In the early 1980s, Lee Strobel, an atheist and legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, decided to investigate the facts surrounding the case for Christianity — largely to discredit the faith after his wife converted.
He interviewed biblical scholars, medical doctors and psychologists; read history, philosophy and apologetics; studied archeology and ancient literature; and picked apart the Bible.
The result was the popular book, “The Case for Christ.” As he wrote in its introduction, “We can’t have absolute proof about virtually anything in life.” But in the case of Christianity’s claims about Jesus, his investigation persuaded him to believe.
While someone who read the book about Strobel’s investigation might expect a documentary, it is instead “a compelling personal story and a love story” focused on the investigation itself, its impact on his relationships with his wife and other family members, and on how it led him to become a Christian, said the author. He is now a teaching pastor at Woodlands Church in Texas and Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University.
“It has both head and heart,” he said. “I think that’s the magic of this film. It isn’t just about the head and the evidence — it’s the heart, it’s a personal story, it’s the personal relationships involved.”
Strobel talked to RNS about the investigation that launched a series of apologetics books and now this film. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How did your training and experience as a journalist apply to investigating the claims of Christianity?
It fit very well. Christianity is unusual among religions: It invites investigation. The apostle Paul said if this isn’t true, then you’re fully justified (in walking away from the faith). Just as you would investigate any historical issues, Christianity makes claims in history – that Jesus lived, that he died, that he returned from the dead – and those things can be checked out historically.
So I found my law background – I have a Master’s degree in Studies in Law from Yale – and my journalism background really helped investigate these issues.
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