Book Review: Jesus Among Other Gods

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I am so grateful for the ministry of Ravi Zacharias.  I have had the privilege of hearing him teach several times and have read many things that he has written.  My favorite part of his story revolves around his questions about his faith.  He is so open and honest about the journey that he has been on since he was a little boy growing up in India who ended up coming to Christ as a young man.  One thing that has always set him apart in my mind is the way that he lovingly shares the gospel with people of all backgrounds and cultures.  He realizes that faith in Jesus can be so far from what a person grew up with.  He is thoughtful, caring, and laser-focused on absolute truth shared with grace and mercy.  He is extremely wise while still being humble.  And, he would tell you that his number one goal is to get out of the way and let God move.

One of the first books I read in 2016 was Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias.  This book is partially Ravi’s own testimony and partially an apologetic resource for those desiring to point out what differentiates Jesus from the other gods in our culture.  This book is a fairly easy read…especially if you can read it in your head while hearing Ravi’s awesome accent along with his warm smile!  I highlighted several things while reading and posted those notes below…

  • To deem all beliefs equally true is sheer nonsense for the simple reason that to deny that statement would also, then, be true. But if the denial of the statement is also true, then all religions are not true.
  • All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true. Some beliefs are false, and we know them to be false. So it does no good to put a halo on the notion of tolerance as if everything.
  • I find myself torn out of love for the truth and the cost of candor.
  • I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to Him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny. I came amid the thunderous cries of a culture that has three hundred and thirty million deities. I remain with Him knowing that truth cannot be all-inclusive. Truth by definition excludes.
  • The moment of opportunity is built on hours of preparation.
  • Our intellect is not intended to be an end in itself, but only a means to the very mind of God.
  • Jesus reversed the process. He told us that the only way we could understand who we are is to cast our gaze not on the equation that binds it all together, but on the relationship toward which we move in the sum total of our being.
  • All of the privileges of birth and possession become destructive when they are unhinged from our Creator’s moorings.
  • Where does Jesus live? Come to Christ and see what it means to live.
  • Long before our modern skeptics demanded evidence, the most religiously minded of their day came to Jesus and asked, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (John 2:18).
  • A true defense of any claim must also deal with the evidences that challenge or contradict it. In other words, truth is not only a matter of offense, in that it makes certain assertions. It is also a matter of defense, in that it must be able to make a cogent and sensible response to the counterpoints that are raised.
  • Sometimes religion can be the greatest roadblock to true spirituality.
  • In its essence, faith is a confidence in the person of Jesus Christ and in His power, so that even when His power does not serve my end, my confidence in Him remains because of who He is.
  • King David said long ago in his psalms of praise to God, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).
  • Faith in Jesus Christ is a cognitive, passionate, and moral commitment to that which stands up under the scrutiny of the mind, the heart, and the conscience. It is not an escapist grasp that comes to the rescue when life is out of control. It is recasting every threat and possibility that life presents into the design of God.
  • Does any one of us live every minute of life, knowing its essential worth?
  • What oxygen is to the body, the Bread of Life is to the soul. Without that bread, all other hungers will be improperly perceived. In fact, in like manner, the absence of that bread over a prolonged period makes the bread itself seem worthless. Life is meant to be lived with the fulfillment of the one need that defines all other means of fulfillment and the one love that defines all other loves.
  • Worship is a posture of life that takes as its primary purpose the understanding of what it really means to love and revere God.
  • To this very day, the Christian sits down with his or her fellow believers and shares in the broken bread and the cup. In that simple transaction, all of history finds its meaning in the person of Christ.
  • The holiness of God is like light in a dark world. Just as the coming of dawn exposes the thoughts or deeds of the night before and often leaves a sickening feeling of wrong, so holiness discloses what light itself is—the source of discovering and liberating what the lie has ensnared.
  • When one comes to grips with the story of God’s plan and purpose born out of His holy and pure character, both good and evil speak within its context. Without God, there is no story, and nothing makes sense.
  • God has a script. He has spoken of it in His Scriptures. Finding the script moves us closer to solving the mystery.
  • Only when holiness and worship meet can evil be conquered. For that, only the Christian message has the answer.
  • Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).
  • “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).
  •  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:20–21)  The Bible also says that “in the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1–2).
  • But as for you, continue in what you have learned . . . and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:14–17)
  • The world will try to interpret truth by its wits. The Christian interprets truth by His Word—and by His silence.
  • Once they understood the purpose and the means of His death, it became the riveting truth of the gospel they preached with unshakable conviction. The apostle Paul said, “We preach Christ crucified . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23–24). He went on to add, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
  • He came to lay down His life so that the very ones who killed Him, who represented all of us, could be forgiven because of the price that He paid in the hell of a world that does not recognize His voice.

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