The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus

The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus

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by Lee Strobel

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Using the dramatic scenario of an investigative journalist pursuing his story and leads, Strobel uses his experience as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune to interview experts about the evidence for Christ from the fields of science, philosophy, and history.

A Seasoned Journalist Chases Down the Biggest Story in History

Is there credible evidence that

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Using the dramatic scenario of an investigative journalist pursuing his story and leads, Strobel uses his experience as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune to interview experts about the evidence for Christ from the fields of science, philosophy, and history.

A Seasoned Journalist Chases Down the Biggest Story in History

Is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God?

Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their fields. Strobel challenges them with questions like How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence exist for Jesus outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

Strobel's tough, point-blank questions make this remarkable book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it's not fiction. It's a riveting quest for the truth about history's most compelling figure.

What will your verdict be in The Case for Christ?

Author Biography: Lee Strobel, a former atheist, holds a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School and was an award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune. Currently he is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Valley Community Church in Orange County, CA, where he and his wife live, and a board member of the Willow Creek Association. He is the author of numerous books, including the Gold Medallion winners The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith.

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The Case for Christ

By Lee Strobel

Zondervan Publishing Company

Copyright © 2000 Lee Strobel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0310236533

Chapter One


Can the Biographies of Jesus Be Trusted?

When I first met shy and soft-spoken Leo Carter, he was a seventeen-year-old veteran of Chicago's grittiest neighborhood. His testimony had put three killers in prison. And he was still carrying a .38-caliber slug in his skull-a grisly reminder of a horrific saga that began when he witnessed Elijah Baptist gun down a local grocer.

Leo and a friend, Leslie Scott, were playing basketball when they saw Elijah, then a sixteen-year-old delinquent with thirty arrests on his rap sheet, slay Sam Blue outside his grocery store.

Leo had known the grocer since childhood. "When we didn't have any food, he'd give us some," Leo explained to me in a quiet voice. "So when I went to the hospital and they said he was dead, I knew I'd have to testify about what I saw."

Eyewitness testimony is powerful. One of the most dramatic moments in a trial is when a witness describes in detail the crime that he or she saw and then points confidently toward the defendant as being the perpetrator. Elijah Baptist knew that the only way to avoid prison would be to somehow prevent Leo Carter and Leslie Scott from doing just that.

So Elijah and two of his pals went hunting. Soon they tracked down Leo and Leslie, who were walking down the street with Leo's brother Henry, and they dragged all three at gunpoint to a darkened loading dock nearby.

"I like you," Elijah's cousin said to Leo, "but I've got to do this." With that he pressed a pistol to the bridge of Leo's nose and yanked the trigger.

The gun roared; the bullet penetrated at a slight angle, blinding Leo in his right eye and embedding in his head. When he crumbled to the ground, another shot was fired, this bullet lodging two inches from his spine.

As Leo watched from his sprawled position, pretending he was dead, he saw his sobbing brother and friend ruthlessly executed at close range. When Elijah and his gang fled, Leo crawled to safety.

Somehow, against all odds, Leo Carter lived. The bullet, too pre-carious to be removed, remained in his skull. Despite searing headaches that strong medication couldn't dull, he became the sole eyewitness against Elijah Baptist at his trial for killing grocer Sam Blue. The jurors believed Leo, and Elijah was sentenced to eighty years in prison.

Again Leo was the only eyewitness to testify against Elijah and his two companions in the slayings of his brother and his friend. And once more his word was good enough to land the trio in prison for the rest of their lives.

Leo Carter is one of my heroes. He made sure justice was served, even though he paid a monumental price for it. When I think of eye-witness testimony, even to this day-more than twenty years later-his face still appears in my mind.


Yes, eyewitness testimony can be compelling and convincing. When a witness has had ample opportunity to observe a crime, when there's no bias or ulterior motives, when the witness is truthful and fair, the climactic act of pointing out a defendant in a courtroom can be enough to doom that person to prison or worse.

And eyewitness testimony is just as crucial in investigating historical matters-even the issue of whether Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God.

