Ross Clifford
Principal, Morling Theological College
Former Solicitor and Barrister, Author and Radio Presenter
New South Wales, Australia

(This paper is a brief abstract from the author’s forthcoming doctoral thesis)

The setting was an ecumenical meeting of ministers. My paper was on the role of apologetics. I started by sharing that I had left the practice of law to study for the Christian ministry at a Baptist Seminary. Within six months I was close to being apostate. My reading of liberal Christian books had led me to a position of renouncing the resurrection and deity of Christ. I had advised the Principal of the Seminary that I would probably be leaving, as I could not in all conscience remain committed to something that I believed to be false. It was then, by chance, that I passed the sale of second hand books. One drew my attention. It was The Law above the Law.[1] It was written by a scholar, John Warwick Montgomery, who was a new name to me. It contained a legal defence of the scriptures and, in an appendix; Simon Greenleaf’s legal defence of the New Testament gospel resurrection accounts was reproduced. I read the text carefully and critically, re-read the gospels and re-entered the faith.[2] As soon as I had finished this personal anecdote, the man next to me cried out, ‘I’m a Presbyterian minister, a former lawyer, and I had the same problems and doubts at Seminary. The same author (Montgomery), but different book transformed my life at Seminary.’

What follows is a brief justification of Montgomery’s legal apologetic. The legal apologetic has its roots in the historical apologetic for the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the fact of Christ’s resurrection. However, the legal apologetic is an apologetic school in its own right. Montgomery’s legal apologetic brief is most fully set out in Human Rights and Human Dignity with a slightly altered version in Christians in the Public Square.[3] James Fairbanks says of Montgomery’s legal apologetic, that it demonstrates ‘why Montgomery enjoys the reputation of being one of the twentieth century’s most renowned Christian apologists’.[4] As a lawyer Montgomery initially investigates whether the gospel records of Jesus are historically reliable. Lawyers are experts in the trustworthiness of documents. Then he asks, is the eyewitness testimony in these records, which is offered as proof of the resurrection, solid enough to make a finding of fact on? If the documents and testimony are reliable according to legal criteria then there is ‘decisive proof’ of Jesus’ resurrection and claim to deity. If Jesus’ deity is the finding, then the bible has a ‘divine stamp’ because of his pronouncements about same.

It may be argued Montgomery’s legal apologetic is the paradigm for this discipline. Firstly, as one would expect of a leading lawyer, it succinctly and persuasively sets out the means of proof; documents, hearsay, testimony, things, circumstantial evidence in support of the evidentiary fact in issue: Jesus of Nazareth was executed by Roman authorities upon a cross at Golgotha. The said Jesus was some days later seen alive by various witnesses. It is claimed Jesus rose from the dead. Secondly, it builds its case appropriately, beginning with the documents. Unbeliever and lawyer Richard Packham concurs, ‘I agree wholeheartedly that the first question to be answered is, ‘Are the historical records of Jesus (the canonical New Testament writings) solid enough to be relied on (to establish the claims of Christianity)?’[5] Thirdly, following on from the second point it establishes its case on primary source data (the Gospels) with limited but constructive use of secondary sources.[6] Fourthly, although a ‘popular’ apologetic, it provides extensive endnotes for the more ‘academic’ reader to investigate in greater detail Montgomery’s historical/legal apologetic and authorities relevant to the points being made.[7] Fifthly, the apologetic addresses the two basic questions a court/tribunal has about evidence: Is the evidence tendered (for the resurrection) relevant to the case (admissible)? Is the evidence credible? Sixthly, it reaches a verdict: It pleads the main facts in issue have been proved to the satisfaction of a reasonable person. Seventhly, it is a model with application beyond faith. Consistent with his monist view of knowledge Montgomery justifies the scriptures, Christian ethics, and a Christian understanding of human rights on the basis of the resurrection via the legal apologetic.[8]


Law and History

Christian orthodoxy claims that the Christ event occurred in ‘objective’ history. Law is a discipline that tackles

the past. Supreme Court Justice K.R. Handley notes that in 1974 the Australian High Court, in a significant

case had to decide what happened in Port Moresby in 1886, and in the process the judges did not hesitate to

rely on historical evidence. He stated, ‘The tools of trade of the judge in such a case, and of the ancient

historian in every case, are historical evidence – what people wrote about the events, the evidence from

archaeology, and circumstantial evidence. There is nothing special about this; it’s only common sense. The

Christian approach to the evidence for the resurrection is no different.’[9] Thus, the appeal to historical fact is a

plea lawyers are held to understand and can assess.

Law and Documents
Montgomery asserts, ‘law is necessitation, coloring all aspects of societal life; so its solutions to fundamental problems carry powerful weight. On the interpretation of contracts, wills, statues and constitutions hang the lives and property of us all’.[10] Law works with documents, including ancient documents and has developed its own hermeneutical methodology. Sir Robert Anderson, lawyer and former Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, Scotland Yard, takes it further and favourably contrasts the skills of the legally trained with a ‘Professor of Theology or of Hebrew’ when it comes to interpreting the biblical documents.[11] A strength of the legal apologetic is law’s familiarity with documents and the criteria developed as to their admissibility, interpretation and reliability.

Law, Facts and Inductions
It was William Paley who declared, ‘the truth of Christianity depends upon its leading facts, and them alone’.[12] This reductionist assertion is not without some biblical justification. The apostle Paul summarises the gospel factually (1 Cor 15:3-9). The fact or otherwise of the resurrection for Paul, determines the efficacy of Christianity (1 Cor 15:17). Chapter 20 of John’s gospel concludes by appealing to Jesus’ signs as a foundation of belief. Paul and John write as if there are facts they must prove. Clearly in the New Testament the main fact in issue is the resurrection, with collateral other facts or signs.

A fact-based religion is prime to a legal apologetic. It is an apologetic that by its nature is accustomed to sifting evidence to find the principle items, that can clearly discriminate between issues and sources, and that can weigh the significance of subordinate facts; such as a relationship that would tend to make a witness biased, and the competency of a witness. It also offers proven criteria to evaluate oral testimony, hearsay and circumstantial evidence in determining the facts.

