Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A superb evangelistic resource

Some weeks ago an Australian friend of mine sent me a copy of The Christ Files, a DVD set based on the book of the same name by Dr John Dickson.

I must admit to having left it to one side (not least because of the wedding), but in an idle moment yesterday stuck it in my computer DVD player.

Rarely have I been so pleasantly surprised. The Christ Files is not a mere imitation of 'religion debunking' TV specials (although it clearly sets out to put something up against them). It is a superb two disc resource.

The first disc contains the four main 'programmes': 'Gnostics and Romans', 'Jews and Christians', 'Lost Sources and Oral Traditions', 'Archaelogists and Artefacts'. The production values are superb, and these alone would give any serious inquirer (or even a brash opponent) something to think about. The great highlight of these programmes are the interviews with leading scholars:
Richard Bauckham, Marcus Bockmuehl, James Charlesworth, James Dunn, Sean Freyne, Martin Hengel, Alanna Nobbs, Adolfo Roitman, Peter Stuhlmacher, Christopher Tuckett and Tom Wright. These I found fascinating.

But then the second disc contains what people like myself really want in addition to the main programmes which is the extended interviews with these scholars.

'Evidentialist' evangelism seems to have gone out of favour in recent years - yet the world seems to have regained its interest in evidentialism, not least through people like Richard Dawkins dismissing religion in favour of 'the facts'. This DVD is a great resource to use with people who want factual reasons to believe.

You can view the promotional material, including selected clips of the interviews here.

This is Tom Wright being interviewed.

The DVD is not yet available directly in the UK as far as I am aware, but The Good Book Company are planning to stock it soon.

If I could have one to give to every house in the parish, I'd do it.

John Richardson
27 August 2008

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  1. Thanks for the post John, I'm always on the lookout for good resources and this looks very useful.

    Regarding your comments about evidentialist evangelism; I suspect this is because of an over reaction to the post modernism agenda and a rejection of presenting truth in factual/propositional terms. As someone brought up in the 1970's on books like Evidence That Demands a Verdict and C S Lewis' Mere Christianity I have always appreciated the value of giving a reasoned account of the faith that is in us. I have been concerned that many seem to have thrown the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to apologetics. I have always been encouraged by the willingness of people to discuss and consider the evidential basis for Christianity provided they have space to explore and challenge.

    What is interesting about Dawkins is that many people, including some who would describe themselves as atheists, reject his polemic precisely because he seems to run from the facts when it comes to describing religion in general and Christianity in particular.

    Other resources I have found useful include BBC's Son of God series; Melvyn Bragg's ITV series Two Thousand Years; Tom Wright's Living Faith and The Bible Society's Who wrote the New Testament.

  2. Have you tried out W L Craig's 'Reasonable Faith' website? - lots of videos of debates with atheists, mp3 talks, papers etc.

    Also, covers similar ground.

  3. Looks like a good DVD and maybe a resource for Evangelicals to ground themselves on and unite. I still have to laugh about how Evengelicals have split themselves into sub groups. Men are so good at messing everything up. Still, once this DVD is available in the UK, it should be a very positive resource to be used by all Christians.

    Steve Hearn
    Langdon Hills

  4. I also have enjoyed these -- and am planning on using them in various study groups as they are a good length.

    I got my copy sent over from Australia using their credit card option on

    It arrived in two weeks - and would have been even faster if they had filled out the Customs form with more than "DVD", It was marked as having been "opened and viewed because the contents were undeclared". The officer expecting porn must have got a surprise!

    Anyway I let them know so that the next person would get it faster

    New Zealand