UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: The Case for Christ
The Case for Christ The Case for Christ
A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus

Lee Strobel
ISBN 0310209307 (9780310209300)
Zondervan, 1998

Category: Evangelism & Mission

This is a great book for Pastors to pass on, for people of faith to gain confidence and for seekers to be assured of the plausibility of the claims made for Christianity. With a legal and journalistic background Strobel uses both these approaches to good effect in seeking to show that the Christ of Christian faith has historical, archaeological and psychological reliability. In a wide ranging investigation he covers most of the issues that have faced scholars about Jesus Christ and the dependability of the evidence for the beliefs people have in him.

He tackles the issue of the Case for Christ in much the same way as he covered major criminal cases when he was a journalist. He looks at the case from all perspectives, he takes evidence from all sources, he gets expert comment to support or contradict any of the suppositions that are drawn. It is a thorough and persuasive case written in a lively style, with compelling anecdotes to bring the historical, archaeological, theological and sociological issues alive. In order to come to his conclusions he interviewed 14 international scholars and the book is based around his interviews.

Strobel asks of these scholars the questions that have caused many to struggle: are the Gospels reliable, is the Jesus of history the same as the Jesus of faith. and so many more issues to do with the veracity and dependability of the Christian faith.

In the first part Strobel examines the Gospel texts to assess them for their historicity and integrity and finds the documentary and scientific evidence difficult to refute. In his interviews he looks for evidence outside of Christianity as corroborative evidence and seeks to be assured that archaeology offers support to the Christ of the Gospels.

In the second part of the book the author examines the person of Christ from a psychological perspective. Do the Gospels present a credible Messiah and what does a profiler make of Jesus of Nazareth? In other words was Jesus really convinced that he was the Son of God or was he just crazy? All these searching questions are answered carefully and thoughtfully with the questions of Atheists and Liberal Theologians included to give balance and breadth.

In the final section of the book Strobel looks at the possibility of the Resurrection. He covers the medical evidence and looks widely at the circumstantial evidence for the truth of the Resurrection.

What made this book outstanding for me were the personal insights and statements of academics who had not only scholarly evidence to give but also personal stories of how the Case for Christ had impacted them. Habermas the specialist theologian in the area of the Resurrection told his story of how the resurrected Christ came to him in his time of particular need as his wife lay dying. The deep reality of all he had written about and taught over many years came to him in profound clarity as he realised the death his wife would die was just a passing from this life for the Resurrection has relevance for us all.

In days when it seems that theories and speculation abound about the person of Christ a book which follows the evidence and sifts it carefully is significant. At a time when the novel The Da Vinci Code is a bestseller suggesting Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, a book such as The Case for 'Christ is crucial in giving Christians solid ground for refuting fanciful claims and also clear guidance in answering their own questions.

The pastoral heart of the writer is most apparent in the final chapter. He will not let the reader finish without making his or her own response to the Case for Christ. In simple but direct tones he pushes the point that the evidence is compelling and the obvious response is to believe, receive and belong.

Also by Lee Strobel:
The Case for Faith
The Case for a Creator

Dianne Tidball, June 2004

Dianne Tidball is the Minister of North Bushey Free Church. She is the author of Discovering John's Letters (IVP/Crossway Bible Guides, 2002) and Esther, A True First Lady (Christian Focus Publications, 2003)


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