More Than a Carpenter

More Than a Carpenter

by Josh D. McDowell, Sean McDowell


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The inspirational classic, More than a Carpenter, is now updated for a new generation of seekers with a fresh look, revised material, and a new chapter that addresses questions commonly raised today. Former skeptic Josh McDowell is now joined by his son Sean as they examine the evidence about Jesus. Is he really the Lord he claimed to be? How can we know for sure? More than a Carpenter offers arguments for faith from a skeptic turned believer. Since its original publication in 1977, this modern classic has sold over 15 million copies, been translated into dozens of languages, and introduced countless people to the real Jesus. Now with new content that addresses questions raised by today’s popular atheist writers. Audio edition read by Sean McDowell.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414326276
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 05/20/2009
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 25,784
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

More Than a Carpenter

By josh mcdowell sean mcdowell
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Josh McDowell Ministry and Sean McDowell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-2627-6

Chapter One My Story

Thirteenth-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas writes: "There is within every soul a thirst for happiness and meaning." I first began to feel this thirst when I was a teenager. I wanted to be happy. I wanted my life to have meaning. I became hounded by those three basic questions that haunt every human life: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? I wanted answers, so as a young student, I started searching for them.

Where I was brought up, everyone seemed to be into religion, so I thought I might find my answers in being religious. I got into church 150 percent. I went every time the doors opened-morning, afternoon, or evening. But I must have picked the wrong church because I felt worse inside it than I did outside. From my upbringing on a farm in Michigan I inherited a rural practicality that says when something doesn't work, get rid of it. So I chucked religion.

Then I thought that education might have the answers to my quest for meaning, so I enrolled in a university. I soon became the most unpopular student among the professors. I would buttonhole them in their offices and badger them for answers to my questions. When they saw me coming, they would turn out the lights, pull down the shades, and lock their doors. You can learn many things at a university, but I didn't find the answers I was seeking. Faculty members and my fellow students had just as many problems, frustrations, and unanswered questions as I did.

One day on campus I saw a student wearing a T-shirt that read, "Don't follow me, I'm lost." That's how everyone in the university seemed to me. Education, I decided, was not the answer.

I began to think maybe I could find happiness and meaning in prestige. I would find a noble cause, dedicate myself to it, and in the process, become well known on campus. The people with the most prestige in the university were the student leaders, who also controlled the purse strings. So I got elected to various student offices. It was a heady experience to know everyone on campus, to make important decisions, to spend the university's money getting the speakers I wanted and the students' money for throwing parties.

But the thrill of prestige wore off like everything else I had tried. I would wake up on Monday morning, usually with a headache because of the night before, dreading to face another five miserable days. I endured Monday through Friday, living only for the partying nights of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then on Monday the meaningless cycle would begin all over again.

I didn't let on that my life was meaningless; I was too proud for that. Everyone thought I was the happiest man on campus. They never suspected that my happiness was a sham. It depended on my circumstances. If things were going great for me, I felt great. When things were going lousy, I felt lousy. I just didn't let it show.

I was like a boat out in the ocean, tossed back and forth by the waves. I had no rudder-no direction or control. But I couldn't find anyone living any other way. I couldn't find anyone who could tell me how to live differently. I was frustrated. No, it was worse than that. There's a strong term that describes the life I was living: hell.

About that time I noticed a small group of people-eight students and two faculty members-who seemed different from the others. They seemed to know who they were and where they were going. And they had convictions. It is refreshing to find people with convictions, and I like to be around them. I admire people who believe in something and take a stand for it, even if I don't agree with their beliefs.

It was clear to me that these people had something I didn't have. They were disgustingly happy. And their happiness didn't ride up and down with the circumstances of university life; it was constant. They appeared to possess an inner source of joy, and I wondered where it came from.

Something else about these people caught my attention-their attitudes and actions toward each other. They genuinely loved each other-and not only each other, but the people outside their group as well. And I don't mean they just talked about love; they got involved in people's lives, helping them with their needs and problems. It was all totally foreign to me, yet I was strongly attracted to it.

Like most people, when I see something I want but don't have, I start trying to figure out a way to get it. So I decided to make friends with these intriguing people.

A couple of weeks later I sat around a table in the student union talking to some of the members of this group. The conversation turned to the topic of God. I was pretty skeptical and insecure about this subject, so I put on a big front. I leaned back in my chair, acting as if I couldn't care less.

"Christianity, ha!" I blustered. "That's for unthinking weaklings, not intellectuals." Of course, under all the bluster I really wanted what these people had, but my pride didn't want them to know the aching urgency of my need. The subject bothered me, but I couldn't let go of it. So I turned to one of the students, a good-looking woman (I used to think all Christians were ugly), and I said, "Tell me, why are you so different from all the other students and faculty on this campus? What changed your life?"

