A Tale of Three Men

The most important event in all of history. Or the biggest hoax of all. One of those statements describes the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians world-wide will celebrate, as they have for 2000 years, on Easter weekend. What do Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and C.S. Lewis share in common? All were three scholarly men – agnostics or atheists who scoffed at biblical Christianity. McDowell and Strobel set out to intellectually disprove the claims of the Christian faith. They knew the jugular vein of Christianity was the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. If they could disprove that event, then the celebrated faith had nothing on which to stand. McDowell was a young man with plans for law school. Strobel worked as the legal editor at The Chicago Tribune. Both labored at examining evidence – evidence that McDowell would later say demands a verdict. Strobel’s wife became a Christian, which rocked his world. His website shares, “Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.” Both men discovered overwhelming and compelling evidence for the reliability and veracity of the Christian faith. Their scholarly work led to the conclusion – they could not deny the historical and biblical evidence. And it changed their lives. McDowell and Strobel spent their lives as apologists for Christianity, helping others learn why and how to trust the veracity of the Bible and its claims. Strobel wrote a book called The Case for Christ, making his defense for Jesus Christ as Creator, Lord, and God. The book sold over 10 million copies. On April 7, Pure Flix and Triple Horse Theaters released the movie based on the book. The Case for Christ presents the compelling story of how this award-winning legal journalist journeyed from atheist to passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The movies shows in Greenville at both Cherrydale and Hollywood cinemas. C. S. Lewis did not have a bone to pick with Christianity like the other men. He just thought himself too much of an intellectual to be swayed by a simple religion. In one of the most amazing providential friendships in church history, Lewis became great friends with fellow intellectual and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien, who is best known for his excellent legends The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien, a devout Catholic, began carefully prodding away at Lewis’ resistance to Christianity. Both Jack Lewis, as his friends called him, and Tolkien loved myths and legends. Tolkien believed their concepts originated with God, the greatest story-teller of all. As with the parables of Jesus, stories often teach God’s truths. A turning point for Lewis came when his friend challenged him. Jack ‘s inability to grasp the core of the Christian message was, according to Tolkien, actually a failure of imagination. He refused to simply accept the meaning of the Christian story and learn truth and meaning from it. After much reflection on Tolkien’s words, Lewis later wrote, “Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God’s myth where the others are men’s.” Jack soon became an intellectual believer in Christianity, beginning a long journey of knowing Christ and influencing others for Him. Lewis became an apologist for Christianity, who has been called the most significant Christian writer of the English world in the twentieth century. Lewis’ work Mere Christianity gave the argument that Christ was one of three things: a liar, Lord, or a lunatic. If he were a liar or lunatic, he should not be revered. And if he were Lord, then He must be believed and followed. Both Tolkien and Lewis’ myths and legends, now infamous not only through books but through movies, convey mush spiritual significance and symbolism. Both men wanted to share Christian truth through the medium of great stories and legends. Though often overlooked by modern readers and movie-goers, the history and intent exists. The reality of the empty tomb and the life-changing power of Jesus Christ still transform lives today. His resurrection offers evidence that demands a verdict. (Dr. Rhett Wilson pastors The Spring Church in Laurens, teaches Bible as an Adjunct Professor of Christianity at Anderson University, and enjoys freelance writing.)

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