The History of the LTL with the Annual Montgomery Apologetics Lecture
Since the founding of LTL in 2010 it has sought to establish an institution dedicated to academic excellence and the study of Scriptures and church history in the pursuit of truth. From its opening LTL has fulfilled its institutional goals through collecting libraries of scholars and by providing public lectures by leading experts in the fields of Biblical Studies, Theology, Church History and Archeology. Over the years LTL has hosted 50 such lectures along with rigorous panel discussions focusing on the work of the lecturer.
LTL established an annual lecture focusing on apologetics (apologia) and in October, 2020, Dr. Montgomery delivered the inaugural Apologetics lecture in the Stone Chapel on the LTL campus on the eve of his 90th birthday! The title of his talk was: Why Do Unbelievers Reject the Solid Evidences for Christian Truth?
As an internationally trained lawyer (US, UK & France), theologian and Reformation historian, Dr. Montgomery is regarded as the leading evidential apologist and has held that role for almost seven decades. He has trained generations of apologists through his teaching ministry, his published articles and books and through his long running annual apologetics Academy in Strasbourg, France www.apologeticsacademy.eu. It is therefore fitting that an annual lecture focusing on evidential and legal apologetics be established at LTL the institution that will house his significant personal library.
LTL has a strong affinity to the historic theology from the academies of Oxford and Cambridge in England. Through the annual Montgomery lecture series LTL is now aligning itself with “Legal London” and the original purpose of the Warburton Lectures at Lincoln’s Inn. The mixing of law and theology has a rich history, specifically at the Inns of Court and it is a resource that LTL seeks to rely upon. The apostolic mandate to defend the faith (I Peter 3:15) includes the Greek word apologia which means a legal defense. This approach is not unlike what the apostles did in the New Testament. Luke documented and compiled “a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us . . . from the beginning were eyewitness . . .” (Luke 1:1). Peter in his Acts 2 sermon provides a legal brief for the timing of the Messiah, summary of the facts of his ministry, death and resurrection along with the Old Testament fulfilled prophecies and the resulting call for a decision by way of repentance! Similarly, Paul, who was legally trained, lays out the case for Christ in a forensic fashion to an inquiring audience in Acts 17.
In the 18th Century as deism and rationalism became serious threats to the Christian church in England, William Warburton, a lawyer, theologian and Preacher at Lincoln’s Inn in London, developed an annual lecture for an apologetic purpose. Founded in 1768, “to prove the truth of revealed religion in general, and of the Christian in particular . . . “ the Warburton Lecturers have included such noted authors as Alfred Edersheim, author of The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. While the current management of the Warburton Lecture has strayed from its founding purpose, LTL seeks to provide a 21st Century version of the original 1768 orthodox purpose.
The Annual Montgomery Apologetics Lecture seeks to focus on the legal and evidential approach to apologetics similar to the work of Hugo Grotius, the Dutch lawyer, diplomat and founder of international law in his 17th Century work – The Truth of the Christian Religion. This approach has the identical purpose of the 19th Century Harvard law professor and evidence specialist, Simon Greenleaf who simply stated:
All that Christianity asks of men on this subject, is, that they would be consistent with
themselves; that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other
things; and that they would try to judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with
their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals.
let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding
facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as it were given in a court
of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witnesses being subjected to a rigorous
cross-examination. (Testimony of the Evangelists)