Last week, Townhall had the opportunity to ask David Limbaugh a few questions about his new book Jesus on Trial, which has become a New York Times bestseller. Despite being the most religious country in the industrialized world, America has a deep anticlerical bias in politics and culture. Is there a war on faith being waged here? If so, does this book serves as one of many tools aimed to fight this trend?
Mr. Limbaugh, an attorney and nationally syndicated columnist (you can find his works here too!), noted that he was a skeptic before becoming a believer twenty years ago. He believed in God, but wasn’t sold that Christ was divine.
He also said he wasn’t putting “Jesus on trial,” but noted that this book documents his own spiritual journey. Moreover, he hopes that it will invite skeptics to give the Bible a second look, look at the evidence, and “give it a chance.” Most importantly, he stresses that readers should use their own intellect on this spiritual journey. Forget what others have told you about how the Bible is a myth; use your own logic to come to your own conclusions about the most influential book in human history.
Far too often, we hear about the close-mindedness of atheists. Limbaugh stressed that this book doesn’t ridicule, mock, or aim to be judgmental. It invites skeptics to open their hearts and minds to these stories. Moreover, Limbaugh said his book also includes Christian doctrine in various chapters to give new Christians a “jump-start” in theology.
1. Why put Jesus on trial? What caused you to write a book affirming the Gospel?
The truth is I didn’t put him on trial. I put – I examined Christianity’s truth claims and of course, I did that twenty years ago or more–and I’ve been studying it on and off; this book is a chronicling of my own spiritual journey. The publisher wanted to call it Jesus on Trial; I wanted to call it Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. I thought people might be misled by the title, but when the subtitle reads “A Lawyer Affirms The Truth Of The Gospel,” it’s clear that I’m not really challenging him. But, ultimately, I’m examining the validity of Christianity’s truth claims, not putting him on trial.
2. How long were you a skeptic? Was there any event that pushed you towards becoming more open to the Christian faith?
Well, this book is a chronicling of my own spiritual journey and then I examine the reasons–the evidence that support Christianity’s truth claims. So, I became a believer by studying all this stuff and overcoming my doubts. But that occurred twenty years ago. Of course, I’ve continued to study theology and apologetics in the Bible since, which has reaffirmed my belief in my faith, but I became a believer some–twenty years ago at least.
I always believed in God, but I wasn’t convinced that the God in the Bible was “The” God, or that Christ was divine. After studying the Bible; studying theology; studying Christian apologetics–finally the thing that put me over the tipping point was exposure to the Messianic Prophecies. How Micah 5:2 prophesized the town that Jesus would be born in–Bethlehem–and Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22 talk about Christ’s crucifixion in minute detail; that his side will be pierced, that no bones would be broken. That he would be punished along with the transgressors (i.e. the thieves); that he would not lift a finger to defend himself; that he would die for our sins. All of these pointed to me unmistakably towards a supernatural writing of the Bible.
It was a bunch of things, but if there was one culminating event many, many seeds were planted over the years in my spiritual journey, but that’s the one final one that I think–if any–took me over the top.
3. Do you think there is a war on faith in America and how can we push back against it?
Christianity has been under attack by the popular culture–and by the Left for a long time. I wrote a book about it ten years ago. And it continues to be under attack and all throughout the world with the rise of radical Islam–and the rise of new atheism and secularism; Christianity is a primary target–Christians and Christianity throughout the world. I think we Christians need to stand up for what we believe and we need to speak and we need actively engage in the culture and try to fight for our own values. But one of our values is religious liberty; we don’t believe in coercion. We don’t believe in forcing people to convert to our faith. We believe in people coming to the faith by their own volition. And, so, we evangelize, but we don’t do any coercion at all. So, I don’t want us to get involved in the culture so we can compete in a coercive way. ...
I don’t want to force people; I don’t think any Christian does.
4. What do you hope readers get out of reading your book? Do you seek to persuade non-believers and skeptics towards being more open to a higher order?
Not a higher order; that’s nebulous spirituality. I want to open the minds of skeptics. I want to invite skeptics to take a second look at the Bible, and theology, and Christian apologetics. Examine the evidence and weigh it. Don’t abandon your rational faculties–use them. Christianity supports using your reason and rationality it is not contrary to faith. And I think if they give the Bible a chance and give the evidence a chance; they just might find that the God of the Bible is true and they might then decide to place their trust in Jesus Christ. But I also wrote it not just for the skeptic, but also for the believer because studying these things reaffirms our faith–and also for the new Christian, who I think needs a jump-start in theology. I’ve included a lot of Christian doctrine and theology here in a few other chapters to help give new Christians a jump-start as to what the faith really stands for.
So, it’s written for pretty much everyone. It's primarily targeted though at the non-believer with the idea that if he really looks at this and give it a second look; it’s not hectoring. It’s not judgmental. It doesn’t ridicule. It doesn’t mock; it invites skeptics respectfully to take a look at the Bible. Read it with an open mind and an open heart; it promises the power of conversion. Give it a chance to fulfill that promise. Give the Bible a chance. Don’t believe what other people have said that it’s myth; give it a chance for yourself with an open mind and an open heart and see what you find in your own discovery using your intellect.
Check out Jesus On Trial: A Lawyer Affirms The Truth Of The Gospel here.