Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tractatus Logico-Theologicus by John Warwick Montgomery

Wipf and Stock sent me a review copy of Tractatus Logico-Theologicus by John Warwick Montgomery. He's one of my favorite guests on Issues Etc. but this is the first book I've read by him. The book is an evidentialist apologetic for the Christian faith and organized around seven major propositions. These propositions are defended by subsidiary propositions which in turn are defended by subsidiary propositions and so on with numbers and decimal points to guide you along the way. The format was a little difficult to get used to but very effective. Some of the propositions seemed better defended than others but I thought the overall argument for Christianity was laid out very well. There's an occasional untranslated French or Latin sentence but the reader who does not know these languages can skip over these and still understand the point he's making. I thought his arguments against post-modernism and for the resurrection were the best sections of the book. The section dealing with the canon didn't seem very convincing to me. Dr. Montgomery seems to adopt the modern Protestant flat view of the canon and his statements about what books should be included and which shouldn't had very little evidence to back them up. Dr. Montgomery claims that the early church accepted Hebrews even though they knew it wasn't written by Paul because they believed it was written by one of Paul's disciples. But the writings of the early church fathers show that the debate over its canonicity centered upon whether or not it was written by Paul. Those who believed Hebrews was written by Paul accepted its canonicity while those who did not denied its canonicity. The typical modern Protestant position is to say that Hebrews was not written by Paul but is part of the canon but this was not the position of the early church. I didn't think the section on inerrancy was very convincing either. Many of the quotes he provided seemed to really be defending infallibility rather than inerrancy. The problem with the shift of authority from the infallible apographa to the inerrant autographa is that nobody has the autographa. However, this book is well worth the read and I've really never read anything like it.

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