In The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster presents “the case for and against the resurrection of the Christ.”
The publisher describes this book as “an unbiased examination, and compelling courtroom presentation, revealing the undeniable facts of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The author admits (and most readers understand) that there is no unbiased examination of anything. Foster approaches this story as a Christian, and he knows that many unbelievers will discount his arguments because of that perspective. However, he does attempt to present the evidence for and against the resurrection in a manner that is as unbiased as possible.
Foster divides his book into eight chapters. He begins by discussing the importance of the resurrection and by laying out the sources used in his examination. Then, he examines the death of Jesus, the burial of Jesus, the empty tomb, and the post-resurrection appearances. In the final two chapters, he answers the questions “Did the early church believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus?” and “Where did the Christians get their idea for resurrection.”
Furthermore, Foster includes four helpful appendices: 1) The cause of death, 2) the Turin shroud, 3) the “Jesus Family Tomb” statistics, and 4) the Gospel of Peter.
The main chapters are divided into two parts, each presented by a fictional lawyer. Lawyer X presents the case against the resurrection of Jesus Christ, while Lawyer Y presents the care for the resurrection.
Foster’s aim is to present the best arguments against the resurrection in a manner that unbelievers will appreciate and to present the best arguments for the resurrection in a manner that believers will appreciate. He does not attempt to rely on scholarly experts (a la Strobel), but instead delivers the evidence as he says a lawyer would deliver it in court.
First, I admit that I started reading this book with a bias as well – primarily, a bias against this type of book. But, I was pleasantly surprised. While I do not believe that this type of argumentation can convince anyone to become a Christian (which is the work of God), I do believe that it can be helpful.
As a Christian, I think there are some better arguments for the resurrection than some of those presented in the book. So, I assume that there are also better arguments against the resurrection than those presented in the book. However, I do think the author succeeded in being as fair as possible.
I believe this book can best benefit those who are disciples of Jesus Christ but who are struggling with answering friends, neighbors, or family members who are unbelievers or skeptics.
(I received a free copy of The Jesus Inquest from BookSneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.)