Originally published in 1972, Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell has been a trusted resource for believers seeking to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15). But as McDowell notes in the foreword, we are to do so with gentleness and respect. That is certainly the tone that comes through throughout this book.
“These notes, used with a caring attitude, can motivate a person to consider Jesus Christ honestly, and direct him or her back to the central and primary issue of the gospel,” McDowell states.
It is the stated goal of the book to offer such an abundance of evidence in favor of the claims of Christ that people will see that they must come to a verdict – they must decide what they will do with Jesus.
With the help of many additional scholars, Josh McDowell and his son Sean have updated and revised this apologetics classic. Why? Well, as they state in their forward “while the truth of the Bible doesn’t change, the questions and critics do.”
Don’t left the heft of this book scare you off. While it weighs in at 798 pages, this is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Rather, it is an incredibly thorough reference guide to the questions, challenges, and critiques that are Christians are faced with from both honest seekers and harsh skeptics.
Evidence that Demands a Verdict is broken up into four main sections:
Part One: Evidence for the Bible
This section covers the uniqueness of Scripture, how the canon of the Bible was formed, the reliability of the Old and New Testaments, and questions about the so-called ‘gnostic gospels.’
Part Two: Evidence for Jesus
Here you’ll find compelling answers to challenges about whether Jesus was a real historical figure, an analysis of His claims to deity, a defense of the resurrection, evidence which exonerates Christianity from accusations of plagiarism from other religions, and more.
Here the McDowells and their fellow apologists present the evidence that the Old Testament is a reliable historical record, looking at such things as Adam, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the formation of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), and alleged contradictions pointed to in the Old Testament.
Part Four: Evidence for Truth
“What is truth?” Pilate’s famous question to Jesus recorded in John 18 continues to be asked today, especially in the academic world. In this section you’ll find help in discussing the nature of truth, that it can be known, responses to postmodernism, a defense of the miraculous, and whether or not we can really know what occurred in the past.
Among the helpful finals sections of the book are a presentation of the gospel, a response to the challenges of Bart Ehrman, and a handy subject index that allows for quick reference.
Every ‘exhibit’ in Evidence that Demands a Verdict is well-presented and concise. While you may end up needing to do some additional research in a particular area, I am confident that you will find this book to be an excellent starting point when attempting to respond to a difficult challenge or question – even if it is a question you have yourself!
Evidence that Demands a Verdict is a book that deserves a place on every Christian’s bookshelf. It will help you understand the questions many non-believers have about our faith, reveal that there are good answers to difficult questions, and equip you with information to respond with confidence and clarity.
Even if you already have a copy of the previous edition of this book, like I did, I highly recommend that you pick up the new edition to benefit from the updated research and new chapters. Learn more about the book at ReadEvidence.com.…….
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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