We have 3 new releases today — all 3 are in the Great Thinkers series.
David Hume (1711–1776)
Through his pursuit of a naturalistic grounding for morality and his forceful critique of supernaturalism, Scottish philosopher David Hume significantly undermined confidence in orthodox Christianity.
Professor, minister, and philosopher James Anderson summarizes the major points of Hume’s thought and offers a critical assessment from a distinctively Reformed perspective. He shows that Hume’s arguments, far from refuting the Christian worldview, indirectly support that worldview by exposing the self-defeating implications of naturalism. Deepen your understanding of this immensely influential thinker, and you will be better able to engage with today’s secular challenges to faith.
“An uncommonly successful introduction, explanation, and assessment of the work of one of the most influential authors of the last three hundred years. Anderson’s account of Hume’s project, method, and principal conclusions is clear, accessible, and philosophically perceptive. In a remarkably short space, Anderson gives a very strong overview of Hume that makes Hume’s importance easy to understand. His assessment of the success of Hume’s overall project and individual assertions is rich, biblically serious, consistently Reformed, and likely to edify readers regardless of their previous exposure to Hume’s works.”
—Bill Davis, Professor of Philosophy, Covenant College; former member, Hume Society
“The skepticism of David Hume has frightened many who have sought to follow Christ. But James Anderson’s book shows that it is the followers of Hume who should be frightened. Anderson presents an account of Hume that is accurate and comprehensive, yet concise. It is easy to follow. And it shows clearly where Hume went wrong, and how his errors illumine the biblical alternative. Hume fell into skepticism because he failed to think God’s thoughts after him.”
—John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“James Anderson’s book on David Hume is a masterly summary and critique of one of the most important and influential philosophers in modern Western history. With clarity and insight, Anderson presents the overall structure of Hume’s philosophical work, as well as devastating criticisms of Hume’s epistemological project. Once read and grasped, this book will provide the context and proper, Christian critique for anyone wanting to pursue further study in Hume, or in Western thought since Hume. I am glad to have Anderson’s book in my library.”
—K. Scott Oliphint, Dean of Faculty, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary
Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
We live in Francis Bacon’s world. Before him, populations had been subject to plague and famine on a scale difficult to imagine today. In arguing that nature could be understood and put to human service, Bacon changed the course of history, saving countless lives.
In his quest to conquer nature, Bacon became the father of modern science but, as such, he introduced the scientism that has shaped the world since. In this engaging critical work, Innes provides a compelling Reformed analysis of a complex man’s complex legacy—and in so doing, shows us how to engage thoughtfully with scientific philosophies and technologies that surround us today.
“Innes gives an insightful analysis of the sixteenth-century thinker Francis Bacon, whose vision was foundational to the rise of empirical science and technology. Indeed, Baconianism has become part of the very intellectual air we breathe, which is why it is crucial for Christians to think critically about Bacon’s influence—both on Western culture and on our own thinking. Innes skillfully disentangles the elements in Bacon’s thought that are compatible with biblical truth . . . from the elements that are contrary to biblical truth, and therefore destructive both personally and socially. . . . Innes is a reliable guide, and this book will be especially helpful to readers concerned about how science and technology have shaped the modern worldview.”
—Nancy R. Pearcey, Professor of Apologetics and Scholar-in-Residence, Houston Baptist University
“Francis Bacon is a key figure in introducing a new way of thinking about the world, at the heart of which is optimistic reliance on scientific method. David Innes has given us a nuanced, thoughtful, and critical introduction to Francis Bacon, in his life and thought. His book moves from Bacon’s views to assess the larger issues about science and its dominating role in modern aspirations for knowledge, power, and happiness. I heartily recommend the book as a path for rethinking the role of science from a Christian point of view.”
—Vern S. Poythress, Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach
“Fascinating study of the controversial role played by Francis Bacon in fashioning the worldview of modern science. While keenly appreciating the many benefits of science and technology, Innes probes the darker side of Bacon’s thought that helped give rise to a scientific enterprise largely unbound by moral restraint. Subtle, provocative, and exquisitely relevant to our current culture.”
—John G. West, Vice President, Discovery Institute; editor, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society; author, Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science
Karl Rahner (1904–1984)
Arguably the most influential Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Rahner developed a theology that has influenced much of post-Vatican II Catholicism and its modern inclusivist approach to missions.
Despite his impact, little has been written on Rahner from a Reformed perspective. In this introduction and critique, Camden Bucey guides readers to an understanding of Rahner’s theology as a whole. Beginning with Rahner’s trinitarian theology, he moves through each of the traditional departments of theology to show how Rahner developed one basic idea from beginning to end.
Rahner set out to explain how God communicates himself to humanity, whom he created specifically for the purpose of fellowship with him. Once we trace this thread, we gain a deeper understanding of his thought and its reach today.
“If you want to understand present-day Roman Catholicism, you must come to terms with Vatican II (1962–65). Everything that Rome now teaches and does is filtered through it. But if you want to understand Vatican II itself, you need to know about Karl Rahner. . . . Part of the confused and naive attitude of contemporary evangelicals toward Rome depends on the lack of awareness of both Vatican II and Karl Rahner. This lucid book is a helpful introduction to this seminal Roman Catholic theologian whose language contains all the key Christian words (e.g., Trinity, Christ, humanity), but whose meaning is significantly different from that of straightforward biblical teaching. It is time that Reformed theologians do their homework in grasping what is at stake with contemporary Roman Catholicism.”
—Leonardo De Chirico, Pastor, Breccia di Roma; Lecturer, Historical Theology, IFED, Padova, Italy; Director, Reformanda Initiative
“Roman Catholic apologists often boast about their church’s antiquity but seldom mention modern Roman Catholic theology, which often sounds as modern as liberal Protestantism. Karl Rahner, one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, whose prominence was evident at the Second Vatican Council, is one of the best examples of Roman Catholicism’s modernity. Camden Bucey’s fair-minded and careful assessment of Rahner’s theology is valuable in itself, but doubly so for anyone wanting an introduction to modern Roman Catholicism’s own contribution to liberal Christian theology.”
—D. G. Hart, Distinguished Associate Professor of History, Hillsdale College
“Though Karl Rahner is among the most significant Roman Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, he is little known (and seldom read) by evangelical and Reformed theologians. Camden Bucey’s fine study offers an excellent summary of Rahner’s Trinitarian theology that promises to redress this problem. He not only provides a helpful explanation of Rahner’s well-known Trinitarian axiom (‘the “economic” Trinity is the “immanent” Trinity’), but also locates it within the broader context of Rahner’s anthropocentric theology. While Bucey critically engages Rahner’s theology from a Reformed perspective, he does so throughout in a careful, irenic, and constructive fashion.”
—Cornelis P. Venema, President and Professor of Doctrinal Studies, Mid-America Reformed Seminary
About the series
Great Thinkers is an academically, biblically, and theologically informed series that explores the seminal thoughts of leading philosophers who have shaped the modern world. Writing from a Reformed perspective, the authors in the series identify the most influential cultural features of each great thinker and the most apologetically effective ways to address these.