This was a required text for a course I took. I was underwhelmed at the content of the work. This is standard evangelical apologetics in a somewhat eccentric outline format not unlike the old Bible handbooks. By evangelical apologetics, I mean largely presuppositional arguments. And I'm sorry, but I can't take seriously an apologist that goes to such lengths to disparage the 73 book Biblical canon.
It's true - one convinced against their will is of their own opinion still. Apologetics don't save, though an earnest seeker for a basis for faith will find most of what they need here. Remember, faith without a trustworthy object is dead, and McDowell and his teams have combed thousands of ancient sources to provide ample - well, the title says it all. No one can make you believe, but the Way of the Lord Jesus Christ is not make-believe -- it's the best documented story in all history. Followers of the Way, you need this book to be prepared to give a ready defense for the hope that is in you.
Many people object to the outline format this book follows. I prefer it for two reasons.
1. It makes locating specific information far easier. When certain objections arise and I have to go home to find answers I don't want to wade through pages to find a relevant paragraph, but having everything in outline form allows me to quickly find a specific section that matters.
2. It makes it so only the facts make it into the book. Often, with other books like the case for christ, what you end up getting is a lot of story, to make reading it more interesting. Even my college textbooks are mostly story, because the format requires it. But an outline format allows the author to just give you the blunt facts, which means you get even more facts per page than you would otherwise.
Ultimately what are we looking for in a book like this? If we want an entertaining story then this book is not what we want. But if we want detailed arguments as to why we can trust scripture, then this is the best book on that subject I have come across. Since buying it it has always remained on my frequently used shelf, which can't be said for any other book on that shelf.
Before reading this text, I had heard Josh McDowell speak on several occasions, and held him in high regard, as a sincere and effective communicator. The "New Evidence that Demands a Verdict," shows he is also a good researcher. My primary interest in this book was the section called, "The Case for the Bible." That section was extremely detailed and helpful. The other sections are very good as well. Some may not like the writing style at first (this book originated as lecture notes). However, once I got used to the format, I found it to be strength of the work. It makes it easier to locate specific pieces of evidence quickly. It also results in a less wordy text as it does away with the need for hundreds of transitional sentences. He shows his integrity in that he gives credit to others, where credit is due. This is something that is lacking in the works of some other authors I've read lately. He also writes with a high degree of accuracy. I did some research of my own, and found that he consistently presents the facts in a trustworthy manner. The only error I found was a minor error within source he used. But he accurately reported what the source said. I highly recommend this work!
I picked up this updated version in hardback, having used Josh's previous versions in paperback. It's well updated and much more user friendly than his first publication. If you were going to get only a few books in the area of apologetics, this would have to be at the top of the list. Josh is considered one of the foremost writers and speakers in the area of apologetics for the last 40 years. His research is impeccable. I have learned much from him.