Lee Strobel documents his journey toward Christianity in his best-selling book The Case for Christ. When his wife became a Christian, Strobel determined to disprove her faith. But where to start? He decided to focus primarily on the resurrection—the linchpin for Christianity. Aided by his skill and expertise as a legal editor for the Chicago Tribune, he interviewed 13 evangelical scholars (including Craig Blomberg, Bruce Metzger, William Lane Craig, and J.P. Moreland).
The motion picture, loosely based on the book, just opened in theatres April 7th and held the number 10 spot at the box office its opening weekend.
The “faith-based” film genre often takes a beating for its tendency toward poor acting, cliché stories, and preachy way of telling rather than showing.
But, in this case, being based on true events give this Christian story a slight edge over the typical movie of its kind. To its credit the actors make a predictable story feel more believable to viewers.
While the book spends a great deal of time focusing on the apologetic nature of his journey (i.e. his interviews with scholars), the movie instead highlights relational elements with his family. Strobel views Christianity as a cult that has stolen his wife and struggles with the changes he sees in her newfound life with Christ.
The film includes interviews with religious scholars but, due to the constraints of film making, condenses them down quite a bit. A few rational arguments for the reliability of the New Testament and the resurrection of Christ are, however, given.
For example, the movie points out that we have over 5800 Greek NT manuscripts, which doesn’t even come close to other works of antiquity. The runner up, The Iliad, has fewer than 650 manuscript copies, and none of them date back even close to the period in which Homer composed his work.
In the end, (unsurprisingly) Strobel comes face to face with the truth: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
What I appreciate most is the strong focus on the resurrection of Christ. If Jesus were not raised from the dead, then Christianity matters little to our lives. But, if Christ came back to life, then that indeed changes everything. Like the angel at the tomb, we proclaim “He is risen!”
This film will naturally appeal toward Christians with its encouraging story of God at work in Strobel’s life. But, for a deeper look at the apologetic side, the book is definitely well worth your time.