Published on November 25, 2021 by Eugene Ho

Baker Books, 2012 | 240 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Jenny-Lyn de Klerk


Table of Contents

Introduction: Historic Christianity’s Dangerous Ideas

Dangerous Idea #1: Not All Dead Men Stay Dead
1. Easter Hope
2. Objections Examined

Dangerous Idea #2: God Walked the Earth
3. Religious Pluralism and God in the Flesh
4. Explanations for Christ’s Life

Dangerous Idea #3: A Fine-Tuned Cosmos with a Beginning
5. Cosmology and Creation Out of Nothing
6. Divine Providence and the Emergence of Science

Dangerous Idea #4: Clear Pointers to God
7. The Explanatory Power of Atheism versus Christian Theism
8. More Signposts to the Almighty

Dangerous Idea #5: Not by Works
9. Moral Goodness and the Human Condition
10. God to the Rescue

Dangerous Idea #6: Humanity’s Value and Dignity
11. Secular Humanism and the Imago Dei
12. How Human Beings Differ

Dangerous Idea #7: The Good in Suffering
13. Squaring Evil with God’s Goodness
14. God’s Good Purposes for Evil and Suffering



In 7 Truths that Changed the World, Samples aims to defend Christianity’s core truth claims (Jesus’ resurrection, the incarnation, creation, the existence of God, salvation by grace, the imago dei, and good coming out of evil). He does this by showing how that which is seen as dangerous because it is harmful, is rather dangerous because it revolutionizes the purpose and meaning of life. Each chapter ends with suggested reading and discussion questions.




Introduction: Historic Christianity’s Dangerous Ideas

Samples divides his book by seven dangerous truths of Christianity, namely:

  1. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is the best explanation for the facts surrounding his death (the most dangerous idea)
  2. The incarnation is the best explanation for Jesus’ life (the most distinctive dangerous idea)
  3. God’s creation of the world ex nihilo is the best explanation for the fine-tuning of creation (the most far-reaching dangerous idea)
  4. God’s existence is the best explanation for all aspects of life (the most comprehensive dangerous idea)
  5. Salvation is by grace through faith instead of inherent goodness or good works (the most hopeful dangerous idea)
  6. The sanctity of human life as based on imago dei, instead of humans as merely animals (the most humanitarian dangerous idea)
  7. God has a good reason to allow suffering (the most comforting dangerous idea)


Dangerous Idea #1: Not All Dead Men Stay Dead

Chapter 1: Easter Hope

Samples proves that Jesus’ bodily resurrection is the best explanation for the facts surrounding his death.

Though many claim to be naturalists, they do not want to face the final conclusions of such a worldview, namely, that death is the end of all life and one day everything will cease to exist. People fear death because it is certain, unknowable, is done alone, takes us away from those we love, ends our dreams, and leads to non-existence.

Christianity’s most foundational truth claim is that Jesus rose from the dead. The gospel accounts report that Jesus was arrested, deemed guilty, sentenced to execution, beaten, crucified, and buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, closed by a boulder and attended to by guards. Three days later there was an earthquake and an angel of the Lord rolled the stone away, which scared the guards. Some women who had followed Jesus during his ministry found the empty tomb and encountered the angel. Later, Jesus’ disciples saw the empty tomb. The risen Christ appeared to many people as a physical person who could eat and drink and be seen and touched.

The evidence that supports Jesus’ resurrection is: the tomb was empty, Jesus appeared to many after his death, there was a short amount of time between the events and written accounts, the apostles were personally transformed, the church grew rapidly, and the day of worship was changed to Sunday.

First, the empty tomb was attested to by early creedal statements (that predated New Testament documents), accounts of Jesus’ burial come from multiple sources (that were independent and did not make exaggerations), the people mentioned in the accounts existed, and the women witnesses show that the Gospel writers were not trying to create a plausible story (since a woman’s testimony was less reliable). This is important evidence because the Romans could have proven Jesus’ disciples wrong by producing the body but they didn’t, the disciples would not have said Jesus rose bodily unless his tomb was empty, and the first alternative theory (to the resurrection) invented was that the body was stolen (which presupposes an empty tomb).

Second, Jesus appeared to many people, in many places, at many times, and in many circumstances. He appeared to both men and women, friends and enemies, individuals and groups, indoors and outdoors, in the morning and evening, and showed natural (i.e., eating and drinking) and supernatural (i.e., disappearing and reappearing) qualities.

Third, there was only a short amount of time between these events and the gospel records. The creedal formula (that Jesus died, buried, raised, and appeared) was formed only months after Jesus’ death. Paul’s record of this statement in 1 Corinthians 15 attests to six eyewitnesses, which provides a timeline for the resurrection and following events.

Fourth, the apostles, who acted cowardly after Jesus’ crucifixion, and those who were doubtful or opposed to Jesus (Thomas, James, and Paul), were transformed into “courageous preachers and, in some cases, martyrs” (25). Thomas did not believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead and demanded to see empirical evidence, but believed when he saw and touched Jesus. Jesus’ brother James thought that Jesus was crazy, but after the resurrection, he became one of the most important leaders of the church. Paul had been involved in the arresting and executing of many Christians, but turned into one of the most important church leaders after seeing Jesus. The church claimed that Jesus appeared to over five hundred people.

Fifth, the church started as a small group and within three hundred years became so large that it “dominated the entire Roman Empire” and “over the course of two millennia dominated Western civilization” (28). Finally, the day of worship was changed from Saturday to Sunday in order to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection on that day of the week. . . .

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Baker Books, 2012 | 240 pages

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