How do we know the Bible is true? How do we know that a man named Jesus even lived in and around Galilee some 2,000 years ago? Even if he did, how do we know he was the Son of God as he claimed to be? These are common questions that the Christian can expect to hear from a myriad of sources…from our kids, from our neighbors, from our co-workers, from our teachers, and from the skeptics. But all too often the answer I hear given in response by Christians is, “we believe these things by faith.” Ugh. Even I find that answer unsatisfying, I can only imagine how unsatisfying it must be for the questioner.
Christian Apologist and uber-scholar John Warwick Montgomery has updated a previously released book under the name “History, Law, and Christianity” that attempts to provide reasoned, historical responses to the above questions and more. Dr. Montgomery is a polymath of sorts, holding multiple advanced degrees in a variety of subjects. He is a prolific author and lecturer, one who has boldly taken his faith into the public square for many decades.
Dr. Montgomery is a licensed attorney and his training in that field really comes through in this book. Systematically he addresses challenges to the Christian worldview by providing ample historical evidence to assure the believer that we can know these claims are true, not just blindly trust that Christ’s claims correspond with reality. As a matter of fact, Dr. Montgomery, in the chapter “Christianity Juridically Defended”, addresses this exact topic. Rather than relying on the experience or “blind faith”, “Christianity…declares that the truth of its absolute claims rests squarely on certain historical facts open to ordinary investigation. These facts relate essentially to the man Jesus, his presentation of himself as God in human flesh, and his resurrection from the dead as proof of His deity.” Christianity is not making claims and only offering proof for those in the inner-circle. Rather, Christ is making claims that any student is welcome to examine, so long as they are ready to deal with the conclusions.
This book is an easy recommendation for me, but with a twist. I believe wholeheartedly that salvation will come only from the Gospel, and not from the mental assent to historical facts. Which is to say, I have concerns that books which present historical facts alone will run afoul in separating fact from significance. I’m not saying that Dr. Montgomery’s work does that, but I do believe this book will serve to strengthen the already believing Christian more than it will persuade the non-Christian to come to faith. The wavering Christian, challenged with questions that he or she is unable to answer, should get this book. Study the arguments. Appreciate the significance. Become rooted in a reasoned faith. And in doing so you will see that your own witness grows in effectiveness.