Without hesitation or embarrassment she looked me straight in the eye, deadly serious, and uttered two words I never expected to hear in an intelligent discussion on a university campus: "Jesus Christ."

"Jesus Christ?" I snapped. "Oh, for God's sake, don't give me that kind of garbage. I'm fed up with religion. I'm fed up with the church. I'm fed up with the Bible."

Immediately she shot back, "I didn't say religion, I said Jesus Christ!" She pointed out something I had never known: Christianity is not a religion. Religion is humans trying to work their way to God through good works. Christianity is God coming to men and women through Jesus Christ.

I wasn't buying it. Not for a minute. Taken aback by the young woman's courage and conviction, I apologized for my attitude. "But I'm sick and tired of religion and religious people," I explained. "I don't want anything to do with them."

Then my new friends issued a challenge I couldn't believe. They challenged me to make a rigorous, intellectual examination of the claims of Jesus Christ-that he is God's Son; that he inhabited a human body and lived among real men and women; that he died on the cross for the sins of humanity; that he was buried and was resurrected three days later; and that he is still alive and can change a person's life even today.

I thought this challenge was a joke. Everyone with any sense knew that Christianity was based on a myth. I thought that only a walking idiot could believe the myth that Christ came back from the dead. I used to wait for Christians to speak out in the classroom so I could tear them up one side and down the other. I thought that if a Christian had a brain cell, it would die of loneliness.

But I accepted my friends' challenge, mostly out of spite to prove them wrong. I was convinced the Christian story would not stand up to evidence. I was a prelaw student, and I knew something about evidence. I would investigate the claims of Christianity thoroughly and come back and knock the props out from under their sham religion.

I decided to start with the Bible. I knew that if I could uncover indisputable evidence that the Bible is an unreliable record, the whole of Christianity would crumble. Sure, Christians could show me that their own book said Christ was born of a virgin, that he performed miracles, and that he rose from the dead. But what good was that? If I could show that the Bible was historically untrustworthy, then I could show What Do You Think? How would you define religion? that Christianity was a fantasy made up by wishful religious dreamers.

I took the challenge seriously. I spent months in research. I even dropped out of school for a time to study in the historically rich libraries of Europe. And I found evidence. Evidence in abundance. Evidence I would not have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes. Finally I could come to only one conclusion: If I were to remain intellectually honest, I had to admit that the Old and New Testament documents were some of the most reliable writings in all of antiquity. And if they were reliable, what about this man Jesus, whom I had dismissed as a mere carpenter in an out-of-the-way town in a tiny oppressed country, a man who had gotten caught up in his own visions of grandeur?

I had to admit that Jesus Christ was more than a carpenter. He was all he claimed to be.

Not only did my research turn me around intellectually, but it also answered the three questions that started me on my quest for happiness and meaning. But as Paul Harvey says, that's the "rest of the story." I will tell you all about that at the end of this book. First, I want to share with you the core of what I learned in my months of research so that you, too, may see that Christianity is not a myth, not the fantasy of wishful dreamers, not a hoax played on the simpleminded. It is rock-solid truth. And I guarantee that when you come to terms with that truth, you will be on the threshold of finding the answers to those three questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my destiny?


Excerpted from More Than a Carpenter by josh mcdowell sean mcdowell Copyright © 2009 by Josh McDowell Ministry and Sean McDowell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents Preface....................ix
1. My Story....................1
2. What Makes Jesus So Different?....................9
3. Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?....................27
4. What about Science?....................41
5. The Challenge of the New Atheism....................45
6. Are the Bible Records Reliable?....................63
7. Who Would Die for a Lie?....................89
8. What Good Is a Dead Messiah?....................105
9. Did You Hear What Happened to Saul?....................113
10. Can You Keep a Good Man Down?....................125
11. Will the Real Messiah Please Stand Up?....................141
12. Isn't There Some Other Way?....................151
13. He Changed My Life....................159
About the Authors....................179

