Evangelical Defense of the Biblical Historical Jesus

Lee Strobel's, The Case for the Real Jesus (Zondervan, Many Reformed Christians often decry the glut of Evangelical literature on the market. We frequently wring our hands about how much literature available at your local Christian bookstore isn’t worth buying. For example, I have a friend who always says that you can find better Christian books at Barnes & Noble. I know what he means, and I don’t disagree. However, when those of us with high expectations for Christian books spend all of our time talking about the undesirable aspects of the Evangelical literature, we forget that with the bad comes the good.

I, for one, am glad that the Evangelical bookselling market is there to regularly defending the reliability of the Bible on a popular level against the constant onslaught of critical, skeptical, cynical and outright irreverent and disrespectful “search for the historical Jesus.” I added irreverent and disrespectful with Ann Rice’s comments about her opinion of the critical scholarship she’s read over the years in her historical research for her writings. When I find the article I read in which her opinion was cited, I’ll update this post. But I digress. I’m glad the Evangelical Booksellers market is there if only to provide on a popular level a defense of the reliability of the biblical account of Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible makes lots of historical and theological claims about Jesus, and we, as Evangelicals, are obligated to believe the Word of God on these issues. If we are willing to believe the spiritual revelation about Jesus in the Bible, we’d better be prepared to believe the historical revelation about him, too. After all, Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter three, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12) The historical reliability of the Bible (“earthly things”) is part of the basis for the reliability of the theological reliability of the Bible (“heavenly things”).

That’s why, one day, I hope to get around to reading Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for the Real Jesus. You can check out Zondervan’s website with lots of promotional material about it. But right now, I’m having too much fun along the same lines with one of Zondervan’s other great recent releases, The NIV Archeological Study Bible!

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13 responses

  1. John,
    I have not read this one yet but I have read his previous “case” books. I have reservations about Mr. Strobel and his affiliation with Willow Creek, but the other books have been generally good works, now if he would just find himself a good Presbyterian church I would be happy.

  2. to be a bit of levity,

    this post is one for the history books!

    🙂

    We are just not going to get around Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

    Now or never, we will behold Him, now or in the next Life, never!

    Even the demons are wise in this and shudder!

  3. Alan,

    I know someone else who needs to join one, too, and it isn’t you.

  4. John,
    I will continue in prayer!

  5. Michael,

    You’re right, we’ll never get around Jesus. Your remark reminds me of a T-shirt I dreamed up but never designed. It goes:

    (front)
    ADMIT IT
    Jesus is Lord . . .

    (back)
    . . . you’ll have to
    someday, anyway!

    “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11)

  6. John,

    You make a hard argument to me!

    I will rather stand facing Him, bowing, than turned away forcefully and hear “away” with him::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::>gnashing and grinding all the way to the…. .

    great Idea in a T-shirt! Don’t they have vendor stands in Houston’s arena? 🙂

  7. Cap’n,
    I’ve read Strobel’s other “Case” books. It will be interesting to see how this one stacks up. I also echo the concern Alan has for Strobel’s Willow Creek connection. I’ll read his book though…he usually presents an honest “case”.

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

  8. At least in Strobel we have evidence that some of Hybels’ congregation have been engaging in “self-feeding” It’s healthy for us opinionated Reformers to acknowledge and commend the grains of truth that can be found by God’s grace among their other theological shortcomings. At the Sean Michael Lucas conference I attended last Reformation Sunday weekend, Dr. Lucas called this “evangelical catholicity.”

    Go, and do thou likewise!

  9. I understand somewhat that Strobel has “come from” the WillowCreek folks…but he started his crusade as it were, prior to WillowCreek I believe. The point is, I’m not sure but he may be the only theologian coming from that arena…and he’s no theologian…he’s a lawyer journalist. But of course, neither am I a theologian.

    As far as “Evangelical Catholicity” of course we should commend those in any “Protestant” tradition that bring out the Truth of God’s Word. Amen.

    I actually believe in the “Holy catholic Church”. My Church even recites the Creed that affirms it.

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lx

  10. Right you are, Gage. It is a sad commentary that the only well-known “theologians” in the evangelical world are actually just child psychologists, political scientists, lawyers and journalists. Stick a “Christian-” in front of those professions, and you’ve got someone who commands the status that a Calvin, Luther, or Edwards used to.

    As for your church reciting the creed, I’d comment, but I hear that envy is a four-letter word (e-n-v-y).
    🙂

  11. It was just a friendly shot across the bow (my baptist friend). (;

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

  12. […] my post last Sunday morning, I blogged about Lee Strobel’s book defending “the Real Jesus.” With this topic fresh in my mind, as well as the Sunday School lesson which I’d […]

  13. Another good book I just finished is by C.Vaughn Doner, THE LATE GREAT EVANGELICAL CHURCH. Check out the reviews at Amazon.com you will see what I’m talking about.

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