Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Lee Strobel the question why?

Picture 39The Reason Why

A classic book on Christianity gets a modern update, but will a new generation embrace its message?

Best-selling author Mark Mittelberg, who has been my ministry associate for nearly a quarter century, has authored an unusual little book - an update and recasting of the classic work The Reason Why, one of the biggest-selling books in history. But with its emphasis on the "substitutionary atonement" of Christ - a controversial doctrine among some people these days - will the book gain an audience among a new generation?

Here's my interview with Mittelberg, who holds a master's degree in philosophy of religion and has written several other excellent books, including The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask:

Q. The original Reason Why sold an astounding 50 million copies. What's the reason why you tinkered with one of the most amazing publishing successes in history?

A. That's a great question, Lee, and frankly it raises one of the most challenging aspects of writing this book. I'd be up late at night working on it and keep thinking to myself: "There's a reason this book was used so powerfully by God - leading countless folks to faith over the years - so don't mess it up and change the parts God most blessed!"


Questions from readers:

  • Should we worship Jesus?
  • Should we observe Christmas

This must seem terrible for me to say, but I have trouble worshipping Jesus. I know that Jesus lived and died for my sins, and I know he was sent by the Father for that purpose, and when I pray, I praise Jesus for all that he did and for showing us the way to worship the Father. I feel the pressures of the Septuagint and all the times our Father said there can be only ONE God, and He is that God. Can you help me find some Bible-based information that will help me? I call myself a Christian, and I know that comes from the word Christ and I know that Jesus is the Christ. Thanks, Jack

A. Jack, you're right - Jesus is the Christ, or the "anointed one," the Messiah foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures. Of course, one of the messianic prophecies says the Messiah will be called "Mighty God" (see
Isaiah 9:6). And indeed, Jesus is God himself - and therefore he deserves our worship.

Read the rest of this answer!

Have a question? Send it to me at While the volume of emails precludes us from responding to each inquiry, we will choose questions with the broadest interest and offer responses in future newsletters.

Lee's Notes

• Wow, what a response to our first newsletter! I was elated to see my e-mailbox filling with questions submitted by readers - as well as encouraging comments about how the first edition was helpful. The questions range all over the apologetic and theological map, many of them coming with sincere and heart-felt remarks. Thanks so much for those who have written - and if you haven't asked a question yet, please send yours to We'll do our best to answer as many as we can as fast as we can in future newsletters.

John N. Vaughan, who has been tracking megachurches for years, reports that 57 percent of the nation's largest churches now meet at more than one location each weekend. Most have off-campus sites that feature live worship but then show a videotape of the pastor's message. By the way, in 2000 a church needed to average 4,000 in attendance to make Vaughan's list of the 100 largest U.S. churches; in 2010, a church needed to average 8,000 to make the list. Almost half of the largest churches are non-denominational.

J. P. Moreland on evidence for God:

Picture 38

My friend J.P. Moreland, professor of philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology, discusses the scientific evidence for a Creator.

Lee's Links: Suggested articles from the web

What's next for Colson?
The Washington Post reports Watergate-felon-turned-Christian Chuck Colson's next mission is to spiritually replicate himself. "What this country needs," says the leader of Prison Fellowship, "is a movement." Amen, Chuck.

Myths about Christians and divorce
Conventional wisdom says that Christian couples divorce at the same rate as the general population. But is that true? What's the real story behind the statistics and what one sociologist calls a "useful" myth?
The War Against Baby Girls
Because of sonogram machines and liberal abortion laws, the race to kill unborn females is accelerating worldwide, with at least 100 million "missing girls" who should have been born but were not.
Atheists Ain't Got No Songs
I guess comedian Steve Martin is right - religious folks do have the best music. But he and some fellow singers try to remedy that in this hilarious segment from the David Letterman show.
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