II. Rebuttal To A Skeptic -- By: Boyd Pehrson

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 14:3 (Jan 2018)
Article: II. Rebuttal To A Skeptic
Author: Boyd Pehrson

Rebuttal To A Skeptic

Boyd Pehrson


My rebuttal here is directed to the response offered by Richard Packham1 to my review2 of his critique3 of the legal apologetical method employed by Dr. John Warwick Montgomery. Richard Packham’s arguments are sadly typical of an approach others have employed in critiquing evidential apologetics, namely, taking authors and sources out of context and building straw men therewith. It will be seen that, in attacking me, Packham merely reasserts his original arguments.

I have organized my response so as to treat the issues of credentials, ad hominem argumentation, hearsay, logical fallacy, and the miraculous. Using Packham’s own references and resources, I reinvestigate the Ancient Documents Rule and its requirements concerning authentication, hearsay, and eyewitnesses—the topics Packham says I have treated deficiently. We shall see that Packham’s response reveals even deeper problems than our prior analysis of his work demonstrated. It seems plain that he did not learn from his initial mistakes. He takes arguments out of context and revises them rhetorically so as to tilt them in his favor. We regretfully conclude that Packham’s critique of Legal Apologetics is self-discrediting at worst and mere sophistry at best.

My original review of Richard Packham’s failed argument was directed in the first instance to the naive Christian apologists attempting to refute him. One Christian, in reply to Packham, merely accepted without question the atheist’s unscholarly reaction to Dr. Montgomery’s Legal Apologetics. That particular Christian advocate never questioned Packham’s sources, logic, or appeal to personal experience. The Christian defensor fidei in question responded to Packham by posting a webpage of his own, under a pseudonym, attempting to support his conclusion that Legal Apologetics is “an anachronism.” Thus, Packham’s assertions of legal principle were taken at face value without any factual checking. That made it easy for Packham to ridicule what appeared to be Christian criticism of Legal Apologetics, thereby supporting his own diatribe against Christianity.

My analysis shows that Packham’s problem lies, not with the use of legal principles in the defense of Christian faith, but with his own misunderstanding of those principles and their application to issues of religious truth. It is indeed truly remarkable that Packham has shown complete unawareness, to say nothing of appreciation, for the 2000-year-old tradition of Apologetics in general, and for the 500-year-old tradition of Legal Apologetics.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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