The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell; published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999; available from John Ritchie Ltd; 760 pages; price £19.99.
Josh McDowells book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict combines the revision and update of two original best-selling volumes into one, and shows that the faith of the believer is both relevant and credible. The author is careful to state, "One precaution when using apologetics: God saves - apologetics do not".
The book is well-presented in an attractive new format featuring reader-friendly page design, charts, tables, diagrams and sidebars. In the Introductory section there is a helpful Users Guide, which begins with the words, "Warning! This is a dangerous book". Human nature, being what it is, that statement alone makes you immediately want to do one thing - read the book!
An account of the testimony of Josh McDowell entitled "He Changed My Life" will be of interest to those who are not yet believers. In it the author shows the tremendous impact that the Lord Jesus Christ has made in his own life.
He then divides the book into four parts. Part One, "The Case for the Bible", deals with its uniqueness and reliability along with relevant questions that may be asked by eager enquirers, such as, "What about the Apocrypha?".
Part Two presents the historical evidence and supporting attestations for the Saviours claims to be God. The author issues the pointed challenge, "Who you decide Jesus Christ is must not be an idle intellectual exercise
He is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord".
Part Three addresses two historical challenges to the Christian faith from radical biblical critics. Part Four is an entirely new section devoted to: 1) evidence for truth; 2) answers to divergent worldviews; 3) a defence for the existence of biblical miracles; 4) evidence for the knowability of history. Frequently voiced questions and objections repeatedly raised by unbelievers are answered such as: "How can Christians say Jesus rose bodily from the grave?"
There is a massive 42 page bibliography plus indexes included. The "Four Spiritual Laws" completes this comprehensive and well-researched study. This book is a most relevant help for use in these present times of scepticism and is a classic in its field.
Alone in Majesty by William MacDonald; published by Christian Missions in Many Lands; available from John Ritchie Ltd; 309 pages; price £8.99.
In the course of a year there is not a lot of ministry on the attributes of God. In previous generations men like William Hoste and W E Vine wrote on those fundamental matters. Alone in Majesty, subtitled "The Attributes of a Holy God", deals briefly with 29 attributes of God. Included in the authors selection are Three Persons in One, The Self Sufficient Lord, Perfect Foreknowledge, Fearful Wrath, and God Cannot Die. None of the chapters is long, so that the 29 studies plus a concluding chapter This is our God - only occupy 153 pages; and none of the chapters is presented in a complex way. The author pauses to note for the younger reader that just is a synonym for righteous and to explain that God does not dwell in time-boundedness as we do, but does employ the language of time in speaking to His people.
The 309-page paperback is divided into four sections, the first two of which are from William MacDonalds pen; sections 3 and 4 are Study Guides based on MacDonalds teaching. These have been prepared by Brad Hanes, and appear to the reviewer to be aimed at younger readers. (Some of the language sits uncomfortably alongside the dignified prose of the first two sections: "Cosmic Pal", "cannibalising the gospel message"!) All the sections use the New King James Version of the Scriptures. The first section deals with unique attributes of God, the second with the shared attributes of God. Intriguingly the authors study "God is Spirit" begins the shared attributes section. Although it makes mention of the incarnation and the great promise that the pure in heart will see God (Mt 5.8), the reader might have expected that chapter in section 1!
Alone in Majesty is a helpful book. Each chapter draws from the authors rich library of poetry, hymns and other authors. The reviewer would have welcomed longer chapters. However, Alone in Majesty should stimulate readers to devote time to a study of the attributes of God, and teachers to set such truth before the people of God.