Starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway
Run time: 112 minutes
In theaters April 7
After reading Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ a few years ago, I attempted to contact him by email. In his book, the former investigative journalist recounts his journey from atheism to Christianity. He set out to prove that Jesus was a hoax and the resurrection never happened.
In my email, I challenged Strobel to write a sequel: The Case for Catholicism. I asked him to apply the same passion and take the same approach — turning over every rock, probing every historical crevice to prove that the Catholic Church is not the church founded by Jesus Christ. I’m not sure if my email got through. I didn’t receive a response.
Strobel’s best-selling book is about to be launched as a full-length motion picture — a very important one at that. The film — produced by Pure Flix, the studio behind God’s Not Dead (and its sequel) and Woodlawn — should be a massive hit when the film debuts on April 7, a week before Good Friday.
The story is compelling, well-acted and better written than most Christian (or even mainstream) films these days. In the movie, Strobel (Mike Vogel, The Help) is frustrated that his wife Leslie (Erika Christensen, Parenthood) finds Christ and gets baptized. He sees Jesus as his rival and sets out to prove that Christianity is a sham. In the process, Strobel uncovers massive amounts of evidence, but none of it backs up his own worldview. He discovers that it takes more faith to disbelieve in Jesus than to embrace the historic truths that back up everything about the Lord, his death and resurrection.
In the end, The Case for Christ is a love story — Strobel’s love for his wife, his wife’s love for him and Jesus, and, ultimately, Jesus’ love for each and every one of us. In our age of rapid secularization and indifference to facts and the truth, The Case for Christ is one of the most important films of the past decade. Strobel’s book is powerful and compelling. The film version captures it perfectly. Let’s just pray he takes up my challenge. It would be a riveting sequel!
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is magazine’s editor-in-chief.