Book Plunge: Leading Lawyers’ Case For The Resurrection

What do I think of Ross Clifford’s book published by 1517 Legacy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Lawyers are people who specialize in evidence and making the best case they can. They’re meant to examine their side and the other side and be prepared for the best objections. They stake their reputation on presenting the best argument and being able to best their opponents with evidence and argumentation.

So what about a case like the resurrection? Could legal argumentation be used to back that case? Would any lawyer really take on the case that Jesus rose from the dead and argue in a court of law that that is what happened and expect that a rational jury would conclude that they were correct?

Apparently, Clifford has found seven who would. The eighth, Morrison, with his book Who Moved The Stone? is not a lawyer, but used many of the same techniques. He used them so well he is often thought of as being a lawyer. Clifford takes each of these lawyers on a cumulative case step by step to establish the verdict that Jesus rose from the dead.

Clifford is a lawyer as well and so he knows how to examine the case and see that there’s no funny business being pulled. He has brought together a quick resource that can be read easily and doesn’t use a lot of legal terminology that would confuse the layman. It’s also a short work. You can read it in a day or two, quite possibly a date if you really work at it.

He also has not found slouches in the field. All of the men here were recognized in their own time including if that time is our present. Clifford includes an introduction to their life and their legal practice. He then goes through each one and gives a brief summary of the case that they especially argued for.

Also useful will be the appendices in the back. One particular one involved a claim that is often heard today and that was dealing with the charge that the Gospels would be seen as hearsay evidence. Clifford shows that this is not the case and then points to a resource that can be used to show other cases that were solved on similar grounds. One difference he gives is that the cases that do not allow hearsay are more about a particular individual and not a particular truth claim. An individual would get to face his accuser in court after all.

Clifford’s book left me impressed with the legal case and thinking that legal apologetics is something I need to take a lot more seriously. If anything, I would have liked Clifford to have added in his own case. A brief chapter would be good on how Clifford would have gone forward in making a case that Jesus rose from the dead. Perhaps sometime in the future Clifford could write out a dialogue of sorts where he would describe a court case and the case for the resurrection being made to show how this would be done.

Those interested in defending the resurrection owe it to themselves to get this book. It is a good and small introduction and will point you to other leading lawyers who can make a case. The defense of Christ is helped by having the best from all fields after all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Beckoning

What do I think of Michael Minot’s book The Beckoning published by Morgan James Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Beckoning is about how a lawyer began an investigation of three months that moved him from being an atheist to being a Christian. Let’s start with some positives. First off, Minot has a unique idea of making videos to go with the chapters. Honestly, I did not watch as I do not take much time to watch videos online and I was often reading late at night. My wife was already asleep and I was not going to disturb her. Perhaps this is an idea that is worth looking into by other authors, especially since many more are going to YouTube and using that as a social platform.

I also liked how there were questions at the end of each chapter. Books like this are often aimed to be using by churches and small groups and having questions at the end prepared can help to facilitate a discussion. Of course, groups will often have their own questions at the end and that is quite alright. As a leader of a small group at my church, I know we rarely stick to the questions entirely or even the subject matter. (I even recall a class in Seminary where we started talking about some of the latest technology and the professor saying we’d talk about it for awhile even though it has nothing to do with the subject matter not like that’s ever stopped us before. Diversions are a part of reality like that.)

I appreciate also Minot going personal in his journey about the kinds of things he’s experienced. It’s hard to not be moved by the account of him losing his friends from school and his account of losing his son. These are real tragedies and we all have tragedies in our lives as well.

Yet despite this, I found a number of problems with Minot’s book that seriously concerned me. The arguments for theism were all rooted in scientific evidence. Now I understand this is a popular approach, but it’s one I really do find flawed. Why marry our theism to the science of our day? Not because science is something bad, but because it changes. One could say that today, it looks like The Big Bang Theory points to God. But what if another interpretation comes along of the theory? What if the theory is one day found to be wrong? What happens to our apologetic then? It’s not mine to state if it will or if it won’t, but I think we should move towards the arguments of the past, the philosophical arguments, such as the Thomistic ones, that can stand regardless of what happens with the science.

I also found it troubling that while there is a section on Jesus, there is nothing I saw on making a strong case for His resurrection. This is the central argument that needs to be made to show Christianity is true. You can have theism after all and not have Christianity. We saw strong arguments on the loving character of Jesus, and that’s well and good, but having a loving character does not mean you are Lord and King. Besides that, I do not think I saw anything on how well the Bible has been handed down throughout the years, so one could just as well say the story was written that way. I do not doubt that the person of Jesus is appealing, but we must show that that person is real, the accounts are reliable, and that He truly is the Messiah. Had there been a good strong argument for the resurrection of Jesus in here, I could have given more stars on my review, but without that, the story is just incomplete.

If Minot has future editions, I hope we will see more historical work done in that regard and more philosophical work as well. I did not find the explanations on evil to be entirely convincing such as the devil is allowed to be here to challenge us. That could be so, but I can already predict the responses a skeptic would make to that such as why God allowed it to happen in the first place. The problem of evil is really complex after all, even though I personally do not find it convincing.

I think Minot has the start to something good, but there needs to be more work, and especially on the resurrection.

In Christ,
Nick Peters