The Case For Christ is a new Christian drama film based on a book written by an award-winning investigative journalist, who as an atheist was working to disprove the newfound Christian faith of his wife. The movie debuts in theaters April 7.
Illinois journalist and former Chicago Tribune legal editor Lee Strobel wrote the true story about his life from the 1980s and published the book (with the same name) in 1998. He applied his journalistic and legal skills to attempt to disprove his wife, Leslie's, unwavering, new belief in Christianity. After two years of analyses and with the threat of divorce, Strobel's journalistic journey ended with unexpected, life-altering results.
"I spent my entire career as a journalist, uncovering the truth, until the day my wife presented me with the biggest story of my life," explained the skeptical Strobel, who riffled through contradictory details of the Resurrection, looking for evidence, and who ultimately was brought to faith in the process.
Strobel has authored 20-plus books, and now is a professor at Houston Baptist University as well as teaching pastor at Woodlands Church.
The Case For Christ book summarizes Strobel's interviews with 13 evangelical Christian scholars: Craig Blomberg, Bruce Metzger, Edwin Yamauchi, John McRay, Gregory Boyd, Ben Witherington III, Gary Collins, D.A. Carson, Louis Lapides, Alexander Metherell, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and J. P. Moreland, in which they defend their views regarding the historical reliability of the New Testament.
The journalist joined Saddleback Church congregations this past week to discuss the question of whether God is really good all the time and how to apply personal experiences to life's valleys. He used to be on the Saddleback minister staff.
In a Saddleback interview style of discussion, Strobel revealed the struggles of not having a loving relationship with her personal father had affected his desire to want to believe in and have a heavenly father. They had an angry rife that never healed during his dad's lifetime, and in retrospect, he believes his "father wound" drove some of his atheist feelings. He pointed out that most famous atheists did not have a warm, loving relationship with their earthly fathers.
"When we talk about valleys, we think of ourselves in a valley. But God can use us to get someone else through a valley," Strobel surmised. "You can be an instrument of God's love, His healing, his forgiveness or His grace."
He explained to the Saddleback audience he thought his wife was going to get "sucked into some Christian subculture" in which he wouldn't be welcome. "I thought she was cheating on me with Jesus," he admitted.
In his new soul-forming life and during almost dying, Strobel had a personal, unusual health crisis related to sodium levels in his blood. This experience led him to continue to rethink his religious-related beliefs, especially concerning life and death. He said the notion that rescued him was the realization that God was able to take the worst possible thing that could happen in the history of the world, which is deicide, the death of Jesus Christ on a cross, the death of the Son of God, and turn it into the best thing.
"Through the death of Jesus and the resurrection, He opened up the gates of Heaven to all who follow him," he said.
"We're all flawed. The hope is that what the mistakes we've made and what we've gone through in life might resonate with someone," said Leslie Strobel about seeing their personal life on the big screen. She learned during the spiritual mismatch with her husband how she could live out her faith while giving him time to investigate all of the elements that eventually molded them into Christians.