Recently I received this text: “Hey Mrs. Carolyn, I’m doing a paper on “The Ways Of Knowing,” and religion is one of them. Can I call you at like 7:30 to get an interview over the phone? Thank you 😊”
The text was from our family friend, Blake, a freshman at Central High School in Springfield, MO. I thought, “Oh wow, this might make my eye twitch a wee bit!” Blake had lots of challenging questions for me like, “How does religion help you understand the world?” I gave it my best shot:
My understanding of the world is based on the word of God, the Bible. It is my instruction manual, my standard, my authoritative guide, my history book, my treasure. From the Bible, I know that God is in control, and He created the universe and all of us in it. I’ve learned that every person has value, purpose and meaning; we are made in His image and He loves us deeply. His ways inspire my vision and understanding of the world. In a nutshell:
John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His only son, so that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
When he asked, “How do you know your religion is based on truth?” I traveled back in time to when I was 24 years young and heard Lee Strobel speak. His research findings on the Bible flipped a switch in me! I was not solid in my faith then, and I had many doubts. But the evidence Mr. Strobel shared excited me and caused me to want to know more!
Lee Strobel, a Yale law school graduate, an award-winning investigative reporter and legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, was an atheist. However, when his wife became a Christian, he was determined to utilize his journalistic and legal training to try and disprove the claims of Christianity. The challenge was on!(Video) Hard Questions: Diversity, 5 stones & the anti-Christ
Lee spent two years investigating, researching, and interviewing experts about Christianity. His goal was to debunk it, and he said, “The only way to the truth is through facts. I’m against superstition, ignorance and tyranny.”
5 Important Questions Answered:
1st Question: Are the Manuscripts Reliable?
Strobel’s goal was to discredit the resurrection of Jesus because the entire Christian faith hinges on it. He used textual criticism of the manuscripts of the New Testament. He found that archaeologists have recovered 5,843 reliable ancient NT manuscripts written in Greek.
In sharp contrast there are only a few manuscript copies of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Homer, etc. in existence. “Research reveals that there are over 2000 Armenian, almost 1000 Coptic, 6 Gothic, more than 600 Ethiopian, more than 10000 Latin, more than 350 Syriac, 43 Georgian, and more than 4000 Slavic manuscript copies of the New Testament!”
“The only conclusion one can reasonably reach is that we have more confidence in the textual transmission of the New Testament than in any other document of ancient history. To question the transmission accuracy of the New Testament texts we have today is to question all of ancient history.” (Bill Pratt).
Additionally the earliest manuscript of the new testament was found in Egypt and dates less than 30 years after Christ’s resurrection! This is astounding because other ancient history manuscripts we have today were copied hundreds of years after the original document would have been written, decreasing their accuracy.
Nothing else in history comes close!
2nd Question: Were the Eyewitnesses to Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Reliable?
The New Testament manuscripts record that women were the first eyewitnesses, which would have been considered an unreliable and even damaging source during that time in history. But the disciples recorded the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Four Gospels record the same primary facts. The secondary facts vary, which is consistent with eyewitness reports.
9 ancient sources other than the Bible record the fact that on 12 separate occasions people saw Jesus alive and well after he was killed on the cross. On one of these occasions He appeared to a crowd of over 500.
Lee Strobel interviewed an agnostic psychologist about the probability of these eyewitnesses being delusional or untruthful. The psychologist confirmed that 500 people, all in the same place, would not all have the same delusion or dream. If they did, the psychologist noted, “That would almost be more of a miracle than seeing Jesus alive after his death.”
There would be zero motivation for the witnesses to lie about Jesus’s resurrection. In fact, it would have benefited them to keep quiet because many were killed for stating the truth. As the psychologist pointed out, “People don’t willingly die for something they know is a lie.” The early church martyrs would not have willingly died for a hoax. No, they knew firsthand Jesus’ resurrection was a fact. They were there.
Again, the earliest New Testament manuscript we have today was written 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection. That is comparable to people today writing about an event that happened in 1987. If it had not really happened the majority of the population would know, since it had occurred so recently and been witnessed by people still alive.
3rd Question: Could Jesus Have Faked His Death?
