Too Good to be False: A Review of Tom Gilson’s New Book

“The heart cannot embrace what the mind cannot believe.” Corey Miller Ph.D.

If there were any time in history when both Christians and skeptics needed to see Jesus Christ through “new eyes”, it’s now.

Corey Miller, Ph.D., tells us in the Forward of Too Good to be False three reasons why we should read it: 

  1. To be enchanted (or re-enchanted) with the astonishing Jesus.
  2. To be confident rather than skeptical of who Jesus is by looking at why Jesus’ character reveals that he’s just too good to be false.
  3. Jesus has become easy to take for granted, and we want to overcome this.

Miller goes on to tell us that Jesus “is far too special to be ignored, or to be one option among many”.

Related: Soul: A Review

More Than a Historical Figure

Tom Gilson starts Too Good to be False by telling us that he began to see Jesus with new eyes when he launched a personal study on “what Jesus didn’t say, and what he didn’t do”.  This caught my attention as I’ve never pondered these things before.

Gilson states that his primary aim, in writing this book, was to show the believer “even more reasons to fall on your knees in wonder before Him”.  His secondary aim is to equip us to help others “see how Jesus makes more sense as truth than any kind of legend”.

So, do I think that Tom Gilson accomplished what he set out to do?  In a word – yes.

You would think that an undertaking of this magnitude would result in a book overflowing with terminology that would require having a large dictionary on hand but, surprisingly, that’s not the case.

The author took much care in presenting the material in such a way that both scholar and layperson – the average “joe” like me – would derive profound understanding from what was written.

Related: Dividing Sword: An Interview with the Author

Jesus’ Odd Leadership Style

One of the things that Gilson points out struck me right between the eyes, metaphorically speaking, of course.  He compared Jesus’ leadership style to that of the most influential leaders in history.

While reading Too Good to be False, I learned that in just about every instance Jesus’ reactions and responses when faced with questions, challenges, opposition and dilema were astonishingly contrary to what is taught and practiced anywhere in academic, political and business circles.

The author points out something that shouldn’t be true, but is: “We’re so used to Jesus, we can easily miss seeing what an outrageously massive mission he came to accomplish”.  Gilson goes on to say, “This movement was to be his from beginning to end, and it was to be global”.

Related: The Heart That Heals: A Review

Challenging the Skeptics

Gilson also challenges skeptics to take another look at Jesus before dismissing Him once and for all.  He does so without wagging the proverbial finger in their faces yet asks them to reconsider the term “faith” altogether, pointing out that “true faith starts with knowledge, not ignorance”.

There are dozens of phrases and quotes in Too Good to be False that I highlighted because of the impact and truth they had on my heart and mind – words that linger, that give me pause.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement and mouthing the word “wow” many times.  Yes, the book is that good.In the second part of the book, Gilson takes on the skeptics’ biggest reason for the rejection of the reality of Jesus as God in the flesh: the four Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  You’ll come away feeling better equipped with answers, just as I did.

The story of Jesus isn’t just a great story, but a story we can be confident is true.” Tom Gilson

While a number of theologians have done a fine job of explaining the harmony of the Gospels, Tom Gilson addresses specific objections to their reliability and leaves the reader with a greater understanding of why and how the four Gospels work together to tell the story of Jesus on Earth and form a complete picture of the incarnation of God and the redemption of man.

Check out this months Book Recommendations!

Jesus, Worthy to be Followed No Matter What?

In the third and final part of Too Good to be False, the author focuses on the meaning and purpose of faith when it comes to Jesus Christ’s claims to deity and Christianity’s insistence on the being the only religion providing the true way to God.

We’re faced with a challenge as the book comes to a close: Will we follow Christ no matter what? No matter what we face? No matter how many times we’re told we’re wrong? Even when our lives depend on it?

Along with final thoughts for teachers, pastors and leaders Tom Gilson closes the book with words of encouragement and provides resources for further investigation and a study guide that helps to bring the contents to a deeper level of understanding.

I was provided with an advance review copy of Too Good to be False in exchange for an honest review.

In my opinion, this book should be read by any Christian who seeks to have a greater understanding of the Jesus they claim to love. It should have a fixed placed on any believer’s bookshelf who endeavors to be a student of the Word. It should be one of the first books you think of when someone you know questions the outrageous claims of Jesus Christ.

Don’t just buy one copy. Buy several more to give away.

Any believer who reads Too Good to be False by Tom Gilson will come away with a renewed faith and a deeper love for their Lord. Any skeptic will come away doubting their own skepticism. And they’ll all say with me, “There’s no one at all like Jesus Christ”.


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