dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish

9.28.2007

Book Review: The Case for Christ

After seeing how long my last review grew, I realized it is of no benefit to go into great detail if the length of the review becomes prohibitive. Therefore, I have decided to try a briefer review. Don't hold your breath. (It won't be that short.)

I don't mean to sound cynical, but I'm often skeptical of Christian books that become quite popular. The best books don't usually make it to the shelves of the local Wal-Mart. For that matter, the best books are often not even those on the front displays at the local Christian bookstore. For one reason or another, I had figured The Case for Christ might be in this category.

Nonetheless, since I'd been looking for good apologetic resources, The Case for Christ intrigued me, and I decided to read it a couple of months ago. I found reading it to be enjoyable--and, more importantly, informative. I'll count this as a lesson learned in not judging a book it's primacy on the store bookshelf.

Lee Strobel, a former legal editor with the Chicago Tribune, traveled the country, interviewing thirteen expert Bible scholars over dozens of major question sceptics have regarding the accuracy and reliability of the Gospel as it is presented in the New Testament. The scholars--men such as Dr. Craig Blomberg, Dr. Bruce Metzger, and Dr. J.I. Packer--answered questions ranging from the historical reliability of the Four Gospels and the surety of their accurate preservation to how the Jesus we read about in the new testament fulfills the attributes of God.

I could go on listing the rest of the scholars and the questions posed to them, but rather than bore you with a complete table of contents, I will assure you that each chapter is both relevant and reaffirming of the Sciptures. While providing substantial evidence showing how the Biblical account stands up to scholarly scrutiny, Strobel affirms that, ultimately, one who believes in Christ must not only give intellectual assent, but must also place his faith in Jesus Christ.

At the end of each one of the interviews, after asking the expert's professional opinions regarding his expertise, Strobel asked how the evidence had personally affected the scholar's life. The responses demonstrated that these are men who do not view the truth with scholarly aloofness. Though brief, this short section of each chapter exemplified how the truth transforms not only minds, but hearts and lives as well.

Why read The Case for Christ? While being able to provide scholarly answers to all of the questions regarding the historicity of the Biblical account is not necessary for faith, it can and does strengthen our faith. We must not demand to be able to prove the New Testament according to human reason, yet we need not close our eyes or plug our ears when questions regarding the reliability of Scripture arise. If we are confident that God has given us the truth in the Bible, then we need not fear to research it historically. In so doing, we can become freshly amazed at God's goodness in providing and preserving the Scriptures, and we can be better prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.

Rating: Recommended

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3 Comments:

Anonymous stephen said...

Much sympathy to your pre-read stereotyping. It might be good to distrust what is popular, but it might also be bad to trust the obscure. I guess it might be best to trust the trustworthy [a profound thought, I'm sure]

I haven't read Strobel's Case for Christ. Now I know not to avoid it. I should have known better; the author is worthy of trust.

Ah, we must not forget that others also are treading with us on the narrow path to the Celestial City.

10/04/2007 10:14 PM

 
Anonymous stephen said...

Hey Jason,
A friend just told me about her unsaved brother who recently dumped a long list of accusations against Christianity on her. Would The Case for Christ be a good book for an unbeliever who says things like, "the Bible is full of contradictions"?

Thanks!

10/23/2007 6:24 PM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Absolutely. The book isn't just a list of responses to popular "contradictions," but it does address certain ones (such as the accusation that the accounts of the resurrection morning contradict each other), and makes a fuller apologetic for the reliability of the Scriptures than just a Q&A about confusing passages. (There was a book I got from the library last year that had this format. I used it to look up a few things, and found it quite helpful, but its name currently escapes me.)

If this brother says things like "The Gospels were written hundreds of years after Jesus" or "The Bible has been changed over the centuries" or "there's no evidence that corroborates the Biblical account" or anything along those lines, it would definitely be something to recommend.

10/23/2007 9:56 PM

 

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