Yet legal science is not just about fact, it is concerned with drawing warranted inferences or interpretations.[13] And at the heart of the Christian tradition is not just the fact of the empty tomb, but the inferences that can be drawn from it. A warranted inference in law is an interpretation that fits the facts to the exclusion of any other hypothesis. Shaw illustrates with homicide. He states the evidence must establish the offence committed as charged and must not only prove a death by violence, but must to a reasonable extent, exclude the hypothesis of suicide or death by the act of some other person.[14]

A legal methodological rigour does not per se exclude an unlikely hypothesis, if it alone fits the facts.[15] In his apologetic ‘Search for Ultimates : A Sherlockian Inquiry’ Montgomery promotes his fictional mentor Sherlock Holmes[16] who holds, ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’[17] In fact the nearest the master detective ever came to advancing an argument for the existence of God was in The Adventure of the Naval Treaty. Here Holmes, falling into ‘reverie’ goes further and informs Watson, ‘There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion.’[18] This Sherlockian spirit Davis and Swinburne specifically evoke in endorsing the traditional understanding of the resurrection: Christ is Risen, after elimination of the other hypothesis as to what happened to his body.[19]

The Christian truth claims warrant assessment by a legal apologetic.

Difficult to Jettison
Montgomery advocates that the advantage of a jurisprudential approach lies in the difficulty of jettisoning it, ‘legal standards of evidence develop an essential means of resolving the most intractable disputes in society ... thus one cannot very well throw out legal reasoning merely because its application to Christianity results in a verdict for the Christian faith and its approach to human rights!’.[20]

It is a model society knows and accepts for adjudicating life and death issues. It is appropriate for a sceptical, questioning age. Beckwith, in support of the legal analogy, cites Windes and Hindes, ‘evidential law imposes a rigidity seldom encountered in other disciples’.[21]

Montgomery develops his argument with respect to jettisoning by citing the universal nature of the Law of Evidence:

And here, in contact with Greco-Roman jurisprudence, we see that the Law of Evidence is not a self-serving technique developed by common-law jurists in subtle support of Christian theology! The fundamental canons of evidence which we have employed in defense of biblical faith are found with remarkable consistency in all legal systems — from primitive to civilized, from ancient to modern. Max Gluckman writes of the Lozi people of Northern Rhodesia: The Lozi distinguish between different kinds of evidence as hearsay, circumstantial, and direct, and attach different degrees of cogency to these and different degrees of credibility to various witnesses... In the words of the pre-Christian Roman dramatist Plautus, ‘One eyewitness is worth more than ten purveyors of hearsay; Those who only hear about things say what they’ve heard, but those who see know the score!.[22]

It could be argued Montgomery here has overstated his case and that the legal apologetic is primarily based on

rules of evidence in common law countries. The laws of evidence and systems of proof of countries not

beholden to common law indicate there is not international uniformity on questions such as hearsay, admissibility

of evidence and onus of proof.

Yet, in defence of Montgomery it is fair to say there are universal issues that the various legal systems address:

(1) What is to be proved (the object of proof);

(2) Who is to prove it (the burden of proof);

(3) How it must or may be proved (the means of proof, including capacity to give evidence);

(4) How the evidence is to be assessed (the weight of evidence); and

(5) What degree of proof is required (the quantum of proof).[23]

These ‘universals’ guide the topics to be addressed in any just legal system. The principles of evidence enacted on the basis of such in any just legal system could arguably form the shape of a culturally sensitive legal apologetic. Most important however, is that any paradigm for assessing truth claims whether it be philosophical, historical or legal, whilst relying on ‘universals’, will have various schools, factions and procedures.

Montgomery’s claim that a legal apologetic is difficult to jettison has substantial merit.

Common Usage
Montgomery does not succumb to the temptation to find some kind of essentialism, a single positive theory or model that will satisfy everyone and alone will lead one to truth. He quotes favourably Edward John Carnell, ‘there are as many apologetics as there are facts in the world’.[24] So, his evidence based legal apologetic is not the standard currency, against which other apologetics systems are devalued. However, in his historical overview of apologetics he gives a test to determine the appropriateness of a particular apologetic method. It is not simply whether the model will have, or has had, a long-term application, but whether it assists in answering questions actually being asked.[25] Or to put it another way it is what Montgomery calls ‘the fundamental technique’. It is using a paradigm that challenges the unbeliever to apply the same kind of reasoning used in non religious life to the issue of Christian truth.[26] Montgomery by this approach is not suggesting epistemological questions are irrelevant, nor has he drifted into pragmatism. He is affirming that the choice of apologetic method cannot be divorced from the sitz im leben. Apologetic models must be applicable to the listener/reader.[27]

The appeal of the legal apologetic is the common usage of the legal paradigm. People encounter daily the legal process. As a consequence lawyer Francis Wharton argues, ‘what jurisprudence declares to be true mode of proof, the community is apt to accept as such; what jurisprudence declares to be an incompetent instrument of proof, the community is apt to regard as incompetent.’[28] As well the legal fiction of John Grisham and others dominates the best seller lists.[29] For Montgomery the legal apologetic meets Paul’s injunction to be all things to all people, which he views as the highest apologetic call.[30]

Philosophical apologetics and other models
Montgomery is not well known for his philosophical apologetic even though much of his other work focuses on the history of ideas. However, a philosophical apologetic is not entirely absent from his writings. In his all too brief but neglected eclectic apologetic in Christianity for the Tough Minded, he argues from: The historical resurrection; Peter Berger’s sociological experiences of death, judgement, order, honour, and play as a signpost to the transcendental; philosophical theologian, Ian Ramsay’s partial transcendence of the human subject as pointing to the possibility of metaphysical assertions and God-language; the traditional proofs argument of contingency, which he states is regarded by most philosophical advocates of theism as the keystone.[31]

In his case Montgomery admittedly rebuts the ontological argument for its lack of empirical grounding, and refutes the causal argument for gratuitously presupposing an unalterable cause and effect structure in the universe.[32] Yet a philosophical apologetic underpins this significant article. And elsewhere he acknowledges the historical basis for philosophical apologetics citing Augustine depending heavily on Plato and Aquinas on Aristotle.[33]

One sound reason for Montgomery’s resistance to a more embracing use of a philosophical apologetic is its lack of common usage. He develops his case by noting that since the rise of rationalism many non-Christians have seen religion as experiential and therefore have not been open to a philosophical defence.[34] And paradoxically those who may have been persuaded are now alienated from such philosophical objectivity by the self perpetuating juggernaut of scientific technology and rationalism.[35] As a result Montgomery asserts that whilst in no way undervaluing the contribution of philosophical apologetics, ‘the interminable attempts to baptise and rehabilitate Aristotle’s traditional proofs for God’s existence, justify Anslem’s ontological argument and refute Kant’s critical philosophy have led many moderns to conclude that apologetics as such is an arid and irrelevant activity.’[36]

