The following is a review by Barton Priebe of Radical Hope: Resurrection Faith in a Hurting World” authored by Chris Price.
I read Christian books for at least three reasons: 1) to grow in my own Christian life 2) to grow as a pastor by borrowing key thoughts and illustrations from good authors 3) to find books that I can give away to others, particularly ones that tackle big subjects but at a popular level. I’m happy when I find books that accomplish the first and second reasons but am thrilled when I read something that achieves all three. For me, Radical Hope, did the latter.
Price’s book looks at the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and shows how the resurrection provides us with a hope that reaches to every part of our existence. The following provides, in Price’s words, a sampling of objections that Radical Hope addresses:
- “Don’t you know that dead people stay dead?”
- “Do we even know if Jesus actually existed?”
- “The evidence against a resurrection will always be greater than the evidence for a resurrection.”
- “Science has convincingly shown us that the resurrection is a primitive belief that is no longer sustainable in the face of modern knowledge.”
- “Jesus is a historical figure, and by all accounts I am sure he was an interesting guy, but all of those stories about miracles and a resurrection from the dead are later legends that developed over time. Jesus would probably roll over in his grave if he heard that people were claiming he arose out of his grave.”
- “The resurrection of Jesus is just borrowed from pagan mythology. The first Christians were just copycats.”
I deeply appreciated this book for the following reasons:
First, Radical Hope is short. At just over a hundred pages, Price manages to address most of the major objections to the resurrection and does so in a convincing fashion. This also makes it a perfect book to give to others, particularly those interested in investigating Christianity.
Second, Radical Hope is easy to read. Price’s style is very conversational and includes many good stories and illustrations. He ranges from talking about zombie apocalypses, lunar landing conspiracies, and mockumentaries like Religulous, to stories about his own personal conversion and how weird a pastor’s job can be when asked to deal with a “haunted house.” Furthermore, Price writes in a way that deals with doubts in an honest manner and logically walks the reader through their skepticism toward belief in the resurrection.
Third, while short and easy to read, Radical Hope is not shallow. To the contrary, this book is intellectually satisfying in that Price is continually interacting with some of the top scholars and critics of the resurrection like Gary Habermas, Bart Erhman, Peter Kreeft, William Lane Craig, C.S. Lewis, Bertrand Russell, N.T. Wright, Antony Flew, and David Hume. Drawing from these scholars, Price persuasively addresses each major objection to the resurrection.
Finally, Radical Hope connects the resurrection to real life. In the final chapter, Price emphasizes the great hope that Jesus’ resurrection provides and writes, quite movingly at times, about how the resurrection of Jesus has conquered death and how, through Christ, God is in the process of renewing all things. While I enjoyed this chapter immensely, I did find myself wanting to hear more about the difference the resurrection makes. That being said, this book accomplishes what it sets out to do; namely, to deal with the major objections to the resurrection and show how it provides hope in a hurting world.
If you are looking for a popular level treatment of the resurrection of Jesus Christ – one that will cause you to grow in your own understanding as well as one you can feel good about giving away to non-Christians – then I commend Radical Hope to you.