As I read Man, Myth, Messiah, I was reminded of two literary references in my past. The first is a quote from C. S. Lewis, which is also referenced by Rice Broocks early in the book. Lewis, a converted atheist, once proposed that once someone examines the life of Christ, he or she must ask is this man a liar, a lunatic, or was He truly the Lord of the universe. That question presupposes an earlier question – “Did Christ actually exist?” This last question became important only as we entered the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Because this question has become so important to the current generation, Broocks seek to rephrase Lewis' “trilemma” with the similarly worded, but
slightly different combination suggested by the book's title - “Was Jesus Christ a man, a myth, or the Messiah?”
The second literary reference that I am reminded of
was Frank Morrison's (nee Robert Henry Ross) Who Moved The Stone? For me, this was a required text in seminary ( ca. 1980), and like the current book, it attempted to show the evidence for the events surrounding Christ's resurrection. The current book goes further and seeks to establish the historical proofs that demonstrate the claims the early Christians made for Jesus Christ using the standard methods used by in the field of history.
The author not only presents his evidence, but also helps the reader understand how the practicing historian would use that evidence to build a solid case for the claims of Christ. As always, the author makes it clear, the reader must make his own choice to follow the evidence or not. Evidence does not make one a Christian – faith in the Savior does.
The author does an excellent job of building his case. The book would make an excellent gift for a church to give its graduating seniors. For the pastor or church, it would provide the perfect read for the Lenten season. As a textbook, it would serve well as a required text for a college level course in Apologetics or as an ancillary text for a similar seminary level course.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.