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Share it. But most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network. Welcome to Man Talk, brought to you by TAWCMN, talking and walking Christian men's ministry, where they're devoted to breaking down the walls of race and denomination, and challenging men to take their God-assigned role. Here's our hosts Will Hardy and Roy Jones Jr., a black guy and a white guy. Welcome back to Man Talk Radio, folks. We are so honored and blessed to have a very special guest with us today. Author, journalist, attorney, pastor, Lee Strobel. Lee, welcome to the show.
Well, thanks so much. Great to be with you guys. And you know, Lee, you are a man who is world known, but for our listeners, and I know most of our listeners know of you, but for the few who don't, could you just sort of give us a brief overview of your journey to Christ? Yeah, I was an atheist for much of my life. My background is in journalism and law, so I tend to be a skeptic, and my wife was agnostic, or kind of spiritually confused. She met a woman who was a Christian and a nurse. They became best friends, brought her to church, and answered her questions, and finally my wife gave me the bad news that she'd become a Christian, which I thought, the first word that went through my mind was divorce.
Oh, wow. But I decided to take my journalism training and legal training and see if I could free her from this cult that she's gotten involved in. So I began to investigate the resurrection, because I recognized, even as an atheist, that that's the linchpin of the Christian faith, and looked at that and other evidence for Christianity for about two years, until I concluded it would take, based on the avalanche of evidence that I saw, it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a Christian.
In other words, the scales just tip decisively in favor of Christianity. So that's when I repented of my sin, received forgiveness through Christ, and became a follower of His, and then my life began to change for the good, as my wife's did, and eventually left journalism. I'd been a legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, and went into full-time opportunities to share the good news of Jesus and the evidence for who He is, through my entire life. That's my focus of my life. And you know, that's the thing that I like about you, Lee, and reading some of your books, and the approach that you took. You followed the evidence, and it was that determination of wherever the evidence leads me, and if it leads me to the point of acceptance, then I will accept based on the evidence. So I know a lot of our listeners are probably pondering it, or have gone through some things in their life similar to that, in their life similar to that. So I think that you could be that, and we don't like using this word or phrase, but I'm gonna use it anyway, role model for them, in the sense that they could just take that stand, and just say, let me do my investigation, and see where it leads me. Yeah.
You know, that is something that anybody can do. I think that one thing about Christianity distinguishes it from other faith systems, is it does have a strong underpinning of reliability that we can show from science, from cosmology, physics, biochemistry, genetics, and then the evidence of historicity of the Bible, as well as the resurrection of Jesus. So you know, the Christian faith is not based on wishful thinking, or make-believe, or legend, or mythology. It's really based on a solid foundation of historical and scientific truth.
Yeah, that's quite true, and to hear you explain that when we were up at the Black Mountain League was just phenomenal, how you walked us through all that. You know, you're thinking back about just the body of Jesus, right? You know, with all the soldiers that were around, soldiers guarding the tomb, that the fact they could never produce a body was the whole, was just a great piece of evidence in the whole journey, right? Yeah, I mean, you know, we've got, you know, the evidence for his execution and death is so strong that even the American, the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that he died during crucifixion. Then we have the empty tomb that even the opponents of Jesus admitted was empty. We have early accounts of his resurrection that come within months of his death, so they're, I believe, too early to be just legend. And then we've got nine ancient sources inside and outside the Bible confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus. So that's a lot of evidence just for the resurrection. So Jesus didn't just claim to be the Son of God, he backed up that claim by returning from the dead. Amen, amen. Well, Lee, we want to talk, part of the reason for the show was to give you an opportunity to chat about your new book, so we'd kind of like to lead into that if it's okay.
Yeah, sure. Tell us about the case for heaven. What prompted you to write this book? Well, several years ago I almost died. My wife found me unconscious on the bedroom floor, called an ambulance. I woke up in the emergency room, the doctor looked at me and said, you're one step away from a coma, two steps away from dying, and then I fell unconscious again.
