In The Case for Christ, author Lee Strobel, journalist for the Chicago Tribune, and thoroughly convinced the Christian faith was bogus, tells this amazing story.
“For much of my life I was a skeptic. In fact, I considered myself an atheist. To me, there was far too much evidence that God was merely a product of wishful thinking. … As for Jesus, … [I was convinced] He was a revolutionary, a sage, an iconoclastic Jew – but God? No, that thought had never occurred [even] to Him. … I had read just enough philosophy and history to find support for my skepticism. … I had a strong motivation … a self-serving and immoral lifestyle that I would be compelled to abandon if I were ever to change my views and become a follower of Jesus. … There was enough proof for me to rest easy with the conclusion that the divinity of Jesus was nothing more than the fanciful invention of superstitious people. [And then Strobel’s life took a dramatic change of direction].
“It wasn’t a phone call from an informant that prompted me to reexamine the case for Christ. It was my wife. Leslie stunned me in the autumn of 1979 by announcing that she had become a Christian. I had married one Leslie – the fun Leslie … now I feared she was going to turn into some sort of sexually repressed prude. … Instead I was pleasantly surprised – even fascinated – by the fundamental changes in her character, her integrity, and her personal confidence. Eventually I wanted to get to the bottom of what was prompting these subtle but significant shifts in my wife’s attitudes, so I launched an all-out investigation into the facts surrounding the case for Christianity.” [Consistent with his training as a journalist, Lee Strobel launched a two-year odyssey, interviewing carefully selected experts who could help him clarify every question he had concerning the Christian faith.]
“By November 8, 1981, my legend thesis, to which I had so doggedly clung for so many years, had been thoroughly dismantled. … The atheism I had embraced for so long buckled under the weight of historical truth. It was a stunning and radical outcome, certainly not what I had anticipated. … So on November 8, 1981, I talked with God in a heartfelt and unedited prayer, admitting and turning from my wrongdoing, and receiving the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus. … There were no lightning bolts, no audible replies, no tingly sensations. … Over time as I endeavored to follow Jesus’ teachings and open myself to his transforming power, my priorities, my values, and my character were (and continue to be) gradually changed” (The Case for Christ, pages 13, 14, 266, 268).
What can I say? The miracle of conversion is the most life-transforming experience any of us have ever had. Different from adopting a new set of principles or “turning over a new leaf,” the peace of mind and a new purpose for living that took place when we invited Jesus Christ to be our Lord made this the most fulfilling experience of our lives. Skeptics notwithstanding, this is real!
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