Today we continue with chapter twenty of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 20 study questions PDF, and summary:
Chapter Twenty: The Claims, Credentials and Achievements of Jesus Christ
Chapter twenty is all about Jesus. Although a case can be made for the divinity of Jesus using only a small number of historically attested “facts,” Groothuis uses a fuller approach that takes the entirety of the Gospel accounts and New Testament letters into consideration. What did Jesus do, say, teach, believe, and achieve?
This chapter presents a full picture of Jesus (though not comprehensive) and shows how his life, claims, and deeds themselves make a case for the his divine identity. This is a full walk through the life and person of Jesus, powerful and profound. Groothuis then compares Jesus with the leaders of other world religions. They fall into the categories of sages, avatars, or prophets. Yet none of these other religious figures compare to the unique person of Jesus. The author also shows that a case can be made for the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments that is based upon the authority of Jesus himself.
Pascal succinctly describes the genius of Jesus’ teaching: “Jesus said great things so simply that he seems not to have thought about them, and yet so clearly that it is obvious what he thought about them. Such clarity together with such simplicity is wonderful.” (Christian Apologetics, p. 482)
Whether a religious leader is considered a prophet, sage or avatar, his (or her) status differs radically from what is ascribed to Jesus in the Bible. No other religion so highly esteems its founder or makes such titanic claims about him. Away, then, with all baseless claims about Jesus being reducible to some general religious category along with Buddha, Muhammad and so on. He did not present us with that pallid option. (Christian Apologetics, pp. 502-203)
The cumulative evidence singles Jesus out from all other religious figures.6′ He entered the world supernaturally, accredited himself with unparalleled signs and wonders, possessed an impeccable character, made claims only befitting God himself, and died with the purpose of redeeming humanity. The best account of the historical facts is that he was who he said he was. If this is so, we should respond to him on his terms. (Christian Apologetics, p. 503)
- What effect did this chapter have on you as you read it?
- How is Jesus different than any other religious figure in history?
- In what ways (implicit and explicit) did Jesus show that he was divine?
Chapter Twenty-One: Defending the Incarnation