John Warwick Montgomery is in the house

I picked up John Warwick Montgomery at the airport last night. He is now back in the states, where he will serve on the faculty of Patrick Henry College. He will keep his residence in France and continue his Apologetics Institute in Strasbourg, but he will be in residence here for one semester each year. Although he and his wife had been on an airplane for some 13 hours, they were crackling with energy, wit, and insight. It will be great to have him here, and I know our students will appreciate getting to study under someone of his magnitude.

Just idly surfing the other day, I came across this brilliant essay of his, showing how his evidentialist approach to apologetics fits in with Luther’s teachings about the incarnation, the sacraments, that salvation is “outside ourselves,” and that we must learn about God “from the bottom up,” not beginning with abstractions about God but beginning with the tangible God in the manager and on the Cross. Faith remains a gift of God, not something we figure out with reason as such, but it must begin with object truth. Read the essay yourself. It’s entitled
The Incarnate Christ: The Apologetic Thrust of Lutheran Theology.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Very cool!

    Can we get an update from him on Noah’s Ark? I read his book from 25+ years ago. :)

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Very cool!

    Can we get an update from him on Noah’s Ark? I read his book from 25+ years ago. :)

  • fw

    Francis Schaffer similarly pointed to the painting “school of the philosophers” hanging in the Louve. He said that all of religion and philosophy is about reconciling the transcendent (plato) with the immanent (aristotle). He then posited that Jesus in His very incarnate Person is the nexus that all religion and philosophy seeks.

    Jesus. Author. Finisher. Who fills all things.

    Thank God for men like Dr Montgomery. Like gold a rare and precious comodity.

  • fw

    Francis Schaffer similarly pointed to the painting “school of the philosophers” hanging in the Louve. He said that all of religion and philosophy is about reconciling the transcendent (plato) with the immanent (aristotle). He then posited that Jesus in His very incarnate Person is the nexus that all religion and philosophy seeks.

    Jesus. Author. Finisher. Who fills all things.

    Thank God for men like Dr Montgomery. Like gold a rare and precious comodity.

  • Rose

    “The tangible God in the manger.” This is the theological basis of NativitySetMinistry.org. I will use Dr. Montgomery’s exposition when I speak to groups about the importance of a family nativity set in a child’s life. (Sometimes people think it’s a childish ministry; exactly so.) Dr. Veith, will Patrick Henry have a lecture by Montgomery that is open to the public? I would attend!

  • Rose

    “The tangible God in the manger.” This is the theological basis of NativitySetMinistry.org. I will use Dr. Montgomery’s exposition when I speak to groups about the importance of a family nativity set in a child’s life. (Sometimes people think it’s a childish ministry; exactly so.) Dr. Veith, will Patrick Henry have a lecture by Montgomery that is open to the public? I would attend!

  • http://faithandgender.wordpress.com Fr. Bill

    One of the earliest inspirations for my fledgling faith in Christ came from Dr. Montgomery’s debate with Joseph Fletcher (of Situation Ethics fame) at University of California at San Diego. There was a tape of that debate floating around the Christian scene at Texas Tech University in those days, and Dr. Montgomery’s dismantling of Fletcher’s situational ethics was so devastating one might almost have felt pity for Fletcher.

    Almost. What emerged within the first ten minutes of the debate was the fundamental dishonesty and sham of Fletcher’s ethics. Dr. Montgomery very quickly pointed out that if Fletcher thought it best for us, he was prepared to deliberately lie to advance his thesis. For that reason, Dr. Montgomery pointed out, it was impossible at any point to know whether or not Fletcher were telling the truth. About anything.

    Checkmate.

    In those days, on that campus, evangelical Christians were in a pitched spiritual battle with those among the faculty and student body who were desperate to establish the university as “free” from what they deemed to be antiquated and retarded ideas intrinsic to classical Christianity. Fletcher’s situational ethics were all the rage among the anti-Christian part at that time. Dr. Montgomery’s thermonuclear dissolution of Fletcher and his “ethics” (you can’t describe it any other way and do Montgomery justice!) was carried into countless classroom debates and dorm-room bull-sessions for months and months.

    Thirty-odd years later, I personally know scores of men and women from those days who are merrily advancing Christ’s Kingdom, partly because of the energetic challenge to the spirit of the age which Dr. Montgomery modeled for us in that debate.

