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by Jonathan Petersen
Is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God? How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?
Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune Lee Strobel (@LeeStrobel) has updated and expanded his book The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Zondervan, 2016)—winner of the Christian Book Award®—in which he cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their fields.
Bible Gateway interviewed Lee about The Case for Christ, which, along with its ancillary resources, has 10 million copies in print. The nonfiction book reads like a captivating, fast-paced novel. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.
You wrote The Case for Christ in 1998. Why did you write it and how have people reacted to it over the years?
Lee Strobel: My wife encouraged me to write a book about my spiritual journey from atheism to faith and the evidence that convinced me Jesus is the unique Son of God. So I went out and retraced and expanded on that journey with fresh interviews with leading scholars and experts on everything from the reliability of the Gospels to the resurrection.
Frankly, I was skeptical anyone would publish it. At that time, books on apologetics—or evidence for the faith—weren’t very popular, despite the biblical teaching that Christians should be ready to explain why they believe what they believe. First Peter 3:15 says: “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” And Jude 3 says: ”Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
But Zondervan decided to publish the book, and we were stunned at the response. Today, more than five million people have read it. It’s especially gratifying that young folks—those 18 through 24—reacted so positively to the evidence. That’s why we ended up doing student and children’s editions.
I’ve been so encouraged by the stories I’ve received of how God has used the book to lead people to faith in Christ…
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