What do I think of Charles Foster’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Jesus Inquest is a remarkable book that you’ve never really heard of most likely, but you honestly should have. The book is written by Charles Foster who is a barrister in the U.K., which if you don’t know means he understands the rules of law quite well. He was a believer in the resurrection of Jesus but found many defenses quite lacking. His questions weren’t being answered and he doesn’t care much for many works of apologetics by Christians. He wanted to put forward the case from the opposite end as strongly as he could and see how he could respond.
Thus, you have a dialogue between two people, X and Y. Foster writes out both dialogues and Y is the position of the Christian defending the resurrection of Jesus. X throws out most any objection that he can which means sometimes he will hold contradictory positions, but this is because Foster is trying to be as thorough as possible. X will use popular objections, such as ideas that Jesus traveled to India after somehow surviving the crucifixion, as well as more scholarly objections. He’ll use crank theories like the Talpiot Tomb as well as real theories like the hallucination hypothesis.
X’s case is quite often indeed impressive. One can read his side and think “I wonder how Y will answer that when he gets there.” Due to the wide range of subjects covered, there’s no doubt Foster did a lot of research for this book. In the end after examining both sides, Foster still has a strong case that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and the objections from the other side can be answered and for the most part, they are answered quite admirably.
Some readers might be troubled that Foster doesn’t take an approach of Inerrancy, but that could also be a help since so many Christians marry Inerrancy to Scripture. Foster does not believe the accounts of the resurrection in the Gospels can be reconciled, but oh well. That does not damage one iota his central trust based on the evidence that the resurrection is a historical event, which should be a wake-up call to all the people out there who think it is absolutely essential to have Inerrancy if one is going to proclaim the resurrection effectively.
I would have liked to have seen something more said about the honor-shame aspect of the resurrection. I hope that in the future, this will be something spoken of more. There are hints of it here and there, but I think these hints can be refined into an argument that is much more powerful than people realize. Christianity after all broke all the rules of the culture and it should have died out just as soon as it started and yet somehow it dominated the Roman empire and thrives today. This is something else that needs to be explained.
Foster’s book is excellent and I would place it as essential reading for anyone wanting to defend the resurrection. Included also are appendices on how Jesus died on the cross, The Shroud of Turin, the Talpiot tomb, and the Gospel of Peter. Get this book and read it today.