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Evidence for Christianity Paperback – April 11, 2006
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About the Author
Josh McDowell is an internationally known speaker and author. He is a traveling representative of Campus Crusade for Christ speaking to more than ten million young people. Josh has authored or coauthored more than 120 books. Josh and his wife, Dottie, have four grown children.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is, however, one major-and I do mean major-problem within this publication: The chapter on Messianic prophecies is so lacking in clarity that I fear Talmudic scholars trained in the `refutation of Christianity' will ultimately laugh in triumph when they read the chapter by itself. Joshua McDowell only lists about 50 prophecies, many of which outwardly have nothing to do with the Messiah when applied in modern Rabbinical context of the OT (although McDowell does list many interpretations from Targum, which satisfactorily demonstrate the ancient Hebrew exegesis of these Scriptures) McDowell fails to list all of the Messianic prophecies, and doesn't analyze the ostensive modern-Judaic responses and arguments to Christian Scripture usage; arguments of which, may I add, have all been refuted by many, many Christian and Messianic Jewish scholars unsurpassed in their fields, some of whom were even trained Talmudists. Unless you explain why Messianic prophecy in the OT is interpreted the way it is by Christians and Messianic Jews (and there are numerous legitimate reasons), Rabbis will ultimately accuse the NT of twisting and perverting Scripture, which in actuality is not the case at all. Simply listing references from Targum is not enough-there are plenty of Messianic prophecy interpretations in Gemara that can definitely be used to counter rabbinical claims that Yeshua is not Messiah. McDowell also fails to explain why the majority of Jews today disbelieve that Yeshua is Messiah. Unless all of these aspects, arguments, and refutations are compiled, Messianic prophecy correlated into the NT looks abysmally foolish to the trained rabbinical scholar. For this reason, I must deduct a star. Fortunately, there are many arguments and historical proofs scattered throughout this compilation that, if organized, would lead rabbis down the serious road of doubt, if not lead them to renounce Rabbinism altogether.
By trying to discredit the information within this compilation, atheists would be attempting to undermine years and years of historical and archeological facts obtained from an overwhelming number of secular sources. This work also contains a great assortment of philosophical and theological arguments for Christ Yeshua being God as well, although I quiver at the works of many modern Christian theologians and pseudo-apologetics: Many skeptics, whether atheist or Judaic, argue the question "If filled with God's Holy Spirit why don't Christians have sound, irrefutable answers to all inquiries?" The answer: most Christians haven't even scratched the surface, let alone have been truly baptized by the Holy Ghost. Besides, many Christian scholars are unfamiliar with the Talmud and the Jewish arguments against Christ. Although this compilation is sound for the most part, the author could have done so much more to prove the existence of Christ to Jewish unbelievers. Overall, I'm satisfied with this scholarly work; it will indubitably frustrate skeptics and atheists alike. My experience in Christ Yeshua precludes any possibility of Him not being God anyway.
However, I found this book exceedingly frustrating. In particular, McDowell seems to have done little more than comb the scholarly literature for quotations that agree with him on specific claims. Little if any effort is made to replicate the arguments that have actually convinced these scholars. If such arguments have been replicated, the summary is insufficiently detailed in that said summaries often fail to deal with any follow up questions that naturally arise in the mind of the reader.
I also found it frustrating that, for additional reading, it only recommended the works of Evangelical scholars.
Although there is enough material for a lifetime of discussion and argument in this book, the reader is warned by McDowell that the evidence he has pulled together is not the primary focus. That focus should not be on winning arguments by throwing out evidence, but on the valid questions people bring to the table in their spiritual journey, and how the evidence can help address those questions. For the seeker, then, this book represents a treasure trove of sources to investigate on one's own or with a friend.
For the Christian layman, if approached as intended, this book will be a wonderful resource for answering specific questions concerning historical evidences for the Bible and Christianity. It is not intended to teach one how to debate non-Christians. It will be very helpful, though, in addressing the distressing lack of historical knowledge about Christianity so prevalent in our churches and society at large today.
I find this book continually open on my desk as I prepare papers, lessons for Sunday School, or Bible study. The beauty of this book is that I don't have to read several pages in order to jump into the author's stream of thought. This book should be on every pastor's and lay leader's bookshelf.