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on July 7, 2004
Strobel does an excellent job of examining the evidence for the Ressurection of Christ from all angles. His findings are very logical and convincing. This is a really good book to read if you are as confused and skeptical as I have recently become. The methodical way that Strobel presents the evidence in this book argues very very strongly for the truth of the Bible. The only shortcoming as far as I'm concerned is his neglecting to really give the full arguments for the liberals and atheists (or if he did, they sure don't have very solid cases). I would highly reccomend this book to anyone interested in learning about the history and the evidence of Christ and the church.
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on April 16, 2004
Years ago I wrote: "This is one of those books I can't comment on without sounding like a blithering idiot. Excellent, easy to read, FULL of apologetic material giving a SOUND defense of the Christian faith, this book is an example of 1 Peter 3:15 in action."
I still stand by those statements in regard to this book. Strobel focuses on proving the historical reliability for the gospel accounts and does a fairly decent job in a non-academic fashion. He interviews top scholars and shows the textual and other evidence for faith in Christ.
I still recommend it, though not as highly, since I'm now reformed in my soteriology. This book will definitely challenge all of the usual misconceptions that non-Christians have about the scriptures. My only reason for not giving it a full 5 stars has to do with the author. Coming from the 'seeker sensitive' background, Strobel, Hybels and others deny humanity's radical depravity and books like these are written with the assumption that simply seeing the facts will change someone's mind. The only thing that can truly bring someone to Christ is the Father's drawing power upon whom He wills it (John 6:44-66), not human effort. Use this book to eliminate objections and if someone converts as a result of reading it, praise God. If they don't, praise God for the truth of His word going forth anyway!
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on March 3, 2004
I read this book a few years ago while just investigating christianity. I was very skeptical, and had all kinds of doubts, based on my knowledge of evolution, my public school education, exposure to the discovery channel, PBS, etc., which all tend to support a mere mythological view of christianity. I read the whole book in a matter of days, and was very impressed with the amount of topics that were satisfactorily covered in this book.
I'm not going to say I gave my life to Christ immediately, but this book opened the door for me to take Christ seriously, and to apply the same skepticism toward scientific theory that I had previously applied only toward religion. I eventually became convinced of the reality of God and the truth of the gospels, and have since trusted my life to Christ gratefully. I've bought several copies of this book and given it as a gift to family members and other non-believers in hopes that it will open doors for them as it did me.
This book isn't perfect, but its a very readable exploration into christian apologetics for a newcomer. I read The Verdict recently (the book written to counter this one), and it was surprisingly weak. Nearly every major argument in The Verdict was based on the same faulty logic (argument from silence). I started highlighting major logical fallacies from the beginning, and got about halfway through that book before my hand had turned yellow and I decided it just wasn't challenging enough. The sheer inability of the author of The Verdict to adequately challenge the arguments in this book are a testament to its quality. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone, along with Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
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on January 18, 2004
Strobel was once an actual atheist before he was a Christian. This is a crucial point in the defense of theism or against theism. Once Strobel becaming a Christian he still had skepticism about the authenticity of Christianity. This is what makes it a good book for true facts. He didn't want to prove Jesus' proclamations but wanted the truth (be it the proclamations were true or that they were lies). After he considered the facts then he made a sound decision on the truth. Many theist or atheist books have a bais in their writing and will write towards one side of the story more than the other leaving important facts of that other side out. But Strobel will keep asking questions to the many doctors of their field until the question is resolved to the most rational answer even if it brought out a fact against Christianity. And of course there is no 100% proof of theism or atheism, ( nothing can be truly proven) but Strobel gets down to the true facts and the origins of the bible. This is not a book for philisophical evidence ( which can usaully be argued at a different point of view anyway). But the whole book provides statistics of actual manuscripts and other physical evidence. But the best part of the book is still that the author was there to not defend Jesus and his claims but to attest them.
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on December 23, 2003
This book will probably forever get voted 5 or 1 star. 5 by Christians, 1 by atheists. Surprise, surprise. I found this book fascinating, but no slam-dunk on its own. The various fields Strobel brings together point out the various sides that can be used to examine the evidence for a historical Jesus. However, EACH branch of study could consume a life's work on its own. So of course no one book will do the subject justice. This book is a fantastic introduction, and is probably more valuable for the other more specialized books it suggests as further reading. That's where the meat of the matter will lie.
It's simply not enough to hypothesize people's motives for "making up" Christianity, see them as logically plausible (independent of historical context and other facts), and see the case decided. No, what's needed is a piecing together of facts from various disciplines. It's rarely done for the various debunking theories--most are simply content to say, "oh, of course people would make stuff up to get people to follow them." Strobel goes beyond this kind of hypothesis-as-fact and begins to uncover the wealth of evidence for the historical Jesus. If you read this book, and put it down thinking the case is closed one way or another, you haven't really done enough work. The issue is complex; order a few more books from Strobel's lists and discover for yourself what the Truth is.
