The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge had the opportunity to talk with Lee Strobel, former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune. He is now a professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University and a pastor at the Woodland’s Church just outside of Houston. He’s the best-selling author of more of 20 books. His classic book, The Case for Christ, details his journey to Christianity. It is now a feature length film released by Pureflix Entertainment and you can find all the information about it atCaseforChristmovie.pureflix.com.
Listen to our interview with Lee Strobel here:
Carmen: Lee, welcome to The Reconnect, it’s great to be with you. Okay, so give us a sense of the time period in which the film takes place, because I will tell that it’s hard to find the kinds of telephones that you use in the film and people aren’t gonna be familiar with typewriters, and they’re gonna be very distressed that the children are not in car seats.
Lee Strobel: That is so funny. You’re right. The movie takes place in 1980, and it was a different world. We had to go out and find all these Add Contact Form old typewriters and telephones and pagers instead of cell phones. Of course, the hairstyles make us all look like idiots. But we all looked like idiots in 1980.
Carmen: The opening line of the move is about the importance of facts and the relationship of facts to the truth. You know as well as I do, our culture is having a really hard time today with the concepts of facts and the truth. So just talk with us about the important of evidence, in particular, the importance of you discovering for yourself the facts related to the resurrection of Jesus.
Lee Strobel: Well, you know, Christianity is unusual among world religions in that it invites investigation. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 verse 17, if Jesus had not been raised, you might as well as walk away from all of this. You know? You’re fully justified in rejecting this faith. So, it makes certain claims of things that happened in history, that Jesus, it claims, lived, and He died and then He was reliably encountered afterwards. Those are historical issues that can be investigated just as you can investigate any other historical issues.
Whereas it’s very difficult to, say, take, oh, say, Hinduism and try to get to its roots is very confusing and difficult. But Christianity says, “No. Bring it on. Check us out. Investigate it yourself. Look at the evidence,” because it has confidence that there were footprints left in history by Jesus, and if we investigate those footprints we find that they point towards the truth of who He claimed to be.
Carmen: One of the things that I found particularly piercing was the phrase, “the father wound.” Can you talk with us about the father wound? Because there are so many people walking around today with a father wound.
Lee Strobel: Yeah, you know, it’s very interesting. People, because of my books and the angle I’ve taken with the evidence, think that it was merely intellectual obstacles that kept me from faith, but that’s rarely true for anybody, including me. Often there’s something deeper. Often, there’s an emotional issue. If you study the famous atheists of history, Camus, Sartre, Nietzsche, Freud, Voltaire, Wells, Feuerbach, O’Hair. You just go down the list. Every single one of them had a father who died when they were young, divorced their mother when they were young or with whom they had a terrible relationship.
The implication is, why would you want to believe in a heavenly Father if your earthly father has disappointed or hurt you, because a heavenly Father’s just gonna hurt you more. And Freud even observed this. In my case, I had a very difficult relationship with my father. He once looked at me on the eve of my high school graduation and said, “I don’t have enough love for you to fill my little finger.” So we had a rift in our relationship, and never really healed fully before he died. Was that a factor in me going down the road toward atheism? I think it might have played a role.
Of course, CS Lewis says you can get around this because whereas our tendency is to imagine a heavenly Father just to be a magnified earthly father and all our earthly fathers are flawed in one way or the other. Instead of thinking of Him that way, we should try to imagine what the perfect father would be like. He’d be loving, he’d be accepting, he’d be encouraging, he’d be grace-filled, and so forth. That’s a picture of our heavenly Father if we can imagine a perfect father.
Carmen: Folks, we’re talking with Lee Strobel about his story, which we know as the book The Case for Christ, but it’s now a feature film by Pureflix, and it’s by the same name, The Case for Christ. Lee, I know that people think of this movie as being about your journey, the journey of a skeptic to faith, but I gotta tell ya. I feel like it’s really a story about marriage and how a woman, your wife, made the gospel so visible, so substantial, and so beautiful that you had to investigate what in the world was going on.
Lee Strobel: I think that’s a great observation. It really is, because I think people may have the misconception this is a documentary that purely presents the evidence, but you’re absolutely right. It’s a story of two people that fell in love when we were 14 years old, got married young. She was 19. I was 20. Had a similar worldview. I was an atheist, she was agnostic, and everything was pretty copacetic until she gets led to faith in Jesus. And all of a sudden this tumultuous era of our marriage opens up where I’m the hostile atheist trying to get her out of this cult that she’s involved in, and she’s trying to grow in her faith. It is about that kind of marriage relationship, and a lot of people face that. Or they’re married to someone who is not growing like they’re growing spiritually, and that can be frustrating as well. So we wanted to be honest about that kind of impact that a spiritual mismatch can have in a marriage. I think a lot of people relate to the marriage story.