The Case For Christ
If you were a journalist, how would you handle a news story so big it would utterly eclipse all other world events? How thorough would your investigation be? How many hard-hitting questions would you ask? How carefully would you consult...
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If you were a journalist, how would you handle a news story so big it would utterly eclipse all other world events? How thorough would your investigation be? How many hard-hitting questions would you ask? How carefully would you consult with top experts to get detailed, accurate answers? Lee Strobel knows firsthand. It was as an award-winning reporter for the Chicago Tribune and an avowed atheist that he first investigated the greatest news story of all -- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, in The Case for Christ, he presents compelling evidence and expert testimony for the claims of Christianity. As a seasoned journalist with a Yale law background, Strobel systematically tracks down his leads and asks the blunt, tough questions you would want to ask -- questions that can make or break the Christian faith. He refuses contrived, simplistic answers. Instead, he pieces together hard facts through interviews with a dozen of the country's top scholars. Written in the style of a blockbuster i
1. The Eyewitness Evidence 2. Testing The Eyewitness Evidence 3. The Documentary Evidence 4. The Corroborating Evidence 5. The Scientific Evidence 6. The Rebuttal Evidence 7. The Identity Evidence 8. The Psychological Evidence 9. The Profile Evidence 10. The Fingerprint Evidence 11. The Medical Evidence 12. The Evidence Of The Missing Body 13. The Evidence Of Appearances 14. The Circumstantial Evidence 304 Pages
Atheist-turned-Christian, Lee Strobel is the former award-winning legal affairs editor of The Chicago Tribune. He holds a Master of Studies in Law degree, as well as a journalism degree and was a professional journalist for 14 years, winning Illinois' top honours for investigative reporting and public service journalism from United Press International.
In 1981, after a two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus, Lee received Christ as his Saviour, and subsequently became a teaching pastor at two of America's largest churches - Willow Creek Community Church, Chicago in 1987 and Saddleback Valley Community Church, California in 2000. In 2002 he left Saddleback's staff to focus on writing.
A New York Times best-selling author of nearly 20 books, he has been described by the Washington Post as "one of the evangelical community's most popular apologists." His journey from atheism to faith has been documented in the Gold Medallion-winning books The Case for Christ, Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary and The Case for Faith.
His other best-sellers include Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage, which he co-authored with his wife, Leslie; God's Outrageous Claims and What Jesus Would Say? Lee also shared the prestigious ECPA Jordon Christian Book of the Year award in 2005 for a curriculum he co-authored about the movie The Passion of the Christ.
Lee is also co-author of the Becoming a Contagious Christian training curriculum, which is used around the world. And his articles have been published in a variety of magazines, including Discipleship Journal, Marriage Partnership, The Christian Research Journal, Guideposts, and Decision. He is also a contributing editor and columnist for Outreach on-line magazine.
Lee and Leslie have been married for 33 years and live in Southern California. They have a daughter, Alison, and son Kyle who is married to Kellie, both Alison and Kyle are writers.
- Introduction: Reopening The Investigation Of A Lifetime
- Part 1: Examining The Record
- 1. The Eyewitness Evidence
- Can The Biographies Of Jesus Be Trusted?
- With Dr. Craig Blomberg
- 2. Testing The Eyewitness Evidence
- Do The Biographies Of Jesus Stand Up To Scrutiny?
- With Dr. Craig Blomberg
- 3. The Documentary Evidence
- Were Jesus' Biographies Reliably Preserved For Us?
- With Dr. Bruce Metzger
- 4. The Corroborating Evidence
- Is There Credible Evidence For Jesus Outside His Biographies?
- With Dr. Edwin Yamauchi
- 5. The Scientific Evidence
- Does Archaeology Confirm Or Contradict Jesus' Biographies?
- With Dr. John Mcray
- 6. The Rebuttal Evidence
- Is The Jesus Of History The Same As The Jesus Of Faith?
- With Dr. Gregory Boyd
- Part 2: Analyzing Jesus
- 7. The Identity Evidence
- Was Jesus Really Convinced That He Was The Son Of God?
- With Dr. Ben Witherington Iii
- 8. The Psychological Evidence
- Was Jesus Crazy When He Claimed To Be The Son Of God?
- With Dr. Gary Collins
- 9. The Profile Evidence
- Did Jesus Fulfill The Attributes Of God?
- With Dr. D. A. Carson
- 10. The Fingerprint Evidence
- Did Jesus --- And Jesus Alone --- Match The Identity
- Of The Messiah?
- With Louis Lapides, M.div., Th.m.
- Part 3: Researching The Resurrection
- 11. The Medical Evidence
- Was Jesus' Death A Sham And His Resurrection A Hoax?
- With Dr. Alexander Metherell
- 12. The Evidence Of The Missing Body
- Was Jesus' Body Really Absent From His Tomb?
- With Dr. William Lane Craig
- 13. The Evidence Of Appearances
- Was Jesus Seen Alive After His Death On The Cross?