C. Stephen Evans concurs in suggesting that philosophical ‘proofs’ for most today are complicated, technical, abstract and hard to follow. Such reasoning he asserts is suitable for the professional philosopher, but offers nothing for the ordinary person. A legal approach to ‘proof’ is therefore more personable, accessible and relevant, even for those disenchanted with modernity.[37] Further, it could be argued a legal apologetic is not inconsistent with philosophy that developed in ancient Athens out of techniques of cross-examination and debate.[38] Toulmin, who Montgomery cites in support, also observes that the rough and ready method of case law is an apt model, ‘rather than the deductive method of inferring practical outcomes from universal principles in a presumed Olympian impartiality.’[39] Montgomery’s summation is, ‘what if a revelational truth-claim did not turn on questions of theology and religious philosophy ... but on the very questions employed in the law to determine questions of fact?’.[40] In this context, no doubt Montgomery is in part highlighting the ‘simplicity’ of law in that it presumes the senses do ‘function as instruments of finding out how the world is’ and the apparent advantage of this position in advocacy.[41] Overall, Montgomery has a solid case for the legal apologetic if not being a more applicable paradigm, at least being acknowledged as one appropriate model.

International apologist Ravi Zacharias affirms in practice the limitation of the philosophical apologetic. He states that, on university campuses, the cosmological and teleological arguments still have a place, but receptivity to the arguments has greatly diminished.[42]

Montgomery’s holding to the limitation of philosophy in apologetics is not just on cultural grounds. At best for Montgomery the traditional proofs lead to a generic god and that belief in the God of the bible is basic.[43] Graham Phillips, an ABC science producer, presents a theistic case from the ‘string’ and the ‘big bang’ theories, and concedes, ‘It’s still a long way from claiming there is a personal God … but it’s a start.’[44] As a positive apologist Montgomery finds philosophy’s primary contribution operates in the area of negative apologetics as it assesses the logical inconsistencies of worldviews such as pantheism, humanism and agnosticism.[45] He maintains that if one uses philosophy in this negative sense the case for Christianity should then be established by legal/historical evidence:

And even if it were possible in some fashion to destroy all existent alternative world-views but that of orthodox Christianity, the end result would still not be the necessary truth of Christianity; for in a contingent universe, there are an infinite number of possible philosophical positions, and even the fallaciousness of infinity-minus-one positions would not establish the validity of the one that remained (unless we were to introduce the gratuitous assumption that at least one had to be right!).

When world-views collide, an appeal to common facts is the only preservative against philosophical solipsism and religious anarchy.[46]

Foundational to Montgomery’s philosophical delimitation is his commitment to his theological mentor, Martin Luther. Luther had little time for philosophy in divine matters.[47] More significant was Luther’s focus on the incarnation.[48] For Montgomery in light of the Lutheran Confessions, apologetics is about the gospel and providing a case for the deity of Christ.[49] Such an apologetic, in contrast to the theology from above of much of contemporary Reformed Epistemology and western metaphysical tradition, is a theology from below, from specific to general, its point of departure is concrete particularity.[50] For Lutheran Montgomery it is noteworthy that, at least until the Enlightenment, such an incarnational, historical apologetic paradigm is supported, if not exclusively, by the tradition of the church.[51]

Law and Ultimate Questions
The appropriateness of the legal apologetic to religious truth claims is held by Philip Johnson to be evident in its already established artistic role of tackling ultimate questions in the public arena. He notes the following examples: Kafka’s The Trial employs the legal paradigm as a backdrop for expressing his agnostic metaphysic; in the 1957 motion picture The Story of Mankind, the human race was on trial before the heavenly court for centuries of evil deeds; Star Trek: The Next Generation has used the legal paradigm to debate ultimate questions in the episodes Encounter at Farpoint and Justice; and human rights specialist Geoffrey Robertson has employed it in his televised hypotheticals.

Johnson also points out that for Montgomery legal reasoning accords with ‘the twofold stress of modern Wittgensteinian thought on the necessity of verification and the importance of doing philosophy within the framework of ordinary language’.[52]Montgomery adds a rider noting that although some legal positivists defined evidence ‘too narrowly in developing the principle of verification [it] in no way vitiates the principle itself’.[53]

Law and the Supernatural
A question to address is whether law would see itself entering the realm of the supernatural? As the legal realist would claim, should not law be concerned with observable relations between definite tangibles? On a popular level lawyer and legal fiction writer Phillip Margolin concurs, with one of his characters being, ‘weaned on logic and had the overtly rational mind of the contract lawyer, which has no cubbyhole where the supernatural can dwell comfortably’.[54]

Montgomery in his Sherlockian apologetic counters this mechanistic reductionism by applying the previously mentioned Holmes’s dictum from The Sign of the Four to Christ, ‘The great miracle of the Resurrection may be a hard metaphysical pill to swallow, but swallow we can and must when the facts require it. Eliminate the factually impossible, and “whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”’[55] As previously mentioned, both Stephen Davis and Richard Swinburne rely on this Holmes statement in their defences of the resurrection. The improbable in this case is the truth of the resurrection based on sound historical evidence, and a theistic worldview as all other hypothesis for the empty tomb are impossible.[56]

There are further reasons for why the legal analogy is not out of place in faith questions that interact with the
supernatural. These can be drawn from Montgomery’s work.

Firstly, he relies considerably on Simon Greenleaf, who in his classic work on the credit due to the testimony of witnesses acknowledged the issue and pleaded the criteria, ‘The conformity of their testimony with experience’[57] Greenleaf points out that the evidence for the miracles of Jesus was of the kind that was plain and simple in nature, ‘easily seen and fully comprehended by persons of common capacity and observation’.[58] Also, he critiques Hume and asserts miracles cannot be dismissed apriori. Greenleaf’s argument is useful in showing that much of the evidence for the Christ event is of an ‘ordinary’ kind, and straightforward, yet this doesn’t fully answer whether the legal metaphor applies to a supernatural fact in issue.

Secondly, Montgomery places great weight on the sacred roots of the law. The foundational common law of Blackstone and others is based on divine Judaic-Christian revelation.[59]Further Montgomery notes that the major author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, René Cassin locates its ideological roots in the Ten Commandments.[60]

The interconnection between the origin of legal systems and divine relation is not restricted to common law jurisdictions. Esser comments on nomos:

The legal, ethical and religious meanings of nomos are inseparable in antiquity, for all goods were believed to come from the gods, who upheld order in the universe and in relations between men. Hence the universal conviction, found throughout history, that law is linked to the divine – an idea which has persisted subconsciously even in periods when the purely human aspects of law have been emphasized ... Philosophy (even that of the Sophists), kept alive the awareness that, since human laws are so fallible, man cannot exist unless he conforms to cosmic, universal law. [61]

Even today the first postulate of Muslim jurisprudence is Imam or Faith, which is founded on belief in God and his rule.[62] It could be argued that to hold the legal apologetic for the resurrection wrongly takes the judicial into the realm of the transcendental, is inconsistent with the very establishment of the law itself.

