The Case For Christ

I just got done finished watching “The Case For Christ,” a film about a Chicago Tribune journalist who tries to disprove the validity of the Bible after his wife becomes a Christian. To put it mildly, this film is infuriating.

Throughout the nearly two hour long affair we are subjected to a guy named Lee, a person we know little about (except that he won a writing award for his investigative journalism dealing with crime) and that we care about even less. This is a supposedly biographical true story, and what is painted is that of a really unpleasant individual in the workplace, at home with his wife, with strangers who are impacted by his printed words and even with his own parents. I would say there’s nothing to like about him. Even at the end of the film (which we all know how it’s going to end), Lee as a person seems bizarre. His saving prayer — if we are to take the film as a genuine account of what happened — is also suspect. Why? He doesn’t even ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness of Lee’s sins against Jesus, nor does he say or imply that he’ll repent. For a man who spent months trying to “logically” disprove the Bible, did he even read the Gospels at all? Weird.

The whole story and people presented doesn’t sit well with me, and the fact he then went on to suddenly be a preacher after massive publishing success in the 80s … and then both of his kids went on to become Christian authors and theologians as well makes me feel like perhaps we’ve been played. Just because an average person comes to Christ doesn’t mean they are remotely qualified to be a pastor or Christian author. This all comes across as a family profession.

During my studies last fall I learned of Natural Theology, and even wrote a paper on it. Basically it boils down to this: Even if fact-based searching for evidence of God can be found out/verified, it will not make a person believe in Jesus Christ. Given what I saw on screen, nothing to me indicated Lee made that leap because all he did was research the evidence, and not the humanity or love of Christ. Sure, Lee’s “conversion” happened after he had a major failure at work, he was contemplating divorce and his father died … but none of that ties into him suddenly believing that Jesus Christ is the son of God. All he focused on in his hunt was whether Jesus died and rose as described. That’s … not enough.

Looking online for Lee Strobel after this movie, I found that in 2010 he was invited to and attended the “Break Forth” conference in Canada, which is apparently all about emergent church/new age pastors. Apparently Strobel’s church is also an endorser of “contemplative spirituality,” which focuses on regular Eastern religion-like meditation sessions where one empties their mind, instead of focusing solely on typical Bible reading, traditional prayer, etc.  Obviously I cannot be 100% sure, but my gut tells me Strobel found an angle to make lots of money long ago, and perhaps has been using his knack for writing as a means of sustaining a journalism career that likely would have ended anyways, when he literally got a man imprisoned and beat up for a false attempted murder of a cop, due to Lee’s poor investigative skills. I would stay away from this film, and more importantly, this Strobel character. Something just doesn’t add up.

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Captive Faith

Now this is a pretty unknown Christian film from 1991, and it tells the story of Christian prisoners in a Russian prison during the Cold War, and how they kept their faith alive and spread the message of Jesus Christ to other inmates.

The film itself clearly didn’t have a big budget, but it was convincing enough set-wise, with good actors as well, to tell the story in an effective and convincing manner.

There are touching parts of the film, such as one prisoner’s family visiting and then his wife and kids becoming sad as they were forced to leave. The immediate scene afterwards where a Bible smuggled in was almost discovered was interesting as well. And later in the film, when another prisoner explains how he shot his own son in a drunken state, is very moving also.

There’s only once scene in the film that makes little sense to the overall story (which involves a gambler who tries to murder the warden), but perhaps that was just added because it actually happened, and was done so for authenticity reasons.

Captive Faith is a pretty decent film to watch if it can be found inexpensively, but I can only see it being sold on the Harvest Productions website for approx. $14.99. For a middle of the road Christian film, that may be too high of price for some.

What’s New In 2018…

Well, 2018 is finally here, and Studying With God is officially entering its third calendar year!

So, 2017 was an odd-year in many ways. I got in a bad car accident early on, which radically altered my day-to-day life for over 75% of the year. Now, it wasn’t all bad, and I learned a lot and was able to spend time with my parents, which was great.

Additionally, in Fall 2017 I started at Bible college (at Liberty University), and completed a couple courses. Now, 2018 will be slightly different, mainly because finances are a bit tighter overall, and I need to adjust my education spending.

I haven’t quite decided yet, but I may only be taking one class this Spring semester vs. two … my goal is to do around 15-20 credits annually (three semesters) but that can be tough. So I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing Liberty University-wise as the year starts.

Luckily, in December I finally took the plunge and got Logos 7 Gold, a Bible software program and library designed for serious Biblical study. I’ve gone through nearly half of the introductory video lessons for it, and it’s amazing. I may be doing some sort of topical writing/media as the year goes on, using that software. It’s being paid off on a monthly basis, so that’s another reason why I may reduce my Liberty class load (to lessen education costs overall).

Lastly, I plan to drastically cut back on book and video spending this year. I have dozens of things that are new/haven’t been covered yet, and I’m all set that way.

I want to thank everyone who has come by and followed the blog since early 2016, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you about Biblical movies, shows, books and translations for years to come!