With this blog post, I officially announce the coming publication of Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality, from DeWard Publications!
What happens if we take the story of Jesus seriously — as a story? Skeptics certainly urge us to do that. It’s “only a story,” they say, a legend just lake many other god-stories from ancient days. Why do we treat it as anything more than that? I take up that question in Too Good To Be False, using an approach no author has taken in close to a century, and find that although the skeptics’ question is a fine one, the answer skeptics give is demonstrably as far from truth as it could be. Stories always involve a main character, and Jesus’ character is completely unlike any other.
No other hero — whether of history, myth, imagination, or legend — has loved as he loved, led, the way he led, been a friend the way he was a friend, or understood himself as Jesus understood himself. Christians reading this book will encounter Jesus in fresh, worshipful new ways, and skeptics may discover his character is too unique, too consistent, and entirely too good to be false.
Lee Strobel, New York Times best-selling author, director of The Strobel Center at Colorado Christian University:
In this engaging and exhilarating book, 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. In a breezy style, Tom makes the compelling case that Jesus couldn’t possibly be the product of mere legends because he is quite literally too good not to be true. This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year.
Eric Metaxas, #1 New York Times bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated Eric Metaxas Radio Show:
Too Good To Be False takes a fascinating look at the human character of Jesus, uncovering fresh insights for believers and skeptics to see that Jesus’s story is not simply a story — it’s truly, truly too good to be false.
JP Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and author of Scientism and Secularism:
This book is an absolute delight to read and it wonderfully fills a big hole in contemporary apologetics. While it revives an older argument that has dropped out of the contemporary scene, it updates and exposes that argument in a fresh way. Its brilliance lies in the approach of arguing for Jesus’ uniqueness and Deity based on what Jesus did not do. I have never approached the gospels in this way and, with Gilson’s guidance, I have come to love, respect, and worship Jesus with renewed vigor and insight. Honestly, this book must be in your library. I am grateful that it is available to a new generation who will be strengthened and equipped by its argumentation.
Josh McDowell, International Speaker and Best-Selling Author:
Too Good To Be False is almost too good to be true! This book takes a fresh look at the uniquely great character of Jesus, and finds in his greatness a new and compelling case for the truth of his story as presented in the Gospels. If you think there are no surprises left to be found in his life, prepare to be surprised yourself by this remarkable new book.
J.. Warner Wallace, Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology (Biola University) and Best-selling author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene and Forensic Faith:
In Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality, Tom Gilson examines the nature of Jesus and argues that the gospel descriptions of the Savior were too glorious, consistent, and unique to be the product of legendary embellishment. Too Good To Be False describes the incredible character and appeal of Jesus of Nazareth, even as it makes a refreshing case for Christianity.
Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor, Liberty University:
I may never before have made this comment in a recommendation, but this volume was a “fun read.” I enjoyed it! Don’t get me wrong — Gilson’s responses hit the skeptical objections at which he aimed time-and-again, including many of the major complaints lodged against Jesus’ story. Tom didn’t avoid head-on evaluations. But he did so in disarming ways that created a flowing narrative, revealing what made Jesus truly unique — doubtless the most influential life ever lived. Kudos!
Jeff Myers, author, president of Summit Ministries:
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 “invented” Jesus would have required a genius that no human possesses. Too Good to be False meaningfully contributes to the world’s apologetics library by affirming in a creative new way that Jesus was the most brilliant, loving, world-changing leader in history.
Paul Copan, author, professor, former president, Evangelical Philosophical Society:
Tom Gilson has written a splendid book that takes us on a wonderful journey to see Jesus with fresh eyes! Gilson distills for us a riveting picture of Christ’s virtuous character, his commanding authority, his rigorous intellect, and his beautiful selflessness. This book reveals just why this Man from Nazareth is both the compelling and incomparable historical figure that he is.
James Robison, Founder and Publisher, The Stream, Founder and President, LIFE Outreach International:
A senior editor for The Stream, Tom Gilson produces articles that are well-researched and inspiring. It’s no surprise that Too Good to Be False has these same qualities. If you have never thought much about the impeccable character of Jesus or need a fresh a reminder, you will be impacted by what Gilson shares in detail. As he writes, “The creator of our universe, Lord and King over all, unimaginably far beyond any of us in his holiness, greatness, and glory, loves us anyway, with a love far beyond our comprehension. He calls us his family; he calls us his friends.” In response, may we fall on our knees in awe of Him.