But what eyewitness accounts do we possess? Do we have the testimony of anyone who personally interacted with Jesus, who listened to his teachings, who saw his miracles, who witnessed his death, and who perhaps even encountered him after his alleged resurrection? Do we have any records from first-century "journalists" who interviewed eyewitnesses, asked tough questions, and faithfully recorded what they scrupulously determined to be true? Equally important, how well would these accounts withstand the scrutiny of skeptics?

I knew that just as Leo Carter's testimony clinched the convictions of three brutal murderers, eyewitness accounts from the mists of distant time could help resolve the most important spiritual issue of all. To get solid answers, I arranged to interview the nationally renowned scholar who literally wrote the book on the topic: Dr. Craig Blomberg, author of The Historical Reliability of the Gospels.

I knew Blomberg was smart; in fact, even his appearance fit the stereotype. Tall (six feet two) and lanky, with short, wavy brown hair unceremoniously combed forward, a fuzzy beard, and thick, rimless glasses, he looked like the type who would have been valedictorian of his high school (he was), a National Merit Scholar (he was), and a magna cum laude graduate from a prestigious seminary (he was, from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School).

But I wanted someone who was more than just intelligent and educated. I was searching for an expert who wouldn't gloss over nuances or blithely dismiss challenges to the records of Christianity. I wanted someone with integrity, someone who has grappled with the most potent critiques of the faith and who speaks authoritatively but without the kind of sweeping statements that conceal rather than deal with critical issues.

I was told Blomberg was exactly what I was looking for, and I flew to Denver wondering if he could measure up. Admittedly, I had a few doubts, especially when my research yielded one profoundly disturbing fact that he would probably have preferred had remained hidden: Blomberg still holds out hope that his beloved childhood heroes, the Chicago Cubs, will win the World Series in his lifetime.

Frankly, that was enough to make me a bit suspicious of his discernment.


Craig Blomberg is widely considered to be one of the country's foremost authorities on the biographies of Jesus, which are called the four gospels. He received his doctorate in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scotland, later serving as a senior research fellow at Tyndale House at Cambridge University in England, where he was part of an elite group of international scholars that produced a series of acclaimed works on Jesus. For the last dozen years he has been a professor of New Testament at the highly respected Denver Seminary.

Blomberg's books include Jesus and the Gospels; Interpreting the Parables; How Wide the Divide?; and commentaries on the gospel of Matthew and 1 Corinthians. He also helped edit volume six of Gospel Perspectives, which deals at length with the miracles of Jesus, and he coauthored Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. He contributed chapters on the historicity of the gospels to the book Reasonable Faith and the award-winning Jesus under Fire. His memberships include the Society for the Study of the New Testament, Society of Biblical Literature, and the Institute for Biblical Research.

As I expected, his office had more than its share of scholarly volumes stacked on the shelves (he was even wearing a tie emblazoned with drawings of books).

However, I quickly noted that his office walls were dominated not by dusty tomes from ancient historians but by artwork from his young daughters. Their whimsical and colorful depictions of llamas, houses, and flowers weren't haphazardly pinned up as a casual afterthought; they had obviously been treated as prizes-painstakingly matted, carefully framed, and personally autographed by Elizabeth and Rachel themselves. Clearly, I thought to myself, this man has a heart as well as a brain.

Blomberg speaks with the precision of a mathematician (yes, he taught mathematics too, earlier in his career), carefully measuring each word out of an apparent reluctance to tread even one nuance beyond where the evidence warrants. Exactly what I was looking for.

As he settled into a high-back chair, cup of coffee in hand, I too sipped some coffee to ward off the Colorado chill. Since I sensed Blomberg was a get-to-the-point kind of guy, I decided to start my interview by cutting to the core of the issue.


"Tell me this," I said with an edge of challenge in my voice, "is it really possible to be an intelligent, critically thinking person and still believe that the four gospels were written by the people whose names have been attached to them?"

Blomberg set his cup of coffee on the edge of his desk and looked intently at me. "The answer is yes," he said with conviction.