I had an unusual medical condition called hyponatremia, which is a severe drop in my blood sodium level, and I hovered on that, you know, between life and death until the doctors were finally able to save my life. And I found it to be a very clarifying experience, because when you're in that position and you don't know if this is your final moments in this world, you really want to be sure of what happens once you die. You know, I was a Christian, so I believe what the Bible teaches, but as I say, I've got this skeptical background, and I thought, you know, how do I know, you know, does science confirm what the Bible talks about in terms of an afterlife?
What does it have to say about it, and what other research can I delve into? So that's what started me on this journey to investigate the evidence for the afterlife, and that is what ultimately resulted in my new book, The Case for Heaven. Oh wow. So Lee, when you, you know, through that experience, what was the thing about having heaven? I think that was the most appealing to you. Well, you know, I tend to be a logical person, and you know, certainly the idea of heaven is compelling. It's, you know, as the Bible says, no eye is seen, no ear is heard, no mind is even conceived of what God has planned for those who love him.
So, you know, it's going to be literally an inconceivable place of joy and satisfaction and love and fulfillment and so forth. But for me, coming across the evidence from neuroscience and so forth that supports what the Bible says was, to me, and in a very rational way, among the most compelling stuff that I encountered. For instance, you know, I was a skeptic about near-death experiences. I thought those were just hallucinations or oxygen deprivation to the brain or something, and what I learned is there have been 900 scholarly articles published in scientific and medical published in the publications over the last 40 years exploring these, and so it's a very well-researched area, and even The Lancet, which is the prestigious British medical journal, said that none of these alternative explanations for near-death experiences are able to explain them away. And so I looked at what I could corroborate.
How do I know these people? Because, you know, the Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And so what the Bible seems to teach is that when we die, our soul, our spirit, separates from our physical body and goes to either be in the presence of God in Paradise or separated from God in Hades. And then the second phase of heaven begins at the end of history, when Jesus returns, we're united with our resurrected bodies, we go through final judgment, and then we spend eternity in either a very physical heaven or a very physical hell. And so this idea that our spirit, our consciousness, separates from our body at the time of death, I found out that we have good corroboration that that's true.
How do we know? Well, I'll give you an example of a woman named Maria who died in the hospital of a heart attack, and yet she said later, I was fully conscious the whole time. I watched them trying to resuscitate my body. My spirit floated outside the hospital, and when her spirit returned to her body and she was revived, she said, oh, by the way, on the roof of the hospital, there's a man's tennis shoe, and it's left-footed, it's dark blue, there's some wear over the little toe, and the shoelace is tucked under the heel. And so I went up to the roof of the hospital and found it exactly as she has described it. So that's just one of maybe 20 examples that I give of confirmation that indeed our spirit, our soul, does survive our clinical death.
So Lee, one of the questions I wanted to ask you was just in that line. Who was the most unique individual you met through this project? I'm going to get your footnotes at the back of the book.
You have so many different resources, that you've researched through this project. Well, I guess two of them. One is John Burke. He's a pastor in Austin, Texas, who has researched near-death experiences for 35 years. He studied a thousand cases, and what was fascinating about him is that he determined that if you look at what actually happens in near-death experience, it is consistent with what the Bible teaches about the afterlife.
So that's powerful stuff. But then I got an opportunity to be the last person to interview the famous evangelist Luis Palau before he died. Luis was sort of the Billy Graham of Latin America. He shared his faith with a billion people over his lifetime, did festivals and crusades all around the world, and he knew he was dying of stage four lung cancer. And I was a friend of his, and he was a hero of mine, and I just thought the world of him. And so I went out to spend the day with him before he died, and just talking to a solid Christian who's about to pass into heaven, and his perspective and his attitude was very powerful.
The one thing he told me that I'll never forget—this is, again, his last interview before he died—he looked at me and he said, Lee, you know, when you get to the end of your life and all is said and done, you will never regret being courageous for Christ. Wow. And I thought that's a powerful lesson for all of us. Oh my.
