on February 7, 2005
Allow me to start by addressing some of the negative reviews of this book.
First of all, Josh McDowell doesn't make any money off his books. For more than 35 years, the profits for all his books have gone directly to a Christian organization (i.e. Campus Crusade for Christ). He doesn't even know how much money his books make. (I heard this from his own mouth when he spoke at a church a few years back.) Second of all, Josh doesn't claim to be a great writer or theologian; he's just presenting the facts that he's discovered. You have to do the work yourself and decide. You may even have to read other books that offer opposing evidence. (Incidentally, Josh started doing all this research before he became a Christian.) And thirdly, the gospel of John was written by an apostle who lived and followed Jesus for three years. That's a first hand account. The book of James was also written by Jesus' brother (who did not initially believe Jesus, himself).
That said, I know this book doesn't end any debates about the Christian faith. For me, however, before I became a Christian, reading Josh's stuff opened my eyes to the fact that you can't easily dismiss the Christian faith the way some uninformed people do (the way I did at one point.)
So if you're the type of person to get caught up on debating grammatical mistakes and nitpicking over the difference between a few decades within the scope of 2000 years, don't read this book. But if you're open to having your perspective (and possibly your life changed), take a look. I guarantee that when your life is changed in a dramatic way, you can write about it 30 or 60 years later and remember it like it was yesterday.
on July 14, 2006
While an 800-page book on apologetics may seem daunting, it is by no means exhaustive; however, my saying so should by no means be construed as critical. As another reviewer aptly noted, this is a good place to start; and as another reviewer further pointed out, the Bible should be read first and THOROUGHLY.
Some find that the book is "non sequiturs, straw men, and in general a lot of silly stuff." I find it funny when I hear these jargon terms of logical fallacies being thrown around, especially when these persons accusing an author of such literary crimes have no real examples to show to others. Isn't this accusation without evidence a logical fallacy in itself? These are usually conclusions reached when "the first few pages were so weak that [they] stopped reading," i.e., they usually didn't even read the book they feel they were qualified to criticize.
Having said that, I am not lauding this volume as "the book" to get. At best, it is a very thorough collection of first- and second-hand sources (good ones)--and then summarizes them. Defending the three C's of Christendom, viz., Canon, Christ, and Christianity by touching on a number of topics like Documentary Hypothesis and the Historicity (historical authenticity) of the Old Testament, the author attempts to provide a basis for analysis by providing the thesis of Christian orthodoxy and, in sections like Documentary Hypothesis, the antithesis of certain differing scholars.
The real jewel of the volume comes in the fantastic bibliography listed in the back. If one feels that he/she needs to know more than this book affords, the author has listed some wonderful sources from which to start.
Conclusion. Good (not perfect) introductory book to inform Christians and healthy skeptics. Wonderful bibliography.
on July 5, 2001
This is a great reference book "to answer questions challenging Christians in the 21st century." The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 deals with the historical reliability of the Bible and it is probably the best section of the book. McDowell does a great job establishing the reliability of the Bible. Part 2 and Part 3 are the case for Jesus, and the case for and against Christianity, respectively. Although these sections were good, the evidence was not as powerful as in part 1. Part 4 is a section entitled "Truth or Consequences" and explores other philosophies such as agnostism, atheism, mysticism, etc.
McDowell does a good job quoting other experts throughout his book, and the reader is sure to find other books that you will want to explore further. I would not recommend reading this book in one sitting; I read a chapter every night before bedtime, and even that was too much at times. Perhaps the best way to read this book would be using it as a reference tool.
on January 24, 2001
If a skeptic reads this book with the determination to not believe any of it, then of course he's not going to learn anything. Skeptics enjoy accusing Christians of circular reasoning and pre-conceived biases, but what do you call the following?-- "I don't believe that there's a God, therefore the Bible must be ficticious literature, therefore Josh McDowell's entire book is poppycock." That, my friend, is circular reasoning and pre-conceived bias.
For those of you who think there must be a God out there-- the beauty of nature speaks to you, the complexity of the human body amazes you, inexplicable "coincidences" stump you... this book is for you. For those of you who think that part of the Bible is true, but you're not sure if you can swallow Creation or the Great Flood as being anything but cute stories... this book is for you.
