Michael Green is a well respected preacher, author and evangelist, with lots of experience in apologetics. This book came highly recommended to me several years ago when it was published, but I've only just got around to reading it. Despite the delay, it was well worth a read.
In Lies, Lies, LiesGreen seeks to expose the myths about the real Jesus. He seeks to address some of the regular myths and fallacies floating around in popular culture, in order to help people discover the historical Jesus. It's a vital work, because 'every now and again it is time to break the silence' and answer the objections. Looking at society, he identifies the problem that civilisation is collapsing around us by rejecting Jesus and his truth. This spurs him on: 'This book is written in the conviction that the person and teaching of Jesus offers the most realistic hope for human destiny, both personal and collective. That is why, in what follows, I have tried to peel away layers of untruth and misunderstanding that keep many from considering his claims and recognizing his worth.'
The first chapter serves as an introduction to Jesus, explaining what a gospel is, and how we find out about Jesus in them. He helpfully shows that each of the gospel writers declare unambiguously that Jesus is divine - a very early belief - as well as in the three ways that Jesus claims divinity: he forgives sins, accepts worship and has the right to judge. Each of these are powers reserved for God, but claimed by Jesus. As Green comments, these are 'totally crazy claims - unless they were true.'
In the rest of the book, Green tackles some of the common statements being bandied around: 'Scholars are discovering a very different Jesus'; 'Jesus had a fling with Mary Magdalene'; 'Jesus? He's just a myth'; 'The New Testament manuscripts are unreliable'; 'The New Testament story is incredible'; 'Jesus never really went to the cross'; 'Jesus did not rise from the dead - his tomb has been found'; 'Jesus did not rise from the dead - there's no evidence'; 'Nobody thought Jesus divine until the fourth century'; and 'The "New" Testament is evil'.
Quite a lot of the focus is on Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and all the nonsense claims that are perpetuated in that work of fiction. However, he also discusses the claims of Islam about Jesus; as well as the tomb of Jesus' family which was supposedly found in Jerusalem. There are lots of pages which deal with the Gnostic 'gospels' which demonstrates the unreliability of them. Each of the chapters is carefully researched with the appropriate material explained.
The interested skeptic will find lots to consider here, as will the ordinary Christian seeking to help their friends to discover the real Jesus amongst the many alternative protrayals. It will also be a useful addition for a pastor's library when dealing with those issues in sermons, apologetics series, or with enquirers. Lies Lies Lies is available from Amazon (Kindle) and ThinkIVP (ebook - cheapest!).