“The deterioration of the historic roots of Christian orthodoxy upon the campuses of Christian learning is straightforward. Christian academicians isolate individual concepts and methods of choice from non-Christian thinkers and adopt them into their own ‘Christian’ worldview. In contrast, the directive that needs to be followed is that every concept and method presented by a non-Christian thinker must be subjected to a holistic critical analysis within the structure of the thinker’s own system.”
In Defense of the Eschaton; Essays in Reformed Apologetics — pg. 78
Dennison’s point here is that before conceptual strands of thought as from non-Christians and non-Christian Weltanschauungs can be adopted by Christians and made a part of a Christian world and life view what first has to be done is that non-Christian conceptual strand of thought must be engaged, via a transcendental analysis, in order to see how that strand of conceptual thought is functioning in that non-Christian Weltanschauung. It may be the case that while the conceptual strand in and of itself is acceptable, it is functioning in a way that is not acceptable for a Christian as it exists in a Christian worldview.
In brief before adopting a conceptual strand from an alien worldview that conceptual strand must go through a surgical debridement process wherein the necrotic material from the original dysfunctional worldview wound is removed from the conceptual strand being adopted by the apologist who is doing the surgery. The conceptual strand must be cleansed of its former association before it can be grafted on to the healthy tissue of Biblical Christianity.
Dennison uses Plato’s doctrine of the immortality of the soul as an example. All Christians believe in the immortality of the soul but the Christian can not take Plato’s doctrine of the immortality of the soul en toto and just own it as a Christain doctrine. Only after putting Plato’s pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul through surgical debridement can that doctrine be accepted as being fit for a Christian worldview.
Dennison is insisting (rightly so) that Christian academia is NOT doing this and is instead too often borrowing from the Egyptian’s thought world without ridding the conceptual strand of its Egyptian skubala. What Christian academia too often is doing is that it takes elements from Romanticism or Darwinism or Existentialism, or Post-modernism, or Empiricism, or Barthianism, or Rationalism, or Freudianism or Skinnerism or any number of other anti-Christ worldviews and without putting the conceptual strands through a Biblical Transcendental analysis debridement process just affix these pagan conceptual strands to a Biblical Christian World and life view with the result that their “Christian” World and life view is not at all Christian. At least not consistently so.