Sean McDowell, Author, Speaker, Professor:
With so many books on Jesus, how do you say something fresh? My friend Tom Gilson has figured it out. Too Good To Be False is an enjoyable read, well researched, and will challenge you to rethink some of your assumptions about Jesus.
Brad Mitchell, Pastor, The River Church, Liberty Township, Ohio:
Compelling — Insightful — Paradigm-shifting — Brilliant. My thinking and approach to apologetics as a Christ-follower and a pastor has been reoriented through Too Good to be False. More compelling than good ‘arguments’ are evidential reasons to believe in Jesus because of Jesus. I will be recommending this book to believers to strengthen their faith and embolden their witness AND to spiritual inquirers to lead them TO Jesus. Finally! A fresh, Biblical approach to apologetics!
Lydia McGrew, author of two major New Testament studies, and speaker:
In Too Good to Be False, Tom Gilson offers a fresh look at the argument for Christianity from the character of Jesus. Gilson’s thesis is similar to C. S. Lewis’s Liar, Lunatic, or Lord trilemma, but Gilson complements that argument in several ways. Too Good to Be False offers insights into Jesus’ less explicit claims for himself, based both upon what he does say and what he does not say.
Several of these were new to me. For example, I appreciated the point that, when Jesus says that he came to fulfill the law rather than to destroy it, he is attributing high authority to himself. Would any ordinary Jewish teacher imply that he has the power either to destroy or to fulfill the Mosaic law? Gilson also points out the unprecedented nature of the Gospels’ picture of Jesus as a man possessing vast, miraculous power but not using it to save himself from a shameful death. It is too easy to forget that this was hardly an ancient value, either Jewish or pagan, and it seems to have bewildered Jesus’ own disciples. Our own love of a powerful, self-sacrificing “Christ figure” is conditioned by the fact that Christianity lies behind our culture.
Skeptics, of course, deny that Jesus could do miracles, but Gilson asks how and why the evangelists came to put together these qualities and present the combination as an ideal if it were not true. He also illustrates that the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus’ character is unified across a variety of stories, which is evidence of their historicity. Too Good to Be False provides a welcome addition to the cumulative case for the truth of Christianity.
Judy Douglass, Author, Speaker, Encourager, Cru Women’s Resources, Office of the President
If you’ve ever dreamed of being a lawyer, an investigative reporter, or maybe a detective, or if you love to ask questions, you will love this book. Reading it was as though I were sitting with Tom Gilson, meeting this amazing Jesus all over again. We marveled at his love and his goodness. Jesus’ clever questions and brilliant responses, his leadership and humility all came alive. This book puts it all together: history, apologetics, a perfect character and unexpected humor. It offers insightful answers to hard questions, gives the skeptic some new ways to think about Jesus, and walks with me — and you — on a journey to let this Jesus live and love in and through us.
Jay Richards, Best-selling Author, Speaker, Research Assistant Professor, Catholic University of America, Executive Editor, The Stream
Tom Gilson is always a careful and patient apologist, taking the time to explore objections to the faith that others might dismiss. In this book, he argues persuasively that Jesus is a unique character in history. If you’re open-minded skeptic, Gilson makes a strong case you probably haven’t seen elsewhere. If you’re already a believer, he reveals truths that have been right there in the gospels all along, but you probably haven’t noticed.
Do you want to know the truth about Jesus? Then this is the book for you.
Gene Cornett, Teaching Elder, Bethany Place Baptist Church, North Chesterfield, Virginia
There’s an old quip about great sermons that goes like this, “How long did it take to prepare that sermon” The answer, “about 40 years.” Tom writes from the perspective of a wise sage whose has written for many years, honing his thinking against the relentless barbs of unbelievers. Too Good to Be True could only be written after that kind of legacy. But Tom doesn’t write only as a tactician with carefully reasoned responses to tough questions. Rather, this book does something that seems rare for a book by a Christian apologist: It provokes worship. It moves us in the direction of not just right answers and right actions, but right affections, it provokes us to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit to delight in the Lord Jesus himself! I’m grateful for this book and for what it will mean to those who will read it at my encouragement.
John Zmirak, author and fellow senior editor at The Stream:
Tom Gilson’s book made me think about the Bible in fresh new ways–and helped me to answer certain nagging difficulties I’ve always had that made me read it LESS than I should. Enthusiastically recommended!
“Engaging … exhilarating! … This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year.” — Lee Strobel
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