CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A review of Faith Under Fire. Hosted by Lee Strobel.

Jul 13, 2007

Zondervan, 2006.
Available in Australia from Koorong Books.

“Faith and Jesus” is the first of a four-part DVD set meant to help answer some of the most pressing questions asked about the Christian faith. This particular edition is designed for small group use. Each of the four DVDs contains four individual sessions, making 16 sessions altogether. Each one deals with a particular question or objection to the Christian faith.

Taken together they provide an important Christian apologetic, dealing with the common difficulties people have with Biblical Christianity. Lee Strobel is well placed to host this series, based as they are on his television series by the same name. Strobel was an atheist and an investigative journalist who came to faith after an examination of the evidence.

He has penned three best selling books about his examination of the evidence: The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for a Creator. Each book featured interviews with recognised experts in their fields, be they theologians, philosophers, scientists, or academics.

This DVD series also features experts, but this time in debate format. Thus 13 of the episodes feature one-on-one debates, with another one being a three-way debate. Two remaining episodes feature simply a single presenter, dealing with tough questions asked about Christian faith.

The 14 actual debates are hardly one-sided. Not only are the best Christian thinkers and apologists featured – such as J.P. Moreland, Gregory Koukl, Ben Witherington, Albert Mohler and William Lane Craig.- but their opponents are first class in their fields as well, be they atheist, skeptic, Muslim or Jew. Thus leading atheist Sam Harris is featured, as is the director of the Skeptic Society, Michael Shermer. Liberal theologian John Shelby Spong is there, as are leading Muslim and Jewish apologists.

So the heavy artillery is wheeled out on both sides, and Strobel allows both camps to duly make their cases. All the sessions are brief, lasting no more than 15 minutes each. What is presented here is edited for time considerations, but the gist of each argument is featured, and time is left for group discussion about what was featured in the debates.

Study guides are included with the DVDs, and Strobel offers a concluding thought after each session. Taken together, the 16 sessions offer thought-provoking and stimulating debate and conversation. Most of the major objections to faith are covered here.

The problem of suffering and evil is covered, as is the question of the Bible’s reliability, the doctrine of the Trinity, the reality of hell, and the resurrection of Christ. Other issues include: do all roads lead to God?; is the supernatural real?; do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?; and is Christianity arrogant?

Biblical Christianity never shies away from dealing with the hard questions, and those vexing questions are here in abundance. Strobel is not heavy-handed, and allows the viewers to make up their own minds on the difficult issues being addressed here. Thus this series is great for non-believers and spiritual seekers, as it is for those already in the Christian camp, looking to strengthen their own faith.

In an age where truth is frowned upon, vigorous debate is avoided, and a mushy tolerance is encouraged, these robust and challenging debates are all the more needed. It is hoped they will have a wide audience, in both Christian and secular circles.

[544 words]

5 Responses to A review of Faith Under Fire. Hosted by Lee Strobel.

  • Dear Bill
    The mention of John Shelby Spong reminded me of a study I went through for a friend called LTQ, Living The Question. I found the study disturbing. Have you or anyone else read it? If so, what did you think of it?
    Andrew Strout

  • Thanks Andrew
    A quick look at their web pages reveals that they are a very left of centre, and theologically liberal, outfit. A group to avoid, in other words.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • See What’s Wrong With Bishop Spong? Laymen Rethink the Scholarship of John Shelby Spong, http://www.creationontheweb.com/spong. The man is an anti-Christian charlatan, and epitomized what’s wrong with most of the American Episcopalian Church.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Hi Bill,

    I actually got this series from STR a few months back and was a little disappointed. Potential customers should be aware that the DVD’s only feature snippets from the debates and not the whole debates themselves. I have been trying to get Faith Under Fire for a couple of years with no luck so i was hoping that this set would see me through. It still has value for those who are new to defending the faith but I still feel that the whole debates should have been included, even as an extra feature would have been fine.

    John Wilson

  • Thanks John

    Yes, good point. I did mention the debates were no more than 15 minutes each. Presumably the US TV program by the same name is at least a half hour long, if not a whole hour. So we only see parts of the debates. If you have cable, you may be able to latch on to these from some Christian channel. Anyone else know about this?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

Leave a Reply