Lee Strobel met with doctors to discuss the possibility of Jesus surviving the crucifixion. From historical documents about Roman crucifixion we know that Jesus was flogged, scourged, and his hands and feet spiked to the cross. He would have suffered a massive blood loss and asphyxiation. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) actually analyzed Jesus’s death and declared it authentic and valid. Besides this, Roman soldiers in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion would have been punished by death themselves if they had not confirmed that he was dead.
4th Question: Could Anyone Accidentally Fulfill All Of the Prophecies That Jesus Has Fulfilled?
Jesus fulfilled 353 prophecies foretold about Him in the Old Testament! When asked if anyone could accidentally fulfill all of those prophecies, Louis Lapides, a Christian convert from Judaism that Strobel interviewed says, “The odds are so astronomical that they rule that out. Scientists did the math and estimated that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled is one chance in one hundred million billion. That number is millions of times greater than the total number of people who’ve ever walked the planet!
It’s calculated that if you took this number of silver dollars, they would cover the state of Texas to a depth of two feet. If you marked one silver dollar among them and then had a blindfolded person wander the whole state and bend down to pick up one coin, what would be the odds he’d choose the one that had been marked? The same odds that anybody in history could have fulfilled just eight of the prophecies.
Scientist Peter Stoner estimated that the probability of fulfilling 48 prophecies was one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Our minds can’t comprehend a number that big.
“The odds alone say it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies,” Lapides concludes. “Yet Jesus—and only Jesus throughout all of history—managed to do it.”
5th Question: Why Would Jesus Do It?
The answer Lee Strobel found pointed to one very simple reason: love. Lee could not comprehend it, and he admitted that he did not want to see it. During his quest for the truth, Lee had been angry, bitter, and frustrated. He began turning to alcohol. He was convinced that his wife was brainwashed, and that she was “cheating on him with Jesus.”
His wife, Leslie, continually prayed Ezekiel 36:26 over Lee, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”(Video) 7. What Kind Of Death Did Christ Die? - Questions with Answers (Lyric Video) by Dana Dirksen
After two years of trying his best to disprove Christianity, Lee finally realized that it took more faith not to believe than to believe. He surrendered his life to Christ and became a born-again believer! He said that it was not just the overwhelming evidence that changed his heart, but it was his wife’s transformation since becoming a Christian. She gave him so much grace and loved him more deeply than ever before. Six months after Lee became a Christian his daughter accepted Christ also.
Lee has written many award winning Christian books, and his book The Case For Christ is an international bestseller selling more than 14 million copies. It has also been adapted into a major motion picture. Today Lee is a teaching pastor at Woodlands Church in Texas. He recently joined the faculty at Houston Baptist University as a Professor of Christian Thought. His daughter is an author of six Christian books pointing people to Christ, and his son is a seminary professor and has written several Christian books as well.
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”- C.S. Lewis
I thank God for Lee Strobel’s testimony in The Case For Christ, and the truth of Jesus Christ that sets us free!
My Testimony: This Is My Story, This Is My Song
Unlike “The Shack,” which muddles up the Holy Trinity in an unchristian way, “The Case for Christ” is a Christian film with a positive message that clearly points to Christ Jesus while emphasizing that it is God who ultimately changes hearts.How long does it take to read the case for Christ? ›
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The Case for Christ is a 2017 American Christian drama film directed by Jon Gunn and written by Brian Bird, based on a true story and inspired by the 1998 book of the same name by Lee Strobel.Is the case for Christ a good movie? ›
The Case for Christ is the best motion picture by PureFlix to date. The acting was spot on perfection. The story line was fantastic. This is just a flawless movie that can't and won't be ruined.Who wrote The Case for Christianity? › WHO removed the stone? ›
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In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul gives a list of people to whom the risen Jesus appeared. These witnesses to the resurrected Jesus include the Apostle Peter, James the brother of Jesus, and, most intriguingly, a group of more than 500 people at the same time.What day is Jesus's birthday? ›
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Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
The stone was rolled away to allow people in to see proof that Jesus was not there. Only His burial garments remained because He was alive!! The stone was rolled away so people could bear witness to the truth: He is risen!Is Lee Strobel married? ›