For Lee Strobel, once a journalist, always a journalist. The bestselling writer and former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune applied his reportorial skills to researching, analyzing, and explaining Christianity in his The Case for… series, beginning with The Case for Christ (Zondervan) in 1998. Now he continues the award-winning series with The Case for Grace: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives (Zondervan, Feb).
Strobel's arguments for the truth of Christianity's claims found a ready audience: combined unit sales for all editions of books in the series, plus Bible and children's products, exceed 18.25 million units, according to Zondervan. Three of the books have won Gold Medallion awards from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and The Case for a Creator (2004) made the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Other books in the series also made appearances on PW's list.
Inspiration for the latest book came three years ago, when Strobel faced a health crisis that brought severe mental confusion. He was convinced that people, and even Christ himself, had abandoned him.
“My son reached out to me and led me in a prayer in which I stripped away all facades and came into the presence of God only as his adopted son,” Strobel says. “That experience reconnected me with God in a way that was revolutionary. I became more passionate about telling the world about Jesus and more sensitive to those who are ostracized.”
In The Case for Grace, Strobel recounts tales of people whose lives were radically changed, weaving them together with his own experience of transformative grace. Each story—from that of a drug-addicted teen turned pastor to a Khmer Rouge killer asking for forgiveness—deals with questions like, Are some things beyond forgiveness? Can we give grace to ourselves? Can we pass grace on to others?
“When Jesus was asked about grace, he didn’t give a theological treatise--he told stories," Strobel says. "Stories can give a perspective on grace that a mere propositional statement can’t. Stories illuminate grace.”
In the next three to four years Strobel plans to complete The Case for… series with two more titles. “It’s time for a new generation of books and curriculum to help people share Christ in a way that is natural for them,” he says.