The Case for Christ

by Lee Strobel

Paper Book, 1998



Call number



Grand Rapids, Mi : Zondervan Publishing House, 1998.


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 Brandies 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?… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member fundevogel
Do yourself a favor. If you're not already a Christian nothing this book insists is evidence is even slightly convincing. If you are a Christian don't give this to you're non-Christian friends to try and convert them, you'll just annoy them (and waste your money).

It is obvious to any skeptic reading this book, that for all of Strobel's insistence that he was a hardcore atheist and bristling skeptic he has absolutely no idea what sort of questions and answers matter to skeptics. Nor does his interaction with his all Christian interviewees suggest anything but compliant and soft handling. He appears to be wearing two or three pairs of kid gloves. He'll say that he can't let them off the hook and that he's going to give them a tough question and then lob some sort of crackpot theory no self respecting skeptic would ever take seriously.

The formula it this.

1. Start chapter with an exciting, but irrelevant anecdote about criminal investigation. It's a terrible and transparent gimmick aimed it showing that investigating the Bible is the same as investigating contemporary crime, even though there aren't any witnesses, material evidence, forensics or really any means at all to demonstrate anything concrete whatsoever.

2. Talk about the dude you're going to interview. Spend a page talking about his credentials, but then tell us not to worry about him bein' some unrelatable academic snot. He likes hockey! And has pictures his kids drew! And and he looks like a nice guy! Frankly I'm surprised he never got around to comparing them to lovable pop culture icons.

Reading this ridiculous dribble about why I should like this academic every-man I couldn't help wondering what he would have said about skeptical academics had he actually interviewed any. I doubt that he would talk about them in such sappy heartwarming language. Would he simply omit the gratuitous page of leg-humping (which really didn't need to be there at all) or would he mention the "cold uncomfortable feeling he felt in their presence" and describe the "lack of human touches in their office"? I don't know. It's one more reason I wish he had included interviews from people that weren't all presenting the argument he was selling.

3. Next you dive into the interview. This involves Strobel asking a question involving the theme of the of the chapter and immediately accepting whatever answer is given. Sometime he admits that that was enough to convince him, but asks a few more softball questions anyway to demonstrate his commitment to academic pursuit. Almost all examples of scholarly opinion and evidence is only vaguely referred to and lacking reference. They say things like "every one agrees that..." but fail to say who everyone is, or more importantly why they agree. It is assumed that hearing that some unknown theoretical scholars think it is as good as actual evidence and evaluation. It's not uncommon for them to insist that agreement is unanimous in the academic community regarding an issue when a simple google search shows it isn't. I shouldn't need to point out that conducting a criminal investigation or trial in this manner would be a joke.

4. Having declared the previous claim fact without actually applying any sort of rigorous evaluation or providing any evidence Strobel then uses it to prove more claims. This is basically all the book is. Making a claim, not really investigating it, declaring it inequivocally proven and then using it to prove other claims.

5. Throw in some strawman versions of skeptic arguments and you're good to go.

In a nut shell, this book argues that what the Bible says must be true because the Bible says it. It never addresses any real arguments against religion in general or Christianity in particular and on the occasion Strobel accidentally raises a legitimate objection his subject wasn't prepared for it is dismissed with a wave of the hand rather than actual logic or evidence. Unless you already accept the Bible as fact this is just going to be a lot of self appreciative nonsense and a giant waste of time.

Some of you may be wondering why someone like myself that so clearly didn't like the book felt the need to read it and review it. It was given me by my mother. She was completely convinced it would show me the light and save me from my atheist ways. This is the third book I have read that was given to me to these ends, and while none of them has come even remotely close to addressing the sort of the things that me make an atheist rather than a Christian, this book was by far the worst of the bunch. I don't recommend giving your atheist or agnostic friends religious books or attempting to convert them, it is more likely to strain the relationship than make good Christians of them.
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LibraryThing member leighjohnson
Strobel claims to be a journalist, and yet the only 'experts' he interviews during his 'investigation' are evangelical christians.

What kind of journalist writes a piece on a controversial subject without finding sources on all sides of the given issue?

