Have you ever wished you were articulate? Have you ever had one of those conversations about Christianity where it doesn’t quite come out right and then, lying in bed that night, you work out what you ‘should have said’? In chapters 7-9 Ayers is saying all the things I wish I’d said to all my friends. And he’s saying them a lot more articulately.
He addresses historicity queries (is Jesus made up? Is the Bible reliable?) and he dissects the common belief that Jesus is ‘just a good moral teacher’ by walking us through the famous ‘trilemma’ that Jesus can only be lunatic, evil or LORD (I simply love the C.S Lewis quote on p80, you may have heard it before but it’s gold). But what I really appreciate about these chapters is that Ayers fills in the outline. Let me explain what I mean…
The risk of apologetics (that is, defending Christianity against arguments such as ‘Jesus didn’t exist’, ‘science has disproved God’) is that we spend a lot of time outside the bible talking about what Christianity is not. This can leave us with just an outline of Jesus without filling in with what he was like and what he came to do. Ayers doesn’t make this mistake. After helpfully handling some common apologetic queries he starts ‘filling in Jesus’. He pulls out examples from history, from the bible, to show what kind of person Jesus was on earth – his character, teaching, fulfillment of prophecy and miracles.
The picture we are left with is no cartoon. It’s not the airbrushed or incomplete figure painted by today’s popular culture. It is thoughtful, poignant, winsome and accurate. And it is this – Jesus is nothing short of God incarnate, he is ‘naked God’.