Strobel, Leigh. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
Strobel’s book is one of the best known lay-level works on apologetics. Strobel is an atheist who converted to Christianity while a crime journalist for the Chicago Tribune. His wife was converted to Christ first, and he began studying the Bible to try to prove her wrong, only proving the old saw, “What do you call an atheist who sits down and carefully studies the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Answer: A Christian.”
Strobel has written a number of books on Christian apologetics, and this is his first. All of his works are a series of interviews with major scholars related to particular fields to specific topics. The book is well organized and easy to read.
I personally divide my approach to the case for Christ into three phases, the first phase is the evidentiary phase – demonstrating the value of the gospels as historical accounts. The second, is the rebuttal phase, where I deal with explanations provided by other writers and the final phase is the conclusion. The case for Christ is a “first phase” work, and does an excellent job of communicating the basics though there are a few technical areas (such as the fancies of the documentary hypothesis) that might have deserved a little more space. On the plus side, Strobel does an excellent job of simplifying the case to the lay level without oversimplifying – he doesn’t simplify for example, by leaving out important details.
The organization of the chapters is topical, and are well written.
Conclusions: Strobel’s The Case for Christ is a great book, while there are areas I wish that Storbel went deeper, his work is one of the best lay level discussions of the evidence for the gospels. Strobel should not be considered the end of the discussion when it comes to Christian apologetics, but it is a great place to start.