Thirdly, fundamental to Montgomery’s apologetic is the assertion there is no reason to think truth operates any differently with regard to religious statements than it does with statements in any other area of life. He is committed to a monist view of knowledge and his empirical method precedes any critical study and is foundational to all his interdisciplinary work: theology, jurisprudence, historiography, library science, apologetics.[63] Just as the legal paradigm helps us justify on the evidence whether an ordinary statement is true, so it can justify whether Christ arose. As a consequence, unlike much of modern Protestant theology, he sees no justification in detaching the gospel from the structure of an historical referent.[64] As Torrance suggests, ‘Theological formulations cannot be without their empirical correlates ... the Christian doctrine of the resurrection cannot do without its empirical correlate in the empty tomb; cut that away and it becomes nonsensical.’[65]

To place the resurrection beyond the legal metaphor because it is ‘incredible’ for Montgomery would be to create a false dichotomy between the natural and the metaphysical[66]; a legal fiction that the legal apologists as a class would dismiss. It either happened in time or space, or it did not.[67]

Fourthly, there is legal precedent for reality beyond sensual experience. For example, the legal concept of the corporation which former United States Chief Justice, John Marshall described as ‘an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and exciting only in contemplation of law’.[68] Corporations do not exist in the natural world and post modern legal academic Margaret Davies marks them as, ‘a legal fiction or supernatural concept’.[69]

Law and the Bible

Montgomery as an Evangelical Lutheran would not adopt an apologetic analogy that he believed was contrary

to scripture.[70] Most legal apologists would hold to that position. Montgomery goes further and actually finds

a biblical warrant in support of the legal apologetic. His argument is based on 1 Peter 3:15. The etymology of

the concept ‘to give an answer’ is traced to the legal system. In a number of places Montgomery specifically

refers to the legal ‘flavour’, of the text, and points out ‘the apostle consciously employed a technical term

(apologia) of ancient Greek law, having reference to the answer given by a defendant before a tribunal’.[71]

He comments that the Apostle Paul was a rabbinic lawyer and in his address to the stoic philosophers at Athens he offered the gospel as the verifiable fulfilment of the natural law tradition, articulated by the stoic poets, that human life is the product of divine creation.[72] Montgomery also expends much effort illustrating ways law can appropriately aid our interpretation and understanding of theology, hermeneutics and ethics.[73]

In support of Montgomery’s position is the significant work of Allison Trites. Trites stresses the witness motif in the New Testament as being a very live metaphor. He argues Luke-Acts presents the claims of Christ in a hostile and contentious environment. Luke’s gospel conceptually at times draws from a legal paradigm. For example, Trites notes the disciples will be forced to stand before tribunals and authorities.[74] This will be a time for the disciples to bear testimony.[75] He observes, ‘Luke has taken the original notion of bearing witness before a court of law and adapted it to the conditions of the Messianic Age.’[76]

With respect to the Book of Acts Trites states it actually offers legally acceptable evidence for Christ which would be admitted as valid in the wider law court of life itself.[77] This is seen in the ‘convincing proofs’ of Acts chapter one, the eyewitness testimony to the resurrection as claimed in speeches like Paul’s at the Areopagus, and the courtroom scenes before magistrates and the like.[78] Further, He draws attention to the juridical character of the testimony. It is twofold: proof from prophecy and proof from eyewitness testimony. The Jewish rules of evidence laid down in Deuteronomy 19:15 called for double testimony. William Lane Craig observes this double testimony is not incidental and it is fresh evidence which, as it were, ‘serves to re-open his (Jesus) trial’.[79]

The forensic nature of Acts is also most evident in Paul’s Roman apologetic. In Acts 24-26 Paul not only appeals to Roman rules of evidence (24:19-20), but Winter and others maintain his apologetic here is based on the Roman legal custom of speeches which contained four or five standard components with the defence answering specific accusations.[80]

In John’s gospel Trites finds a different lawsuit model from that employed in Luke-Acts. He finds that the fourth gospel presents a controversy very similar to the one in Isaiah 40-55. Apologist William Edgar says the prophet Isaiah, ‘is asking for a courtroom debate where the truth will be tested.’[81] Whereas in Isaiah it is Yahweh and the false gods, now it is a lawsuit between God and the world.[82] Isaiah 40-55 is not the only Old Testament text to adopt this legal genre format. Scholars find the legal challenge process not only in Isaiah but, in the book of Jeremiah,[83] and the Yahweh speeches in Job 38-41.[84]

Without doubt Montgomery is more than justified when he argues that the legal apologist can mount a strong argument that their paradigm is a continuum of apostolic proclamation. It has a clear biblical warrant.

To what has been said there could be added another biblical justification for the legal apologetic. As Montgomery argues the case for Christ’s resurrection was the foundational and fundamental apologetic for Christianity.[85] This is seen in the book of Acts where the apostolic speeches have a primary focus on the resurrection.[86] This resurrection emphasis in the sermons of Paul and Peter is not inconsistent with the more theologically developed and atonement centred Pauline epistles. The sermons represent the first word to Jewish and Gentile seekers, the epistles the second word to a believing church. The ‘first word’ is the apologetic model.[87]

Margueritte Shuster has documented how the centrality of the resurrection as articulated by Paul was the continuing thrust of major preacher-theologians from Augustine through to Luther, Barth and Thielicke.[88] As the legal apologetic normally focuses on the resurrection it is consistent with the biblical paradigm for faith sharing.

