If I ate a chocolate for every time I’ve mentioned The Case for Christ or The Shack, I’d probably be very, very fat. If you haven’t heard me singing their praises, have no fear! By the end of this blog post, you will be fully informed on what they are, why I think they are amazing and what I plan to do with the information (and what I hope you might think about doing with it, too).
Within the last 200 years, western culture has very much changed from prioritising emotions to prioritising logic. This can be seen in the way family businesses have transformed into competitive institutions, the rise in technological advancements and the progression of science. This isn’t a bad thing at all, but everything has its positives and negatives. However, faith has always valued belief over logic. This can be seen with doubting Thomas in the book of John :-
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”John 20:29
Today, the majority of people base their behaviour on logic because we don’t get very far in life without it. So unfortunately, lots of people that have had a strong predisposition towards logic in the past 200 years, have become lost sheep, without the ability to research the historical accuracy of the gospels. Once again, I am not bashing being logical. I prefer to be logical too, because it provides a solid foundation that faith can be built upon.
This is where The Case for Christ comes in! This is a true story about the author, Lee Strobel, and his journey to faith. Lee was an atheist investigative journalist who decided to take his work home when his wife suddenly became a Christian. This caused some issues in their marriage, so he set out to prove her wrong using purely factual evidence. The book tells the story of his personal journey, while separating it from ‘the hard facts’. It takes you through his logical lines of questioning via interviews with respected people in the appropriate fields. Medical doctors, historians, psychologists and more. Of course, what does he find? An extraordinary amount of evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If books aren’t your thing, luckily it has been made into a brilliant film! It couldn’t possibly contain the detail that the book delves into, but in my own experience in showing it to people, the evidence presented in there is convincing enough. Through Lee’s journey, the Lord has generously provided the abundance of today’s skeptics with an open door to knowing Him. In an interview about the case with Mark Mittelberg, Lee Strobel says:
Ultimately, the way a Christian really knows that Christianity is true is through the self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit whispers to our spirit that we belong to God. That’s one of his roles. Other evidence, though still valid, is basically confirmatory. Let’s say you’re going to the office to see if your boss is in. You see his car in the parking lot. You ask the secretary if he is in, and she says “yes I just spoke with him”. You see the light from under his office door. You listen and hear his voice on the telephone. On the basis of all this evidence you have good grounds for concluding that your boss is in his office. But you could do something quite different. You could go to the door and knock on it and meet the boss face-to-face. At that point, the evidence of the car in the parking lot, secretary’s testimony, the light under the door, the voice on the telephone – all of that would still be valid, but it would take a secondary role, because now you’ve met the boss face to face. In the same way, when we’ve met God, so to speak, face to face, all of the arguments and evidence for his existence – though perfectly valid – take a secondary role. They now become confirmatory of what God himself has shown us in a supernatural way through the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. I’m so grateful for the evidence described in The Case for Christ because it was pivotal in knocking down the barriers between Jesus and me. But if you asked me today, how I know for sure that Jesus is alive and is the son of God, I say: because I know him personally, because he is now my friend.
That’s something we can all experience when we come to him in repentance and faith. And let me be totally transparent: that’s my hope for everyone who reads The Case for Christ.Lee Strobel
So the reason I love this book so much is because it appeals to my intellectual side and provides today’s culture with what they need. Facts. (I also enjoy a good debate, especially when it comes to passionately defending my faith… tehe)
However, I am not a one sided coin. My emotional side also asks a lot of seemingly unanswerable questions and lots of other people’s objections to faith are to do with the suffering in the world. How could God let so many horrible things happen, if he loves us all so much? The source of exploration into this side of me comes from a book called The Shack by William P. Young. However, I have to admit, I have not yet read this myself – though it is on my ever-extending reading list. This too has been made into a movie that I have seen. The movie begins with the horrifying murder of Mackenzie’s very young daughter. This creates an all-consuming source of pain in his family and things begin to fall apart. One day, Mackenzie gets an anonymous invitation back to the place his daughter was murdered. Here, we are taken through the painful journey of healing alongside Mackenzie and God. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but if you’ve ever wondered how one can keep their trust and faith in God, in the wake of even the most despicable of events, this film is a must-see. It is VERY moving. Bring tissues!
The reason I talk about these two books/films so often is because I currently spend most of my life amongst skeptics. This will change once I’ve started Soul61, but afterwards, at university, I’m bound to meet even more. The Case, and The Shack answer the majority of the questions I am asked almost on a daily basis. I have two copies of each DVD to lend out based upon the conversations God leads to me. For the readers, I recommend the books, as I only have one copy, but I often use them directly in the conversations I’m having. Lee Strobel has written further books such as The Case for Christmas (which I am looking forward to reading) and The Case for Easter (a smaller, more condensed version of his main book that I have multiple copies of for lending out).
In a recent church service I attended on a similar topic (about the head and heart), I was lead to Romans 10.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.Romans 10:10
Our logical understanding and our belief are not in conflict as so many would have us think. In fact, from this passage, we understand that both are necessary. If you feel that you are lacking one or the other, both, or even neither, try one of these books or films. No matter what you believe, if you are reading this blog, you will definitely get something out of them.
I am going to be condensing the information in these books even further, into tiny case-files for specific questions in order to make them more readable on social media. The majority of today’s youth get their ideas, opinions and values from social media, and while the church is present there, I feel that God has put it on my heart to be present in a more relatable way. This is quite a long and difficult project but I don’t have any sort of deadline, so I intend to make them properly and in the best possible format for its audience. Graphic designers, media producers, anyone with social media skills or even just a heart for people to know this stuff; if you feel called to help me in doing this, please do get in touch!
Before I sign off, I just want to publicly praise the Lord for, once again, providing in my life. Just as he has provided us today with His word in the Bible, the evidence to back it up, the published research into its authenticity, reliability, validity and truth; he has also provided me with a generous sum of money to go towards my funding on Soul61 via the heart of his church. I cannot thank you enough. I will be starting a prayer update once a month via email, for anyone who wants to pray for me. If you want to be added to this thread, send me a message on the contacts page of my blog!