- With Dr. Gary Habermas
- 14. The Circumstantial Evidence
- Are There Any Supporting Facts That Point To The Resurrection?
- With Dr. J. P. Moreland
- Conclusion: The Verdict Of History
- What Does The Evidence Establish --- And What Does It Mean Today?
- List Of Citations
CHAPTER 12 The Evidence of the Missing Body Candy heiress Helen Vorhees Brach flew into the world's busiest airport on a crisp autumn afternoon, stepped into a crowd, and promptly disappeared without a trace. For more than twenty years the mystery of what happened to this red-haired, animal-loving philanthropist has baffled police and journalists alike. While investigators are convinced she was murdered, they haven't been able to determine the specific circumstances, largely because they've never found her body. Police have floated some speculation, leaked tantalizing possibilities to the press, and even got a judge to declare that a con man was responsible for her disappearance. But absent a corpse, her murder officially remains unsolved. Nobody has ever been charged with her slaying. The Brach case is one of those frustrating enigmas that keep me awake from time to time as I mentally sift through the sparse evidence and try to piece together what happened. Ultimately it's an unsatisfying exercise; I want to know what happened, and there just aren't enough facts to chase away the conjecture. Occasionally bodies turn up missing in pulp fiction and real life, but rarely do you encounter an empty tomb. Unlike the case of Helen Brach, the issue with Jesus isn't that he was nowhere to be seen. It's that he was seen, alive; he was seen, dead; and he was seen, alive once more. If we believe the gospel accounts, this isn't a matter of a missing body. No, it's a matter of Jesus still being alive, even to this day, even after publicly succumbing to the horrors of crucifixion so graphically depicted in the preceding chapter. The empty tomb, as an enduring symbol of the Resurrection, is the ultimate representation of Jesus' claim to being God. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that the Resurrection is the very linchpin of the Christian faith: 'If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.' Theologian Gerald O'Collins put it this way: 'In a profound sense, Christianity without the resurrection is not simply Christianity without its final chapter. It is not Christianity at all.'1 The Resurrection is the supreme vindication of Jesus' divine identity and his inspired teaching. It's the proof of his triumph over sin and death. It's the foreshadowing of the resurrection of his followers. It's the basis of Christian hope. It's the miracle of all miracles. If it's true. Skeptics claim that what happened to Jesus' body is still a mystery akin to Helen Brach's disappearance - there's not enough evidence, they say, to reach a firm conclusion. But others assert that the case is effectively closed, because there is conclusive proof that the tomb was vacant on that first Easter Morning. And if you want someone to compellingly present that case, your best bet is to visit with William Lane Craig, widely considered to be among the world's foremost experts on the Resurrection. The Eleventh Interview: William Lane Craig, Ph.D., D.Th. I had an unusual perspective the first time I saw Bill Craig in action: I was seated behind him as he defended Christianity before a crowd of nearly eight thousand people, with countless others listening on more than one hundred radio stations across the country. As moderator of a debate between Craig and an atheist selected by the national spokesman for American Atheists, Inc., I marveled as Craig politely but powerfully built the case for Christianity while simultaneously dismantling the arguments for atheism. From where I was sitting, I could watch the faces of people as they discovered - many for the first time - that Christianity can stand up to rational analysis and rugged scrutiny. In the end it was no contest. Among those who had entered the auditorium that evening as avowed atheists, agnostics, or skeptics, an overwhelming 82 percent walked out concluding that the case for Christianity had been the most compelling. Forty-seven people entered as nonbelievers and exited as Christians - Craig's arguments for the faith were that persuasive, especially compared with the paucity of evidence for atheism. Incidentally, nobody became an atheist.2 So when I flew down to Atlanta to interview him for this book, I was anxious to see how he'd respond to the challenges concerning the empty tomb of Jesus. He hadn't changed since I had seen him a few years earlier. With his close-cropped black beard, angular features, and riveting gaze, Craig still looks the role of a serious scholar. He speaks in cogent sentences, never losing his train of thought, always working through an answer methodically, point by point, fact by fact. Yet he isn't a dry theologian. Craig has a refreshing enthusiasm for his work. His pale blue eyes dance as he weaves elaborate propositions and theories; he punctuates his sentences with hand gestures that beckon for understanding and agreement; his voice modulates from near giddiness over some arcane theological point that he finds fascinating to hushed sincerity as he ponders why some scholars resist the evidence that he finds so compelling. In short, his mind is fully engaged, but so is his heart. When he talks about skeptics he has debated, it isn't with a smug or adversarial tone. He goes out of his way to mention their endearing qualities when he can - this one was a wonderful speaker, that one was charming over dinner. In the subtleties of our conversation, I sensed that he isn't out to pummel opponents with his arguments; he's sincerely seeking to win over people who he believes matter to God. He seems genuinely perplexed why some people cannot, or will not, recognize the reality of the empty tomb.