Episode 5: Three Great Secrets in <em>Too Good to be False</em>

Episode 5 July 12, 2020 00:18:06
Episode 5: Three Great Secrets in <em>Too Good to be False</em>
Thinking Christian
Episode 5: Three Great Secrets in <em>Too Good to be False</em>

Jul 12 2020 | 00:18:06

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Show Notes

For the whole year and a half I've been working on Too Good to be False, I've felt like I've been sitting on a secret -- two of them, actually -- secrets too great to hold inside. Now as the book nears its August 1 publication date, it's time to start getting the word out on those secrets. I've even discovered there's a third one, from those who've read pre-release copies of the book. Those three secrets: Jesus is better than you knew; he's too good to be false; and (the one that surprised me) this message turned out to be a "fun read," suitable for everyone from laypersons to the "professionals!"

You can pre-order the book on Amazon today. A free preview chapter is yours, too, if you subscribe to updates at the Thinking Christian blog.

Subscribe to the podcast, too, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher.

(Show transcript is automatically generated and uncorrected.)

Show guide:

01:36: Source of some of the book's information

03:30: Secret 1: Jesus is way more amazing than you've realized. Even though that sounds like a strong statement, it's very probably true.

5:10: Confirmation from Sean McDowell, Josh McDowell, JP Moreland

6:49: It's about Jesus: What he didn't do.

9:45: Secret 2: Jesus is too good to be false.

11:15: More confirmation: J. Warner Wallace, Lee Strobel, Jeff Myers

13:40: Problems with the skeptics' backstory for the story of Jesus

14:45: Secret 3: What I never expected: This book is working for everyone from layperson to the "professionals." It's a "fun read!"

16:54: I don't want to be holding in these secrets any longer!

