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The Complete and Utter Farce of Evangelical "Scholarship". Darrel Henschell. BEWARE OF PHILOSOPHY: A WARNING TO BIBLICAL SCHOLARS by Norman L. Geisler, Ph.D. An address to The Evangelical Theological Society November 19, 1998. Favorite Howler (of many):

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An address to The Evangelical Theological Society November 19, 1998


Favorite Howler (of many):

"Historical evidence that Jesus was supernaturally conceived of a virgin is more than substantial. Indeed, there are more eyewitness contemporary records of the virgin birth than for most events from the ancient world."

(Geisler, _Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics_, pg. 764)

can the bible be wrong

Can the Bible be wrong?

“The answer to this question is found in another: Can Jesus be wrong? Absolutely not! Jesus is the Son of God. He said that the Bible is the Word of God. The Word of God cannot err. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.”

--Billy Graham’s Decision magazine, January 1995.

beware of philosophy
Beware of Philosophy?
  • phi·los·o·phyLove and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline. --American Heritage
beware of wisdom
Beware of Wisdom?
  • wis·dom

The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.

American Heritage

geisler s intro
Geisler’s Intro

Why We Must Beware of Philosophy

  • Paul's exhortation to “beware of philosophy” (Col. 2:8) are appropriately applied to other alien systems of thought that have invaded Christianity down through the centuries since then.
current philosophies
Current Philosophies

Beware of Naturalism

  • Naturalism is the philosophy that denies there are supernatural interventions in the world. It is at the root of modern negative biblical criticism…
benedict spinoza 1632 1677
Benedict Spinoza(1632-1677)

“Spinoza's naturalism led directly to the first modern systematic negative criticism of the Bible. It has had a devastating effect on biblical interpretation.”

david hume

David Hume

“The results of Hume's philosophical naturalism have been disastrous for Christianity…. As they say, the rest is history. Or better, the rest is the destruction of history--particularly miraculous history recorded in Scripture.”


rudolph bultmann

Rudolph Bultmann

“Rudolph Bultmann (1884-1976) turned Gospel history into religious mythology. Why? Because, in his words, he believed it would be both senseless and impossible not to recognize the Gospels as myth.”

beware of agnosticism

Beware of Agnosticism

“The great German thinker, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) claimed to have been awakened from his dogmatic slumbers by David Hume, not to skepticism but to agnosticism. ….

Considering the immense influence of Kant on the modern world, we see once more the importance of our thesis to “beware of philosophy.”’

beware of evolutionism

Beware of Evolutionism

“Many thinkers labor under the illusion that evolution is an empirical science when in fact it is a philosophy. …

The result of the philosophy of evolutionism has been catastrophic for biblical and theological studies. The historicity and scientific accuracy of the Genesis record has been denied.”

beware of the philosophy of progressivism

Beware of the Philosophy of Progressivism

Beware of Phenomenology

Beware of Existentialism

…few have done more from within the evangelical fold to methodologically undermine historic orthodoxy than Kierkegaard.


Beware of Conventionalism

“…since this truth claim [all meaning is relative] is itself both self-defeating and incompatible with evangelical theology, then we must beware of the philosophy of conventionalism.”

beware of processism

Beware of Processism

“…in the name of proper biblical exegesis many evangelical theologians have forsaken the absolutely omniscient and unchanging God of historic orthodoxy for a God who not only changes His mind but who does not even know for sure what will happen in the future.”

momentary digression god might not know the future

Momentary digression…God might not know the future?

And it repented the LORD that he had made manon the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Gen. 6:6

And the LORD repented of the evil which hethought to do unto his people.

Exod. 32:14


...and the LORD repented that he had made Saulking over Israel. 1 Sam. 15:35

And God saw their works, that they turned fromtheir evil way; and God repented of the evil, that hehad said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. Jonah 3:10


...for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thouhast not witheld thy son, thine only son from me.Gen. 22:12

...the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in thewilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart...

Deut. 8:2


Beware of Ockhamistic Nominalism

“…the fact that some evangelicals have bought into this alien view reveals the need to “beware of philosophy.”’