The outline format allows you to cover the presented information at your own pace, and with the Bible at your side to reference any quotes. You will learn about many astounding examples of modern science backing it all up. McDowell's language is very readable... it's neither "inimidating" nor "childish" (as elsewhere asserted). And the collaborators of this book ARE experts in science and historical writings, as well as in theology. That was their whole purpose of writing this book, for crying out loud.
For those who are looking for the truth, you will learn much from Evidence That Demands A Verdict. It will help you explain and defend your faith to those who are curious about it. This book has helped lead many skeptics to salvation. However, always keep in mind that it will never convert those who flatly refuse to listen.
on May 23, 2012
I'd heard of this book for many years and decided to purchase a copy thinking it would fill in the blanks when it came to my own faith, and offer help when countering false assumptions and arguments by others, but I cannot otherwise explain or answer from my own knowledge.
There is no question this book does all that...but for me it is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. It is very difficult to navigate and poorly presented.
To make it clear: This book is a compilation of notes from Josh McDowell's lecture notes presented in out-line form...but no where on the outside of the book is this indicated.
The layout is completely devoid of clues as to what you're reading...so if you want to just flip through the book and land on some interesting information you have to work there from the beginning of the chapter or at least a few pages back.
Example: Page 446, Chapter Title: Documentary Presuppositions; Outline headers: 3C. The Route Of The March; 1D. Documentary Assumption; 2D. Basic Answer.
There is absolutely no clue as to what is being presented on the page unless you've worked your way there.
Then there are only 2 fonts used in the main text...the outline headings (like those in the sentence above) and the information that follows them.
There are additional text boxes and larger text "notes" inserted into pages...but it is often difficult to gain anything more from them without reading the larger context of the material.
Example: Page 443, Chapter Title: Documentary Presuppositions; Text Box: "So many corroborations of details have been discovered in recent years that most competent scholars have given up the old critical theory according to which the patriarchs are mostly retrojections from the time of the Dual Monarchy (ninth - eighth centuries bc). - William F. Albright"
Ok...so there's proof I'm no scholar...and unless you are this book will sit in the bookshelf until you're determined to sit down with a dictionary, a notebook and a cup of coffee and dig into it.
Still...I know from many attempts at reading through parts of it, the information is sound. My hat is off to McDowell for all his research. My 3 star rating is because of the layout. And that the book does not make it clear what is contained within.
I'm sure there are many who'll benefit it...but IMHO this is definitely not for the casual reader!!!!
Joslin "Josh" McDowell (born 1939) is a Christian author best known for his many works of apologetic; he has been affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ (now "Cru") since 1964. His many books include Daniel in the Critics' Den,More Than a Carpenter,The Resurrection Factor,He Walked Among Us,Josh McDowell Answers Five Tough Questions, etc. His life story was told in Joe Musser's book Josh: Excitement of the Unexpected and also in the DVD Undaunted.
His first two books were first issued in a combined volume in [I believe] 1981; the first editions were Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Evidence That Demands a Verdict. This 1999 edition begins with Josh's moving testimony (originally presented at the end of Volume I). He explains the reason for a new edition in the Preface: "Since the first edition... significant new discoveries have occurred that further confirm the historical evidence for the Christian faith. For example, new archaeological finds have added additional confirmation to the credibility of both the Old and New Testaents. Nevertheless, for the past twenty years our culture has been heavily influenced by the philosophical outlook called postmodernism. People today question why evidence for the Christian faith is even necessary or important... It is my hope that, in providing the most up-to-date information, this third edition... will equip Christians of the twenty-first century with confidence as they seek to understand and defend their faith." (Pg. xiii-xiv)
In a section entitled, "God Sometimes Used Non-biblical Sources," he states, "Undoubtedly the doctrine of inspiration does not exclude the use of human documents as a source of divine truth. Such use is exactly what the Bible does claim. Luke's Gospel was based on research he had done using written sources of his day (see Luke 1:1-4). The writer of Joshua used the book of Jasher for his famous quotation about the sun's standing still (Josh 10:13)... Jude cited a noncanonical saying about the prophecy of Enoch (v. 14)." (Pg. 339)
