Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
Case For Easter
A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection
by Lee Strobel
Hans Kung has died. I pray for him. As far as I am aware, he was no longer a Christian. A few decades ago, the German bishops faulted his account of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and concluded that he had come to disregard the tradition of the empty tomb.
The Resurrection is central to our faith. If Christ be not risen, our preaching is in vain. It is my increasing opinion that fully believing Catholics have more in common with fully believing Protestants on such matters than with so-called liberal Catholics.
I recently watched a film about Lee Strobel. It is one of the better Christian films. He is a highly acclaimed journalist and has a legal background. When his wife converted to Christianity a few decades ago, he decided to carry out a forensic examination of Christian belief in order to prove it wrong. Instead, after having listened to expert testimony, he became a Christian himself. One of the things I like about Strobel is that he follows in the line of C S Lewis, arguing his case for mere Christianity. Like Lewis, he is also very easy to read.
In this book he asks: did Jesus rise from the dead after having actually died on the Cross? If there is no physical Resurrection, there is no Christianity. Various liberals have suggested that Jesus was a good man whose spirit lived on among his followers after his death. But that is not Christianity.
Did Jesus actually die on the Cross? Strobel looks at the medical evidence and concludes with a resounding yes. The swoon theory will not do. Was the body removed from the tomb? No, that is not possible. What about his appearances after death? Were his disciples mistaken? Again, after carefully looking at the evidence, he answers no.
Could it be that they were psychologically moved to believe he was with them after his death? That simply makes no sense: they were a cowardly bunch immediately before his death who fled when most needed. After the death of Jesus, they were in a state of despair. And yet, after the Resurrection, they were transformed. Nearly all of them died for their faith. Also, why do the Gospels state that women were the first to see Jesus after he had risen? From the legal position of the time, their testimony was useless. If the whole thing had been made up, it would have been better had men been made to be the first witnesses. There was no reason for the Gospels to note that women were the first witnesses unless that was actually the case.
As always with his works, the author turns to the experts for their testimony. These include the Protestant scholars William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas.
In less than a hundred pages, the author makes a convincing case for Easter.