Beware of Platonic Allegorism

Beware of Aristotelianism

Beware of the Philosophy of Anthropological Monism

how to beware of philosophy

How to Beware of Philosophy

“My first piece of advice is this:

Avoid the Desire to Become a Famous Scholar

There seems to be an almost irresistible temptation among many scholars, particularly younger ones, to “make a name for themselves.” In biblical terms this is the sin of pride of which Holy Scripture warns us.”

avoid the temptation to be unique

Avoid the Temptation to Be Unique

“…by its very nature a doctoral dissertation is usually supposed to be an original contribution to knowledge. But if the scholar is to make a discovery that no one else has ever made, then it is an almost irresistible temptation to congratulate oneself for being the originator of this new truth.”

do not dance on the edges

Do Not Dance on the Edges

“Do not see how far the borders of evangelicalism can be stretched to accommodate the latest scholarly fad. Do not flirt with the latest critical methodology.

steer right to go straight

Steer Right to Go Straight

“The only way to keep on the straight orthodox path is to keep turning to the right. Churches, schools, and even evangelical scholarship will naturally go left, unless they are deliberately turned to the right. The prevailing winds of doctrine blow against us. And if we are to resist them we must have a firm grip on the wheel of the Good Ship Evangelism and steer it to the right.”

do not trade orthodoxy for academic respectability

Do Not Trade Orthodoxy for Academic Respectability

“As evangelical scholars we must learn to bear, if necessary, the offense of being called “fundamentalists,” “obscurantists,” and theologically “dinosauric,” along with the offense of the Gospel.”

reject any methodology inconsistent with the bible or good reason

Reject any Methodology Inconsistent with the Bible or Good Reason.

“…one philosophy after another led those who embrace the wrong method into undesirable and even disastrous cul-de-sacs.”

always choose lordship over scholarship

Always Choose Lordship Over Scholarship

“If Jesus was the Son of God which the New Testament confirms that He was, then whatever He affirmed about the Old Testament, is absolutely true. Indeed, Jesus claimed divine authority for His teaching (Matt. 28:18-20). Since every true evangelical believes this, there should be no hesitation, whenever there is a conflict to choose ancient Lordship over modern scholarship.”

Circular reasoning:

a use of reason in which the premises depends on or is equivalent to the conclusion, a method of false logic by which "this is used to prove that, and that is used to prove this"; also called circular logic

do not allow morality to determine methodology

Do Not Allow Morality to Determine Methodology

“Herein stands the great challenge of the Christian scholar not only to live Christocentrically but to think Christocentrically….”

Goosestep n.

a special way of marching with the legs lifted high and straight



“In the final analysis, preserving orthodoxy is not a purely intellectual matter. It is spiritual warfare.

The enemy of our soul wants also to deceive our minds. He desires to destroy good teaching which leads to good living.

To use a medical analogy, the person most likely to catch a disease is one who does not understand it and thus takes no precautions against it. After all, doctors do not wear gloves and masks to hide warts and moles.”


“William Craig deserves special mention, since he not only did master's and doctoral work in philosophy but also in New Testament and theological studies. Younger scholars like this, with their orthodox theological commitment and philosophical sophistication, are in a position to avoid the theological errors into which philosophically untrained biblical scholars too often fall.”

is w l craig interested in wisdom and truth

Is W. L. Craig interested in wisdom and truth?

"The Bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God's Holy Spirit."

William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 37.


"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa."

William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 36.


"...the role of rational argument in knowing Christianity to be true is the role of a servant. A person knows Christianity is true because the Holy Spirit tells him it is true, and while argument and evidence can be used to support this conclusion, they cannot legitimately overrule it.” W.L. Craig, Ibid., p. 37-8


“Some people... say that reason can at least be used... at least by the unbeliever. They ask how else could we determine which is true, the Bible, the Koran, or the Baghavad-Gita, unless we use argument and evidence to judge them? Now I've already answered that question: the Holy Spirit teaches us directly which teaching is really from God...”

Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics William Lane Craig (Wheaton, Ill: Moody Press, 1994), p. 37


“The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel. Only the ministerial use of reason can be allowed…. Reason is a tool to help us better understand and defend our faith."

Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and ApologeticsWilliam Lane Craig, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill, 1984, pg. 37

when these evangelical scholars are cornered

When these evangelical “scholars” are cornered.

GEISLER & HOWE’s favorite circular argument:

Because,"the Bible clearly declares itself to be theWord of God."And since,"It [the Bible] also informs us that Godcannot err."We are to believe,"The conclusion, then, is inevitable. TheBible cannot err."


“Your complete inability to think critically renders your responses laughable. Your prejudice is the only thing you have, and you will cling to it to the bitter end. I am not interested in the least in debating or conversing with you. Contact me when you actually learn something about Greek, Hebrew, and logical thinking.

  Tom Howe”