Have you ever wondered how you would answer someone who pointed to the Gnostic gospels as evidence that the Bible isn’t reliable?
How about dealing with the objection that Christianity is a copy-cat religion?
Well now there is an outstanding resource at your fingertips to deal with these objections and more!
Josh and Sean McDowell are releasing a book this week that is a foundational resource for apologetics in our time. The book is the classic Evidence The Demands A Verdict: Life-Changing Truth For A Skeptical World given additional content and revised! Why? As it’s been said before “the Bible doesn’t change but critics do!” I want to give you a peek into this book by laying out for you some of the book’s internal content. This way you’ll know why it’s such a valuable resource and why it should be next on your purchase list.
To begin, not every book gets the accolades it deserves, but this book has been endorsed by some top tier apologists: Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig and Mary Jo Sharp are a few. You’ll also notice a variety of endorsements across the board from different professions which is a testimony to the impact earlier versions of this book have had in the past. Below I’m going to list the sections in the book and a brief synopsis of each. With this you can get a good idea of what the book covers. If you’re like me, you want to know about the details of the content, so here it is. I’ll quote each section (or set of sections) and give an explanation.
“Forward, Preface, Acknowledgements and Revising Evidence That Demands a Verdict” – These first sections include the reasons for the revision and purpose for the book. Whether you’ve read the earlier version of the book before or not you’ll want to cover each of these!
“He Changed My Life” – Here Sean interviews his father Josh McDowell about what brought him to consider Christianity and what truly brought him to his knees before Christ… you may be surprised to find that although the evidence played an important part, it was not the evidence that made him a Christian!
“Introduction” – Here Sean and Josh take some valuable space to deal with misconceptions about Christianity and the “assumptions behind those misconceptions.” I thought this was a very thoughtful section to add.
“PROLOGUE: A Theistic Universe” – Twenty-one pages are dedicated here to shaking the foundations of skeptical assumptions even further, such as naturalism and metaphysical naturalism. Some of the groundwork is laid for the evidence for theism which truly sets up the rest of the book.
“PART I: Evidence for the Bible” – This section of chapters was recently noted by Sean, in an interview with Greg Koukl, as one of the most valuable in virtue of the updates. Sean noted that in Chapter 3 there are some outstanding new evidences they included to support the reliability of scripture! These chapters deal with canonization (ch. 2), archaeological evidence (ch. 3), manuscript transmission (ch. 4), the supposed “lost gospels” (ch. 5) and more.
“PART II: Evidence for Jesus” – This section dedicates six chapters to Jesus Christ. They deal with his historical existence (ch. 6), the lofty claims he made (ch. 7), the identity of Jesus (Ch. 8), his fulfilled prophesies (ch. 9), the evidence for the resurrection (ch. 10), the issue of Christianity being a copy-cat religion (ch. 11), the deity of Jesus (ch. 12), and the martyrdom of the apostles (ch. 13). This section answers many of the relevant skeptical topics that come up about Jesus today.
“PART III: Evidence for the Old Testament” – Thirteen chapters exist in this section! This is an extremely notable area because a lot about the historicity of specifics in the Old Testament are dealt with here. If the above sections were not enough to get you sold on this, this section alone should be the deal-maker. The topics are the similarities and differences of the OT with other Near Eastern texts (ch. 14), the “biblically faithful approaches to Genesis” (ch. 15), more archaeology focusing on the OT (ch. 16), dealing with the historical Adam (ch. 17), the historical support for foundational people in the OT like Abraham (ch. 18), the historical issues with Exodus (ch. 19), the historical issues with the Israelites conquering the promised land (ch. 20), the historical reliability of the nation of Israel under Kings like David (ch. 21), the historical issues with the time after the Israelite nation split (ch. 22), the writing of the first five biblical books (ch. 23), the writing of Isaiah (ch. 24), the historical support for the book of Daniel (ch. 25), and finally (phew! Wow!) dealing with claims of contradiction in the OT.
“PART IV: Evidence for Truth” – The final section deals with the philosophical issues that are very relevant in dealing with our culture today. The chapters cover the “nature” of truth (ch. 27), how and why you can know the truth (ch. 28), the philosophy of postmodernism (ch. 29), the assumptions of skepticism (ch. 30), the possibility of miracles (ch. 31), and the last chapter deals with the knowability of history in general (ch. 32).
“EPILOGUE: Final Thoughts” – This is essentially a short and personal two-page conclusion from Josh.
“APPENDIX: Responding to the Challenges of Bart Ehrman” – A special section dealing with the (well-known at least in apologetic circles) skeptic Bart Ehrman who has made a career out of creating popular-level books casting doubt on Christianity. Extra props goes to Sean and Josh for adding this section! (18 pages!)
“How To Know God Personally” – A four page gospel presentation!
Now, if you aren’t blown away by the amount of material the McDowells have packed into this book, you should be! Be sure to pick this up when it comes out tomorrow!
Click here for Evidence That Demands A Verdict on Amazon
Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World. By Josh and Sean McDowell. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017. 808 pages. $19.49.