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Lee Strobel’s ‘The Case for Heaven’ in theaters April 4-6

NASHVILLE (BP) – Atheist-turned-Christian apologist Lee Strobel has a reputation for making factual cases for spiritual phenomena, penning bestselling books in support of our Creator, Christianity, miracles, Jesus, faith, grace, hope and most recently, heaven.

His latest project is a documentary film presentation of “The Case for Heaven,” based on a book he wrote of the same name released last fall. In the film, Strobel interviews faith leaders and corroborates supernatural near-death and out-of-body experiences.

Lee Strobel

“I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I believe that it is God’s Word,” he told Baptist Press. “It is unique. There is nothing like it. But on the other hand, I think it’s helpful to look at evidence outside the Bible that supports what we believe, which I think could be persuasive to someone who comes into this as a skeptic, like I did when I was an atheist.

“I needed to know that the evidence of history and science and logic, and so forth, pointed toward the truth of Christianity, and I found that it does.”

Strobel makes his case in the documentary with such experiences as that of Maria, whom he described as having “died of a heart attack in a hospital.

“She’s clinically dead, but she said later, ‘I was conscious the whole time.’ And she described how her spirit separated from her body and she watched as the doctors tried to resuscitate her body,” Strobel said. “And then her spirit floated up and out of the hospital.

“But when she was revived, she said, ‘Oh, by the way, there’s a man’s tennis shoe on the roof of the hospital. And it’s left-footed, it’s dark blue, there’s some wear over the little toe, and the shoe lace is tucked under the heel.’ And they went up on the roof and they found it exactly as she had described it.”

Strobel admits that there have been fraudulent cases of such purported phenomena.

“We’ve had some fraud involved with people who claim they died and went to heaven and met Jesus, when they just made the whole thing up,” Strobel said. “That’s why I focused on cases where we have corroboration, where there’s external evidence that indeed they did have an out-of-body experience.

“Facts and faith are related. I think we take a step of faith in the same direction that the evidence points, which is logical and rational to do. My background’s in journalism and law, so I tend to be a skeptical person. I tend to be rational. I tend to look for facts and reason and evidence.”

The Case for Heaven, through a partnership of Fathom Events and Sandoval Studios, will be shown April 4-6 at 7 p.m. local time in U.S. cinemas.

“The book and the movie are two different experiences,” Strobel said. “A lot of people are book people, like I am, who love to sit down with a fat book … over a long period of time and study it. Other people learn more through cinema. And so we wanted to create a different kind of experience. It’s essentially the same evidence, but presented in the movie in a very visual way that I think is powerful and persuasive.”

The documentary features interviews with Clay Jones of international apologetics ministry Ratio Christi; bestselling author and pastor John Burke, founder of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas; bestselling author and church planter Francis Chan; and speaker, author and brain imaging expert Sharon Dirckx of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

Strobel, who became a Christian in 1981, hopes the documentary will benefit both believers and nonbelievers.

“I hope Christians will walk away with renewed hope and confidence that what the Bible teaches is true, that the best news of all is that heaven is real. The worst news of all is that hell is real,” Strobel said. “But the even greater news is that redemption is available to anyone who comes to God through Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. And I hope that spiritually confused people, or people who are not Christians, will walk away challenged and encouraged to put their trust in Jesus.”

The movie has great potential evangelistically, Strobel said, encouraging Christians to bring friends to see the film.

Filmmaker, producer and writer Mani Sandoval directs the documentary.