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:11 Welcome to the thinking Christian podcast, your weekly guide to solid Christian thinking on culture science, faith, and Christian confidence hosted by Tom Gilson. Tom is a senior editor with the stream stream.org. He runs the top ranked thinking Christian blog, and he's the author of several books, including the soon to be released too. Good to be false. How jesus' incomparable character reveals his reality. Speaker 1 00:00:43 Hello, this is Tom Gilson and I want to welcome you to the thinking Christian podcast. I feel like I've been holding in a secret seriously. It's been a year and a half since I started working on too good to be false. My newest book coming out on August 1st with the award publishing. And through this whole time, I've been practically bursting to get this word out. The only reason it's taken me this long is because I wanted to get it right. And thank God the time is finally coming seriously. It's been like, it's been, like I was told I had to keep a secret when it was so good. I wanted the whole world to know it's more than one secret. Actually in preparing this book, I discovered that I was working on two new discoveries at the same time. Well, honestly, they weren't totally new. Speaker 1 00:01:36 And with the help of some scholar, friends, especially Timothy McGrew and expert on historical Christian writings and my publisher, Nathan Ward, I learned that both of these discoveries had been made before a long time ago, though. They'd been forgotten for all my research. I haven't been able to find where anyone has made more than a passing comment on any of this in close to a hundred years. And for the life of me, I have no idea why, because this is good stuff. So what are these secrets? Well, the good news is I can start telling you now I can't go into it very far at this moment, honestly, though, I'm hoping this will wet your appetite. So you'll read the book. And by the way, if you go to my blog at thinking Christian thinking, christian.net and subscribe for the newsletter there, I'll send you a link to download the first chapter of the book. Speaker 1 00:02:32 You can read a preview chapter right now, the first chapter of the book. So go to thinking christian.net and find the subscribe link. And you can get that first preview chapter. I want to wet your appetite. As I said, there are two secrets that I wrote into the book. And then when other people started reading it, I was pleased to hear that a third secret has emerged as well. But let me be very clear about this. This isn't about my discoveries. It's about Jesus Christ in a few minutes, I'll tell you more about where those discoveries came from and you'll know, you'll know that I can't lay any claim to these discoveries. They were the gift of God and not intended for me, but for all, Oh, God's people. I just have the privilege of passing them along. So here's the first secret. Jesus is even greater than you realized he's even more amazing than you knew. Speaker 1 00:03:35 No, I realized that for many listeners, that's quite a strong statement. You already know he's great. He's the image of the invisible God. He's the son of God, literally God, in the flesh, he was the one on who created the world. It says in the first chapters of John and of Hebrews and you, and you know his story, he was born of a Virgin. He launched a public ministry at age 30 with the voice of God speaking approval from heaven. That's a pretty fair start. I'm sure we'd all agree. Well, he taught with incredible wisdom. He did works of incredible power. He went willingly to the cross on our behalf. He died anyway. Again, this is all it's already incredible, right? It's already almost overwhelming, except here's the thing. One thing we know that it's like, we, we gotten used to it. We've gotten used to it. Speaker 1 00:04:30 I knew this through the first 40 plus. Yeah, I'm that old, the first 40 plus years of my Christian life. And I had kind of gotten used to it. It didn't surprise me anymore. Not until I launched into the study. That became the seed. That of part one, especially of too good to be false. The book I saw Jesus. Then in new ways that just left me stunned. I was surprised I was overwhelmed with wonder in all new ways and you know what? It was just me. I want you to listen to what some others have had to say about it. After reading a preview edition of too good to be false. Sean McDowell, Christian author speaker professor at Viola university, he said with so many books on Jesus, how do you say something fresh? My friend, Tom Gilson has figured it out. Sean's dad, Josh McDowell, great leader, great author, worldwide speaker on apologetics and on the character of God and unfollowing cheeses. Speaker 1 00:05:37 He said, if you think there are no surprises left to be found in Jesus life prepared to be surprised yourself by this remarkable new book, Frank Turick another author and worldwide speaker said, he asked actually, are you skeptical that anyone could present fresh about Jesus after 2000 years, Tom Gilson has done just that. But my favorite comment along these lines came from JP Moreland, JP, along with Josh McDowell. So one of my two most important influences in my growth as a Christian thinker. And he said, the books brilliance lies in the approach of arguing for jesus' uniqueness and dad based on what Jesus did not do. I'll come back to that in a minute. But then Morlan said, he said, I have never approached the gospels in this way. And I have come to love, respect, and worship Jesus with renewed figure and insight. I love that I myself have come to love and worship Jesus with I'll use Moreland's words, renewed vigor and insight. Speaker 1 00:06:49 But do you see, see what I mean? When I say this isn't about me, me, it's about Jesus. Yeah. You'd have to be wondering how anyone could come up with anything new about Jesus after all these centuries. And it's not, I assure you, it's not that I've discovered some secret new text, some hidden code in the gospels. That would be off the wall. No, I just took a different tack instead of studying what Jesus did. As Morlin said, I, I worked on exploring what Jesus didn't do. That's the key to this first secret. Now, what do I mean by exploring what Jesus didn't do? It goes back to work. I'd used to do as a consultant, doing internal consulting with campus crusade for Christ. Now known as Cru in organizational effectiveness and my friend Clark. And I went into these meetings with different ministries inside campus crusade. Speaker 1 00:07:44 And we were supposed to discover how well they were doing and how they could do better. And I realized early in my, in my years of doing this, that it wasn't enough just to look at what was there. I had to ask myself what isn't here, what's missing. What are they not doing that they could be or should be doing? What's not there. Maybe that's part of where this approach came from, was looking for. What's not there. Not that there's anything missing from jesus' life or character, nothing that should have been there, but when you start comparing him with other people, other great men of history, even the greatest invented fabricated great men of literature and fiction, you start noticing things that were present in their lives, these great men and women of history or fiction that you don't see in G so yeah, it wasn't what Jesus did. Speaker 1 00:08:42 It's what he didn't do that you would expect if he was a great man, a great man after the pattern, after the model, after the order of other great men that we know about from human imagination and also from human history, there are a lot of differences. And by the way, uh, in the next couple of podcasts, I'll start telling