Historical Precedent
It has been argued at some length that the legal paradigm has its roots in the early church, particularly in the gospel of John and Luke-Acts. Also, the rabbinic reasoning method of Paul should not be understated. He was a student of the Torah. New Testament historian Paul Barnett asserts ‘Paul was a brilliant man with a lawyers mind’.[89] Montgomery notes this reliance on legal rhetoric is also found in early church apologists, particularly Tertullian.[90]

Despite these strong early roots, the structure of today’s juridical apologetic with its legal terminology and resurrection focus Montgomery traces to the Father of International Law, Hugo Grotius.[91] In book two of The Truth of the Christian Religion, Grotius’ argument is based on historical proof for the divinity of Christ on the basis of his miracles, including the resurrection. Phrases like ‘The resurrection of Jesus Christ proved from credible testimony’, ‘founded upon sufficient testimony’ and ‘affirmed them to be eyewitnesses of it’ have added meaning in light of his legal status. [92]

Montgomery also highlights the writings of Thomas Sherlock and Simon Greenleaf. In response to Deists such as Thomas Woolston, Sherlock (1678-1761) used an actual legal model in his apologia, Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus.[93] As Master of the Inner Temple Church, Sherlock was a pastor of the legal profession. Although not a lawyer himself, he creatively employed a legal moot to determine whether the witnesses to Christ’s resurrection gave false evidence and therefore whether the resurrection was a fraud. In Sherlock’s apologetic the jury found the apostles not guilty of giving false evidence. His book went through numerous editions and continues to be reprinted. Sherlock’s tome was answered by another deist Peter Annet with his The Resurrection of Jesus Consider’d. And it is in this eighteenth century literature war between Christians and Deists where Gilbert West’s urbane harmonisation of the resurrection narratives, Observations on the History and Evidence of the Resurrection, appears. West, a clerk to the Privy Council[94] was awarded the Oxford Doctorate of Civil Law for his effort.[95]

Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), after a distinguished career as a lawyer and court reporter, was appointed to The Royall Professorship of Law in the Harvard Law School. Greenleaf is recognised as the foremost North American authority on common law evidence in the nineteenth century[96] and he remains an established authority on evidence today.[97] Greenleaf’s main apologetic work is The Testimony of the Evangelists. It is primarily a harmony of the gospels. The introductory section of the book, An Examination of the Testimony of the Evangelists,[98] is the apologetic section of most interest. Greenleaf here carefully scrutinizes the gospels by principles of evidence, such as the ‘Ancient Documents’ rule, and finds a court of law would admit them and find their contents reliable.

It is evident that the rise of the legal apologetic via Sherlock and Greenleaf is connected to the ‘flowering’ of the historical apologetic in the eighteenth century. Dulles observes that the eighteenth century apologetic almost exclusively focused on Biblical and historical evidences.[99] It is interesting to note that whilst the historical apologetic declined in the nineteenth century due to the advance of biblical criticism, ‘the tide of subjectivism’, religious revival and romanticism,[100] the legal apologetic in Simon Greenleaf and others had its growth period in this same time right up until the mid twentieth century. With the development of jurisprudence perhaps the historical argument found another home.[101] In today’s biblically critical world both schools are well represented.[102] And apologists such as Montgomery and Strobel use historical and legal insights in their apologetic and interact in some depth with both disciplines.[103]

Unexpected historical precedents. Since the time of Grotius it is apparent that legal reasoning has also made an impression on both Christian and non-Christian leaders whom one would not normally classify as being legal apologists. There are some prominent examples worthy of mention.

Montgomery asserts Bishop Joseph Butler was prior to C.S. Lewis probably the greatest Anglican apologist.[104] In Butler’s apologetic response to Deism, that reflects heavily on the phenomena of nature, there is phraseology and allusions that express his reading in the law. Butler speaks in legal terminology when he avers to: ‘evidence from testimony’, ‘proof of Christianity’, ‘real weight’, ‘direct and circumstantial evidence’.[105] Butler was awarded the B.C.L. (Bachelor of Civil Law) in 1721 and the D.C.L. in 1733 from Oxford University.[106]

William Paley’s A View of the Evidences of Christianity is the ‘high water mark’ of the historical apologetic.[107] It could be argued that the influence of the law on his treatise has been underplayed. Howson records how Paley, who became a justice of the peace, spent his spare time as a young man attending trials and that ‘all through life he displayed marked cleverness in weighing evidence, and a great love of that kind of pointed investigation which is required in the cross-examination of witnesses.’[108] Further, he performed the role of chancellor of ecclesiastical courts and the canons required this person to be learned in the civil as well as the ecclesiastical law.[109]

There is intrinsic evidence of how Paley’s interest in law affected his work. For example, when dealing with the alleged discrepancies between the gospel accounts he stated,

The usual character of human testimony is substantial truth under circumstantial variety. This is what the daily experience of courts of justice teaches when accounts of a transaction come from the mouths of different witnesses, it is seldom that it is not possible to pick out apparent or real inconsistencies between them. These inconsistencies are studiously displayed by an adverse pleader, but oftentimes with little impression upon the minds of the judges.[110]

Revivalist Charles Finney, unlike Paley, had legal qualifications as he sat the bar examination.[111] His commitment to Christian ministry and the bible came as he read the scriptures in the context of his legal training.[112] Finney based his evangelistic preaching on the model of a lawyer before a jury.[113] And although Finney is not remembered as an apologist, he did address groups of sceptical lawyers and others of a like mind. On these occasions he set out ‘to convince the lawyers’ of the truth of the Christian worldview and biblical soteriology.[114]

Interestingly, in this post Reformation period it is not only the traditional Christian apologists who have seen the benefit of the juridical method. Herman Reimarus’ rationalistic apology that was published anonymously and posthumously in ‘fragments’ by Lessing, gave birth to the nineteenth century search for the historical Jesus. His influence permeated the twentieth century with Albert Schweitzer affirming this ‘most splendid achievement’ and ‘that we should recognise an historical performance of no mean order in this piece of Deistic polemics’.[115] In the fragment, ‘On the resurrection narratives’ Reimarus’ aim is to prove the narratives are self contradictory. He cites ten contradictions and his argument is juridical in form. He says, ‘Witnesses who differ so greatly in the most important points of testimony would not be recognised in any secular court as valid and legal … to the extent that a judge could rely on their story and base his decision on it.’ He argues how could anyone justify their religion and salvation ‘upon the testimony of four such varying witnesses’.[116] The legal metaphor is common in this monumental treatise.[117]

Sceptic Thomas Huxley, who was not a lawyer, also relied at times on the legal analogy. It is reported that at the Metaphysical Society in January 1876 he vacated the Chairman’s chair for Gladstone and presented a forensic paper on Jesus’ resurrection where in the style of a criminal court barrister he sought to destroy the case for the supernatural. His prosecution has been called ‘the most notorious test case in the Metaphysical’s history’.[118] It was this occasion that evoked the retort of John Henry Newman, ‘I thank my lucky stars, that when asked to accept the honour of belonging to it (Metaphysical Society), I declined.’[119] As well in his essays he countered John Henry Newman’s assertion that the gospel miracles are religious and moral events and therefore ‘infidels’ can’t dismiss them on the basis you could not get a verdict for them in a court of Justice. Huxley’s cry was that in light of the value placed on miracles, they are a significant issue and historical evidence and proof of a legal standard can be properly demanded. He pleaded for facts, sufficient evidence – legal proofs.[120]

This juridical paradigm of Montgomery is justified on a number of substantial grounds. It has a long historical pedigree and has been used by those, Christian and otherwise, who agree with Socrates, a master of rhetoric, that, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’.

