Archive Nota Bene Peter Escalante

Dr Flint on Reason, Revelation, and Rome

The Scottish theologian and philosopher Robert Flint (1838-1910), now mostly forgotten, wrote many well-balanced works of rational apologetics and philosophy. He was one of the first to clearly see that modern scientism doesn’t so much consider theology as its prime enemy, since it can quarantine that in the realm of the “private”, but rather regards philosophy as its immediate rival, and yet he also insisted on the insufficiency of philosophy and the necessity of revelation for the satisfaction of the mind and heart and for the direction of life. He also wrote the first work on Vico in English, one which still has its uses.

In the first appendix to his Theism, after briefly reviewing the history of fideism among evangelicals, he makes this remark about that kind of deviation from the just balance of wisdom, away from the wisdom of Thomas and toward the folly of Loyola, which is as true now as it was then:

In the Roman Catholic Church, scepticism as to reason and the light of nature has often been combined with dogmatism as to the authority of revelation and the Church. In the system of what is called the theocratic school may be seen the result to which attempts to establish the certitude of authority by destroying the credit of human reason naturally lead. (Theism, Being the Baird Lecture for 1876, Seventh Edition.  Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1901: p 326.)


By Peter Escalante

Peter Escalante is a founder and editor of The Calvinist International. He holds a MA in Philosophy.