Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection

Raised? Doubting the Resurrection by Jonathan K. Dodson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There has been no greater claim in the history of man than the claims made in regards to Jesus of Nazareth.
*Born of a virgin.
*Eternal existence.
*Incarnate deity.
*Sinless life.
*Vicarious, substitutionary, sacrificial death.
*Physically rising from the dead on the third day and ascending bodily into heaven to sit enthroned next to His Father.
*Being the only way to eternal peace and joy in the presence of Eternal God.

These are some pretty serious claims that no thinking person can simply dismiss.  Whether resulting in affirmation or denial, time and thought must be devoted to this son of a carpenter for who even our time has been measured against.  These claims (whether you presuppose to be made by Him or by later followers) must be investigated because they are, if true, world changing.

One of the central claims of the Christian faith is the claim of His bodily resurrection.  This tenet of Christianity is one by which the entire Kingdom stands or falls.  All the other claims are shown to have merit based on this “sign of Jonah” (Luke 11:29-30).  It is so central that the Apostle Paul claims that if it is untrue then Christians are “the most to be pitied” because our “faith is futile” (1 Cor 15)

The resurrection of Jesus is paramount.  “At the center of historic Christian faith is belief that a Jewish man named Jesus was ‘raised’.“ It is inseparable from Biblical Christianity and without it Christianity is a sham that offers no hope, no peace, and nothing of any distinguishable value.

This is the reason that resources like Zondervan’s, Raised: Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection, is a welcome addition to any library.  Dodson and Watson both have pastor’s hearts and are capable writers.  They deal with this topic with the seriousness and honesty that is necessary for both believer and skeptic alike to benefit greatly from this work.

Why does a believer need this book?  Because it is clear that Christians are not free from reality of doubt.  Especially in regards to something as great and as based on sightless faith as is the Resurrection.  Anyone who genuinely investigates and seeks and searches and wonders and honestly engages differing positions will be struck head on by doubt more often than is desired.  If someone is not attacked by doubt from time to time then it is hard to imagine that he or she is properly interacting with truth claims that are contrary.

So what is one to do when, in this instance, filled with doubt about the truth of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth?  The answer is not, “Dig your head as deep in the sand as possible until the evil doubt monster flees from your unbathed ostrich stench.”  The answer is to investigate your doubt thoroughly and honestly knowing that truth is a) what you desire and b)destined to win in the end.

Why do skeptics need a book like this?  Because, if it ends up that the claims of Jesus of Nazareth were validated by the “sign of Jonah", His being raised from the dead, acceptance or rejection of this truth has consequences that are eternal.  There is nothing that is of greater importance that this truth claim.  Is there a God?  Is this Jesus the Eternal and sinless Son of God?  Is He the only way for eternal peace with the Sovereign Creator?  It is imperative that all, even agnostics and skeptics are certain and convinced about something of such great importance.  

Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection is a resource that will benefit both believer and skeptic alike.  The authors explore doubts and proofs, the prominence and preeminence of the resurrection within the narrative of Scripture and the unfolding of history, the resurrection as proof of Jesus’ power to resurrect and transform, the power to give life and transform lives, and how the resurrection creates new authority, new identity and a new mission for those who are in the resurrection, united with the Resurrected One.

There is nothing new in this book.  The topics covered and the evidence given are not groundbreaking scholarship.  What this book is; however, is a beautiful, simple, clear, fresh, encouraging reminder of a life-changing, world-changing, truth.  A truth that is too astounding, too amazing, too absurd to not be investigated and embraced.  My encouragement is to come and read.  He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!!  And that changes everything.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.