Paul as a Christian used his intellectual capabilities in defense of  the truth of the gospel.  He understood the importance of an “objective” approach to truth, and so do I.


Yet there’s more to all of this than the objective approach as Paul realized after his confrontation with the Lord Jesus Christ.  His objectivity was abruptly balanced with what some call a subjective experience.   He no longer approached life from intellectual objectiveness alone, but allowed the Holy Spirit to be the balancing factor in his thinking processes.    


Even with these warnings many didn’t heed Paul’s words.  They began to rethink their faith by giving themselves to the prevailing philosophies of the day which led them to deny Jesus altogether. Nothing has changed since those days.  Scheaffer and others have warned us over the last 50 years about this, but for one reason or another the prevailing philosophy of our day has led some Christians away from the Biblical Jesus.  Post Modernism, Relativism, Humanism, and Religious Liberalism are a few examples of philosophies that have undermined the central truths of Scripture in some people’s thinking.   


It’s now time to address these issues again in a systematic and objective way, with the balancing factor of the Holy Spirit’s involvement.  Some may say that such talk of the Holy Spirit is way too subjective for them and has no place in critical thinking.  From a Christian standpoint this is far from the truth.  Even though the Holy Spirit is sometimes associated with hyper-emotionalism, we know that He is more than that.  Jesus calls Him the Spirit of truth who can lead us into truth. 


I know many Christians have no real desire to think of philosophical issues, but whether you realize it or not, the prevailing philosophies of the world are more prevalent in Christian circles than you might think.  Therefore some of us do need to come to this table in both an objective and the subjective manner.  We cannot neglect one or the other.  May Jesus really be our Lord and may He be the foundation of all we think and do as we seek wisdom,  knowledge, and understanding.     


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