Saturday, February 05, 2011

Book Review: Did the Resurrection Happen...Really? by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

Win a Copy!: Moody Publishers has kindly provided a free copy of Did the Resurrection Happen...Really? for Truthbomb Apologetics to give away. All you have to do to enter the random drawing is to leave a comment on this post!

Drawing ends February 11, 2011.

Introduction- About the Books

The Coffeehouse Chronicles by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett with Moody Publishers, a series of three apologetics novellas, each tackling a different issue that most Christian students will struggle with during their college years. They are set in the modern day and portray real, believable students as they engage in genuine dialogue concerning three questions:
  • Is the Bible True...Really?
  • Who is Jesus...Really?
  • Did the Resurrection Happen...Really? [1]
General Reflections

Much like it's predecessors, Did the Resurrection Happen...Really? contains easy-to-understand arguments that are logical and compelling. The purpose of this book is to examine the question of Jesus' resurrection from a historical perspective. McDowell and Sterrett do a great job of once again providing convincing argument in an absorbing story.

Further, if followers of Christ are looking for arguments that are straightforward and ideal to memorize for witnessing, these books are a great place to start.

McDowell and Sterrett also succeed in challenging the Christian to be ready to defend his or her faith. Moreover, the reader gets an inside look at what type of impact a confident, well-learned Christian can have on other believers around them.

For example, Susan Peterson, the wife of Dr. Peterson, a professor on campus, says to Mina:

"And Mina, the world needs more people like you. You didn't just live out your faith- you provided good, solid answers for Nick, who was then able to influence my husband. You know, there are so many Christians who claim to love God with their whole hearts, but they are intellectually lazy, shallow in their faith, and too timid to speak up about what they believe. They never provide any good reasons for what or why they believe. I know about this because I was one of them. Mina, the way you love Christ with both your heart and mind has challenged me" [p. 79-80].

This reader found himself agreeing with Mrs. Peterson and wondering why we as Christians don't take more advantage of the vast body of evidence we possess.

The Story

A school shooting has claimed the lives of nine students on campus. The event has rocked the foundations of the school and the reality of death and evil has been brought to the forefront of everyone's minds.

Dr. Peterson, and his wife Susan, are devastated by the event and are left to wrestle with the question,"Why?" Atheist Brett and his friend Steve realize that if the resurrection really did happen, then it has obvious ramifications for their lives. They begin to seriously research the topic at the campus library and are surprised at some of the information they discover. Lauren, an atheist, seems to acknowledge the veracity of Christian evidences, but continues to resist the conclusion that Jesus really did rise from the dead.

Dr. Gary Habermas is giving a lecture on Easter Sunday on the topic of Jesus' Resurrection at a church near campus that Dr. Peterson attends. Brett, Steve and Lauren, along with numerous others, are in attendance and all of this accumulates to a very memorable conclusion.

The Core Arguments

It was the Apostle Paul that wrote:

"...and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" [1 Corinthians 15:17].

and in doing so, he offered a way in which inquirers can objectively examine whether or not the Christian faith is for real. This is a very unique aspect of the Christian faith and is the heart of Did the Resurrection Happen...Really?

Those who are familiar with Dr. Gary Habermas' work and his minimal facts argument for the historical resurrection will be delighted to learn that it is this argument that much of the book centers around.

In the first half of the book, the discussion works through several theological issues such as:
  • "How Can We Be Sure There is a Heaven?"
  • "Why Did Jesus Have to Die?"
  • "Can I be a Christian without Believing the in the Resurrection?"
  • "Did Jesus Predict His Death and Resurrection?"
Having settled these issues to most everyone's satisfaction, the topic of discussion becomes, "What is the best explanation of the historical evidence we have surrounding Jesus' life, death, and resurrection?"