Wow, that is something. Yeah, that needs to be echoed many, many times to our listeners and to our audience, week after week, Will. And you know, Lee, I think that's the thing when it when it comes to people in general, and perhaps non-believers more specifically, is this fear of not knowing where they're going to go after they leave this life.
So it's that, it's that fear of phobia. So we, we're coming up on a break, but when we come back, we want to continue our conversation with Lee Strobel. You all listeners, go out, get the books, A Case for Grace, A Case for Faith, A Case for Christ, A Case for Heaven, and A Case for Miracles, if I could get some more breath to keep going on.
But he is a phenomenal writer. We just want you to go ahead and go out and get it. black guy and a white guy. Meet us at the summit starting February 4, 2022. You're invited to a special two-day event. TAWCMM presents the Summit Conference, a conference so big we need two days for it all. Day one kicks off at 6.30 p.m. with a special co-ed event at the First Christian Church in Kernersville. Then you'll get to hear a message from speakers Lee Strobel, Jerry Boykin, and Bishop Larry Jackson. Day two is a men's one-day conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They'll have a multitude of speakers like Lee Strobel, Jerry Boykin, Bishop Larry Jackson, Pat Teague, and Bishop Charles Flowers.
For tickets or more information, visit TAWCMM.com. Don't miss your chance to meet us at the summit on February 4, 2022. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.
Glory to his name. We are here with Lee Strobel, and the conversation has been great. Right before the break, Lee, we were talking about this phobia and fear of death.
Yeah. How, in your words, how do you, how, talking to our listeners, how should they cope? If they, if they have a loved one that's going through death or they themselves are going through death, how, what words could you give them to cope with that experience? Well, first of all, the fear of death is very common. Even King David in Psalm 55 talked about how he had a fear of death.
He talked about how his enemies were harassing him, and in verse 4 he said, my heart pounds in my chest, the terror of death assaults me. So it's common for people to have a fear of death, but the Bible talks about a cure for them, and it's found in Hebrews 2, verse 15, where it says, Jesus set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. So a robust view of Jesus and him and his teachings, I believe, can help, help us cope with this fear that we have of dying. Now, you know, the first verse I memorized as a new Christian was 1 John 5 13, that says, these things are written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. In other words, you know, Jesus doesn't want you in a state of apprehension or uncertainty or anxiety over where you stand with Him. He wants you to know for sure that you're going to spend eternity with Him, and I believe we can know for sure if we confess our sins and turn from that and receive Jesus as our forgiver and leader, and are adopted as His child. We have confidence that we're going to spend eternity with Him in heaven. And then we look at what Jesus talked about when it came to heaven. You know, the Bible says we can't even conceive of heaven, basically.
No, a mind has conceived it, so it uses a lot of figurative language. But I love the way that Jesus, in John chapter 14, talked to the disciples. I'm paraphrasing, but He said basically, hey guys, don't be afraid of death, don't freak out. He said, in My Father's home there are many rooms, and there are many rooms for you. And He uses imagery of a home, and I think that's such a powerful metaphor, because, you know, when you think about dying, you think about this imagery of home.
I don't know if you've ever traveled, you probably have, in a third world country, a difficult situation. I've been, like, for instance, you know, in South India for a long period of time, sleeping in a room with my father, I've been, like, for instance, you know, in South India for a long period of time, sleeping on the ground and living out of a backpack and eating strange foods and so forth. And you begin to develop a homesickness, and you want to go home, you want to be home. And then when you finally walk into your own home, and you climb into your own bed, it's such a place of warmth and security and love and so forth. And Jesus is saying, that's the metaphor I want you to hang on to. So when you think about leaving this world, you know, it's home.
That's going to be our home for a lot longer in eternity than our home in this world. But I think that's such a wonderful metaphor of comfort and joy and so forth. So I just love the way he uses that imagery. To me, I find that very comforting. Yeah, that's really special, Lee.