The Mind·Body·Spirit festival at Sydney’s Darling Harbour is the world’s largest New Age fair. I am part of a group that has a stall at the festival. From the tarot card pack we share with postmodern seekers the message of the empowerment of the resurrection of Jesus. This apologetic method is also borrowed from Montgomery.[121] We, like Montgomery, explain how Jungian archetypes, tarot and biblical images resonate with a common yearning for divine grace. We build a legal circumstantial case for the resurrection based on the subjective evidence that there is a universal longing for a resurrected hero. Often in our exploring of these longings with fellow pilgrims the question arises, even amongst post modern, can I trust the New Testament documents that record the story of the ultimate universal hero? Again, Montgomery’s legal apologetic, the apologetic for all seasons, comes to the fore.


[1] John Warwick Montgomery, The law above the law (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1975).
[2] See Ross Clifford, Leading lawyers’ case for the resurrection (Edmonton: Canadian Institute for Law, Theology and Public Policy, 1996).
[3] John Warwick Montgomery, Human rights and human dignity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), 131-160, John Warwick Montgomery, ‘The jury returns: a juridical defense of Christianity’ and ‘A lawyer’s case for Christianity’ in Christians in the public square, C.E.B. Cranfield, David Kilgour, John Warwick Montgomery (Edmonton: Canadian Institute for Law, Theology, and Public Policy, 1996), 223-250, 269-282.
[4] James D. Fairbanks, Review of Christians in the public square, by C.E.B. Cranfield, David Kilgour, John Warwick Montgomery, in Fides et historia xxix, 1 (Winter/Spring 1997) : 117-119.
[5] Richard Packham, ‘Critique of John Warwick Montgomery’s arguments for the legal evidence for Christianity’, http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_packham/montgmry.html., 5.
[6] Montgomery, Human rights, 137:’Basic to any determination of the soundness of Christian claims is the question of the reliability of he pertinent historical documents. The documents at issue are not (pace the man on the Clapham omnibus) Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, or other pagan references to Jesus, though these do of course exist. Such references are secondary at best, since none of these writers had firsthand contact with Jesus or with His disciples. The documents on which the case for Christianity depends are the New Testament writings, for they claim to have been written by eyewitnesses or by close associates of eyewitnesses (indeed, their origin in apostolic circles was the essential criterion for including them in the New Testament).’
[7] Montgomery is often critiqued for his ‘popular’ style. However, this is his basic apologetic model, and the critique fails to recognise the exhaustive endnotes for the reader who wants to investigate further. See for example, Where is history going? (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1972).
[8] For example, Montgomery, Human rights, 158-160.
[9] Ken Handley, ‘A lawyer looks at the resurrection’, Kategoria, 15 (1999): 11-21 at 11.
[10] John Warwick Montgomery, ‘Legal hermeneutics and the interpretation of scripture’ in Evangelical hermeneutics, Michael Bauman and David Hall, eds. (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, 1995),18.
[11] Sir Robert Anderson, A doubter’s doubts about science and religion. 3rd edn. (Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis, 1924), 95-103.
[12] William Paley, A view of the evidences of Christianity, rev. ed. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1848), 364.
[13] G. Abrahams, The legal mind (London: H.F.L., 1954), 20.
[14] Cited in Jurisprudence: a book of readings, ed. John Warwick Montgomery (Strasbourg: International Scholarly Publishers, 1974), 258.
[15] G. Abrahams states that the only claim that can be placed on a jury’s sympathy is that they should seek to understand the defendant’s case and appreciate the possibility of the defendant’s story, even if improbable, as they consider the facts. The Legal Mind, 20.
[16] John Warwick Montgomery, ‘The search for ultimates: a Sherlockian inquiry’, Christian legal journal, 2 (Spring 1993): 6-7. Reprinted in John Warwick Montgomery, The transcendent Holmes, (Ashcroft, British Columbia: Calabash Press, 2000), 119-135.
[17] A.C.Doyle, The sign of the four, the complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1930), 111.
[18] Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Naval treaty, complete Sherlock Holmes (London: Penguin Books, 1981), 447-469 at 445-456. Holmes also argues here that religion could be built up as an exact science by the reasoner.
[19] Stephen Davis, Daniel Kendall and Gerald O’Collins, eds., The resurrection (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1997), 146-147, 198-201.
[20] Montgomery, Human rights, 134-135.
[21] Francis J. Beckwith, David Hume’s argument against miracles: a critical analysis (New York: University Press of America, 1989), 123.
[22] John Warwick Montgomery, ‘Neglected apologetic styles: the juridical and the literary’ in Evangelical apologetics, eds. Michael Bauman, David Hall and Robert Newman (Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1996), 123-124.
[23] Tony Honoré, ‘The primacy of oral evidence?’ in Crime proof and punishment: essays in memory of Sir Rupert Cross, C.F.H. Tapper, ed. (London: Butterworths, 1981), 176. Cf. Keith Mason QC, Solicitor General for New South Wales,‘Every legal contest (civil or criminal) involves the interaction of three matters: (1) the (true) facts as they occurred in the past; (2) the evidence or means whereby the judge or jury gets a window through which to search for the facts; and (3) a verdict, which represents a decision about the impact of the facts as found. So too with much of life. In both great and small matters we are constantly confronted with these three aspects of decision-making. For example, my decision about where to go on holidays this year may be based on how I recall and perceive the actuality of last year’s holiday. There is nothing unusual about this exercise. Only the human ostrich avoids it in the contemplation of the larger issues of life’s purpose and death significance’, Paul Barnett, The truth about Jesus (Sydney South: Aquila Press, 1994), iv.
[24] Montgomery, ‘Neglected apologetic styles’, 119.
[25] John Warwick Montgomery, Defending the gospel through the centuries, Anselm tape, and cassette tape (Newport: Institute for Law and Theology, 1980).
[26] John Warwick Montgomery, Faith founded on fact (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1978), 125-127.
[27] Alister McGrath, Bridge-Building: effective Christian apologetics (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 9-14.
[28] Francis Wharton, ‘Recent changes in jurisprudence and apologetics’, The Princeton review 2, 1 (July-December 1878): 149-168 at 149.
