‘Evidence’ That Demands a Refund (2001)
Jeffery Jay Lowder
The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999, ISBN 0785242198), pp. xvi+760.
According to the cover of New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, volumes I and II of Evidence That Demands a Verdict have been “fully updated in one volume to answer questions challenging Christians in the 21st Century.” However, with all the charity in the world, I can’t imagine how that statement could possibly be true. Many readers will recognize me as the editor of a comprehensive Internet rebuttal to Volume I of McDowell’s Evidence. Yet McDowell completely ignored our criticisms in his “fully updated” New Evidence. This cannot be due to ignorance. I have personally tried to correspond with Mr. McDowell twice; each time I received no acknowledgement. Likewise, I know that many Christians have urged McDowell to respond to our critique, for they have written me telling me so! Clearly, McDowell has no obligation whatsoever to communicate with me or to answer our critique. But he cannot claim that his book has been “fully updated” when he ignores a direct and comprehensive rebuttal to it.
Likewise, I expected McDowell to include a direct rebuttal to the major claims of the Jesus Seminar, but all I found was one brief chapter–a mere 11 pages–that was too brief to be of any real use to anyone. Even if the intended audience for McDowell’s book were only committed Christians, this is still somewhat puzzling. Even Christians might want direct answers to the specific historical claims of the Jesus Seminar. If I were a Christian, I would expect to find such information in McDowell’s book and would be disappointed when I realized it was missing.
In short, I don’t think this book accomplishes what it claims to do. And I can think of better books, written from an Evangelical perspective, which do accomplish those same aims. Even if I were an Evangelical, I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.