Leading Birmingham Philosopher of Religion John Hick dies at the age of 90
Politicians and academics have paid tribute to a world-renowned Birmingham philosopher who “would not flinch from controversy” and who was once accused of heresy.
Professor John Hick, seen by many as the most influential philosopher of religion of recent times, has died just weeks after celebrating his 90th birthday.
The former University of Birmingham academic and church minister is remembered for helping to stop South African apartheid-era cricketers playing in Birmingham.
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Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:30 am
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1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Alas, John Hick wasn’t just “accused” of heresy by some Christians, he actually was an out-and-out heretic, by any reasonable standard that requires being compatible with the witness of the Bible. The British MP who praised Hick for his popular stand that all world religions are not only worthy of respect (which is true enough), but that they are “equal routes to God” (sic!) summed up the whole problem in a nutshell.
There may be some reasonable doubt about whether the kind of universalism that Rob Bell is seeminly promoting is heretical, but there is absolutely no doubt at all that Hicks was a heretic. An appealingly nice and polite heretic, and one who was certainly widely admired and influential in politically-correct circles, but a blatant and dangerous heretic nonetheless.
May the Lord have mercy on his poor, deluded soul.
February 24, 1:05 pm | [comment link]
2. DTerwilliger wrote:
John Hick may now be where there are MANY religions are present and gathered post-mortem, but there just won’t be any true Christians with them.
February 24, 2:37 pm | [comment link]
3. David Hein wrote:
John Hick was a great philosopher of religion with a wonderfully clear writing style. I’ve learned a great deal from his books, especially Evil and the God of Love and The Fifth Dimension. RIP.
February 24, 8:27 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:
I would want for Hick what I would want for myself, namely the mercy of God and the atoning blood of Jesus who is Christ. This brings us to the point, however, because he edited the terrible book The Myth of God Incarnate which did terrible damage to the Christian image in the wider public, with its implication that the Christian story was all fairy tales. Hick and other contributors said that they were using the word ‘myth’ in a technical sense, but this is an evasion which they surely realised - why else use the word myth in the title unless it was meant to provoke? And - pace David Hein, whom I greatly respect - some of the alleged scholarship in the myth book was pitiful. See for example the contribution by Don Cupitt in which St John of the Cross’s nada is portrayed as akin to atheism.
February 25, 9:18 am | [comment link]
5. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Thanks, Fr. Tee, for chiming in and bringing up that awful collection of revisionist essays, The Myth of God Incarnate.
You are absolutely right that it was extremely harmful to the Christian cause, much like John A. T. Robinson’s infamous earlier bestseller, Honest to God. Playing the coy game, “more skeptical than thou” is never edifying. It’s true that there were even worse figures playing that foolish game than John Hick (such as Cupitt). The Myth of God Incarnate was a mixed bag, for I think that patristic scholar Frances Young was fundamentally orthodox and got tricked into participating in that disastrous project. Maurice Wiles is a more complicated and ambiguous case, for he seemed at least more orthodox than Hick, but that’s only damning with faint praise.
Personally, I think the best response from an orthodox missiologist to the universalism of John Hick and his ilk, is the brilliant work of Lesslie Newbigin, e.g., The Open Secret, Proper Confidence, or The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.
February 25, 11:21 am | [comment link]
6. David Hein wrote:
The Myth of God Incarnate: yes, I’d forgotten about that one; I never actually read it. But I’d still recommend Evil and the God of Love, Hick’s major contribution to theodicy. I’d most heartily recommend a work of theodicy that hardly anyone reads anymore: Austin Farrer’s Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited. We have a chapter on that book in Captured by the Crucified: The Practical Theology of Austin Farrer.
February 25, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
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