Lee Strobel, author of the bestselling THE CASE FOR CHRIST, THE CASE FOR THE CREATOR and THE CASE FOR FAITH, is back with an updated edition of GOD'S OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS. The book takes a look at thirteen claims that the Bible makes and why they're believable. He describes the ways Jesus invites us to live as "outrageous." The ideas of rejoicing in persecution, praying for your enemies or losing your life to save it are outlandish and astonishing. Strobel believes that by looking at God's promises and what they mean today, there are lessons to be learned about living with conviction and courage in the modern world.
The book begins with the chapter and claim that "There's Freedom in Forgiving Your Enemies." It recounts the story of Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson who was held hostage and tortured in Lebanon for seven years. On release, he was asked "Can you forgive your captors?" His reply is memorable: "Yes, as a Christian I am required to forgive --- no matter how hard it may be." Launching from this powerful story, Strobel explores the rivals that surround us, as well as the physical, relational, psychological and spiritual benefits we receive through forgiveness. In addition to providing a Biblical framework for his arguments, Strobel pulls from modern research as well as from the experiences of others. The result is a compelling, fast-moving read.
Other notable claims in the book include "Random Acts of Kindness Aren't Enough" and "God's Rules on Sex Can Liberate Us." In "A Dose of Doubt May Strengthen Your Faith," he writes, "Let me offer some words of encouragement: you can have a strong faith and still have some doubts. You can be heaven-bound and nevertheless express uncertainty over some theological issues. You can be a full-fledged Christian without absolutely settling every single question of life once and for all. In fact, it has been said that struggling with God over the issues of life doesn't show a lack of faith --- that is faith. If you don't believe me, just peruse the Psalms!"
In many regards, this is a well-packaged book of apologetics that builds its cases not just from a rational standpoint but from a more holistic approach. Strobel goes beyond the believe-it-because-the-Bible-says-it approach to examine how core Biblical truths affect the way life is lived as well as our relationships with others. He provides practical insight and guidance on how to respond to others who may have hurt you and how to overcome loneliness. The advice is simple but will undoubtedly have a profound impact on those who follow it.
Throughout the book, the author draws from stories and encounters from his own life, including his experiences as a tough journalist with the Chicago Tribune. His stories are vulnerable, honest and revealing. The result is a well-written, well-thought out book that anyone can learn and grow from.
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg on November 13, 2011