Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch21

Today we continue with chapter twenty-one 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 21 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] – Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 21 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Twenty-One: Defending the Incarnation
(pages 507-526)

Chapter twenty-one is really two parts. In the first part, Groothuis looks at the argument for Jesus’ divinity, using a disjunctive syllogism. If Jesus claimed to be human, but was not divine, he was a bad man and merely human: that is, he was deceived or a deceiver. Jesus was not a bad man and merely human: that is, he was neither (a) deceived nor (b) a deceiver. Therefore, Jesus was divine (in addition to being human). The author unpacks the possible options that have been presented for Jesus (legend, guru, deceiver, deceived, idiosyncratic, mad), then offers reasons why these fail.

The second part delves into the incarnation, arguing for its coherence as a doctrine as well as offering answers to common objections. The author explains that the incarnation may appear initially to be paradoxical, but it is not a concept that is contradictory. He argues that, “when carefully stated and explained, the idea of the incarnation is shown to be logically coherent, awe-inspiring, unique and wonderful for errant mortals in need of divine rescue.”

Notable quotes:

If Jesus really meant to teach an esoteric message that differs completely from what Christianity has always taken it to mean, he was one of the worst teachers in the history of humanity, since for two thousand years he has been taken by his followers (and his critics) to teach monotheism. (Christian Apologetics, p. 511)  

If Jesus were wrong about this all-encompassing fact of his own identity, his entire worldview would be skewed, thus revealing that he was radically out of touch with reality. (Christian Apologetics, p. 514)  

…the idea that Jesus was wrong about his deity but right about most all other things-even brilliant on moral matters-is extremely unlikely. (Christian Apologetics, p. 514)

If he were not God and he taught with the moral authority reserved for God, he would not be a good moral teacher overall, since he would lack the intellectual and moral integrity required of a good moral teacher. (Christian Apologetics, p. 515)    


  1. Why does the argument for Jesus’ divinity not present a false dilemma?
  2. Based on your reading, how would you assess the statement of “100% God, 100% man”?
  3. How would you present the “God or bad man” argument in a conversation?
Next week
Chapter Twenty-Two: The Resurrection of Jesus
Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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