He states about the census of Quirinius in Luke 2, "archaeological discoveries show that the Romans had a regular enrollment of taxpayers and also held censuses every fourteen years. This procedure was indeed begun under Augustus and the first took place in either 23-22 B.C. or in 9-8 B.C. The latter would be the one to which Luke refers. Second, we find evidence that Quirinius was governor of Syria around 7 B.C. This assumption is based on an inscription found in Antioch ascribing Quirinius to this post. As a result of this finding, it is now supposed that he was governor twice---once in 7 B.C., and the other time in 6 A.D." He then quotes Norman Geisler's translation ] of Luke 2:2, "This census took place BEFORE Quirinius was governor of Syria." (Pg. 63)
He suggests, "Some alleged errors [in the Bible] turn out to be discrepancies introduced by the copyists who had handwritten copies of Bible manuscripts. An example is the age of Ahaziah when he began to reign (age 22 according to 2 Kin. 8:26, but age 42 according to 2 Chr. 22:2). Other supposed 'errors' are DIVERGENT but not contradictory accounts. Luke records that there were two angels at the tomb after the resurrection (24:4), but Matthew mentions only one. This is, of course, divergent, but it would be contradictory only if Matthew had said there was ONLY one angel at the tomb at ONE AND THE SAME TIME that Luke declared two to be present." (Pg. 346)
He argues, "While the debate rages on, there is no longer any reason to accept the 1200 date [for the Exodus)... Recent digs have uncovered evidence that the last phase of the [Middle Bronze] period involves more time than originally thought, so that its end is closer to 1400 B.C. than 1550 B.C. This realignment would bring together two events previously thought to have been separated by centuries: the fall of Canaan's MB II cities and the conquest. Another change may be warranted in the traditional view of Egyptian history... Velikovsky and Courville assert that six hundred extra years in that chronology throw off these dates for events all around the Middle East." (Pg. 379)
Even if you own copies of the earlier editions, there are enough changes in this latest edition to warrant purchasing this new version. And if you DON'T have a copy of the earlier editions, and you have any interest whatsoever in Christian apologetics, this "classic" in the field is "must reading."
on June 20, 2007
This is a very unique book for one reason: you will not find any "faith-based" arguments used to prove claims made about the bible. Only documented facts are used.
McDowell employs an interesting technique to prove many of the Christian beliefs about Jesus: namely he uses the actions and arguments made by the groups that hate Jesus to prove the point. For example, he uses the heavily guarded tomb to prove that the jews were willing to do whatever they could to prevent the resurrection thus destorys their argument that the Christian's may have taken the body. Also, if Jesus' body wasn't resurrected the jews could have easily squashed the religion by simply offering Jesus' dead body up to the Christians.
Also, the author argues that the jewish priests BELIEVED in the miracles he was performing. The jews accused him of using sorcery to accomplish his miracles instead of just calling him a fake (although they call Jesus a fake with impunity 2000 years later!). When he restored the sight of a blind man they stated that he was using the devils power to restore sight instead of asking the man whether or not he was really cured of blindness.
By looking at what the antagonists say about Jesus he has a perfect source of proof. By Crucifying Jesus for Blasphemy (something even the anti-Christ authors of today admit) McDowell proves that Jesus' followers didn't merely invent his claimed divinity (what else would they Crucify him for?).
Beyond these methods the author explorers many "friendly" evidences to support the bible as well, such as scientific evidence for the locations, peoples, events, etc in the bible. He uses historical evidence, as well as the testimony of those who witnessed the events of the new testament and recorded the events in their lifetime.
Before I read this book, I had doubts that you could seriously PROVE the events in the bible and that Jesus was the son of God. But now, if this case was brought before a true court of law, I have no doubt that a jury would find for the defendant: Jesus.
on January 29, 2006
This is more of a fill in review when read with the other reviews. For those of you who are unaware, Josh McDowell composed this book which now has a solid 40 page bibliography. There are 3 Sections. I have yet to meet any one person who has personally read this book from the first page to the last page. In other words, people give up on the book before finishing it. So, please take many of the reviews with a grain of salt.
The first section of the book is evidences of the Bible and a small analysis of the New and Old testaments. Many books are given to be read in addition within many of the chapters, as it is apparent that the author feels the arguements presented do not even scratch the surface. Most of the book is quoting from someone else, very little of the author expressing his own words by comparison... in the sense of there being more quotes of others, than the author expressing his own opinions, this is a one of a kind book. Also, there is no other book I know of with a solid, factual, 40 page bibliography. In this sense, this book is also very unique.
