Discussion and Study Questions
Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?
Whether atheist, Muslim, Mormon, evangelical, spiritual-but-not-religious, “other,” or “none,” everyone seems to have an opinion about Jesus. For 2,000 years people have been making some radically different claims about Jesus of Nazareth—the most influential person to ever live. Today, it isn’t getting any easier. Every flimsy theory and “alternative fact” about Jesus refuses to die thanks to the internet.
Was Jesus just a larger-than-life legend? A regular rabbi with family troubles? Was he progressive? Conservative? Schizophrenic? Was he a zealous revolutionary? God in the flesh? Or just a really nice guy like your hippy neighbor?
Reintroducing Jesus: Uncovering Jesus of Nazareth in the Misinformation Age looks at the best historical information available to rediscover Jesus of Nazareth in a world full of noise.
"Regularly in our culture, people have remade Jesus into the person they want him to be—which most of the time bears little resemblance to the actual historical Jesus. This book offers a corrective. Steven clearly is familiar with the technical academic scholarship on these questions, but he is able to present the material in such a way that is simple—but not simplistic—and equally readable to a high school student or adult...
So, without reservation, I highly recommend this book for anyone working with youth of the high school or college level and, frankly, adults. In fact, I wish every Christian would read this clear and articulate book."
Dr. James Parker
Retired Professor of Worldview and Culture, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"[Reintroducing Jesus] offers a cleverly fresh introduction, or reintroduction, of Jesus through knocking down misconceptions that are often based upon false projections... It explores the identity of Jesus and how we can know this using both biblical and extra-biblical considerations. Winsomely and creatively, it dials in to who Jesus really was, and is, in ways that are illustrious, humorous, and at once, serious. The book is interesting and thought-provoking for the non-religious, the curious, as well as the studious."
Dr. Corey Miller
President of Ratio Christi, international apologetics campus ministry
Author of In Search of the Good Life: Through the Eyes of Aristotle, Maimonides, and Aquinas
"Steve masterfully weaves historic details about Christ’s life into this book that makes it an excellent, enjoyable read for the searching teenager, the challenging skeptic, and the well-read theologian. Steve’s theological insight and his lighthearted candor makes this an enjoyable, yet thought provoking, book that can serve as a text to a fascinating course or simply provide great insight for your study group."
Dr. James Smock
Head of School, Timothy Christian School, Piscataway, NJ
"This book is a relevant and concrete foundation needed during a time when everything is in question. Steven paints a compelling picture of who Jesus is and the life changing message that is portrayed. Steven’s own journey is the outline for this incredible imagery of truth, passion and humor that captures the reader’s attention. I work with teenagers who are getting bombarded with apathy, questions, doubts, and why do I even care who God is. This book will be a useful guide to help the skeptics and doubters in a simple and clear presentation."
Rev. Nathan Karcesky,
Senior Pastor, Journey Church, Conway, NH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction - The Big Question
PART I – How We Know About Jesus
Chapter 1 - Telephone Game Trauma
Hasn’t the New Testament changed over time?
Chapter 2 - Ready the Canon, Matey!
Did they get the right books in the New Testament? What about those other gospels?
Chapter 3 - Ancient Dead Dudes
What do ancient, non-Christian writers tell us about Jesus? Is he a pagan copycat?
Chapter 4 - Contradictions & Coincidences
Aren’t the Gospels riddled with contradictions? Is having four separate Gospels a liability or a benefit?
PART II – What We Know About Jesus
Chapter 5 - Creed (The Prequel)
What does the earliest information about Jesus tell us? What can we learn about Jesus from his brother?
Chapter 6 - The Absurdity of a Crucified God
Does the story of Jesus hold up to historical scrutiny? Why would the first Christians make this stuff up?
Chapter 7 - One Person, Two Natures, Many Confused People
How could Jesus possibly function as both a limited human and limitless God? Is the Trinity in the Bible and does it make sense?
Chapter 8 - God Complex, Literally
Did Jesus' first followers believe he was God—like really? Did Jesus' believe he was God—like really, really?
A Brief Intermission
PART III – What Jesus Taught
Chapter 9 - Spiritual But Not Religious
Was Jesus anti-religion? Was he tolerant of other faiths?
Chapter 10 - Politically Incorrect
Was Jesus concerned with politics? What is this kingdom he always talked about?
Chapter 11 - King of Creation or The Dude?
Was Jesus loving and compassionate or wrathful and judgmental?
Outro – What Another Empty Tomb Tells Us About Jesus