[29] Example see Steve Martini, The attorney (London: Headline, 2000), Lisa Scottoline, Moment of truth (London: Harper Collins, 2000), John Grisham, The testament (London : Century, 1999), Scott Turrow, Personal injuries (New York : Michael Joseph, 1999). See also Blackstock who has moved from romance to a Christian romance legal drama genre-Terry Blackstock, Evidence of mercy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995). Montgomery discusses how the legal novel has a place and can assist in the ethical practice of law in ‘Legal novels’, RealPlayer[(Montgomery 3] jwm6.ram..ram.
[30] John Warwick Montgomery, Cross and crucible: Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), phoenix of the theologians, 1 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973), 240.
[31] John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Christianity for the tough minded, (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1973), 21-34.
[32] Ibid., 26.
[33] John Warwick Montgomery, Law and gospel (Oak Park, Illinois: Christian Legal Society, 1978), 4.
[34] Ibid., 34-35.
[35] John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Myth, allegory and gospel (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974), 20.
[36] Montgomery, ‘Neglected apologetic styles’,119. For a personal ‘testimony’ in this regard see Bryan Magee, Confessions of a philosopher (New York: Random House, 1997), 346-349.
[37] C. Stephen Evans, Why believe? Reason and mystery as pointers to God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 10-21.
[38] Philip Johnson, The Areopagus factor (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2002).
[39] Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The hidden agenda of modernity (New York: Free Press, 1990), 31-32, 188. See Montgomery, Human rights, 135. Toulmin holds we need to move from a deductive model and seek another.
[40] Montgomery, ‘The jury returns’, 319.
[41] Stephen Toulmin, Knowing and acting (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1976), 106-112.
[42] Ravi Zacharias, ‘The touch of truth’ in Telling the truth, D.A. Carson, ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 30-43.
[43] Montgomery, Defending the gospel through the centuries, Contemporary apologetics 11 tape.
[44] Graham Phillips, ‘God makes a comeback’, The West Australian, 23 October 2000, 14.
[45] Montgomery, Christianity for the tough minded, 21-25.
[46] Montgomery, Faith founded, 119.
[47] William J. Abraham, An introduction to the philosophy of religion (Englewood Clifts, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1985), 1-6. Abrahams adds ‘Luther would not have worried if philosophers had agreed to embark on an eternal strike’ (1).
[48] Montgomery, Faith founded, 142-143.
[49] John Warwick Montgomery, ‘Christian apologetics in light of the Lutheran confessions’, Concordia theological quarterly 42, 3 (July 1978): 272.
[50] John Warwick Montgomery, Giant in chains: China today and tomorrow (Milton Keynes: Nelson Word, 1994), 176-177.
[51] Montgomery, Faith founded, ix-iv.
[52] Philip Johnson, ‘Judicial apologetics’ to be published, 9. See Montgomery, The law above, 89.
[53] Montgomery, Faith founded, xi.
[54] Phillip M. Margolin, The undertaker’s widow (London: Warner Books, 1998), 136.
[55] Montgomery, ‘The search for ultimates’, 8.
[56] Davis, Kendall and O’Collins, The resurrection, 147.
[57] Simon Greenleaf, The Testimony of the evangelists (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1984), 36.
[58] Ibid., 42.
[59] John Warwick Montgomery, The shaping of America (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1976), 136-140, Montgomery, Human rights, 54, Montgomery, Law above, 67-70.
[60] Montgomery, Human rights, 30.
[61] Hans-Helmet Esser, “Law, customs, elements” in The new international dictionary of the New Testament, 2, Colin Brown, ed. (Exeter: Paternoster, 1976), 439. See also Derek H. Davis, ‘Competing notions of law in American civil religion’, Law, text, culture 5, 1 (2000) : 275, ‘In the scope of human history, revealed law has more often than not been the source of civil and criminal codes.’
[62] Kashi Prasad Saksena, Muslim law, 4th edn. (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 1963),1-6.
[63] John Warwick Montgomery, ed., God’s inerrant Word (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974), 25-28.
[64] For full analysis of the issues and a questioning of the role of historiography with respect to the resurrection see Peter Carnley, The structure of resurrection belief (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1987), with an extensive bibliography.
[65] Thomas F. Torrance, Space, time and incarnation (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), 89-90.
[66] Montgomery, Where is history going?, 116-117.
[67] Norman Anderson, A lawyer among the theologians (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1973), 29-105.
[68] Montgomery, Law and gospel, 28.
[69] Margaret Davies, Asking the law question (North Ryde, NSW: The Law Book Company, 1994), 126.
[70] For Montgomery’s biblical justification of offering evidence for faith, and for apologetics generally see ‘Defending the gospel through the centuries’, especially the tapes on ‘the scriptural approach to apologetics’ and ‘the validity of offering evidence’. See also Montgomery, Faith founded, ix-42.
[71] Montgomery, ‘Neglected apologetic styles’, 120 and Montgomery, Faith founded, ix-x. In support see L. Joseph Rosas, ‘Evangelism and apologetics’ in Evangelism in the twenty-first century, T. Rainer, ed. (Wheaton: Harold Shaw, 1989), 113-114, Bernard Ramm, Varieties of Christian apologetics (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1961), 11.
[72] Montgomery, Human rights, 133-134.
[73] For example Montgomery, Law and gospel.
[74] Allison A. Trites, The New Testament concept of witness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 130-133. Cf. Allison A. Trites, ‘The idea of witness in the synoptic gospels – some juridical considerations’, Themelios, 5 (1968) : 18-26. See Luke 12:11, 21:12.
[75] Luke 21:13. Paul Barnett notes the dominant idea of witness in the New Testament is an ‘onlooker who could “bear witness” in a court hearing for or against an accused person’. See Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament history? (Sydney: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986), 50-55.
[76] Trites, The New Testament concept, 133.
[77] Ibid., 133.
[78] Ibid., 129. Cf. Allison A. Trites, ‘The importance of legal scenes and language in the book of Acts’, Novum testamentum, 16 (1974): 278-284. Trites concludes, ‘In other words, the frequent use of legal language in connection with real courts of law is germane to Luke’s presentation and part of his theological intention. The claims of Christ are being debated, and Luke intends by the use of law court scenes and legal language to draw attention to this fact … An important part of his task is the presentation of the courtroom evidence in such a way that it will bear witness to Christ.’ (284).
[79] William Lane Craig, The historical argument for the resurrection of Jesus (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985), 13.