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on February 27, 2004
Strobel has done the vertually impossable to the anti-christian world... uncovered a logical and scientific backing for Christianity.
Watching his journey to faith is an inspiration. The stories you hear about other's journey to faith in this book is often uplifting and monumentous.
Strobel set out what he ment to do perfectly. Even though his phrasings seem a little to novelistic for non-fiction.
The point he wishes to make comes across in perfection.
Good read for lovers of Christ, history, theology or just a good read.
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on October 13, 2003
I strongly recommend this book to both believers and non-believers. Those who are Christians will be amazed at how strong the case really is, how well it stands, those who aren't will indeed be faced with the question, are you gonna change or not. See, the thing is, Strobel went beyond being a plain lazy atheist, and set out for a quest, i do believe an HONEST quest, unbiased. Why would he ask the skeptics if he HIMSELF was one? of course he knew the skeptics points of view, he carried that information along with him, he agreed with it, he had believed it all his life. If Strobel dare be accused of being biased it has to be of leaning towards SKEPTICISM, not Christianity, isn't it the point of it all. HE had the real experience of going out , facing intellectuals face to face, and being an intellectual himself,(not like many one point reviewers on this site), he made the most elegant choice, how could he not believe, how could it not be intelligent to believe. Please it's really easier than what atheists think. I just know, atheism is nothing but blindness, lazyness, and fear.
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on May 25, 2003
Lee Strobel tackles all of the hard questions put up by skeptics concerning the life and Deity of Jesus Christ. He interviewed 13 experts who have studied and read extensively on each aspect where people have cast doubt on whether Jesus is real, is the Christ, and His Resurrection (which is the cornerstone of the Christian faith).
Admittedly all of the experts are Christians themselves, but they have logically and reasonably defended their area of expertise. Add all 13 areas together, and the case for Christ becomes watertight, even to those who have no faith in Christ.
To make the case for Christ, one must first establish the reliability of the eyewitnesses (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul). Then establish the accuracy of the Gospel, and the historical and archaeological record corroborating the Gospel. Then one needs to match the Jesus of faith with the historical Jesus. Once the historical aspect is established, one then goes onto the theological aspect, showing that Jesus acted and behaved as God, and that he was resurrected to prove that he was God. Each piece fits together and creates a pretty airtight case. I challenge any objective skeptic to look at all of the evidence for themselves. Mr. Strobel's book can be an excellent guide in your own journey of discovery whether it is to solidify your faith, or to challenge his conclusions.
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on April 15, 2003
As I have said with Josh McDowell's More Than Just a Carpenter, I will say with this: it makes a good introduction, but is not high scholarly stuff. Now, I will admit this, Strobel makes a far better case in his book that McDowell, and he does it in a far more interesting manner. That he interviewed some of the best Conservative Evangelical scholars on their opinions is a good thing. My New Testament studies professor was unabashedly liberal and even he has a great respect for some of the names that Strobel dropped. However, that is not to say the book is completely without issues. First off, it is written at a rather rudimentary level, though not so much so that more advanced students will not be intrigued by it. Secondly, Strobel, because he is a believer, will no doubt elicit cries of bias from some, though I believe that most fair minded readers will at least concede there is less bias than had he done them after his conversion. Thirdly, there's not a lot that's "scholarly" about the book, mostly because it's written by a journalist. For that reason, it leaves many questions such as authorship and dating either skimmed over or untouched. It could make some readers wonder if Strobel was deliberately avoiding issues, or just didn't know what to ask (I'd like to think it was the latter). In any event, it does begin to make the step from basic to intermediate apologetics and has the benefit of being current. For those reasons, Strobel deserves at least some praise, though an individual will probably wind up needing reading a lot more than they bargained for to be able to use Strobel's work appropriately.
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on April 11, 2003
This is an accomplished work. The writing here is good, the research exhaustive, and the conclusions in favor of the existence of Jesus, the general reliability of the main gospels, etc, etc, etc. (With some serious logical flaws.)
HOWEVER, this book, just like any other source of any kind, can never prove -- as it claims to do -- that Jesus was the son of God incarnate, come to save humankind from our sins. To believe a statement like that, you must rely on faith. Earthly evidence will avail you nothing at all.
Personally -- and this is just something to think about -- I believe that the literal truth of Jesus, let alone his status as divine or not divine, is not at all, as Strobel says, "the most important spiritual issue of all." Isn't what's REALLY important about Jesus his attitude of forgiveness and tolerance and his message of love, and the often wonderful results that legacy has had in people's lives since his stories were first written down? If the idea is to make people better, then a Jesus of pure myth is just as potent as a Jesus of pure historical truth...and everything in between fits just as well.
I'm on a soapbox here, and I apologize, but to me, Lee Strobel's book, though admirable, is rather pointless. If, however, you are a believing Christian, Strobel's work may give you a reason to be proud of your beautiful, enduring faith. If, like me, you believe in the validity of the Christian faith without professing Christianity itself, you may find interesting historical scholarship and a new appreciation for Christianity. You may also have fun picking out the logical fallacies.
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