A Question I Was Asked:

Do You Use Any Philosophical Approach to Bible Questions?

The Question:

Just one question: may I ask what sort of philosophy you bring to answering Bible questions? I have noted that you do not stand under any particular denomination's doctrinal approaches but speak out for biblical teaching which is as accurate as we can get it. But is there any particular philosophy? I might say that I have never yet faulted you although you have said some things which my minister would not agree with.

UK Apologetics Reply:

You have already stated the only philosophy which I hold to: to speak out for biblical teaching which is as accurate as we can get it. This online ministry fully supports Jude 3-4:

3. Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.
4. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Now today perverters of the Word of God do not necessarily turn grace into "a licence for immorality," more often they are concerned with perverting the gospel in order to feed their greedy living style (though maybe it's the same thing); other times they glue it to a favoured 'gospel philosophy,' such as Arminianism, Calvinism, Catholic philosophy etc., whilst most of the cults and sects like to dress it up in some shade or form of Adventism. So the point is taken that we need to go on with 'contending for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.' We do not have the right to take the Gospel and dress it up, making it something rather different, for example, 'helping us to feel good about ourselves.'

We should view all attempts to dress up the Gospel in 'the philosophy of men' with some suspicion. Paul the Apostle said,

20. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21. For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23. but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24. but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:20-25).

He also stated:

8. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8).

What has tended to happen is that often quite large and intricate 'gospel philosophies' have developed. So we have Catholic theology. My old philosophy lecturer Michael Durrant really liked Catholic theology. I believe he thought that it left no loose ends which needed tying up and was pretty much consistent. Of course that does not make it 100% correct from a spiritual point of view and I don't think it is. Others just love reformed, Calvinist theology, they think it is as biblical as one can get; now there are many areas of it which are good but it has errors too, rather too many for my liking. Then there has been 'neo-orthodoxy,' largely the approach of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner and Richard Niebuhr, plus a few others; this formed a sort of bridge from liberalism in getting back to Luther and Calvin; some of it is superb, other parts are very compromised. Then there has been 'process theology' ('God is really just like us, He hasn't got a clue as to what might happen tomorrow'). Ultimately, these great and often highly-organised 'theologies' are the work of men. Oh, they have been (and are) very sincere people, very determined to explain the Bible in a humanly-satisfying way. Mostly they have been determined to give biblical/intellectual respectability to a particular denomination, or some strain of theological thought. In my opinion, they all ultimately fail, though, for sure, some are better than others.

Loosely speaking if one follows the approach which I advocate, one pretty much ends up with what is now sometimes called 'New Covenant Theology.' That is to focus on Christ, placing Him absolutely central, the theological term for this is 'Christocentric.' Ultimately Christ alone saves, not any set of doctrines or propositions (although there is a place for them). In my opinion, if one strives to be as close to Scripture as one can, one also finds oneself to be a 'four point Calvinist' (sometimes called 'moderate Calvinism'). That is defined here. One has to be an evangelical conservative - not a liberal, but definitely not legalistic either. Neither Jesus nor Paul were legalistic but the Pharisees were, and too many fundamentalists have been. Also, to get as close as one possibly can to what the Bible states, I think one has to be an inclusivist, though, of course, not the liberal variety of that.

Now, I don't doubt that other perfectly sincere people might explain this a little differently; that's fine. This is how I see it and, for sure, nothing I write is blurred by denominational preferences/prejudices. I belong to no particular denomination and have no wish to do so. I simply give my view on what Holy Scripture is saying, the 'bottom line,' if you will. As Martin Luther said, 'Here I stand, I can do no other.'

So I answer all biblical/theological questions on their own merit; I am only guided by the need for all of us to better understand the Word of God. If a Catholic theologian has said, 'This is the best way to view/understand this Scripture,' and I agree with him, I will say so, yet I do not deny that my determination to faithfully uphold the Bible brings me, loosely, to a Protestant evangelical, four-point Calvinist (not five-point which introduces errors in my opinion), inclusivist, and New Covenant theology standpoint.

I also happen to have no doubts at all that the Holy Bible is inspired by God, that's a 'given' as far as I'm concerned. My conclusion there is based on very solid evidence.

Robin A. Brace. February 18th, 2013.

Here are two articles (we have many more) which might help:
All About Grace
The Gospel of Jesus Christ; An Inclusive Message