This was my very first book. The men you see on the cover were all leading Christians in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1970s and early 1980s! We are still in touch with only two of them, who are still in Zimbabwe. One is Dr Rikki Decker (top right), a pastor in Greystone Park Church who also heads up a community project helping children at risk. The other is Dr Kevin Martin (third down on the left). He and Gill are still doing fine work in Marondera – Kevin practises medicine in difficult circumstances while Gill runs a small Christian school.
The 1970s and early 1980s was the era of the Charismatic Movement, when there was great excitement in the air because of the extraordinary events that were occurring, when the local newspapers reported on miracles in churches and other supernatural phenomena. I decided to investigate and write about some of these happenings.
I adopted an unusual approach in the book. I asked the readers to imagine themselves as members of a jury trying to evaluate whether Jesus Christ was still alive based on modern evidence alone. Each of these men I investigated led their own experiences as evidence. These included objective events such as answered prayers, healings, miracles, divine guidance, being set free from addictions, changed lives, speaking languages not learned by them previously (“speaking in tongues”), prophecies about future events in their lives that then happened, and other supernatural experiences. Each of these men would have been rated excellent witnesses in the legal system, so surely their testimony should be given the highest credence by readers. Because the ‘case’ is so unusual, I chose more than the standard number of reliable witnesses to prove it. But of course the evidence could be expanded today to millions of witnesses.
Legally speaking, it is relatively simple to prove that Jesus Christ is still alive and active in the modern world. Why is this not a cornerstone of Christianity today? Why can’t we put a similar trial on national TV to prove once and for all that Jesus is alive? I have tried to interest different Christian leaders in this approach and TV stations also – they have listened politely but have dismissed the concept. I am forced to conclude that a malign power more intelligent and influential than we are is blinding the church to this potential.
Instead, we have clever atheists attacking Christianity from a philosophical viewpoint, and Christians get sucked into the abyss of philosophical debate. Why don’t they realise a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with simply an argument? Recently on Australian TV Richard Dawkins was debated by a churchman proffering weak arguments which consequently lost him the debate. An opportunity to demonstrate the reality of Christ was also lost. I much prefer the approach of local pastor John Mellor, who when asked to present the case for Christianity at a World Religions Day at a school in Scotland began to call up people from the audience with maladies.He began to pray for them and the miracle healings began happening; it was case proven, and a mini-revival was the consequence.
What do you suggest can be done to remove Christian blindness on this topic??
I have a few copies of this title that I can mail (worldwide for A$30, Australiawide for $20). Just send me a cheque or money order. I’d be happy to inscribe the book with any message you may choose – you may wish to use it as a gift.