Book Review: Tractatus Logico-Theologicus

Tractatus Logico Theologicus

by Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, Wipf & Stock Publishers 2013

If you had to get just one book by Dr. Montgomery on the topic of evidential apologetics, this should be it.  Not that this is easy reading, mind you.  It isn’t.  But it is the distillation of what he has written across dozens of books and multiple decades.  It is concise and specific, and not entirely without humor.

I’ve not read Ludwig Wittgenstein, but perhaps I should.  Montgomery has ordered this book after Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophus, and obviously has a great deal of respect for the man’s philosophical contributions.  Montgomery, in 200 pages, attempts to rationalize why Biblical Christianity is the one true religion.  He organizes his argument into seven major theses:

  1. The characteristic most fully shared by the religions of the world is their incompatibility with each other.
  2. To determine which religious position, if any, is worthy of credence requires serious attention to Pilate’s question:  What is truth?
  3. Historical, jurisprudential, and scientific standards of evidence offer the touchstone for resolving the religious predicament by establishing the truth claims of Christian proclamation.
  4. The historical validation of the Christian faith yields an inerrant, perspicuous and univocal written revelation.
  5. The perennial dilemma of man (corporate and personal) as to the meaning of existence finds its resolution in Christian revelation.
  6. Whereof one can speak, thereof one must not be silent.

Each section theses is further broken down into supporting theses and sub-supporting theses.  This is not easy reading.  There will be sections and pages where you have to read and reread a single statement to understand it.  Each statement builds upon the previous so it is imperative to have a decent grasp of one before moving on to the next.

Not easy reading, but eminently worthwhile.  If you’ve ever had someone ask you – or perhaps you’ve asked yourself – how is it that Christians (and Muslims, and Hindus, etc.) claim to have the exclusive on divine revelation, here is your answer.  It is simpler than you think when you boil it all down, but you can’t boil it down until you’ve really come to grips with the full volume of the argument.  It is also helpful when trying to explain to someone who has no religious affiliation or background why beginning with an evaluation of Biblical Christianity makes sense as opposed to randomly starting with any other religion.

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