McLaurin Memorial

Blog #312: Why Atheist Lee Strobel Became a Christian

John Cline

In a recent article on the churchleaders.com website was the following article by writer Kelsey Strater: Atheist turned Christian apologist Lee Strobel is one man who is not easily swayed without evidence. When he was the legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, Strobel says, “I would have smirked at the fact Easter (in 2018) fell on April Fool’s Day because back then I thought anyone would have to be a fool to think that Jesus literally rose from the dead.” But after discovering what he can only describe as an “avalanche of historical data” in his quest to disprove the Resurrection, the famed Case for Christ author can no longer refute that Jesus Christ IS who he said he is — the resurrected Son of God.

Strobel says upon his conversion, he did not have a rush of emotion, as many do, but rather the “rush of reason” after seeing Jesus’ claims were backed by historical evidence that could not be denied: “When I was an atheist and legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, I would have smirked at the fact that Easter this year falls on April Fool’s Day. Because back then I thought that anyone would have to be a fool to think that Jesus literally rose from the dead. One day my wife gave me the news that she’d become a Christian and so I decided to take my journalism training and legal training and debunk the resurrection of Jesus. So, I spent two years of my life analyzing the historical data. And what I found really shocked me. I recounted in my book The Case for Miracles.

First of all, I found that there’s no dispute among scholars that Jesus was dead after being crucified. Second, we have early reports of the resurrection of Jesus reports that come so quickly you can’t just write them off as being a legend. In fact, we have one report of the resurrection including named eyewitnesses that has been dated backed by scholars to within months of the death of Jesus. Friends that is historical gold. Third, we have the empty tomb and I found that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly conceded that the tomb of Jesus was empty. And then fourth, we have nine ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus. Friends that is an avalanche of historical data. And then we have seven ancient sources inside and mostly outside the New Testament that confirm that the disciples lived lives of deprivation and suffering as a result of their Proclamation that Jesus had risen. Why were they willing to do that? Because they heard a rumor that he’d risen? No! Because they were there, they touched him, they ate with him, they talked with him, they knew the truth and knowing the truth they were willing to proclaim it, even despite the suffering they endured.

Friends, I spent two years investigating this evidence and it came down to one day when I reviewed it all and I thought, you know what? based on the historical data my verdict is that Jesus not only claimed to be the Son of God he backed up that claim by returning from the dead. And that’s a moment that I decided to confess my sin to turn from that to receive this free gift of forgiveness an eternal life that Jesus purchased for me on the cross. And at that moment I became a child of God. Some people have a rush of emotion at that moment, I didn’t, you know what I had? I had the rush of reason. Because the resurrection of Jesus is not some April Fool’s Day joke, it is a historical reality based not on mythology or make-believe or wishful thinking but a solid foundation of historical truth.”

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