the shape of leadership

Answering History's Greatest Question

Review of 'Man, Myth, Messiah' by Rice Broocks

George P Wood on April 5, 2016


“Who do you say I am?”

According to Rice Broocks, this question—which Jesus Christ asked His disciples (Matthew 16:15)—is “history’s greatest question” (emphasis in original). It can be answered in one of three ways. Jesus is man, myth, or Messiah. “The goal of this book,” Broocks writes, “is to build confidence in the reader that Jesus Christ was not only a real person but that He was the promised Messiah (Savior) and the Son of God.”

To achieve this goal, Broocks must do more than cite chapter and verse of Scripture, although that is important, of course. Rather, he must show why the traditional interpretation of Scripture—that Jesus is the divine Messiah—is the most reasonable one. This involves making arguments about, among other things, the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, the trustworthiness of the New Testament witnesses to Him, the falseness of comparisons of Jesus to mythical figures, and the reality of miracles.

Broocks’s treatment of these arguments is introductory in nature. Readers who want to examine these arguments in greater depth would do well to examine the works Broocks cites in the endnotes. Still, Man, Myth, Messiah provides an accurate sketch of those arguments, which the endnote citations fill out in greater detail. The book is thus a good conversation starter and a reliable work of apologetics. It also constantly and seamlessly moves the reader from argument to commitment. In other words, it is apologetics in the service of evangelism. Broocks writes:

This question [i.e., who is Jesus?] underscores a key reality when it comes to a relationship with God: there is more to faith than just believing a correct version of history. While the death and resurrection of Jesus are events that can be judged historically, what still remains is an invitation into a relationship that requires a step of faith (trust).

Because of the book’s introductory character, I would recommend Man, Myth, Messiah to spiritual inquirers and/or new converts, as well as to pastors and other Christian leaders for use with those groups. 

Check out Rice Broocks' article, "Becoming An Engaging Church," from our April-May 2016 issue here

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