|Impulse of Power: An analysis of Western man's guiding
A Review by Jack Kettler
After having had the pleasure of reading Dr. Michael W. Kelley's two previous works, On Stone or Sand, the Ethics of Christianity, Capitalism & Socialism and The Burden of God: Studies in Wisdom and Civilization from the Book of Ecclesiates, I eagerly awaited the publication of this present volume. I was not disappointed. Dr. Kelley has emerged as a scholar par excellence. In this present work, Dr. Kelley demonstrates his comprehensive knowledge of the philosophy and history of Western Civilization. Of noteworthy value is Dr. Kelley's examination of the enormous influence Greek philosophy, particularly Plato's, has had on Western man's view of government: ran by an elite group of philosopher wise-men or experts with its oftentimes accompanying tyranny.
His analysis of Christianity's unique contribution to Western Civilization, both positive as a moral force and negative when infused with pagan ideas, is particularly notable. Man has been accurately described as incurably religious, or a religious creature. Consequently, it is not a question of whether mankind will be religious; it is the question of which religion will man follow. Similarly, Dr. Kelley argues "that man has a natural-born `impulse' to power" (308). In other words, basic to man's created nature, man among other things is destined to be a cultural-creature. It then becomes a conflict between which religion will inspire man's "impulse" to build culture. Will mankind self-consciously attempt to build culture upon his own ideas (humanism) or upon the revelation of God in Scripture?
Dr. Kelley in this most excellent elucidation of Western Civilization and its formative ideas challenges the adherents of Christianity to build culture with consistency and faithfulness to its covenantal presuppositions in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics with the goal of fulfilling God's ordained purposes in history.
Note: Dr. Kelley's book may be out of print at this time. However, a search on the Internet may turn up a used copy. It is well worth tracking down a used copy of this book if a new copy cannot be found.
Are non-Christians influenced by Greek Philosophy?
In his book The Reformed Pastor and Modern
Thought, Dr. Van Till says the following concerning Greek philosophy:
While admitting that many aberrational religions and philosophers may not be aware of the original source of some of their positions, they nevertheless are dependent upon Greek philosophical ideas at numerous points. Apostate thinking down to present day has never escaped entirely from Greek thought. I believe that many forms of paganism are related, too, and are the result of the superior apostate thinking of the Greek philosophers.
Has Christianity been influenced by Greek Philosophy?
See Ronald Nash's Was Christianity Influenced by Pagan Religions?
Only Christianity has been able to break free
from Greek apostate thinking. This is true insofar as the Christian follows the Reformers
in placing the self attesting Christ, speaking authoritatively in the Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments, as paramount in all thought. One of the battle cries of the
Reformation was sola scriptura. Paul describes it this way: "Casting down
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and
bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians
10:5). Every other form of western philosophy has to a large extent resulted from the
thinking of the Greeks. The religions of the west have suffered from the same problem.
Mr. Kettler is an ordained Presbyterian Elder and the owner of the http://www.Undergroundnotes.com web site where his theological, philosophical and political articles can be read. He has worked in corporate America for over 30 years. Mr. Kettler can be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org