Evidence That Demands A Verdict Redux: An Interview with Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell

by Jonathan Petersen

In the 45 years since its first publication, what new historical documentation, archaeological discoveries, and scholarship evidence would lead to the updating and extensive expansion of this one million-copy Christian apologetic bestseller?

Bible Gateway interviewed Josh McDowell (@josh_mcdowell) and his son Dr. Sean McDowell (@Sean_McDowell) about their book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World (Thomas Nelson, 2017).

Why was a new edition needed for today? How has our culture changed—and how have the questions changed—since Evidence That Demands a Verdict was first published 40 years ago?

Josh McDowell: Great question! When I began speaking on college campuses in the 1960s there was a general commitment that truth could be found. But now people question the very existence and knowability of truth. There’s also an assumption in the minds of many people that Christianity itself is bad and that Christians are bigots. Thus, before we can persuade people with the evidence that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), we need to first address some of these misconceptions, which we do in the introductory chapter of the book.

Why is this book still important and relevant?

Josh McDowell: Two main reasons come to mind. First, young Christians are getting barraged with tough questions about the faith at earlier rates than previous generations. As a result, many either compartmentalize their faith or abandon it entirely. If we want young people to hold firm to their faith in our increasingly secular culture, they need solid reasons. Second, non-believers have genuine questions about God, the Bible, and Jesus. It’s critical in our evangelism that we be ready with an answer “for the hope within” (1 Peter 3:15).

What are some of the new questions you answer in your book?

Sean McDowell: The updated version of Evidence That Demands a Verdict still has some of the classic chapters on evidence for the resurrection, the deity of Christ, and the reliability of the Bible. But we’ve included responses to some of the most common objections against these claims that have arisen over the past couple decades. For instance, there’s a new chapter on the claim that Christianity is a copycat religion. We have also added a chapter responding to the claim that there are “lost” Gospels that should be in the Bible. We also included chapters on the evidence for the historical Adam, the exodus, and much more. And given his worldwide influence, we included an appendix responding to the claims of Bart Ehrman…

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