It's described here:
"It is a hard-headed book for people who are skeptical about Jesus' deity, his resurrection, his claims on their lives. Why is it that you can talk about God and nobody gets upset, but as soon as you mention Jesus, people often want to stop the conversation? Why have men and women down through the ages been divided over the question, "Who is Jesus?"
Josh McDowell has done his homework. He had spent time in Europe searching to disprove Christianity and instead came back with a Savior he couldn't deny! That was over 50 years ago and since then he has shared Christ with millions of people.
Here are some questions he addresses in this book:
What makes Jesus so different?
Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?
What About Science?
Are Biblical records reliable?
Who would die for a lie?
What good is a dead Messiah?
Did you hear what happened to Saul?
Can you keep a good man down?
Will the real Messiah please stand up?
Isn't there some other way?
I found Josh McDowell answered these questions historically, intelligently and Scripturally.
I especially loved the chapter, 'Who would die for a lie?' So I thought I'd share a little from this particular chapter.
He starts it with this:
"Since the Christian faith is historical, to investigate it we must rely heavily upon testimony, both written and oral.
There are many definitions of 'history,' but the one I prefer is 'a knowledge of the past based upon testimony.' If someone say, 'I don't believe that's a good definition,' I ask, ' Do you believe that Napoleon lived?' They almost always reply, 'Yes.' 'Have you seen him?' I ask, and they confess they haven't. 'How do you know, then?' Well, they are relying on testimony.
This definition of history has one inherent problem. The testimony must be reliable or the hearer will be misinformed. Christianity involves knowledge of the past based upon testimony, so now we must ask, "Were the original oral testimonies about Jesus trustworthy? Can they be trusted to have conveyed correctly what Jesus said and did? I believe they can be.
I can trust the apostles' testimonies because of those twelve men, eleven died martyrs' deaths on the basis of two things: the resurrection of Christ, and their belief in him as the Son of God. They were tortured and flogged, and they finally faced death by some of the cruelest methods then known:
1. Peter - crucified
2. Andrew - crucified
3. Matthew - the sword
4. John - natural
5. James, son of Alphaeus - crucified
6. Philip - crucified
7. Simon - crucified
8. Thaddaeus - killed by arrows
9. James, brother of Jesus - stoned
10. Thomas - spear thrust
11. Bartholomew - crucified
12. James, son of Zebedee - the sword"
Josh continues here:
"The response that is usually chorused back is this: 'Why, a lot of people have died for a lie; so what does it prove?'
Yes, a lot of people have died for a lie, but they thought it was the truth. Now if the resurrection didn't take place (i.e., was false), the disciples knew it. I find no way to demonstrate that they could have been deceived. Therefore these eleven men not only died for a lie - here is the catch - but they knew it was a lie. It would be hard to find eleven people in history who died for a lie, knowing it was a lie."
He then goes on to explain three factors... "in order to appreciate what they did"
"First, when the apostles wrote or spoke, they did so as eyewitnesses of the events they described."
Here Josh gives us scripture to show they were eyewitnesses:
Peter: "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitness of his majesty." 2 Peter 1:16
John: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life - and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us - what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3
Luke: "In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning to write it out for you in consecutive order." Luke 1:1-3
"Second, the apostles themselves had to be convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead."
When Jesus was arrested the Bible says: "Then they all forsook Him and fled." They were scared, they had lost faith and hope in Him. When they heard he had risen they were skeptical. Thomas wouldn't believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.
Josh says of Thomas once he saw Jesus for himself:
"Thomas later died a martyr's death for Christ. Was he deceived? He bet his life he wasn't."
Peter denied knowing Jesus, 3 times after His arrest. But after the resurrection he went boldly into Jerusalem and preached that Jesus was the Christ and had risen!
Josh says here of Peter:
"Was he deceived? What had happened to him? What had transformed him so dramatically into a bold lion for Jesus? Why was he willing to die for him?"
And then there was James, the brother of Jesus. He wasn't one of the original 12 disciples but later was recognized as an apostle. He didn't believe Jesus claims of being the Christ as John 7: 5 says: "For even His brothers did not believe in Him."
Josh says here:
"For James it must have been humiliating for Jesus to go around and bring ridicule to the family name by his wild claims."
And yet James was found preaching in Jerusalem after the resurrection!
Josh continues here:
Eventually James died a martyr's death by stoning at the hands of Ananias the high priest(Josephus). Was James deceived? No, the only plausible explanation is 1 Cor. 15: 7 "...then He appeared to James."
"Third, the bold conduct of the apostles immediately after they were convinced of the resurrection makes it unlikely that it all was a fraud. They became bold almost overnight."
Josh quotes an unknown author:
"On the day of the crucifixion they were filled with sadness; on the first day of the week with gladness. At the crucifixion they were hopeless; on the first day of the week their hearts glowed with certainty and hope. When the message of the resurrection first came they were incredulous and hard to be convinced, but once they became assured they never doubted again. What could account for the astonishing change in these men in so short a time? The mere removal of the body from the grave could never have transformed their spirits and characters. Three days are not enough for a legend to spring up which would so affect them. Time is needed for a process of legendary growth. It is a psychological fact that demands a full explanation. Think of the character of the witnesses, men and women who gave the world the highest ethical teaching it has ever known, and who even on the testimony of their enemies lived it out in their lives. Think of the psychological absurdity of picturing a little band of defeated cowards cowering in an upper room one day and a few days later transformed into a company that no persecution could silence - and then attempting to attribute this dramatic change to nothing more convincing than a miserable fabrication they were trying to foist upon the world. That simply wouldn't make sense."
You may notice a theme here...resurrection. : )
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no Christianity.
His life, death and resurrection are the source, the reason and the meaning of Christianity. It's Jesus that Christians believe in, trust in and put our hope in.
Each chapter of this book was full of great insights and thought-provoking questions and answers. When I read a book like this I do alot of underlining!
This one is definitely worth the read for either the person searching, the new christian, or the christian who wants to know how to share the gospel in an intelligent and loving way with non-believers.
Once in awhile I add a song to my posts and usually I go searching for one that fits the theme. I often listen to K-Love as I put my posts together, and as I was writing this one, this song by Matt Maher came on...I got goose bumps.
Christ is risen. : )
Buy it HERE at Amazon