Book Review: 40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)

40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)Whatever you may think about him or his followers, Jesus of Nazareth continues to capture the attention of billions across the planet. From church-going Christians and New Atheists to the media and academics, Jesus remains a pretty popular guy, at least in terms of the time spent discussing this first century Palestinian Jew and his various views on contemporary issues. Amidst these ongoing conversations about what Jesus would think or say about the latest news cycle there are those who have proposed a quest (or, more accurately, quests) for the real Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of history who stands behind the Jesus of Christian faith. These voices—which are by no means new—have long influenced the popular understanding of the Nazarene and continue to shape how many people interpret the message of Jesus. However, many practicing Christians remain generally unaware of the divergent claims regarding the “Jesus of Faith” and the “Jesus of History” and are (understandably) concerned when they first encounter such statements. Continue reading

Book Review: The Case for the Real Jesus (Strobel)

The Case for the Real JesusIn some respects, The Case for the Real Jesus: Student Edition stands as but one Christian apologetics book among a market full of many. The back cover isn’t full of important Christian ‘celebrities’ and theologians saying how great this book is. There was no flashy marketing campaign when this book hit the shelves. It’s not a hardback tome proclaiming itself to include the answers to every question which might confront the Christian faith. In some ways, this relatively short book (at just fewer than two hundred pages) is pretty easy to overlook. But to ignore the contents of this book would be a major mistake.

In The Case for the Real Jesus: Student Edition, journalist Lee Strobel and Jane Vogel engage six of the most common challenges to Christian claims about the Historical Jesus and offer serious historical information on these claims for readers to consider. Through interviews with six scholars, Strobel tackles questions about the reliability of the Gospel accounts of Jesus, the reliability of New Testament texts, counters to the resurrection, the influence of pagan religions upon stories about Jesus, Jesus’ fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, and what Christians should believe about the historical Jesus in today’s context. By looking at each of these topics seriously, Strobel provides a valuable tool for those seeking to understand and defend their Christian faith. Continue reading

Book Review: The Case for Christ: Student Edition (Strobel)

The Case for Christ - Student Edition (Lee Strobel)Lee Strobel may be the most well-known Christian apologist of our time; he is certainly one of the most proficient, having written and co-written nearly thirty books on apologetics, in addition to working on numerous audio and curriculum series. Having read several of Strobel’s books over the years, I was delighted when The Case for Christ: Student Edition arrived in the mail last week.

Beginning with his own life story and incorporating numerous stories from his time at the Chicago Tribune, Strobel engages the three major questions he investigated before becoming a Christian. These include “Who Is This Jesus?”, “How Reliable Is the Information about Christ?”, and “Can a Dead Man Come Back to Life?” In answering each question Strobel traces his own learning progression, sharing important questions he asked, answers he found, and person experiences and lessons he had along the way. Additionally, there are several periscopes into cultural topics which supplement Strobel’s general trajectory of a historical defense of Christ as the resurrected Son of God. As a student edition, this work is short, easy to read, and contains enough graphics and sidebars to keep easily distracted readers interested. One thing I especially appreciated was that this book could be read start to finish or topically, as each section was essentially self-contained. Continue reading