The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
A Critical Book Review
Lee Strobel, New York Times bestselling author of twenty books, including four which received ECPA awards, is an atheist turned Christian after a two year investigation of Jesus. He became a Christian in 1981. Strobel worked at the Chicago Tribune for 14 years as an award winning legal editor. He has a Bachelor of Journalism which he received in 1974 from the University of Missouri. He also earned a Master of Studies in Law Degree in 1979 from Yale. Washington Post has referred to him as the evangelical communities most popular apologists.
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Strobel moves on to the accuracy of what was written. He asks how we can be sure of the accuracy when the gospels were written so long after. He implies the gospels may have picked up stories and legends along the way. Strobel's answer is that all were written with in the lifetimes of eye witnesses. He compares the dates to those of the earliest biographies of Alexander the Great, which were written 400 years after his death. He says that they are still considered trustworthy.
Chapter 2 tests the eyewitness evidence. Bloomberg explains that the gospels are accurate and we have proof when we read the opening of Luke’s gospel. When Luke tells us he intends to write accurately. He goes on to say that we know the things about Jesus life are accurate even though they weren’t written down for 30 years in the gospels because the disciples lived in “an oral culture, in which there was great emphasis placed on memorization.” (p. 43)
Bruce M. Metzger, PhD, is the next interview in Chapter 3, which looks at documentary evidence. He says that since there are thousands of copies all over, they must be accurate. When asked why some books were not included in the New Testament, Metzger explains that the early church had three criteria that documents must have in order to be included in the New Testament. These criteria were that the book had to be written by an apostle, the book had to conform to what Christians already believed and the book had to be accepted by the majority.
Strobel chose Edwin Yamauchi to confirm corroborating evidence. He affirms the gospels by saying that they’re excellent and “the most trustworthy, complete, and reliable sources for Jesus.” (76) He goes on to say that Testimonium Tacitum is “the most important reference to Jesus outside the New Testament.” (82) When asked about Pliny the Younger, he says that his correspondence thru letters were preserved and also very important. These letters attested to the spread of Christianity and the worship of Jesus as God. He tells that even without the Bible we would have a considerable amount of evidence. He says that we would know that Jesus was a Jewish teacher; he healed and performed exorcisms; that people believed he was the Messiah; that Jewish leaders rejected him; he was crucified under the authority of Pontius Pilate and people of all kinds worshipped him.
The fourth interview is with John McRay, PhD. He tells us that archaeology has come a long way but “it certainly can’t prove whether the New Testament is the Word of God….Spiritual truths cannot be proved or disproved by archaeological discoveries.”(p. 95) He does say however that the credibility of the New Testament is affirmed through archaeology because details have checked out to be true. McRay says that these discoveries have determined that Luke was very accurate as well as John and Mark. McRay confirms that Jesus and Mary were required to return to Bethlehem. Next he confirms that Nazareth was in existence in the...