Most Christians find theology unimportant. Whether it is due to poor Christian education in churches, poor teachers, boredom borne of spiritual apathy, or any number of other things, there is no doubt that the lifelong study of theology in most American churches has gone the way of the dodo bird.
Philosophy is even less valued than theology which is saying something. So, imagine trying to make the case that certain distinctions in philosophy are critical for doing theology well! That is a herculean task that few can persuade others to consider.
As many of us have heard, you can’t get away from being a theologian. It’s not whether we are a theologian. It’s whether we are thinking well theologically or not. When it comes to philosophy, we may conclude that we are definitely not a philosopher. I will let Dallas Willard take it from here. Willard regularly heard people object to the importance of philosophy by saying, “I don’t need philosophy. I am a practical person.” Willard would respond, “They don’t realize that their view is a philosophy!”
I have not included the subtitle to this chapter at the beginning for one simple reason: most of you would stop reading. For those curious types who are still reading, here it is: The Via Moderna, Nominalism, and the Late Medieval Departure from the Realism of Thomistic Augustinianism, and its Soteriology.
Barrett’s discussion about what constitutes an orthodox view of salvation is extremely well-done, and very helpful. Barrett introduces us to the debate in a way that illuminates what the proper truths are to keep in mind as one navigates the most important issue of all: What is the biblical view of how one enters into a relationship with God?