The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
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4.3 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0310209307
Manufacturer : Zondervan Publishing House|
Release data : 01 September, 1998
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Well-written, but (yes) one-sided.
This book is probably the best of the popular Jesus apologetic bunch (e.g., _Evidence that Demands a Verdict_, _Who Was Jesus?_, etc.) Strobel uses the narrative device of interviewing individual scholars on issues, rather than simply presenting a detached appraisal of the evidence; this makes for easy reading and a good sense of the "back-and-forth" on a controversial issue. However, Strobel doesn't give each side its say. As he writes, "I selected experts who could state their position and defend it with historical evidence that I could then test through cross-examination...I challenged them with the current theories of atheists and liberal professors." But he didn't take the next step of interviewing the skeptics; this would have both enhanced the depth of the book and made for a better introduction to the subject. (I concede in passing that, yes, it is _The Case for Christ_, not _The Case of Jesus of Nazareth_, but the way Strobel constantly notes his thorough examination of the evidence makes the omission more egregious.) So, Strobel ends up interviewing Craig and Habermas and Blomberg and Witherington and Moreland (all quite accomplished and bright, but nonetheless all evangelical conservatives) and countering them with objections from Michael Martin (who, as Craig notes, is not even a historian) and the nuttier members of the Jesus Seminar. It would have been nice to see Gerd Lüdemann and Michael Goulder and Peter Carnley, if nothing else, to shake things up. I agree with much of the book, but many of the conclusions reached are more tentative than they seem (at least, that's how it looks to me; I've read all along the Craig-Brown-Meier-Fuller-Wells continuum). Another notable omission: the Humean problem of miracles, which is quite probably the biggest problem people have with accepting the Resurrection (my father, a devout conservative Christian all his life, has had many a doubt due to the implausibility of a man rising from the dead). At least a section on that, I would think, is essential. But in fairness to Strobel, he does a fine job of marshalling the evidence. He doesn't talk down to the readers or make the mistake (made by a few commenters below) of treating the evidence as intellectual Kryptonite that will drive an atheist instantly to Christianity or insanity. This is a popular work nearly as good as the more academic intros _Risen Indeed_ (Stephen T. Davis) and _In Defense of Miracles_ (ed. Geivett & Habermas).
(In due honesty, I should state that I am an atheist)
Don't believe the skeptics!
This book does a fantastic job of making the case for Christ. Don't be fooled by the few negative reviews you see here - it is just proof that some people will never open their minds enough to give up their secular world view and allow for the possibility of something greater than themselves.
A previous negative review accuses Strobel of being one-sided. Actually, the opposing viewpoint is so widely held and taught in intellectual circles that it has become the de-facto standard point-of-view. Strobel is simply allowing the reader to see that there is a rebuttal to this point of view.
The skeptics like to pick at singular details, trying to find a loose thread that will unravel the entire Christian belief system. But if you look at the big picture, it just doesn't wash. For example, one reviewer here points out a counter-argument to the assertion that the Gospels can be authenticated by the fact that no one objected to them at the time they were written. He makes it sound like he has just pulled the rug out from under Strobel, but what he doesn't tell you is that this was only one of several reasons given for the authenticity of the Gospels. Even if we cede this argument to him, there are still plenty of other arguments that stand in favor of the Gospels (such as, why would the Gospel writers and other disciples endure a lifetime of persecution and eventual gruesome deaths to perpetuate what they knew to be a lie?).
In fact, most of the negative reviews I have read here either misrepresent the arguments Strobel is making, or they leave out important facts. Don't take their word for it - read the book for yourself.
Christ presented credibly, convincingly and compellingly
I have been wrestling with Christianity and was attracted to this book by the many mysteries that it claimed to clarify. I was in no way disappointed.
I don't think that the author claims to offer a 100% money-back guarantee that you will find Christ upon reading this book, he does however present in a very readable manner, a case for Christ which if not leading you to a spiritual conclusion will lead you to questioning any doubts that you might raise.
Strobel critically analyses the foundations for which 12 well-chosen prominent scholars base their faith and in much the manner of his education as a successful journalist looks for specific factual evidence, a quest which ultimately leads to his own spiritual fulfillment. It's absolutely genius how he manages to seize the reader's attention with some brilliant and gripping analogies (right from page one!) proceeding to relate them directly to the bible with enviable ease.
I have only just finished this book and immediately starting reading the equally 'unputdownable' follow-up, 'a case for faith'. I would suggest you buy both books as the 'case for jesus' book will leave you thirsting for more of Strobel's no-nonsense approach to the key questions playing on your mind.
I would encourage everyone to read this book. Lee Strobel presents not only a case for christ, but a case for a brilliant piece of work.