The Gospel Truth of Jesus by Tom Gilson

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The Gospel Truth Of Jesus

What Happens to Apologetics If We Add "Legend" to the Trilemma "Liar, Lunatic, or Lord"?

He did not leave us that option: he did not intend to." Thus C. S. Lewis closes out his famous "Trilemma" argument on the impossibility of Jesus being a great moral teacher and nothing more. The argument is beautiful in its simplicity: it calls for no deep familiarity with New Testament theology or history, only knowledge of the Gospels themselves, and some understanding of human nature. A man claiming to be God, says Lewis, could hardly be good unless he really was God. If Jesus was not the Lord, then (to borrow Josh McDowell's alliterative version of the argument), he must have been a liar or a lunatic.

The questions have changed since Lewis wrote that, though, and it's less common these days to hear Jesus honored as a great moral teacher by those who doubt his deity. Today's skepticism runs deeper than that. The skeptics' line now is that Jesus probably never claimed to be God at all, that the whole story of Jesus, or at least significant portions of it, is nothing more than legend.

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Tom Gilson is the National Field Director of Ratio Christi, a student apologetics alliance with a presence on over one hundred college campuses. He is the co-editor of True Reason: Responding to the Irrationality of the New Atheism (Kregel), and he writes the Thinking Christian blog at thinkingchristian.net, as well as the monthly "Worldview and You" column at BreakPoint.org. He, his wife Sara, and their two college-aged children live in Lebanon, Ohio, where Tom and Sara currently attend the Countryside Church of the Nazarene.

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more on C. S. Lewis from the online archives

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