Review of “The Case for Christ”

I recently listened to Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ and wanted to give some thoughts on it in a few posts. First, let me give a quick book review to get things started out.

I confess, I liked the book. Strobel is a journalist and so he writes pretty well. Essentially he creates a semi-fictional story of him going around asking believing Christian scholar’s hard hitting questions about Christianity. Of course he’s actually a believing Christian himself and admits this both at the start and end of the book. He was once an atheist, but by the time he wrote this book, he’s definitely committed to Christian beliefs.

I had to gag myself a couple of times when he felt the need to mock the LDS Church, but these incidents are few and far between and, as we’ll see in a future post, they sort of backfire.

The bottom line is that if you want a quick introduction to some of the best names in believing Christian scholarship, this is a great book to start with. His interviews included: Craig Blomberg (who actually commented on M* in the past), Bruce Metzger, Edwin Yamauchi, John McRay, Gregory Boyd, Ben Witherington, Gary Collins, D.A. Carson, Louis Lapides, Alexander Metherell, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and J.P. Moreland.

By essentially feeding them appropriate questions while taking a tone of skepticism (that he doesn’t really feel), I admit the story reads better aesthetically. Still, being such a skeptic myself, I found this part of the book a bit hard to deal with. But I suspect it won’t bother most people.

Besides, the truth is that he asked probably every single difficult question I would have asked saved one. So with one notable exception concerning the accuracy of Old Testament prophecy concerning the virgin birth, I give him credit for not avoiding the difficult questions.

Also, you have to ask yourself who the intended audience was for the book. It wasn’t Mormons for one thing, and it wasn’t really even skeptics or atheists. It was really a great way of introducing already believing Christians to believing scholars. And, when taken in this light, it was an effective book.

3 out of 5 stars. Suggestion: Recommended to M* readers.

9 thoughts on “Review of “The Case for Christ”

  1. I read the book a long time ago, so I do not remember if he addresses the question of evolution. That one subject has made me question what I believe more that anything else.

  2. The video of this (or something very similar) was on netflix. I gave it a lazy sunday afternoon look. I thought it was terrible. It spent a lot of time talking about a famous pastor who turned athiest and then had a crappy life after that. I thought it was tacky and a poor argument. Is that the same thing?

  3. It was a crappy read IMO. But I’ll be interested in your take of how hsi LDS references backfire.

  4. CEF – No, evolution is not mentioned nor revelant to the specific topic.

    Matt W – Does not sound similar at all

    Psychochemiker — I said “sort of” but, yeah, I plan to explain in a future post. Your thoughts on why it was a crappy read (or crappy arguments) are welcome in this or future posts.

    I admit I’m curious how my neighbors over at FPR will respond to the arguments made.

  5. @CEF

    If you believe the LDS church is true honestly Evolution cannot shake your faith because we take no stance on it except that their are problems with it but that their is also some truth to it. Any member who says other wise is only stating their opinion on something that isn’t pertinent to our salvation. So if you want to accept Evolution as the method God used to form man and all life on earth it will not stand in the way of your faith and indeed there is nothing wrong with accepting or rejecting evolutionary scholarship and theory as there are very strong evidences for and against it. Basically Evolution is only a problem if you believe the scriptures are inerrant, which we as Latter-Day Saints as a tenant of our faith do not believe. Even Joseph said in regards to The Book of Mormon that it was “the most correct book” the most correct book insinuates that it isn’t perfect merely the closest we have come so far in concern to doctrinal perfection. Even now we believe in the need for a prophet both to clarify and if needed to receive new revelation and doctrine. So I hope evolution won’t become a stumbling block to your faith as there is no need for it to, even if the whole of the theory is accurate.

  6. Bruce – Thank you for answering my question. It saved me the time to try and find the book to see if he did say anything or not. I agree, it is not relevant to this post. So double thanks. :)

    zerabp – Thank you for your thoughtful and kind answer. I wish I could see the world as clearly as you do. But I do not wish to create a thread-jack and be a distraction here, so thanks again for your help. And I mean that sincerely.

  7. CEF

    For what it is worth, I’m both a believer and an evolutionist. Almost all my friends are and it’s pretty common.

    I am planning some evolution posts in the future because I believe evolution has potential touch points with the Gospel and I also believe it (well “selection” anyhow) to be fundamental to how we learn and grow and become ourselves and ultimately our divine selves.

    I hope you’ll keep reading and contribute in the future.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I agree with zerabp. I understand your concern though as well. My generation was raised by a generation that was generally hostile to organic evolution. So many of us were taught that organic evolution was contradicted by scripture. In retrospect, there was no scriptural basis for this belief. However, I think it is easy to trace it to the prevailing (but not unanimous) attitudes of the Church leadership. Henry Eyring (the father of Henry B. Eyring) played a pivotal role in changing this attitude and I would recommend his book (Reflection of a Scientist) as a great starting point in expressing my own viewpoint.

  8. Hello Bruce, Thank you for your time. I would be glad to read anything you could share about how you understand evolution. However, it has been my experience, that such discussions only tend to bring out the worst in people. I would compare discussing evolution with trying to have an intellectual/engaging discussion about politics, which is another topic that tends to bring out the worst in people. I have no interest in such discussions. But again, I would be glad to read anything you have to say about it. I offer a caveat for any future post you may share on this.

    To me, if one cannot somehow include Adam and Eve into their explanation of evolution, (I am not so concerned about how or even when they existed)the the explanation would fall short of doing any good. Others may not agree, but to me, they are the foundation of Christianity.

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