For Christians, there's a right way to think about everything. Or rather, there's a biblical and God-centered way to think about all that there is to think about. This includes logic, which is the very foundation of thought itself, and the creation of the God who made the universe and everything in it.
Vern Poythress has written Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought to assist Christians in the task of bringing every thought captive to Jesus Christ. This rigorous but immensely rewarding book is a textbook of logic in its various forms, but includes a defense of logic, chapters on its relationship to philosophy, and the theology of logic.
Don't be fooled: this isn't a shortcut to proficiency. It is a cut to proficiency, but if anything it's a long one, as demanding as the subject to which it is devoted. Poythress doesn't limit the discussion to formal vs. informal logic and fallacies. He starts there, and moves on to a section on truth and logic, advanced forms of logic, and a number of supplements and proofs.
Logic can be used like any other logic textbook, to learn logic and its applications. But it is not like any other logic textbook; at the heart of every proof, fallacy description, and syllogism is the glorification of God through the right use of reason with which he has gifted us. Poythress is first of all a theologian, and this commitment is everywhere apparent.
For that reason, this is about the best logic text you could use if your purpose in studying it is to better defend your Christian faith and dismantle the arguments of its opponents. The Reformed mantra that "we think God's thoughts after him" echo throughout the text, and guide us toward a better understanding of what it means to think well.
When we say that this book is demanding, we're referring to the concepts in it. Poythress is an excellent writer, avoiding jargon, using short sentences, and including diagrams where helpful and/or necessary. He's also a systematic thinker, bringing out ideas that are obvious but which most of us would never think of on our own.
Learning to think clearly and well isn't an optional activity for Christians. In these times of increasing hostility toward Christianity, it's even more important that our ability to do so is thorough.Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought will give you the tools of logic while guiding you in their use for the glory of God and the advance of his kingdom.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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