Religion occupies a central place in the social order of virtually every civilization around the world. Irrespective of an individuals spirituality, he or she must have some sense of religious inclination. It is these religiosity that determines the nature of interactions that individuals forge and perceptions about nature. The Case for Christ, embodies Strobels journey of inquest into the existence of Jesus and his workings among believers. Strobel uses his exhilarating investigative scholarship and crime reporting background to develop a masterpiece text.
From the onset, Strobel uses his wit in criminal investigations and judicial procedures to skeptically obtain relevant facts for his writing from historical records such as the Bible. The also extends his questions about Jesus Christ to the reader thus enabling them to think through the evidence provided and developing own conclusions about Christ. In essence, the text is not a way that Strobel uses to indoctrinate the readers with unilateral ideas and thoughts. Instead, the book presents a chance for the audience to individually interrogate their religious knowledge to further evaluate the quality of his premises, facts and arguments to make informed concepts about Christ.
In the book, Strobel sets out to comprehensively interrogate the ideas surrounding Jesus of Nazareth. He questions if Jesus is God or not. Nonetheless, in the same text, Strobel provides various biblical facts in support of both standpoints that Jesus is God and that he is not. For instance, Strobel reiterates that Jesus is God in trinity through his exercise of the power of healing, performing miracles and his resurrection from the dead. Though the Bible states that Gods people shall rise on the resurrection day, Strobel captures the rise of Jesus from the dead as symbolic and an adequate affirmation that he is God.
In his quest to learn more about Jesus, Strobel lays bare the facts drawn from religious books that provide new perspectives about Jesus. In essence, he deviates the attention of readers from their preconceptions about Christ towards a well-informed understanding based solely on the facts that he present. He lets the reader ponder whether the case of Christ can be assessed beyond any reasonable doubts. Strobel refers to the gospels as sources of relevant accounts about Christ. He provides a balance between the facts presented in the gospels and other related evidence that disprove the accuracy of some bibliographical details presented in the gospels of Mathew, Luke, Mark, and John. Ultimately, the entire text is a balance of facts and evidence thus providing some sense of reliability.
The Case for Christ offers an amalgam of views of different scholars in the study of Jesus. In developing the book, Strobel interviewed thirteen eminent experts with excellent information in the study of Jesus. Each of these scholars contended that their study of Christ has strengthened their faith and transformed their daily lives. Ideally, Strobel seems to follow a logical pathway common in courtrooms whereby the jury uses available information to obtain other unknown facts from the parties in court upon which they eventually make the ultimate judgment. Due to the complexity of a topic interrogating the character or existence of Jesus, Strobel embraced criteria that identified various aspects of Christ such as the life of Jesus, who he said he was, who others said Jesus was and the extent to which the Scriptures can be considered as accurate. Logically, approaching the identity of Jesus using broad-based criteria provides a basis on which to conjure reliable facts about him.
In his writing of the text, Strobel undertook to explore whether Jesus was God or not thus setting himself in a series of backlashes with contradictory and unclear biblical accounts. The facts in the Bible seem somehow elusive to even the Apostolic scholars who Strobel interview. In one instance, the Bible records that Jesus referred those who questioned his identity to verses in the bible which depict him as sharing the same stature as God. Nonetheless, in the same Bible, Strobel identified some verses in which Jesus discounts the fact that he is God. Jesus exemplifies himself as the son of God. Logically, the concept leading to the conclusion that Jesus is God is the fact that just like the life is in God-the Father, so is in his son-Jesus Christ. Critics would argue that Strobel erred in questioning the identity of Jesus Christ instead of focusing on his messianic mission.
In his interviews with the religious scholars, Strobel stands out as being extraordinarily skeptical. Though this attribute is shared among investigative journalists, he is so cautious in his interviews and asks the researchers various leading questions to get not only their knowledge of Jesus but also their perceptions. Nonetheless, Strobel allows adequate room for the readers to use their religious insights to fill. For instance, in some cases, he asks the scholars critical questions and when reporting this in the book states that they took some time before providing honest responses. Though this may be condescending, it shows the authors genius in satisfying and placating the readers who want to have calming feelings about their religious beliefs despite the commentators assertions.
A critical reading of the book shows that the author set it in such a way that inclines towards deliberate attempts to lean towards plausible deniability to religious skeptics instead of establishing a concrete foundation for the establishment of belief patterns about Jesus Christ. Instead of building a strong case about the identity of Jesus as he had set out to, Strobel appears to have been usurped in the complicated character of Jesus that he only provides a series of assumptions and backing them up with inconclusive evidence. In essence, Strobel failed to build a strong case grounded on substantive evidence to thwart pew-existing understanding of Jesus rather than using a litany of assumptions and supporting them with assumptions. From the beginning of the first interview with his apologists, Strobel did not set himself to apply skepticism to the specific claims that the scholars made. The scholars such as Craig Blomberg made claims without any accompanying explanations to underscore their authenticity. For example, in one instance, Blomberg repeatedly made overreaching statements such as historians now agree or records clearly show without making any real affirmations to such critical allusions.
In the book, "The Case for Christ," Strobel extensively quote the assertions about Jesus made by the people he interviewed. For instance, he quotes Blomberg saying Jesus claims to forgive sins in the synoptic, and thats something only God can do. (p.30). In making this sweeping remark, Blomberg only takes into account Mark 2.10 and Matt. 9.5. Therefore, he misses integrating a contradicting evidence in which Jesus rescinded allegations that he was equal to God (John 5.18-47). This scripture illustrates that God delegated to Jesus the authority to judge through forgiving or punishing evil. Therefore he did not have the intrinsic power to forgive or punish but derived them from God. Holding the idea that Jesus claimed to be God as provided by the scholars thus cast aspersions on their breath and reliability as an accurate reflection of Jesus Christ.
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