Christian Philosophy Made Easy, The Basics for Developing a Christian Worldview by W. Gary Crampton and Richard Bacon, Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2010, 106 pp.
The second half of this volume reprints essays of Gordon H. Clark, John W. Robbins, and W. Gary Crampton found elsewhere. Thus it is the first half of the book that should receive the most attention. While much of the philosophy here merely reflects and summarizes the views published by the Trinity Foundation in previous places, I was benefitted by a number of insightful points of the authors.
Along with Gordon Clark (Three Types of Religious Philosophy, p. 131) and John Robbins (in many places), Crampton and Bacon argue that “all inductive arguments are formal logical fallacies.” (p. 12)
I found particularly interesting the comment on page 14 that 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 gives a Biblical refutation of empiricism and rationalism while supporting revelation. The authors comment on the verse: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard [empiricism], nor have entered into the heart [mind] of man [pure rationalism] the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” I had seen this passage as anti-empirical, but had failed to note the anti-rationalism part. I’m thankful to the authors for pointing out both the anti-empiricism and anti-rationalism in the passage. And probably no Biblical passage more aptly summarizes the difference between secular and Christian epistemology with the latter explained with the phrase “God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.”
Regarding a definition of knowledge, Crampton and Bacon have it that knowledge is “justified true belief.” (p. 18)
They also have a good paragraph on the coherence theory of knowledge over the correspondence theory of knowledge. They write, “Christian philosophy holds to the coherence theory of truth, rather than the correspondence theory of truth. That is, the coherence theory of truth avers that whenever a person knows the truth, he knows that which exists in the mind of God, he does not have a mere representation of the truth (as in the correspondence theory of truth); a representation of the truth is not the truth.” (p. 18)
There is an argument, however, that seems Van Tillian to me and quite incomplete. They write, “Only Christian philosophy can adequately answer ‘the one and the many’ question. And the answer lies in the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.” (p. 19) They explain, “God is ‘one’ in essence yet three (‘many’) distinct persons. He is the eternal ‘One and Many.’ As sovereign God, He created all of the many things in the universe, and He gives them a unified structure. The universe then, is the temporal ‘one and many.’ Thus, the particular things of the universe act in accordance with the universe dictates of God (Psalm 147:15-18). There is order in the universe because there is a sovereign God who created a providentially controls it.” But, I don’t understand how this is supposed to solve the problem of the one and the many. The authors go on to Augustine who seems to say something slightly different than they just contended. “Augustine asserted that the one and many problem finds its solution in that the particulars of this world have their archetypes in the mind of God. Augustine called these archetypes the ‘eternal reasons.’ God’s eternal reasons are the architectural plans from which he created the world. The world is patterned after the divine propositions of the triune God. Therefore, there is unity amongst diversity.” (p. 20) I don’t see how the “therefore” follows. Is the solution in the Trinity as original contended, or in the relation between archetypes and the created world? And what exactly is the solution? Richard Bacon is my very intelligent friend, and so maybe he can help me out here. Certainly their answer in this book is not “made easy” enough for me.
One more point I’d like to note is that I fully agree with the authors when they contend that Clark’s God and Evil: The Problem Solved is “the best book ever written on the subject of theodicy.” (p. 34n)