The title should have been "The Case for Christ: A shoddy journalist's personal quest to find people who agree with me."… (more)
LibraryThing member LeeHarrison
The first of what became a string of "The Case for..." books, presented under the guise of 'fair and balanced investigative journalism' but is actually nothing more than an opportunity for Strobel to lob soft balls at his favourite fundamentalist preachers so that they can make his case for him. Strobel's stated intent is a lie. He has not set out to present a true treatment of the issues but to evangelise, pure and simple. A true investigation by an investigative journalist would have included opinions and research from people who actually hold the contra-positions - positions that Strobel simply constructs 'straw man' versions of to give the illusion of asking the tough questions. An appallingly bad book.… (more)
LibraryThing member Holmes245
I found many aspects of Strobel’s book enlightening and very thought provoking. He interviews many experts on the documentation for the New Testament. The book dispels many of the myths surrounding what people “think” they know about the Bible and covers many aspects of reliability for the Bible and for Christ that many people, including Christians, just are not aware of. In this book, he also gives good demonstration that there is quite a body of attestation for Jesus’ existence in history.

There were minor parts in which I disagreed with what was said, but those mainly pertained to certain interpretations or positions of doctrine that either Strobel or an interviewee and made, not necessarily to the topic of the reliability of the Bible or to the Messiah. Over all, a very good book and worth the read.

There have been those who complain that Strobel doesn’t interview those who “have a case against Christ”. This is true, but to be fair to the author, he never intended to do this and doesn’t purport to. He is simply putting out the case for Christ, not against. Besides, what other books out there, by atheist or otherwise, write both pro and con arguments? Not many at all. You’re more likely to find those in academia any way.
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LibraryThing member kumarei
This book could easily be called "Lee Strobel Speculates Wildly from Unconvincing Premises" or "Lee Strobel Interviews People that Agree With Him". This book is a strange combination of soft-ball interview questions and absurd leaps of logic. Lee Strobel may once have been an atheist, but if he was he wasn't a particularly thoughtful one. You would have to have no knowledge of logical fallacies and no understanding of history or human psychology in order to be convinced by these arguments.… (more)
LibraryThing member KingstonUCA
This book examines the evidence for Jesus by interviewing a dozen academics who specialise in a variety of different fields. Evidence that was examined included scientific, medical psychological evidence and also examination of the Bible and other historical documents. It would be great book for anyone seeking evidence for the existance of Jesus as the Messiah. A great book to recommend to non-Christian friends.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ragnell
One-sided and unconvincing.
LibraryThing member cwflatt
Excellent book. Reveals the facts about Jesus Christ and the true history that is no longer being taught in schools.
LibraryThing member nesum
A very good exploration into the historical evidence that Jesus really was who he claimed to be. In it, Strobel interviews Biblical experts and challenges them to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. He is thorough and unyielding in these interviews, challenging the texts themselves, the witnesses, the death of Jesus, and all points in between.

I would recommend this to anyone who really wants to know if the claims of the Bible are true. I'm sure those who are determined to not believe will find a reason to, but those with more open minds will at very least find the claims of Christianity are a little more credible than they may have first thought.
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LibraryThing member breadcrumbreads
Atheists don't have a leg to stand on with the hard evidence that this journalist presents in his case for Christ. Nothing else in history has the kind of proof and witnesses that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has and it is simply wonderful to see how this case unfolds. Lee Strobel had started out on this quest as a hard-core skeptic and atheist. And he emerged a devout Christian. I doubt this means that others will do so too. If there's one thing I've learnt each person needs to go on their own spiritual journey and discovery. However, I enjoyed reading this book. It was confirmation of my faith and very very informative. I would recommend this book to all seekers of faith and christians alike.… (more)
LibraryThing member BUSTED
This is a great and easy read. I read this as a skeptic before becoming a Christian and it helped me find a starting point in my own search for Christ.
LibraryThing member kasualkafe
I had an open mind when I read the book and it seemed to convince me , or at least to provide for me the ability to argue in better defense of christianity , but I have since came to the realization that I was fooling myself and ignored some of the obvious slants in the book. I gave it a 4 because this book creates very sharp opinions before or against. I did like the writing unlike some of the other reviewers here.… (more)
LibraryThing member krista.rutherford
I am already a Christian, so I don't know if this book would have compelled me to believe in Christ or not. However, Strobel investigates the claims about who Jesus was and the circumstances surrounding his death and resurrection in an objective manner. The resurrection of course is the single most important event in history, so knowing how we know that those testimonies are true is pretty compelling.… (more)
LibraryThing member moonbridge
Lee Strobel asks some tough questions about Christianity and as a crime reporter knows how to get some answers.
LibraryThing member katieloucks
I've been a Christian for years, and this book still brought up some of the questions I had. I loved how they were answered - we won't always have the answers to things, but the answers we do have should be enough.
LibraryThing member Samer
A bit verbose, but good information inside.
LibraryThing member jimocracy
The author did an amazing job of sounding like a pompous ass and simultaneously sounding like an ignorant rube. Lee Strobel has put himself inside a Christian echo chamber and intentionally neglected to interview any person who could or would refute his worldview. I propose that Strobel's work be used as an example of how to write a biased, anti-academic book on the subject of Christianity. This author has no intention of truly challenging his ideas and it seems that the purpose of his book is merely to keep the sheep in the flock.… (more)
LibraryThing member TexasTam
Lee Strobel interviews and investigates some of the top religious, scientists, archeologists to come up with this say there really was a Jesus Christ that walked among the earth and he is the son of God. Praise be to God for Lee. If you struggle with explaining Jesus to someone you love, give them this book.
LibraryThing member lauraodom
The Case for Christ documents a series of interviews of leading Biblical scholars that discuss such questions as:

Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?
Were they reliably preserved?
Does archaeology confirm or contradict the gospels?
Was Jesus crazy when He claimed to be the son of God?
Was Jesus seen alive after His death on the cross?
What does the evidence establish?

I liked Strobel's writing style. He includes a nice description of his conversations without just listing a bunch of dry academic facts. The facts themselves are quite interesting. I thought his "case" was well presented, but I am of course already biased to believe it. So, would it change my mind if I were atheist or agnostic? I don't know. He does bring up common arguments and refutes them, which I found compelling.

Speaking as a Christian, I believe this book provides an interesting read in apologetics. I enjoyed it, and thought it had some solid points to support the validity of the Bible. Of course, in the end, it's written by a man. Ultimately, my faith comes from what I read in the Bible, not what a man or Bible scholar writes. I believe anything aside from the inspired word of God can have fallacies - intended or not. But I would recommend this read to others, and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member steffanyac
So amazing. The man went from being an antagonistic Athiest to a born again Christian--it's a great read for everyone in that spectrum. I like how he used secular writings from the 1st century as well as the culture of the early church to help us understand different aspects of the history behind Christ's story.

He asked the logic questions that most people have, and the answers he found are very convicting. I have a new found love for Luke as a historian, and the preface to his gospel makes me smile.

I also like how he breaks up his research into different parts, and the part I most appreciated was the information on Resurrection of Christ.

I'm proud that a professor from my Alma Mater, Liberty University, was referenced!
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LibraryThing member BJB1940
This book I have taken notes and re-read numerous times. I recommend to anyone who studies the bible or anyone who would like to know more about Christianity.
LibraryThing member djaquay
Sounded like it'd be "investigative", but seemed more the author lobbing himself softballs, and cheering himself on hitting them out of the park. Having said that, it was a fairly enjoyable read, and I've got Case for Faith on my stack to read. And the closing few pages were worth the rest of the book, IMO.
LibraryThing member jontseng
Engaging and well-written. One criticism would be that the author only interview's "friendly witnesses", so that while it is ostensibly an impartial journalistic enquiry we never really get to hear the other point of view. This may be seen as disingenuous by some.
LibraryThing member lisacronista
This tool has been helping me answer questions from a friend who is struggling to find truth. What excites me about this book is that the story of Jesus, as told in the Gospels, is not only reliable, it is reliable in many categories. The internal and external proofs are overwhelming, and anyone who is sincerely looking for answers can be assured Jesus really lived on earth, died on the cross, and rose from the dead on the third day.… (more)
LibraryThing member aputney
This was one of the first books I read in 2002 as God starting working His power in my life. It encouraged and emboldened me. The chapter on the death and subsequent resurrection were informative, sobering and comforting. It is a great book to give to an unbeliever who will take the time to read it.


Original publication date



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