Steve Wilkens is a philosophy professor at Azusa Pacific University and author of a primer on key thinkers and philosophers titled, Good Ideas from Questionable Christians and Outright Pagans: An Introduction to Key Thinkers and Philosophies, published by InterVarsity. He is also author of Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics and co-author of Christianity & Western Thought.
Why should someone today care what philosophers have to say?
I don't think Christians have an embargo on truth. We learn all sorts of good and useful things from folks who aren't believers, and I think that's true also in the realm of ideas.
I have rather a modest appraisal of philosophy. I don't see it as a means of salvation, but I certainly see a lot of philosophers providing some useful tools for me to think through the various elements of my salvation. I believe that God has been gracious enough to give a lot of very wise people some insights into truth. And I want to grab that.
Why do you call some Christian philosophers questionableChristians?
I'm poking fun at us because quite often within the evangelical world the very fact that people engage in philosophy makes them questionable. They're questionable to people for a lot of different reasons. Within the church, it's enough that they are philosophers to bring them under suspicion.
Let's go through these questionable Christians. Tell me what you would say a major contribution of Augustine would be. What was the context of his philosophical inquiry, and what is its contemporary significance.
I love Augustine because his biography can be read through the lens of his struggle with trying to figure out how evil could exist in a world where there is a good God. He was very serious about that question, very committed ...1
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