QUICK HIT: Continuing the success of his famous Case for… series, Lee Strobel turns to experiential side of Christianity in The Case for Grace. He now relies on the testimony of a changed life from several different people from different walks of life to show the power that the Gospel has on those who follow it.
Lee Strobel’s journey began in a book called The Case for Christ. What began as a project to refute the historicity of Christianity soon became a project that not just acknowledged, but accepted, the Christian story of redemption. Future books explored the person of Jesus, some philosophical issues within Christianity, and a scientific look at the evidence for a Creator. With every book, Strobel mounted evidence in favor for the Christian faith. But now he offers a new type of evidence: he calls some heart-witnesses to the stand. In The Case for Grace, Lee Strobel examines the evidence of transformed lives to show the power that the Gospel has on those who follow it.
I remember reading the end of The Case for Christ when I was a young teen. Already firmly a Christian, but what it said at the end stuck out to me. In the end, this is all just head knowledge: doesn’t the evidence demand you jump in and experience it for yourself? This is where we find ourselves in The Case for Grace. Strobel has assembled a first-rate group of interviewees, ranging from a former drug addict now Las Vegas pastor (Jud Wilhite) to the former prodigal son of a prominent missionary and apologist (Andrew Palau) to a former homeless child in Vietnam (Stephanie Fast) and more.
Some of the stories I had heard before (Palau, for instance, has written a memoir on his return to the faith); most I had not. Strobel leads with what is, in my opinion, his most powerful story: that of Stephanie Fast. Fast was abandoned by her parents in Vietnam and spent a few years as a very young child living on the streets before being adopted into the home of an American missionary couple. The analogy of lostness and adoption physically and spiritually is simply one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard.
Strobel concludes with his own testimony, writing it in fuller detail than published elsewhere. It’s a beautiful bookend to these gripping sets of stories that shows that God takes people from all walks of life in all circumstances and redeems them and calls them his. It’s beautiful, wonderful, extraordinary, extravagant! It’s the story of grace played out in real lives. Not some abstract concept, but Jesus in the here and now moving and working in wonderful ways, calling you to jump in and tell your own story or finally make that jump from head knowledge to heart faith.
Life is a story and redemption is the grandest story of them all. Strobel may have written these stories on paper, but he’s merely transcribing the stories of redemption that have been told through their lives, the life stories that call on us to respond as well.