Tuesday, August 27, 2013

QBR and CCLE Review: Logic and Philosophy


This review will be posted both at
Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Quarterly Book Review
and the blog of The Consortium for Clasical and Lutheran Education.

Naugle, David K. David S. Dockery, Series Editor. Philosophy: A Student's Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition). Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 125 Pages. Paper. $11.99. www.crossway.org (N)

Poythress, Vern Sheridan. Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 733 Pages. Paper. $45.00. www.crossway.org (N)

Ten years ago last month I attended my first Conference on Classical and Lutheran Education. I spent over six of the years following reading, preparing, and praying that I would be a Headmaster someday. That day came in April 2009.

Here are two titles from Crossway to aid you in Classical Christian Education.


David Naugle (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, University of Texas Arlington) is distinguished university professor and chair of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University. He is the author of Worldview: The History of a Concept, Christianity Today's Book of the Year in Theology and Ethics, 2003, and of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness.

Philosophy pervades every sphere of life from the defense of the gospel to the formulation of Christian doctrine to the daily decisions we make.

In this work, distinguished professor David Naugle gives us a firm understanding of the basic issues, thinkers, and sub-disciplines in the field of philosophy as well as an invitation to engage with the contemporary challenges therein. He discusses the importance of prolegomena (assumptions and methods) and the vocation of Christian philosophers. Naugle also outlines the differences between the Hebrew and Greek mindsets and provides biblical perspectives through an Augustinian approach. Above all, Naugle teaches us how to philosophize in light of God and the gospel.

(Publisher's Website)

I am not formally educated in secular or classical philosophy. I've studied theology, of course, and I have read philosophers. I am finding that my experience is relatively common, even in a day where "Could God microwave a burrito so hot He couldn't eat it?" passes for a deep philosophical thought. (By the way, there's faulty logic in it, just to start...)

In David Naugle's student guide to Philosophy in Crossway's Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series, the Incarnation of Christ is essential to any study of philosophy by Christians (55). That is a wonderful place to start!

Theology has more in common with a Christian studying philosophy than one might think. We're dealing with questions of existence and purpose, of decisions and eternity, and the struggle of daily life. I immediately see connections to Vocation, Physics, Music, and Mathematics. If you have an interest in beginning a study of philosophy, Naugle's Philosophy: A Student's Guide is a great place to start.

Switch to Logic and six hundred pages...


Vern Sheridan Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for 33 years. He has six earned degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books on biblical interpretation, language, and science.

For Christians looking to improve critical thinking skills, here is an accessible introduction to the study of logic as well as an in-depth treatment of the discipline from a professor with six academic degrees and over 30 years experience teaching. Questions for further reflection are included at the end of each chapter as well as helpful diagrams and charts for use in college and graduate-level classrooms.

Vern Poythress has undertaken a radical recasting of the study of logic in this revolutionary work from a Christian worldview.

(Publisher's Website)

Of the books by Poythress that I've read and reviewed, this is by far my favorite. I have studied Logic. As Headmaster of MLGS, I've taught two different levels of logic after school hours to junior high students and adults. This text is far more comprehensive than what I've taught. The author continues his inter-book theme of the "God-Centered Approach."
This is a text with worldview assumptions favorable to and for Christians: The Ten Commandments  and worship of the one true God (97); Scripture, sin, grace, and the Gospel of Christ (83-84); creation and creativity (292).

I appreciated the author's presentation of Multivalued Logic, logic beyond yes and no (Chapter 63, 474ff). Appendix F2 brings this review full circule: The Role of Logic in Philosophy (645). 

Before I read the rest of Aristotle, I need to re-read Poythress. I am thankful for this volume.

I commend Crossway for helping combat what was called The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind in the previous century with these two releases and encourage them to publish more books I'll use as our school expands beyond the Grammar level to junor high and high school study of logic, philosophy, and rhetoric.


The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

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