[80] Bruce W. Winter, ‘Official proceedings and the forensic speeches in Acts 24-26’ in The book of Acts in its ancient literary settings, Vol 1, Bruce W. Winter and Andrew D. Clarke, eds. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 305-336 at 333-336.
[81] William Edgar, Reasons of the heart: recovering Christian persuasion (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996), 44.
[82] Trites, The New Testament concept, 78-124.
[83] William H. Holladay, ‘Jeremiah’s lawsuit with God’, Interpretation, (July 1963) : 280-287. For example see Jeremiah 12:1.
[84] See Eugene J. Mayhew, ‘God’s use of general revelation in his response to Job’, Journal of Christian apologetics 2, 1 (Summer 1998): 94-104. See also Michael Brennan Dick ‘The legal metaphor in Job 31’, The Catholic biblical quarterly 41, 1 (January 1979) : 37 –50. Dick further notes the reliance of the prophets on juridical language (37).
[85] Montgomery, Faith founded, xii.
[86] See for example, Acts 2:29-39, 10:39-41, 13:26-41, 17:31-32. David Peterson states the proclamation of the resurrection in Acts shows it, ‘links together a whole complex of biblical hopes and is a key to their fulfilment’. ‘Resurrection apologetics and the theology of Luke-Acts’ in Proclaiming the resurrection, Peter M. Head, ed. (Cumbria: Paternoster Press, 1998), 56.
[87] See C.H. Dodd, The apostolic preaching and its development (London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1963), 9, Paul Barnett, Move in for action (Sydney : Anzea, 1971), 64.
[88] Margueritte Shuster, ‘The preaching of the resurrection of Christ in Augustine, Luther, Barth and Thielicke’ in The resurrection, ed. Davis, Kendall and O’Collins, 308-338.
[89] Paul Barnett, ‘Risen Christ is historical reality’, Sydney morning herald, 5 April 1994, 12.
[90] Montgomery in his historical tape series spends time on an analysis of Grotius, Sherlock and Greenleaf as well as acknowledging the legal pedigree and role of Tertullian. See Montgomery, Defending the gospel.
[91] Montgomery, The law above, 84.
[92] Hugo Grotius, The truth of the Christian religion, book 11, trans. John Clarke (London: William Baynes, 1825), 82-85.
[93] Thomas Sherlock, The tryal of the witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus is photo reproduced in Montgomery, ed., Jurisprudence: a book of readings, 339-450.
[94] He was appointed extra clerk on 15 May 1729 and then as clerk on 21 April 1752. For the historical list of all the clerks of the Privy Council see www.ihrinfo.ac.uk/publications/office/office1.html
[95] See Colin Brown, Miracles and the critical mind (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, Devon: Paternoster, 1984), 51-58.
[96] For biographical details see Clifford, Leading lawyers’ case.
[97] Pamela Binnings Ewen, Faith on trial (Nashville; Broadman and Holman, 1999), 10. His primary text on evidence was Simon Greenleaf, A treatise on the law of evidence (Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1842) Publishers Gaunt Incorporated reprinted in 1997.
[98] Greenleaf, The testimony of the evangelists, 1-54.
[99] Avery Dulles, A history of apologetics (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 155-257.
[100] Craig, The historical argument, 352-427.
[101] The historical reliability argument for the New Testament is still found in classics like Alexander Balmain Bruce, Apologetics or, Christianity defensively stated (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1911), F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: are they reliable? (London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1943).
[102] See for example, Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament History? (Sydney: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986), Ewen, Faith on trial.
[103] John Warwick, History and Christianity (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1971), Montgomery, Human rights, 131-160 and Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
[104] Montgomery, Defending the gospel through the centuries, study guide (Edmonton: Canadian Institute for Law, Theology and Public Policy, 1999), 48.
[105] Joseph Butler, The analogy of religion (London: Bell and Daldy, 1871), especially Part II, chapter 7.
[106] This information is recorded in an email received from Alice Blackford, Assistant Keeper of the Archives of Oxford University, 19 March 2001. Also see Leslie Stephen, ‘Joseph Butler’ in The dictionary of natural biography, Vol. III, Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee eds. (London: Oxford University Press, 1917), 519-525.
[107] Craig, The historical argument for the resurrection of Jesus, 352.
[108] J.S. Howson ‘Preface’ in William Paley, Horae Pauline (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1891), xi-xiii.
[109] M.L. Clarke, Paley: evidences for the Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), 33.
[110] William Paley A View of the evidences of Christianity, rev. ed. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1848), 319.
[111] Charles G. Finney, An autobiography (London: The Salvationist, n.d.), 4-6.
[112] ibid, 6.
[113] ibid, 68-71. For further discussion see Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, Charles G. Finney and the spirit of American evangelicalism (Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 1996), 6-10, 34-35. ‘What struck many people about Finney’s preaching was that he sounded like a lawyer arguing his case in court.’(35).
[114] Finney, An autobiography, 298-305, 364-368.
[115] Albert Schweitzer, The quest of the historical Jesus, trans. W. Montgomery (London : A. & C. Black, 1911), 22-23.
[116] H.S. Reimarus, ‘Concerning the intention of Jesus and his teachings’ in Reimarus fragments, ed. Charles H. Talbert (London: SCN Press, 1971), 176.
[117] Ibid., 174-211.
[118] For a report of this ‘sensational’ meeting see Adrian Desmond, Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest (London: Michael Joseph, 1997), 83-85 and William Irvine, Apes, angels and victorians. (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1956), 195-201.
[119] Ian Ker, John Henry Newman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 732.
[120] For example, see essay ‘Agnosticism and Christianity’ in Science in Christian tradition: essays, Thomas Huxley (New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1899), 334-342. For a discussion see Robert Shafer, Christianity and naturalism (New Haven: Yale Press, 1926), 130-137. Huxley at best misunderstood Newman who certainly held the leading scriptural miracles, unlike some other miracles, were supported by an overwhelming amount of proof. See Richard A. Hutton, Cardinal Newman (London: Meuthen & Co., 1905), 59-70, Montgomery even contends Newman’s, ‘Essays on scripture miracles’ operates in the ‘legal language game’ - Defending the gospel through the centuries, study guide, 60.
[121] John Warwick Montgomery, Principalities and powers (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1981), 129-132. See also John Drane, Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson, Beyond prediction: the tarot and your spirituality (Oxford: Lion, September 2001).

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