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DVD addresses tough faith questions

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP)–If God exists, how come there’s so much evil in the world? And if there is a God, is Jesus the only way to Him? In the new DVD “The Case for Faith,” (Lionsgate Films) journalist Lee Strobel investigates two of the most emotional objections to Christianity and generates a thought-provoking, emotionally-rewarding tool for Believer and seeker alike.

If you watch it, I’m sure you will feel as I do that this is one of the best teaching DVDs you can have in your home video library. My support stems from the fact that while a great many educational films are sent to me, few have stimulated my thought process or moved my emotions quite like this production.

Josh McDowell gained notoriety by examining similar subjects back in the 1970s. Like Strobel, McDowell was also a nonbeliever who wanted to expose Christ as a false god and Christianity as little more than an opiate for the masses. However, his detective work led him to the conclusion that not only did Jesus walk this Earth, He mastered it. With books such as “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” and “He Walked Among Us,” McDowell forced skeptics to take a more in-depth look at the Man from Galilee. Now, journalist Lee Strobel, a friend of McDowell, presents a well-structured, moving follow-up argument for the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus.

Having received a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School, Lee Strobel became an award-winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune. But after being saved, the former spiritual skeptic became a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, then moved to California where he served as a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

Now a fulltime author, Strobel presents his case with the judicial reasoning of a Perry Mason. He also wisely includes the emotional testimonies of several laymen and ministers who have triumphed over serious questions of faith. Among them is Joni Eareckson Tada, founder of Joni and Friends, a Christian ministry for the disability community.

I’ve heard Ms. Tada on several occasions and have been blessed by her personal testimony. But in this production, we get to share a special moment with this artist/minister/sister-in-the-Lord. She revealed a compassion through adversity that only comes from trusting — and knowing — our Heavenly Father. Among the many other uplifting moments, we hear a father give a testimony that will aid anyone who has lost a child. It could be the most spiritually rewarding movie-watching moment you’ll have this year. It was for me.

I recently spoke with Mr. Strobel during a phone interview and posed the following question, which is often cited by those who deny the exclusivity of Christ. Could John 14:6 be interpreted to mean that people of other religions will realize who Christ is when they first see Him in Heaven and have a chance to accept Him at that time?

“No, I don’t think so,” Strobel said. “In Hebrews we’re told that we are appointed once to die and then the judgment. That statement would indicate that there’s no hope for some kind of experience after death. At least I don’t have a confidence that there may be such a possibility. You see, this (John 14:6) wasn’t just some statement from out of a box. It really flowed out of Jesus’ entire life. If there were other ways, why would Christ have gone to the cross? It’s a difficult teaching, but I think that question comes from this one, did Jesus claim to be divine? And did He prove it by returning from the dead?”

The DVD features extras, including two featurettes, “Dealing with Doubt” and “The Least of These: The Christian’s Response to Evil and Suffering.” Lee is particularly pleased about the featurette devoted to the query, “Is it OK to have doubt when you’re a Christian?”

“It’s very liberating to recognize that nobody who came to Jesus in the New Testament escaped that conundrum,” Strobel said. “If anybody should have known who Jesus was, for example, it was John the Baptist. But when he got thrown into jail, suddenly doubts started coming into his head. He had his followers go to Jesus and ask if He was the one they’ve been waiting for. But Jesus didn’t get mad at him. He just tells them to go back and report what they’ve seen. This doesn’t poison John in Jesus’ eyes, because he has the temerity to ask that question. And I think the lesson for us is that when we hold in our doubts, when we refuse to discuss them with other people, they begin to take on a life of their own.

Strobel concludes, “I think people are afraid to talk about their uncertainties for fear that they’ll be seen as having weak faith. That’s when doubts can damage our faith. The best thing we can do is be honest and talk about it.”

For more information about The Case For Faith, visit www.lionsgateshop.com/thecaseforfaith.
Phil Boatwright reviews films for previewonline.org and is a regular columnist for Baptist Press.

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  • Phil Boatwright