    Dr. Veith, please convey my gratitude to Dr. Montgomery for that one evening of service to the cause of Christ. I expect the Judgment will reveal the fruits of that singular debate to be far, far more than anyone has ever guessed.

    And, I am going to lean really hard on my nephew (now among your students) to seize the first opportunity he has to enroll in one of Dr. Montgomery’s classes.

  • http://faithandgender.wordpress.com Fr. Bill

    One of the earliest inspirations for my fledgling faith in Christ came from Dr. Montgomery’s debate with Joseph Fletcher (of Situation Ethics fame) at University of California at San Diego. There was a tape of that debate floating around the Christian scene at Texas Tech University in those days, and Dr. Montgomery’s dismantling of Fletcher’s situational ethics was so devastating one might almost have felt pity for Fletcher.

    Almost. What emerged within the first ten minutes of the debate was the fundamental dishonesty and sham of Fletcher’s ethics. Dr. Montgomery very quickly pointed out that if Fletcher thought it best for us, he was prepared to deliberately lie to advance his thesis. For that reason, Dr. Montgomery pointed out, it was impossible at any point to know whether or not Fletcher were telling the truth. About anything.

    Checkmate.

    In those days, on that campus, evangelical Christians were in a pitched spiritual battle with those among the faculty and student body who were desperate to establish the university as “free” from what they deemed to be antiquated and retarded ideas intrinsic to classical Christianity. Fletcher’s situational ethics were all the rage among the anti-Christian part at that time. Dr. Montgomery’s thermonuclear dissolution of Fletcher and his “ethics” (you can’t describe it any other way and do Montgomery justice!) was carried into countless classroom debates and dorm-room bull-sessions for months and months.

    Thirty-odd years later, I personally know scores of men and women from those days who are merrily advancing Christ’s Kingdom, partly because of the energetic challenge to the spirit of the age which Dr. Montgomery modeled for us in that debate.

    Dr. Veith, please convey my gratitude to Dr. Montgomery for that one evening of service to the cause of Christ. I expect the Judgment will reveal the fruits of that singular debate to be far, far more than anyone has ever guessed.

    And, I am going to lean really hard on my nephew (now among your students) to seize the first opportunity he has to enroll in one of Dr. Montgomery’s classes.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Wow, everybody, thanks for those testimonials. I will definitely convey them to Dr. Montgomery. As for public lectures, I’m sure that will happen at some point. I’ll try to get the word out on this blog, as well as elsewhere.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Wow, everybody, thanks for those testimonials. I will definitely convey them to Dr. Montgomery. As for public lectures, I’m sure that will happen at some point. I’ll try to get the word out on this blog, as well as elsewhere.

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  • W. Odom

    How hard would you have to press to get Dr. Montgomery to guest blog while he’s here?

  • W. Odom

    How hard would you have to press to get Dr. Montgomery to guest blog while he’s here?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    I don’t know, W. Odom, that’s a very good question! I’ll have to ask it!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    I don’t know, W. Odom, that’s a very good question! I’ll have to ask it!

  • Carl Vehse

    From a Novermber 29, 2007, Issues, Etc. interview, “Muslim Riots in Paris & the Punishment of a British School Teacher in Sudan for Allowing Students to Name a Teddy Bear ‘Mohammed’”, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery noted:

    “You’ll pardon my opinion on this, but I would outlaw the Muslim religion on the very same basis that I would outlaw the Aztec religion. The Aztec religion holds to human sacrifice. I would not allow that religion to prevail, nor would I allow Islam to prevail, because the moment that they get into any situation of power, the result is this kind of thing, which is against human rights and against human civilization. And I don’t care that there’s some lovely Muslims around. I’m sure there were some very fine Aztecs as well.”

    I’ll second that motion.

  • Carl Vehse

    From a Novermber 29, 2007, Issues, Etc. interview, “Muslim Riots in Paris & the Punishment of a British School Teacher in Sudan for Allowing Students to Name a Teddy Bear ‘Mohammed’”, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery noted:

    “You’ll pardon my opinion on this, but I would outlaw the Muslim religion on the very same basis that I would outlaw the Aztec religion. The Aztec religion holds to human sacrifice. I would not allow that religion to prevail, nor would I allow Islam to prevail, because the moment that they get into any situation of power, the result is this kind of thing, which is against human rights and against human civilization. And I don’t care that there’s some lovely Muslims around. I’m sure there were some very fine Aztecs as well.”

    I’ll second that motion.


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