Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Theatrical Release, The Case For Christ
In 1998 Lee Strobel wrote the book, A Case for Christ. Strobel is former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, with a journalism degree from The University of Missouri and a Masters of Studies in Law from Yale Law School, Strobel prior to writing the book was also a devout Atheist. Shortly after his marriage, and while working at the Chicago Tribune he began to question the claims of Christianity shortly after his wife became a born-again Christian.  As a result of his research from the book, he interviewed 13 Evangelical Christian Scholars regarding their defense of Christianity. After the process, Strobel later on became a Christian who was convinced with the evidence that he had studied and discussed with scholars from various groups, including non-Christians as to the resurrection of Jesus. He later on went to serve as one of the pastors at Willow Creek, one of America's largest churches. As a disclaimer, I interviewed and was offered a position at Willow Creek as Pastor of the Harvest Division Ministries prior to 9/11/2001. After the terrorist attacks that opening was no longer available due to funding issues. I also initially met Strobel at a Leadership Conference at Willow Creek around 2008 / 2009.  I have been a fan of his writings for some time and have promoted them from an apologetic perspective for some of my friends looking for truth as to the evidence of Jesus Christ.

Pure-Flix is a film production company that has of late been making numerous Christian films, some of them have done well at the box-office and as a result, they decided to work with Strobel to make this film.  Strobel told me in an interview that he agreed only after making sure he could dictate the director of the film and the screenwriters to ensure that they got the story right. I am convinced that Stroble's involvement in the process is one of the reasons A Case for Christ comes across as nicely as it does. I have had issues with some of the earlier, and heavy handed films done by Pure-Flix but as of late they seem to be doing a much better job and the production of their movies, A Case for Christ helps illustrate their journey in a positive direction.

A Case for Christ is in many ways as much of a love story as it is an Evangelical film trying to prove its supports of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It presents the struggles of Strobel during his search and investigations. His character is played nicely by Mike Vogel, known for his television work and on such films as Cloverfield, The Help, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and numerous others. Erika Christensen known for her work in the films Parenthood, Swimfan and others does a nice job as Strobel's wife Leslie. The chemistry between the two actors and supporting cast contributes a great deal to the quality of the movie. One of the things this film also does is not become so preachy that it turns off those in the non-Christian audience.

A Case for Christ presents in an honest way, an honest search for the truth regarding Jesus Christ and his claims to be the Son of God. I suspect many Christian's, just as in the God's Not Dead movies will appreciate and support this movie, as to whether the movie has the potential to reach across and bring in the nonreligious community is yet to be seen. It deserves that audience and it deserves an open and honest discussion regarding the conclusions of the film. I suspect the film also has the potential to continue to divide people of faith and the non-Christian community, if however, people are open to an open and honest discussion, with mutual respect for each other, the film also has the potential to open up dialog regarding the serious issues of faith specific to the person of Jesus Christ. I will note, the film does not go into a great deal of detail as to the specifics of the conclusions Strobel came to, it instead gives a taste of that research and focuses more on the story of the relationship with his wife and his own struggles. I would personally recommend, that if wanting more detail as to his findings then one can easily pick up the book A Case for Christ or any number of other books that Strobel has written.

I have to comment on the insistence that Strobel made the film as an honest portrayal of himself and what he was like during that time of his life. It took courage to do this as there are times Strobel, prior to his becoming a Christian comes off as nothing less than a jerk. While I met him a number of years ago, I found that aspect of his life as surprising as the time spent with him when I met him, as well as the time I spent interviewing him for this film, he came across as a pleasant, easy to get along with guy who takes his faith seriously but also has a respect, appreciation and legitimate concern for those he spends time with, despite their religious beliefs or lack thereof. While he may have critics due to the actions of many Christians who use his material, his actions and respect is noteworthy and something that should also be followed by those who read his books.

A Case for Christ is not a great film, it is however for Pure-Flix one of their best films and compared to other theatrical film releases holds its on as an entertaining, thought-provoking story that has the viewer caring for the characters and thinking about the subject matter covered. For that reason, I can recommend the film and would have no difficulty watching and discussing it with any of my friends, Christian or not. 

On a scale of 1 - 10, for the number of letters, there are in the name of a man I like now more than ever, Strobel, I give a deserving and entertaining 7.

To see the trailer for the film click on the following video, if the video does not appear, follow the link.

My review with Lee regarding the movie and other things:

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