Excerpted from The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel Copyright © 2000 by Lee Strobel. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 135 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You know those nagging little doubts that your new-age neighbor keeps planting in your mind about Christianity? Well, this book has the answers to those qestions and more, and all from EXPERTS in their field, not just some guy who wrote a book. The author writes in an easy-to-read manner that leads you right through the chapters. He covers all the major questions from "Did Jesus really die?" to "So why are there discrepancies in the various gospels," He goes through the scientific studies--archeology studies--psychiatric studies, etc. and gathers his information from people who really know what they're talking about. This is a book I have already given away and am orderig a couple more to have on hand as a witnessing tool. A great book. I recommend it to anyone who has doubts about the validity of Christianity, and to those who are Christans--it only deepens your faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a person that needs concrete proof in order to believe something is true. This book DEFINITELY gives you that. It comes from an Atheist. Because of this, he will not be bias and will tell you exactly what he finds. This book will really helps people understand Christianity and be able to have proof that the events in the Bible actually happened. It helped me tremendously with my faith. This is an amazing book.
Samantha14 More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended to me by my father. I am only half way done, and it has already changed my life. Prior to reading this book, I have had a strong faith, but in college I am constantly being bashed and mocked for my beliefs. Now that I have read this book, I have received a new sense of confidence and courage to stand up for what i believe in. This book has evidence that proofs Christianity true from multiple perspectives: science, psychology, history, archeology, and secular findings. It also provides tons of explanations to increase the readers understanding of the topic at hand. I loved this book so much, and I think that it has truly strengthened my faith even more. I am so thankful for this book and for Lee Strobel, the author. It is a must read if you are a Christian or Non-Christian!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of the book 'The Case For Christ' nails down many facts about Christ. I was looking for more facts to help me spark the unbeliever as well as reaffirm my own faith. This book obviously cannot address every concept that its attackers would like to use to discredit its quality however it does present many undeniable facts that support that fact that Jesus lives.
SiwelFP More than 1 year ago
The author, himself an avowed atheist, tracks down learned experts in their field, as he investigates the evidence concerning the case for Christ's existence or nonexistence. He cross-examines each scholar in his attempt to disprove the deity, and history of Christ, but finds overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and in the process discovers his life touched by the Son of God. The author's tough questions challenge each scholar he encounters to produce undeniable evidence of their positions on the truth of Jesus, His birth, His death, and His resurrection. This book reads like a captivating novel that continually puts the reader on the edge of his seat, and challenges him to question hos own beliefs about Christianity. The author also poses questions at the end of each interview for the reader to consider in his judgment of the information which has been propounded from the questions asked, and at the end of this riveting drama, inquires as to what the reader intends to do with the information presented. He asks in the end, "What will be your verdict in the Case for Christ?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interesting book if you are a person with an inquiring mind and a detective/investigative-type personality.
Seantaneous 20 days ago
This is one of the sharpest evangelistic tools I have ever possessed. So much so, that this was the first book I actually bought for someone else, and I've read a ton of books. Lee Strobel, in his own personal journey from unbelief to belief, travels through an array of avenues to prove that Jesus is who he said he was and is. The Case for Christ touches on archaeology, history, science and more.
Anonymous 3 months ago
This was the first Case book and I loved it! Ive read all but Case for a Creater!!!!!(;(;(;(:(;(;
Anonymous 7 months ago
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Great for church study group.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is great because as a Christian I am not fully aware of all of the facts. It was a bit difficult to understand but very informational.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I had to read several others that are referenced in it...and also Strobel's "Case for Faith". I believe that, no matter your religion or lack thereof, there is valuable information in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very helpful.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm an Atheist with Christian friends. During a discussion with one of them I asked if there was one book I should read, outside of the Bible, which would explain the Christian point of view what would it be? He suggested The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. After reading over half of the book I found I was not able to make myself complete it. It is full of so many logical fallacies that it could probably be used as an example of how not to think logically. Additionally, if you check all of the people he interviewed, they are all pro christian which contradicts the authors claim of neutrality in his "investigation". What would have been more impressive is if evidence could be found by both Christian and Secular sources that come to the same conclusion. Unfortunately that is not included in this book. I admit, I picked this book up with high hopes for a logical, well thought out discussion on the real world evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus as written about in the Bible. Unfortunately, I've found myself to be sorely disappointed. If you are already a believer, or even on the fence on the subject, this book will be great for you. If you are a non-believer, than this book won't do much to change your point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago