Today, numerous popular lies and half-truths regarding Jesus Christ abound. Michael Green has done us a great service by refuting many of them in a readable and concise way.
He grounds the New Testament and its formation in history, and writes both vividly and persuasively of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. His chief purpose is to counter new atheists like Sam Harris, old errorists like those who propagate Islam, and conspiracy theorists like those who appeal to the Gnostic Gospels.
Green disproves such false ideas as: the New Testament is unreliable; Jesus married Mary; Jesus did not die on the cross; and Jesus was only considered divine from the fourth century onwards.
Each lie is dismantled with surgical precision. At the end of the book, the author helpfully questions why sceptics are so keen to base their assertions on flimsy or non-existent evidence; he urges them to repentance and to faith in the biblical Jesus.
Although this book is informative, Green’s work does have much that conservative evangelicals will question. He is not consistently clear on the doctrine of the incarnation. Also, on page 55 he suggests that women should lead churches, and on page 159 denies original guilt.
Most worryingly, he underemphasises God’s wrath against sin and on page 160 refuses to choose between three opinions concerning the eternal condition of unbelievers – eternal punishment, annihilation and universal salvation.
The author emphasises Christ’s positive effect on society and downplays the salvation of individuals from hell through the new relationship Christ mediates with our glorious God.
Methodologically, his case might have been more persuasive for the sceptic if he had referenced every source, biblical or extra-biblical. Also, since many conspiracy theories covered in his book are discussed on the internet, I wondered why his ‘Useful resources’ section at the back lacked recommended Christian web sites.
Despite these shortcomings, the book will provide some ammunition against the many sceptical assertions and distortions flying around in our day. Green argues with clear logic and provides the reader with an array of historical data to underpin the reality of Jesus Christ.
But use with great care!