Josh McDowell’s More than a Carpenter has been a staple of Christian apologetics since its first release in 1977 and had according to my 2001 copy sold well in excess of 10 million copies worldwide. Covering issues such as the textual evidence for the New Testament, arguments for the resurrection of Jesus, the transformation of the disciples and the classic argument that Jesus was either a liar, lunatic or Lord and concluding with McDowell’s personal testimony.
I don’t know who first popularised these apologetic arguments but I’ve certainly used a fair number of them myself, and would be familiar to anyone who has ever run an Alpha course. McDowell’s presentation is straightforward and sets to make a cumulative argument for the truth of Christianity. No single argument is decisive but put altogether it feels much more significant.
More than a Carpenter does its job as far as it goes, which isn’t all that far. No subject is treated in great depth and there are a number of objections that could be raised but this is simple book is not intended to offer a detailed case, but rather a simple, straightforward argument. I suspect many more angles are explored and dealt with in his well-known Evidence that demands a verdict books.
This edition certainly feels a little dated, the quoted experts from a century ago are trotted out with little context to establish their authority and many, if not all of them, would similarly have been willing to make the apologetic case for Christianity.
Still, for someone looking for an entry-level study in apologetics More than a Carpenter is a perfectly adequate place to start.