you what some of them are. I won't go into it right now. Anyway, I started asking, what is it? That's not there in jesus' life. And by the grace of God, God started pouring in answers. But honestly, every time I consider jesus' greatness, as I'm just beginning to recognize his greatness, I ended up on my knees or even flat on my face, worshiping him. He is more amazing than I ever realized. So that's the first secret. Jesus is more amazing than we knew now for the second, second secret. Jesus is too good to be false. He's too good to be false. In other words, his story is so good. It has to be true. Speaker 2 00:09:53 Okay. You're going to be skeptical. Speaker 1 00:09:56 My friend, Jeff Myers, who wrote one of the comments I'm going to read to you in a moment. He was skeptical too. And until you read the book, you won't catch the full reasoning for this. I'm sorry. I'll try to do it in the podcast two weeks from now, but it's actually kind of hard to compress in the time I have available in this podcast. But let me give it a try. I took a different rather unusual approach to studying the gospels in the first secret, where I looked at, what Jesus didn't do. I also took an unusual approach in regard to the second secret, which is I took the story seriously as a story. It's a story. Tell me the stories of Jesus that's okay. Christians can see it as a story too. Of course skeptics. See it as a story, meaning it's a fable, it's a legend. Speaker 1 00:10:49 It's false. But what we can agree on is we have a story here. The story told in four interrelated versions course, the four gospels, it's a story. And studying a story means studying its main character. And you've done this in school study main characters. What is it about Jesus that makes him so compelling? I explored that in depth in this book. And that exploration led me to a deeper conviction than ever that the story has to be real and others who've read the book have said, yeah, it does. It does that. Jay Warner Wallace, former cold case. Detective the, my favorite writer today on how we know that the gospels are trustworthy, that the Bible as a whole is trustworthy. Jay Warner Wallace says too good to be false describes the incredible character and appeal of Jesus of Nazareth. Even as it makes our refreshing case for Christianity, Lee Strobel, probably the best selling author. Speaker 1 00:11:53 This field says, Tom Gilson breathes new life into an old premise. That Jesus was more than just an ordinary rabbi with special effects, but his awe inspiring character and teachings point persuasively toward his divine nature. That Jesus couldn't possibly be the product of mere legends because he is quite literally too good. Not to be true. And Jeff Myers, I already mentioned this. He's the president of a very significant ministry for young adults called summit ministries. Jeff Myers said, quote, I was skeptical when I first glanced over too good to be false. My mind filled with objections that I knew my non-believing friends would give, but in a conversational, easy to read tone, Tom Gilson demonstrates that the gospel narratives about Jesus simply could not be made up to have quote invented. Jesus would have required a genius that no human possesses. That's the second secret, which is that you want to know whether the story is true. Speaker 1 00:12:59 You want to know whether the gospels are true. You could look into, and I have great appreciation for this. This has been the core of the reasons for Mike and evictions about Jesus for decades, you could look into the history of the texts. You could look into what we know about the disciples. You could look into the prophecies, you could look into all kinds of historic things, but you can also discover reasons for confidence in Christianity, just by reading the gospels and by comparing Jesus and his character, to the character of other great men and women, it's right there in the gospels. And I'm telling you, I wonder, I wonder what the skeptics are going to say when they read this, because they have a story about where the story of Jesus came from, call it a backstory, the story behind the gospels, the way they understand it. Speaker 1 00:13:58 And their backstory has a problem. It's a problem. They have not taken seriously, which is that the whole idea of anyone inventing a character like Jesus really seems to be quite impossible. No one else has ever done it. Not the poets, not even the greatest of them, not the playwrights, not the novelists, not the best of all the ages. No one's ever invented a character like Jesus. And when you read who the skeptics put forward, as the supposedly inventor of Jesus you'll know exactly what I, I mean, it's just not possible. He is too good to be false. I can't wait to hear what the skeptics are going to say about this. That's the second secret to good, to be false, the title of the book. But as I said, there's a third secret that has emerged from the, that these men and women have done on, on this book. Speaker 1 00:14:55 And that's well, let me just quote to you from Lee Strobel. First of all, he said, he said, the book is engaging and exhilarating. He said, this might be the most surprising and refreshing book you'll read this year. Craig Evans, Craig Evans is a distinguished professor at Houston Baptist university in Christian origins. He says, Tom Gilson takes a fresh, innovative approach in his stimulating book, too. Good to be false. Although oriented for the general reader, including skeptics, the professionals will get a lot out of it too. In other words, I wrote it so everybody could read it, but I was grateful to hear Craig Evans say that the professionals could get a lot out of it. And here's another professional. Another actually distinguished professor Gary Habermas in Christian philosophy and apologetics at Liberty university. He said, he said, I may never before have made this comment in a recommendation, but this volume was a fun read. Speaker 1 00:15:56 I enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong. He says, Gilson's responses hit the skeptical objections at which he aimed time. And again, including many of the major complaints against Jesus story. It's a fun read, but it worked. That was the third secret, which honestly, I was hoping it would be a book people would want to read. Apparently that's the way it turned out. But it's about Jesus. It's an odd thing. I'll be honest. It's an odd thing. Preparing to launch a book like this that I think could be groundbreaking because of these two secrets, the first two, especially. And I want a lot of people to read it. That's one reason I'm podcasting this right now. Yeah. This is about trying to encourage people to buy the book. As far as I can read myself, honestly though, it's not because I want a lot of book sales for myself. Speaker 1 00:16:54 It's because I don't want to be holding in these secrets any longer. I want everyone to know way better than they ever knew before. Just how awesome Jesus is. He's more amazing than we knew. And I want them to know they can trust the record that we have of his life. He's so good. He's so good. He's too good. Not to be true. He's too good to be false. I encourage you go to the website, thinking christian.net right now and subscribe so that you can download the free preview chapter of the book, or you can actually preorder it right now on Amazon. And I'll include the links for that in the show notes. This is Tom Gilson for the thinking Christian podcast. Thank you for listening. Speaker 0 00:17:49 The thinking Christian podcast is copyright by Thomas Gilson for more information, visit the thinking Christian [email protected]. Speaker 3 00:17:58 <inaudible>.

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