The Case for Grace: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives

Lee Strobel (Zondervan)

Strobel, the hard-boiled Chicago crime reporter turned popular apologist, has made a career of sifting the evidence behind claims made for and against the faith. In The Case for Grace, however, he focuses less on rational arguments than on stories of radically transformed people he encountered during his travels. These remarkable narratives, he writes, “illustrate the power of God to revolutionize human lives—to turn a homeless junkie into an ordained pastor; an adulterer into a marriage counselor; a reckless rebel into a selfless servant of God; and a mass murderer into a pardoned saint.” Strobel (The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for a Creator) also writes of his own pilgrimage from atheism to faith.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: A Protestant View of the Cosmic Drama

Jerry L. Walls (Brazos Press)

Walls, who teaches philosophy at Houston Baptist University, has written a trio of scholarly books defending the doctrines of heaven, hell, and—more controversially among Protestants—purgatory. Here, he packages those arguments into a single volume pitched at ordinary readers, delivered at a moment when debates about the hereafter have picked up steam. “The Christian story is extraordinary, to be sure,” Walls maintains, “but it is radically incomplete and ultimately unsatisfying without a robust doctrine of the afterlife, and one simply cannot seriously affirm Trinity, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection without going on to heartily affirm ‘the life everlasting.’ ”

Saying Is Believing: The Necessity of Testimony in Adolescent Spiritual Development

Amanda Hontz Drury (IVP Academic)

For many, nothing induces anxiety quite like the prospect of speaking in public. Mix ordinary worries about audience reception with personal subject matter, and the dread worsens. Despite all this, public testimonies have long held a prominent place in evangelical communities, including in CT (see p. 88). Based on interviews conducted at several Midwestern churches, Drury, assistant professor of practical theology at Indiana Wesleyan University, argues that personal testimonies are vitally important for younger believers. Such stories not only give thanks for past progress but also shape future growth. “Regardless of what form the testimony takes,” she writes, “articulating where we understand God to be at work within our life is a powerful form of spiritual formation.”

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