PBTS' (PHil. Baptist Theological Seminary) library is one of the reasons why I like doing summer institute. I am overwehelmed at their collection of theological books that I know in my entire life I will never be able to decipher. But here and then I find books that are rewarding (difficult though as they maybe). I am now reading Alister McGrath's "A Scientific Theology" and so far the book is still understandable. I am still on the first chapter and the question of the relationship (or the conflict) between philosophy and theology is being discussed. I am posting Augustine's defense of the use of philosophy in theology as quoted in the book.
(It's a good thing I skipped the preface of this book. If you're a nontheologian and you got a hold of this book, my advice is to avoid the preface.)
If those who are called philosophers, particularly the Platonist, have said anything which is true and consistent with our faith, we must not reject it, but claim it for our own use, in the knowledge that they possess it unlawfully. The Egyptians possessed idols and heavy burdens, which the children of Israel hated and from which they fled;however, they also possessed vessels of gold and silver and clothes which our forebears, in leaving Egypt, took for themselves in secret, intending to use them in a better manner (Exo. 3:21-22; 12:35-36)...In the same way, paganb learning is not made up of false teachings and superstitions. It contains also some excellent teachings, well suited to be used by truth, and excellent moral values. Indeed, some truths are even found among them which relate to the worship of the one GOd. Now these are, so to speak their, gold and their silver, which they did not invent themselves, but which they dug out of the providence of God, which are scattered through out the world, yet which are improperly prostituted to the worship of demons. The Christian, therfore, can seperate these truths from thgeir unfortunate associations. take them away, anmd put them to thgeir proper use for the proclamation of the gospel...What else have many good and faithful people have done for us. Look at the wealth of gold and silver and clothes which Cyprian...brought with him when he left Egypt...Lactantius...Marius Victorinus....Optatus...etc, and look at how much the Greeks have borrowed! And before all these, we find that Moses, that most faithful servant of God, had done the same thing;after all, it is written of him that " he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians' (Acts 7:22).
What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Tertullian asked.