Those familiar with the many common objections aimed at the resurrection will be pleased to learn that McDowell and Sterrett address and effectively answer objections such as:
  • "Maybe Jesus Survived the Crucifixion as Muslims Claim."
  • "Perhaps the Disciples were simply Hallucinating."
  • "Maybe the Disciples Faked Jesus' Resurrection." (Conspiracy Theory)
  • "What about Christianity and Pagan Mythology?"
  • "What about James Cameron and the Lost Tomb?"
Throughout the book, as these objections and more are addressed, the authors expand on and provide a case for the minimal facts as presented by Habermas. Further, the expertise of such notable scholars as J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig and N.T. Wright are also called upon.


I confess that sometimes apologetic literature can be difficult to get through, especially when one isn't familiar with the numerous arguments for the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The beauty of Did the Resurrection Happen...Really? and the two books that precede it, is that they succeed in addressing and answering numerous popular and academic objections to the Christian Worldview in a way that it simply and concise.

A Final Note

At the core of each of these short books is a desire to demonstrate the validity of the Christian Faith in an easy-to-understand manner so that young people can be assured that their faith rests upon sound evidential grounds. It is a well-documented fact that we in Christendom are losing our youth by the masses once they attend college. This ought not be. As these short novellas demonstrate, apologetics can be the catalyst in drawing someone to the foot of the cross.

I encourage readers to take advantage of these wonderful resources and to obey Jesus Himself who said:

'You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment' [Matthew 22:37].

Courage and Godspeed,



erik said...

Consider me entered...


Neil said...

I am also entered.

Mark McIntyre said...

I would love to read this book!

P. Stone said...


Greg West said...

Haven't read this one yet. Thanks for the chance to win!

Greg West@
The Poached Egg

Miss Szymanski said...

Sounds like a great book, and it's on one of my favorite topics of study! Consider me entered, as well.

~ Miss S.

Hal said...


bertram.owete said...

I'd like to read this and equip the young growing church where I serve now

Brian Current said...

would love to be entered

Anonymous said...

I am in...thanks for the chance to win this book!

Nick Potts said...

Definitely enter me into that, it would definitely help for my research project!!

jon schneck said...

pick me

Lavinia4truth said...

Please enter my name as well. Thanks.

Eddie Eddings said...

Thanks for sharing! I, too, must enter.

Anonymous said...

enter me too, please.

Thomas said...

I'd love to win this book. Sounds great!

Anonymous said...

I would like to rad this and maybe prepare something for Easter.

Matt said...

Would love to win a copy of this as it covers an area I deal with greatly in my convo's with local Muslims. Appreciate all your work for His Glory.

Rick Baskett said...

I would love to win the book, thanks! :)

Diane/2nd said...

Saw the tweet about the contest. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This would be a nice book to use teaching apologetics at church!

Fred said...

If it's not too late, consider this my entry! Thanks.

CV said...


I haven't read your review because I want to wait and read the book, although I'm sure it's great! The first book left me hanging and I'm ready to dive into the second one!

Sign me up for the third installment please!


Chris said...

This would be a great book to share with my Jewish friends.

Kevin Fiske said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

David said...

Count me in!

Anonymous said...

Should be a great book.

Alex Albert said...

Lets give it a try

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the contest

MWM said...

entered =D

W said...

Entered. Count me in !

Chad said...

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for participating in the drawing!

Our winner is Diane/2nd! Congrats!

Please send me your mailing address at


Anonymous said...

I am in...

Chad said...

Hello All,

I haven't heard from Diane/2nd and it's been over a week so the book now goes to runner-up Alex Albert! Congrats!

Please contact me at with your mailing address and I'll get the book out to you!


Miss Szymanski said...

Hi Chad,

Here's my comment to enter the contest... (Don't know if I'm the first to comment, but I figured I would take the chance.)

Thank you for all you do,
~Miss S.

Chad said...

Miss S.,

You are the winner! Please send me your mailing address at and I'll get the book right out to you!

God Bless and thank you for reading!

Miss Szymanski said...

Thank you so much! I sent you my mailing address. Can't wait to read it!

God bless,
~Miss S.