Review: Philosophy in Seven Sentences

Book: Groothuis, Douglas. Philosophy in Seven Sentences: A Small Introduction to a Vast Topic. IVP Academic, 2016.

<a href=”Book: Groothuis, Douglas. Philosophy in Seven Sentences: A Small Introduction to a Vast Topic. IVP Academic, 2016.

Pages: 161 Owner: Kindle Date of reading: 1st – 8/8/21

Point: To think and act philosophically means that we take reality seriously and seek to mold our understanding to it and the Truth with undergirds it. To do so we ought to listen to some of the great thinkers and what moved them to think deeply.

Path: Groothuis uses seven sentences, by philosophers covering thousands of years, to point us down the path of truth and reality. The seven sentences that he uses are: Protagoras: Man is the measure of all things. Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. Aristotle: All men by nature desire to know. Augustine: You have made us for yourself, and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in you. Descartes: I think, therefore I am. Pascal: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Kierkegaard: The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all.

Sources: Obviously the philosophers’ writings themselves, but also the life and works of said thinkers, and occasionally others who commented upon those writers and writings.

Agreement: I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to philosophy through the writings of seven influential thinkers. Groothuis captivated me through his knowledge of these philosophers and helped me understand the broad topics they were addressing. Obviously this is an introduction, and I believe it fulfilled its function by motivating me to move the original sources.

Personal App: Kierkegaard’s treatment of despair is intriguing to me. Am I willing to enter into it in order to see myself and God more clearly?

Favorite Quote: “Some do not know that the unfocused mind should not be paired with the opened mouth” (35).

Stars: 4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who: Is interested in philosophy Ascribes to a relativistic worldview

Other books along this theme would be:

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. Revised edition. New York, N.Y: Simon & Schuster, 1967. Schaeffer, Francis A. Escape from Reason : A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1968. Warburton, Nigel. A Little History of Philosophy. Yale University Press, 2011.”>

Point: To think and act philosophically means that we take reality seriously and seek to mold our understanding to it and the Truth which undergirds it. To do so we ought to listen to some of the great thinkers and what moved them to think deeply.

Path: Groothuis uses seven sentences, by philosophers covering thousands of years, to point us down the path of truth and reality. The seven sentences that he uses are:

Protagoras: Man is the measure of all things.

Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living.

Aristotle: All men by nature desire to know.

Augustine: You have made us for yourself, and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in you.

Descartes: I think, therefore I am.

Pascal: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

Kierkegaard: The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all.

Sources: Obviously the philosophers’ writings themselves, but also the life and works of said thinkers, and occasionally others who commented upon those writers and writings.

Agreement: I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to philosophy through the writings of seven influential thinkers. Groothuis captivated me through his knowledge of these philosophers and helped me understand the broad topics they were addressing. Obviously this is an introduction, and I believe it fulfilled its function by motivating me to move the original sources.

Personal App: Kierkegaard’s treatment of despair is intriguing to me. Am I willing to enter into it in order to see myself and God more clearly?

Favorite Quote: “Some do not know that the unfocused mind should not be paired with the opened mouth” (35).

Stars: 4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

– Is interested in philosophy

– Ascribes to a relativistic worldview

Other books along this theme would be:

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. Revised edition. New York, N.Y: Simon & Schuster, 1967.

Schaeffer, Francis A. Escape from Reason : A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1968.

Warburton, Nigel. A Little History of Philosophy. Yale University Press, 2011.

Review: hand in Hand: the Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice

Book: Alcorn, Randy. hand in Hand: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice.

Point: We don’t have it all figured out how God’s will interacts with ours, but we can trust that He does.

Path: Alcorn encourages readers to set aside incendiary titles for long enough to realize that God’s Word is clear that he is in control, that we don’t know how that looks in every situation, and we can be charitable enough to listen to, read, and engage with believers who think differently than us.

The book follows the path of a recognition of the battlefield, a clarification of terms, the Scriptural view of God’s sovereignty and then Free Will (or Meaningful Choice), a comparison of the different beliefs regarding these, a critique of Open Theism, a look at how God’s sovereignty and our choice interact, key historical figures, and then an application for moving forward.

Sources: Alcorn quotes theologians, philosophers, pastors, and authors from all periods of church history, but continues to go back to Scriptural sources.

Agreement: I appreciated Alcorn’s charitable tone. He wants to help people hear each other and glorify God together. I thank God for that. This is an entrance book, one which I think opens the door for more study in individual texts, key doctrines, and philosophical ideas. But I think as a starter, this sets us up for a good conversation.

Personal App: Do I think I have it all figured out? Then I need to go back and read the Bible. God has it figured out. I don’t.

Favorite Quote: “All positions have strengths and weaknesses; be sure you know the strengths of others and the weaknesses of your own.”

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

Is regularly using the terms “Calvinism” or “Arminianism”

Is concerned about what their church believes about “Free Will and God’s Sovereignty”

Wants to be strengthened in their faith

Other books along this theme would be:

Montgomery, Daniel, and Timothy Paul Jones. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. Zondervan, 2014.

Review: Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice

Book: DeYoung, Rebecca Konyndyk. Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice.

Pages: 144

Point: Glory comes from, and ultimately is directed back, to God. But, “Glory goes bad when we desire it for the wrong things and for the wrong ends.”

Sources: Heavily based on writings of the Desert Fathers, Augustine, and Aquinas.

Path: DeYoung does a good job walking the line between the ugly reality of vainglory’s subversive and pervasive grip on our hearts and the hope that God is bringing us through it in patient sanctification. She helps us see what glory is, what it is when it is twisted by sin, and how we can recognize vainglory and fight against it in our own lives.

Agreement: DeYoung did an excellent job of revealing Vainglory for what it is, what it does to us, and how we can seek to daily put it aside. There were no “5 keys” or “10 easy steps”, because there aren’t any. I appreciate her careful approach.

Personal App: Am I aware of where vainglory has rooted in my soul and am I actively seeking to weed it out in the strength of the Spirit?

Favorite Quote: “Envy is cured only when our sense of worth is grounded in the unconditional love of God. With that secure foundation, we can receive and celebrate gifts in ourselves and others without envy, because no gift (and no amount of attention for it) makes us more or less accepted or loved by God. Our inferiority and superiority in this or that area is not the barometer of our dignity or worth. Taking this deeply rooted love to heart gives us freedom to embrace and celebrate God’s gifts as gifts to all of us — as common goods, not competitive goods. Is it any accident that vainglory and envy have a similar cure? When our self-love is grounded on the secure foundation of God’s love for us, we are free from excessive neediness for others’ attention and from the desire to “out-compete” others for more affirmation” (121).

Stars: 4 out of 5

Other books along this theme would be:

Humility by Murray

Humility: True Greatness by Mahaney