Quotes from Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus”
Analyzing the Proof for the Historical Jesus
I put off reading Lee Strobel’s “Case for Christ” and found it to be rather accessible and the quality of scholars Strobel interviewed is simply incredible. (and if you buy in bulk for a class or small group, you can get it for pretty cheap). The interviews Strobel included in “Case for Christ”: Dr. Craig Blomberg, Dr. Bruce Metzger, Dr. John McRay, Dr. Gregory Boyd, Dr. Ben Witherington III, Dr. Gary Collins, Dr. DA Carson, Louis Lapides, M. Div., Th. M., Dr. Alexander Metherell, Dr. William Lane Craig, Dr. Gary Habermas, and Dr. J.P. Moreland (and their experience and depth of knowledge is pretty unparalleled):
“Even the more skeptical historians agree that for primative Christianity…the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was a real event in history, the very foundation of faith, and not a mythical idea arising out of the creative imagination of believers” (Carl Braaten, History and Hermenutics in New Directions in Theology Today)
“Put all this together–Josephus, the Roman historians and officials, the Jewish writings, the letters of Paul and the apostolic fathers–and you’ve got persuasive evidence that coroborates all the essentials found in the biographies of Jesus”
Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, p. 89
So whether the gospels were written sixty years or thirty years after the life of Jesus, the amount of time is negligable by comparison. Its a non issue.”
Dr. Craig Blomberg, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 33
“Mark written no later than about AD 60, maybe even the late 50s. If Jesus was put to death in AD 30 or 33, we’re talking about a maximum gap of thirty years or so.”
Dr. Craig Blomberg, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 34
“The quality of New Testament material is almost embarrassing in comparison to other works of antiquity…Next to the New Testament, the greatest amount of manuscript testimony is of Homers Illiad, which was the bible of the ancient Greeks.”
Dr. Bruce Metzgar, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 60
“Besides, these disciples had nothing to gain except criticism, ostracism, and martydom. They certainly had nothing to win financially.”
Dr. Craig Blomberg, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 48
“Consider the way the gospels are written–in a sober and responsible fashion, with accurate incidental details, with obvious care and exactitude. You don’t find that outlandish flourishes and blatant mythologizing that you see in a lot of other ancient writings.”
Dr. Craig Blomberg, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 45
“Contrast that with the depiction of Jesus Christ in the gospels. They talk about someone who actually lived several decades earlier, and they name names–crucified under Pontius Pilate, when Caiaphas was the high priest, and the father of Alexander and Rufus carried his cross, for example. That’s concrete historic stuff. It has nothing in common with stories about what supposedly happened once upon a time.”
Dr. Greg Boyd, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 121
“To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so convincing. As a lawyer I accept the gospel evidence unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts that they were able to substantiate.”
Sir Edward Clark, a British High Court Judge quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 237
“And there’s another reason why these social institutions were so important: they believed these institutions were entrusted to them by God. They believed that to abandon these institutions would be to risk their souls being damned to hell after death.
Now a rabbi named Jesus appears from a lower-class region. he teachers for three years, gathers a following of lower-and middle class people, gets in trouble with the authorities, and gets crucified along with thirty thousand other Jewish men who are executed during this time period.
But five weeks after he’s crucified, over ten thousand Jews are following him and claiming that he is the initiator of a new religion. And get this: they’re willing to give up or alter all five of the social institutions that they have been taught since childhood have such importance both sociologically and theologically.”
JP Moreland, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ (p. 250 and explained on 251-252)
“He was loving but didn’t let his compassion immobilize him; he didn’t have a bloated ego, even though he was often surrounded by adoring crowds; he maintained balance despite an often demanding lifestyle; he always knew what he was doing and where he was going; he cared deeply about people, including women and children, who weren’t seen as being important back then; he was able to accept people while not merely winking at their sin; he responded to individuals based on where there were at and what they uniquely needed.”
Gary R. Collins, PhD, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 145
“The appearances of Jesus are as well authenticated as anything in antiquity…There can be no rational doubt that they occured, and that the main reason why Christians become sure of the resurrection in the earliest days was just this. Thwy could say with assurance ‘We have seen the Lord.’ They knew it was he.”
British theologian Michael Green, p. 240
“We simply do not have any reasonable evidence to suggest they were anything but people of great integrity….In terms of honesty, in terms of truthfulness, in terms of virtue and morality, these people had a track record that should be envied.”
Dr. Craig Blomberg, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ
• to Mary Magdalene, in John 20:10-18
• to the other women, in Matthew 28: 8-10
• to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24: 13-32
• to eleven disciples and others, in Luke 24:33-49
• to ten apostles and others, with Thomas absent , in John 20:19-23
• to Thomas and the other apostles, in John 20:26-30
• to seven apostles, in John 21: 1-14
• to the disciples, in Matthew 28:16-20
• And he was with the apostles at the Mount of Olives beofre his ascension, in Luke 24:50-52 and Acts 1:4-9
Dr. Gary Habermans, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 234
“And they were willing to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming this, without any payoff from a human point of view. Its not as though there were a mansion awaiting them on the Mediterranean. They faced a life of hardship. They often went without food, slept, exposed to the elements, were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned. And finally, most of them were executed in torturous ways.
For what? For good intentions? No, because they were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead. What you can’t explain is how this partiuclar group of men came up with this particular belief system without having had an experience with the resurrected Christ.” JP Moreland, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 247
Whats your most cherished belief?
JP Moreland, quoted in Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, p. 252
List of other Christian Apolegetics Resources & Authors to Investigate
Simon Greenleaf of Harvard Law School (i’m not sure if this transcript is the complete document)
Habermas vs. Flew debate on Jesus’ resurrection (4 vs. 1 verdict)
Dr. Gary R. Habermas (history of Jesus’ resurrection)
Video Debates featuring Dr. Gary R. Habermas
So check out “Case for Christ” as well as Lee Strobels site, which has a a handful of Christian apolegetics resources. Strobel clearly went to great lengths to make the volume credible, interesting, and a genuine resource for the generations.
One caveat–I suggest seeking out the qualifications and credibility of these scholars via their biographies, publication, and academic leadership roles (leaders of membership respected theological/academic organizations and associations).
If you have any evidence, quotes, or resources on the question of the historicity of Jesus or “The Case for Christ” feel free to leave a note in the comment section.