Monday, April 18, 2016

"40 Questions About the Historical Jesus" by C. Marvin Pate: A Review

No Gospels, no Jesus; no Jesus, no Christianity. (17)

For generations now, liberal theologians have fought valiantly to divorce the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith. One of the primary means by which they have carried out this agenda is the various quests for the historical Jesus. It is this context that attracted me to C. Marvin Pate's book 40 Questions About the Historical Jesus (Kregel, 2015).

Anyone who has watched various documentaries or specials on cable or mainstream television or read the latest wild claims every Easter season in failing news magazines are aware of the arguments. The Jesus, as revealed in the Gospels, is a fanciful Jesus that never existed. The Jesus of Christianity - divine and all - is the creation of politically influential theologians at Nicea. Christianity, at best, was a minor diverse movement in Roman culture that eventually rose to become the dominant religion of the empire. Its claims are wild and unsubstantiated. That is the narrative so often sold, but is it true?


Though Pate goes beyond the liberal quest to dethrone the divine Christ, he certainly unveils the flawed logic and arguments of the various quests to trump the Gnostic gospels over the canonical Evangelists. He begins by revealing why the questions over the authenticity of the four Gospels is important. From there he walks the reader, systematically, through the resources we have in our search for the historical Jesus and then through the life of Jesus - his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

Pate offers an invaluable resource for Christians and pastors alike who need answers to the endless onslaughts to the Christian faith and her Savior. He handles each challenge with ease and a firm belief in both the inspiration and the inerrancy of Scripture. He does not shy away from the challenges raised by liberal and secular scholars, but through it all shows the relevancy and truthfulness of the Christian claims.

In the end, the reader should come away concluding that in fact the Jesus of history, as the apostles proclaimed to their deaths, is the Christ of faith. The carpenters son who was raised from the dead are one and the same. The world has never been the same since. For this reason, I highly recommend this book. For pastors, especially, this will be an important tool to have in your library for research and study.
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