There are pretty much two books, that have been recommended to me over and over. That’s Mere Christianity By C.S. Lewis and this book The Case for Christ By Lee Strobel. I just ordered Mere Christianity so that book review will probably be posted in a little bit. Lee Strobel has been highly recommended because he was a former atheist now turned Christian. Strobel took an investigative style approach to christianity and sought out leading christian scholars to get his questions answered. He interviewed heavy hitters like: William Lane Craig, Bruce Metzger, J.P. Moreland, Craig Bloomberg, Gary Habermas, and many others, etc.
He has written other books like the Case for Faith, and the Case for the Creator, but for anyone who would want a snapshot of the book you can watch his trailer on YouTube here.
Pros: Surprisingly, the Book actually got better the more I read it. The most impressive thing about The Case for Christ was its selection of Christian Scholars. I was impressed, because in my own personal studies of questioning and doubting my faith these were some of the same guys I read articles from. Especially William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland who were probably the two most influential on me. He even had the late Bruce Metzger who is respected by both secular and christian scholars.
The breakdown of the book is sectioned into three parts, 1) The Record; with a focus on historical manuscript evidence, textual criticism and Archeology. 2) Analyzing Jesus; Analyzing the profile of Jesus and the Christ. 3) Researching the Resurrection. The last section on the resurrection was hands down the most interesting and informative. It really opened my eyes and mind, with my favorite Chapter being Chapter 12-The Evidence for the Missing Body. Dr. Craig provided a very compelling argument for the events surrounding Jesus’ death and tomb. Then capped it off with a very thought-provoking question; especially for those skeptics who believe Jesus may have existed but that Jesus was not who he said he was.
“There was nobody who was claiming that the tomb still contained Jesus’ body. The question always was, ‘What happened to the body?’” (The Case for Christ, Pg. 297)
Cons: Even though there were parts I enjoyed, there were equally as much parts that made me want to pull my hair out; mainly the first section, because this is what I was most familiar with and spent so much personal time studying. It started on pg. 26 of the book, when the Christian Scholar Dr. Craig Bloomberg stating in the beginning, that “It’s important to acknowledge that strictly speaking, the gospels are written anonymous.” However even in knowing that; he still believes they written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which is a belief only repeated on the basis of church tradition. Furthermore, when pressured with the question of certainty on authorship he implores Lazy Logic and responds with…”So to answer your question, there would not have been any reason to attribute authorship to these three less respected people if it weren’t true.”(Pg. 27) Pretty much he is saying in argument, ‘Who else could of wrote it?’
This is not the only section where Lazy Logic is implored, but it also used in the reconciling of the discrepant bible difficulties of the Genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. Instead of concluding with sound reason, Lazy Logic is used in saying it could have possibly been that one genealogy is Joseph’s and the other Mary’s. Or that one is a legal genealogy and the other is a biological genealogy.
In addition to that, all of the extra-biblical historical accounts referenced in the Case for Christ are not eyewitness accounts. Not only that, the Gospels themselves are not even consider eyewitness accounts. They are not considered eyewitness accounts because 1.They are written some 30-50 years after Jesus died. 2.The literary style does not reflect an eyewitness account because it was written in third-person.
The reason I am being so nit-picky on this section, is because I have personally spent so much time studying and reading about early christian history and textual criticism, that to give a very lazy answer is unsettling. I personally think the first part of the book should have been retitled: Introduction to Early Christian History, because that is what it was; An Introduction.
Final Thought: Lastly, probably the biggest folly to the book was its own skepticism. Given that he was the only skeptic in the book and he interviewed only Christian scholars and no atheist/skeptic scholars; one begins to question the unbiased journalistic investigation. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend the book for anyone who is interested in this topic because he it is probably the most deep and thorough theological and archaeological christian book on this topic, but if you have many tough skeptical questions the Case for Christ may still leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. Because the book will only go so deep.