A Tough Journalist Looks at the Case for Christ

By Wayne Jackson

Lee Strobel holds a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School. He is also the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribute. For much of his life Strobel was an atheist. God, to him, was a development of ancient mythology. Man, he believed, was the product of evolution. The Bible was false. Then something happened.

In 1979, Strobel’s wife became convinced that Christianity was true. It was a mighty blow to the tough attorney who was accustomed to basing his convictions on evidence, not some dreamy “faith.”

Though he was secretly delighted with the character changes he noted in his spouse, Strobel determined that he would bring his legal and journalistic skills to bear upon the question of the genuineness of the Christian system. And so, for a span of two years, the gentleman embarked on a journey that would lead him from border to border and coast to coast. He would interview, with merciless thoroughness, some of the leading religious scholars of the nation. If there were weaknesses in the case for Christianity—and he was sure there were—he would find them.

Strobel’s book, The Case For Christ, reflects the result of his investigation. Mr. Strobel interviewed thirteen leading scholars, authorities with impeccable academic credentials. He covered such areas of interest as the nature of eyewitness evidence, biblical documentary evidence, the historicity of Jesus in non-Scripture sources, archaeological data, psychological evidence, medical evidence (dealing with the nature of Jesus’ death), the credibility of the resurrection record, etc. Consider some of the following matters:

Dr. Craig Bloomberg, a professor in Denver, argued persuasively that the Gospel accounts were written within the lifetimes of those who were witnesses to the life of Christ. By way of contrast, the two earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written more than four hundred years after the Greek ruler’s death—yet they are considered reliable. The Gospels tower above that sort of evidence.

When Strobel interviewed eighty-four year-old scholar, Dr. Bruce Metzger of Princeton Seminary, he was talking to one of the world’s foremost authorities in the matter of textual evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament. Metzger overwhelmed the inquiring lawyer with devastating evidence. He pointed out that there is a mountain of manuscript data for the authenticity of the New Testament documents, while the writings of Tacitus and Josephus, for instance, are anthills by way of comparison.

Edwin Yamauchi, a university professor in Oxford, Ohio, is one of the nation’s leading experts in ancient history, having done considerable on-site archaeological work. Yamauchi brought thundering evidence to bear on the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, demonstrating that current attempts to classify the Lord as a “myth” are “really a lost cause.”

When Strobel talked with Chicago-based professor, Dr. John McRay, an archaeologist and author of a massive textbook on the subject, he was overwhelmed by the fact that the science of archaeology “has not produced anything that is unequivocally a contradiction to the Bible.”

Blow after blow drove Strobel to his knees. He was forced to acknowledge that the “case for Christ” was absolutely unbreakable. Not even a skilled journalist, with legal training and a reporter’s tenacity at interviewing, could break the case.

Lee Strobel became convinced that the evidence for the identity of Jesus as the Son of God is rock solid. His book is the record of his intriguing journey from atheist to believer. We can but pray that, in the providence of God, he will find his way to full obedience to the Lord’s redemptive gospel.

Sources/Footnotes
  • Strobel, Lee. 1998. The Case for Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.