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More Than a Carpenter 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend this well written book by a great author. Whether you are a Christian or a sceptic, Josh McDowell makes some points that make you really think about your belief - or lack of belief. Even though I'm a Christian, I felt closer to Jesus than ever before after reading Josh McDowell's book. The book is deep - and at times I had to go back and re-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Comprehensive, sound and thought provoking. It's beautiful and compeling. Presents the facts and leaves the rest to the reader. What will you decide?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"more thean a carpenter" is a small and inexpenive book and gives proof of the reserection of Jesus Christ. the arthur josh mcdowell was an atheist and set out to prove christianity wrong and ended up from his research proving the reserection of Jesus christ to be factual. this little bestseller presents some simple facts such as many witness`s that were there and the fasinating facts about the empty tomb and other presentations that the writer has reserched and documented to prove the reserection of christ and challenge the critics. this book has been up dated. great gift idea for a friend or family member. or Bible study.
Dfredette 7 months ago
This book is now added to my short list of favorites. This book is for everyone. It is full of factual, logical evidence that clearly explains the reasons why Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection are irrefutable. It is will written and not at all pushy. I wish everyone in the world would take the time to read this book. It will surely change people's lives for the better!
71Bookbabe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book presents logical arguements for Christ, His life, His works, and the validity of His claims.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago, before the update. I was captivated by the title, More Than a Carpenter. I knew from the title that it was about Jesus. I was prompted to buy it and of course I read it and my heart was warmed by what I read. It confirmed what I knew about our Lord, and encouraged my mind and my thinking. I was reading another book about Jesus, and my mind went to this book. So, I bought the updated version. I just completed it. It reaffirmed for me all that I knew and have read in God's Word. I recommend this book for all who have an inkling about Jesus, yet want and need to know more. It finds no fault, just presents the facts and the evidence. Please don't hesistate. Buy it now!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
My husband was an agnostic who had turned away from Christ....until he read this book. Shortly after finishing this amazing book, he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. This book is simple to read, straightforward in its approach, and unbelievably powerful. I challenge anyone to read this book and NOT be convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. If you are interested in facts and 'proof', please read this. It will change your life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Back in my junior college days, I read this book in my IVCF group. It was a fun, easy read. McDowell examines the person of Jesus, concluding that he is God incarnate. This conclusion is based on scriptual data, both from the OT and NT. The fact that Jesus did miracles, forgave sins, claimed to be God, and was resurrected from the dead are all evidence of his divinity. This makes Jesus different from other religious leaders of the world and thus superior and worthy of worship. This is an important book. It's frequently cited as the book that 'turned people on to Jesus' it also influenced other apologists as they wrote books in defence of Jesus and His resurrection. Although McDowells's book is a little dated, it's a good place to begin to learn about Jesus, as well as the scriptual data used to argue for a divine Jesus. Also recommended 'Jesus: Two Visions' by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
More Than a Carpenter Author: Josh McDowell This book is mainly about the Christian faith. The author talks about his understanding of some scriptures and convinces the reader that Jesus really did exist without `shoving religion down our throats.¿ While some authors just try to prove it to you, Josh shows you the facts and lets you decide if what you see if what you choose to believe. I think Josh wrote and excellent book. Well I guess I should just start off by thanking good ole Josh for writing such an understandable book. The words he was written in the pages have heavy meanings and can sway your thoughts about Jesus. He is a very convincing writer and uses good word choice to make his points clear. He doesn¿t `beat around the bush¿ and go off topic, he gets straight to the point, which is a nice change from the normal writing styles. Now all though he was straight to the point, it eventually turned repetitive. I always look for the author¿s opinion when I am reading. It helps me understand the book¿s purpose. He lays out the facts but doesn¿t give his own thoughts. Facts are nice but the truth is, if I wanted any more facts¿I would be reading the BIBLE. I want to end this with a good word so here it is, I enjoyed the book and hope you all read it, everyone can learn something from it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read Josh McDowell¿s 'More Than A Carpenter' when I was a freshman in college. Someone had given me the book, and although I was already a committed Christian, it literally blew me away with the simultaneous simplicity and depth of its arguments on behalf of Jesus Christ. Like a prosecutor laying out his case, McDowell presents a series of facts about Jesus of Nazareth and attempts to uncover the truth about his life. Jesus claimed to be God himself. So either Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. McDowell performs brilliantly in putting forward his case that Jesus was and is Lord. Few books better illustrate that believing in Christ is NOT a matter of 'blind faith', but rather part of an intellectual exercise. Faith is a matter of believing in and trusting in the facts that are presented. (i.e., Are the words of Jesus trustworthy?) For most objective readers of McDowell¿s book, the answer will be a resounding yes... >>> Britt Gillette Author of 'Conquest of Paradise: An End-Times Nano-Thriller'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've ever read. The author's writing is educated and informative. He leaves nothing to speculation, and debunks some of the currently popular lies about Christianity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book about two years after becoming a Christian. Mcdowell has a way of writing in everyday words, but doesn't waste time - every sentence has solid useful information. A person could probably read this book in 45 minutes, but there is so much that if you read the book 100 times, you would still learn something new each time. A must-read for anybody, regardless of your level of Bible knowledge.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up in a Christian home, but did not really 'own' my beliefs until I read 'More Than a Carpenter' during my sophomore year in college. It changed my life. This well-written, engaging, enlightening book gave simple but solid evidence of the Bible's reliability, Christ's identity and my purpose on this planet as a child of God. There is not a Christian, skeptic or other that would not benefit from reading this book. It takes guts to question what you believe, and this book's evidence for the truth of Christianity is impenetrable.