Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Jesus Inquest: The Case For and Against the Resurrection of the Christ, by Charles Foster


The Jesus Inquest: The Case For and Against
the Resurrection of the Christ

by Charles Foster

I was very curious about what Charles Foster would show me when I received his book, The Jesus Inquest. It’s legitimately rare to come across a book that shows both the Christian and non-Christian views on crucial, foundational beliefs--and the resurrection of Christ is quite possibly the most foundational belief there is. Even Paul himself stated such in 1 Corinthians 15:14, proclaiming, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.”

What I discovered in The Jesus Inquest was very thought-compelling. I could tell right from the start that this was not the type of book a new Christian should read. The facts presented could easily shake the core beliefs their recently-received faith is built upon. Questions are raised and so-called “evidence” is revealed that could cause any Christian to doubt if they are not resolutely rooted in their commitment to God. However, on the other side of this frequently-flipped coin, a non-Christian could pick up this book and just as easily educate himself or herself on the religious arguments that they may have never seen before. Many rumors and objections that I had never been faced with were revealed to me and just as quickly argued against within the same pages.

The book’s presentation is very appealing. On one side is X--the non-Christian--who presents many alternative views to the resurrection of Christ. X uses a variety of methods to refute the Christian belief--from the revelation of scientific evidence, to reasoning, and even to comparisons of the Bible to myths. Granted, they are well researched. X did his homework, and made many compelling cases. However, as soon as X was finished, Y, the Christian, stepped in. Y goes through each of X’s accusations and pieces of evidence and disproves or counters them using almost the same methods: scientific evidence, reason, and facts. Y, too, did his homework. He does not simply splutter Scripture in Y’s face and puff up his very large egotistical Christian chest to defend his Savior. He is reasonable, level-headed, and makes a good case in favor of orthodox Christian beliefs of the resurrection. Any Christian would be satisfied with his representation of their beliefs.

Many topics are explored in this book surrounding the resurrection of Christ, and these topics are divided into smaller subtopics of interest. Some of the topics were more common: the death of Christ (whether he really died or not), for example, or the empty tomb (was a body ever in there at all?). But some of the topics I had never even thought of: Did the authors of the resurrection get their “story” from the influence of Greek myths? Did the early church actually believe in a literal resurrection, or was it merely some sort of poetic metaphor? I was quite surprised with these topics and equally eager to see what X and Y would say about them. Some arguments shocked me. Some made me wonder. Still more made me nod in agreement. I felt as if I was looking at the ideas of the resurrection of Christ in a whole new light.

In the end, Charles Foster did something I didn’t expect--he doesn’t pick a side. He doesn’t finish off his book by saying, “While X made some great points, in the end, it’s obvious he’s an absolute nutter. Y is obviously the one who is right.” Rather, Foster leaves the reader with all the evidence he can present--for and against the truth of the resurrection--and essentially lets them loose into their own minds to decide for themselves how they feel about what’s been laid out before them. Furthermore, the book doesn’t end there. There are appendices of extra information, a section of pictures and diagrams to accompany the readings, and a list of additional literature for the inquisitive mind. Foster intends for his reader to get the most out of this book, and to equip them with as much knowledge as possible on this very controversial, very significant matter in the beliefs of Christianity. He will not make a decision for the reader. That is up to them and them alone. He is merely an informant, and he does an excellent job of presenting the case in the pages of this excellent book.

Perhaps you’re curious as to just what is going on out there in the world concerning Jesus’s resurrection. Maybe you’d like to know what the Christians are saying about their Jesus, or maybe you’re a Christian who wants to know what everyone else has to say about your belief. Either way, The Jesus Inquest will provide you with practically everything you need to learn about the resurrection. But, it will be entirely up to you in the end to discover what you truly believe. Evidence only goes so far before faith has to step in.

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

tresa7t8 said...

Good job! Very well written. Sounds like a very interesting book. :)

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