Rice Broock’s book “God’s Not Dead” was the inspiration for a popular movie of the same name. This book is billed as the “evidence behind God’s Not Dead 2”, in which we will see a debate over whether a teacher can even mention the name of Jesus in a classroom. I have read many books defending the Christian faith and the Biblical accounts of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, but none that delve as deeply into the debate as this book does. It is apparent that Broocks took the time to study both sides of the issue. He draws directly from the Bible and backs it up with historical research from scholars and skeptics alike. There is a growing body of literature in today’s society that claims that Jesus was not the Messiah that he demonstrated and claimed to be. That, along with the rise of internet skeptics that proclaim this type of writing to be scholarly and authoritative, is what led Broocks to research and write this book. These false claims have evoked a renewed effort to set the record straight. Atheism is a religion. It is a set of beliefs about the nature of the world and of us as humans. At the heart of this anti-theistic system is the necessity to dismiss the supernatural, especially the supernatural birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rice Broocks makes an effort to encompass all views, opinions, and philosophies from skeptics and atheists on the subject, and then he proceeds to disprove them entirely. He boldly tackles ridiculous alternative theories for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Broocks provides a succinct definition of the message of the gospel: The gospel is the good news that God became man in Jesus Christ. He lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died – in our place. Three days later He rose from the dead, proving that He is the Son of God and offering the gift of salvation to those who repent and believe in Him. Both the book and the Movie “God’s Not Dead” sought to clearly establish the fact that real faith isn’t blind. It is based on evidence, laid out from science, philosophy, history, and personal experiences. Now in “Man, Myth, Messiah”, Broocks takes a closer look at the evidence for the historical Jesus. The majority of the book is centered around a method developed by Gary Habermas called the “Minimal Facts Method”. Using this method you can show how the foundation of Christianity is so strong that even skeptical scholars accept its bedrock truths. Dr. Habermas is the Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Liberty University and is regarded as a leading expert in historical evidence for the resurrection.
This book can be divided into three or four sections. In the first three chapters, Broocks introduces the topics of history, the Minimal Facts Method, and the reliability of Scripture. The next three chapters present some of the historical basis for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, along with His uniqueness. The next two subjects after that are devoted to Jesus’ deity and the reality of the supernatural world. Broocks argues that the Gospels stand head and shoulders above the vast majority of ancient literature in terms of manuscript evidence and support for historical accuracy. The weight of historical evidence demonstrates that the Gospels are very reliable, and that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. Many historians have come to recognize this fact, even if they did not originally accept that it was true. Christ’s resurrection sets Him apart from all other religious leaders and sets Christianity apart from all other religions. The Scripture offers this as the event that verifies the identity of Jesus and the truth of His words. Conversely, if one could show that Christ was not raised, then the Christian faith would be proven false. Jesus’ advent was the fulfillment of prophecies that God had spoken through the prophets for centuries.
In the later chapters Broocks discusses miracles, discipleship, and evangelism and how they are important to us today. The section on miracles, healings, and near-death experiences was very interesting. A man by the name of Steve Murrell led a team in Manila to establish a church that emphasized reaching university students. They modeled their ministry around four principles (called the four E’s) that serve as the foundation of what we believe and practice about discipleship: We are called to Engage unbelievers with the gospel, Establish biblical foundations in their lives and help them learn God’s Word, Equip them to do the work of the ministry, and Empower them to fulfill their God-given purpose. In the last chapter, Broocks outlines a simple evangelism process that is represented by the word GREAT. It stands for Gospel, Reasons, Empathy, Approach, and Tools. These five steps provide a clear roadmap in becoming an effective witness for Christ. Together with a leading pastor, effective teachers, and a believing congregation, the result is an engaging church that can impact the world for the glory of God.
I often refer to the importance of equipping yourself with the Whole Armor of God, and Broocks makes reference to it in his book as well. This book provides powerful evidence that can be referenced to defend your faith. I would recommend it to all Christians, young and old. I would also recommend it to those that are unsure about their faith or that are unsure about about their salvation.
Credit: Kyle Robertson