As for the arguements... when a person compares the arguements presented to the content and message of any other religious book on earth, this book clearly shows that the Bible is in its own class. In this respect, there is no doubt that if God is going to use people to write a book, the message is going to stay the same, regardless of the years that pass, and no man would be able to destroy it. The facts make the case that the Bible does fit this bill. And the numerous books given to read in and/or at the end of each chapter are present to finish each individual argument. However, as I've said before, I do not remember ever meeting someone who read this book from the front page to the last page.
Good luck you all, and I hope at least 10 of you do finish this book. Extra material is found in ample supply in the numerous books listed, particularly when a person doesn't feel like the arguement is finished or even strong enough.
on June 12, 2004
This book contains a lot of information, however, I find it a rather dry reading at times. That might be okay for an academic work, but a popular work should be a little more "user friendly." Also, it could use some editing.
Don't be discouraged from purchasing it by my statements above or some of the other reviews. It is a beneficial work and overall, worth your time and money.
Some of the negative reviews have valid points to make. Others seem driven by their own prejudices (of course, all of us are guilty of that to one degree or another). I was a little put off by firstname.lastname@example.org's review, in that while giving the appearance of being widely read, appears ignorant of the writings of many of the church fathers as well as other internal and external evidence for the traditional view regarding the authorship of the New Testament, as well as some of the other subjects commented on. He makes statements such as, "Neither the four gospels, nor Acts, nor the Book of Revelation, nor the other letters were written by the people Christian tradition attributed to them..." Really? How does pnotely know this? If pnotely has some evidence other than that generally know to Evangelicals and liberals alike, then that evidence should be shared with all. No, I suspect that pnotely is as ignorant of the evidence for the traditional authorship of the New Testament as he is of Evangelicals and our theology, which pnotely has demonstrated to the satisfaction of us all. Is this a harsh assessment? Well, pnotely holds McDowell to this standard with the statement regarding Raymond Brown's "The Birth of the Messiah," with which he prefaced by saying McDowell "doesn't even mention...." as if McDowell must deal with every liberal theological work.
pnotely also takes exception when McDowell does quote someone, stating "But what is the point of quoting Thomas Arnold's muscular defense of orthodoxy when it didn't really convince his son, the famous poet and essayist Matthew Arnold?" What is the point of pnotely's statement? His son did not hold the same position. So what? Does that make it untrue? What a poor, pathetic argument!
Well, I could go on. The New Evidence is a good book, and while not perfect (and which one of us is?) it is undeserving some of the criticism directed at it.
on January 20, 2013
I applaud any man, including Josh McDowell, who zealously seeks to defend Christ Jesus by resorting to research both from within the Bible itself, and by citing academic sources. Many of those who have provided a single star rating come from a faithless agenda and doubtless will do little to shake the faith of those who have the witness and conviction that Jesus is the Christ and that the prophesies regarding his divinity are true. Arguments come and go, but His word endures forever. I would mention there is one quotation that, if reviewed, would prove to be factually incorrect. On page 12 of the book, he cites Norman Geisler and William Nix, who are quoted to say "Other books claim divine inspiration, such as the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and parts of the [Hindu] Veda. But none of those books contains [sic] predictive prophesy." This is not correct, which is troubling. For example, the Book of Mormon contains significant predictive prophecy throughout its pages, so I am inclined to question whether McDowell, Geisler, or Nix ever read the Book of Mormon carefully. Had Geisler or Nix read the Book of Mormon, they would not have said what they said. Had McDowell read the Book of Mormon, he would not have quoted the misstatement by Geisler and Nix in his book. The author's lack of thoroughness on the Book of Mormon "prophecy" issue leaves me disappointed, but I am nonetheless grateful for any sincere attempt to summarize the considerable evidence supporting the truth of the greatest miracle of all, the life and atonement of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have thoroughly enjoyed books by Rodney Stark which attempt to put Christianity in a historical context, leaving the earnest seeker of truth to draw his or her own conclusions, such as "The Triumph of Christianity" and "Discovering God." Like McDowell, Stark's books may not be perfect, but they can provide the reader with profound insight and perspectives into matters of faith. In any event, to maximize credibility, an author should read the sources relied upon to support a principle, or face the risk of at least partial impeachment for citing an unchecked and erroneous source.