Thank you so much for sharing that. Lee, you mentioned the lady who had the out-of-body experience, you know, what was there another situation that you researched or spoke with an individual that was really impactful similarly as this lady had gone through? Yeah, I probably have 20 examples in my book of stories like that, documented in medical journals. For instance, there was a woman from Atlanta, Georgia who had brain aneurysm, so she had bleeding in her brain and had to have a very radical surgery. So they cooled her body to 60 degrees. They drained every drop of blood from her head. Three tests showed she had zero brain waves. She wasn't breathing. She had no heartbeat.
She was clinically dead. And so they taped her eyes shut for the surgery, and they put earplugs in her ears with 100 decibels of noise, which is the equivalent of being next to a subway train going past you. And yet, she said, I was conscious the whole time of this surgery.
And how do we know what's the corroboration? Well, she was able to describe the highly unusual surgical tools that were used in her surgery, including the fact that one of them had a dent in it. She described the conversations that took place during the surgery where one nurse said, we have a problem, her arteries are too small, and then another nurse said, we'll try the other leg. She even described the music that was playing in the background during the surgery. In the operating room? Yeah, in the operating room.
By the way, they were playing Hotel California, which seems like a strange selection. Anyway, there's a Christian philosopher by the name of J.P. Moreland, who's a famous Christian philosopher. He said, just this one case should be enough to convince any open-minded seeker of truth that there is a heaven, that there is an afterlife. And she describes going through a tunnel, being in the very light of God. And he thinks that just this one case is enough to document that there is indeed an afterlife. Wow.
That's fantastically. I want to switch gears for a minute, because I don't want my small group members clobbering me for not getting a question in. But in your book, A Case for Miracles, one of the questions that our members wanted to ask was, when you left the interview with Dr. Michael Shermer, what did you feel or what was going through your mind after you finished that interview? Because we spent a lot of time on those first three chapters. Yeah, I thought if I'm going to do a book on miracles, I should start off by going to the biggest skeptic in America, the editor of Skeptic Magazine, founder of Skeptic Magazine, Dr. Michael Shermer, and find out for him why he doesn't believe in miracles. So I gave him basically the first three chapters of the book to lay out his case against miracles. And when I walked out of there, I thought, number one, he didn't make a very good case against miracles, and number two, he did raise some issues that were worth checking out.
And so the rest of the book kind of interviews scholars and experts who kind of answer the objections that he raises. For instance, he said, you know, that none of the studies that have been done about miracles really prove that miracles take place. And yet, you know, he conveniently doesn't mention the study in Mozambique that was done by a PhD from Harvard University, where they went to Mozambique, where there had been an outbreak of the supernatural healings, and they went to remote villages and got all the deaf and blind people together, and tested them scientifically right there to determine their level of vision and sight. Then they were prayed for in the name of Jesus, and then they were immediately tested again to see scientifically, is there any difference?
And they found that there was improvement in virtually every case. In fact, so dramatic in some of the cases, like a woman named Martin, who when they first met her couldn't hear the equivalent of a jackhammer next to her, and yet after 10 minutes of prayer in the name of Jesus, she could hear normal conversations. This is a study that's been published in a secular, scientific, peer-reviewed medical journal. This is a valid scientific study into the miraculous. They also replicated the study and got the same results in Brazil, which is another place where the supernatural healings are breaking in. We tend to see that in areas of the world where the gospel is just beginning to get a foothold in a new culture, where God uses the miraculous to point people toward Him. So I think that Dr. Shermer raised some interesting objections, but I think the rest of the book responds to those and also presents the affirmative case that indeed God is still in the miracle business today. Amen, amen. Yeah, when we got to the miracle of Barbara, we were just all blown away. I mean, we had group members just standing up, praising God, and oh, I mean, just from reading the book. That's awesome.
It was just phenomenal. Lee, we've just got a few more minutes, and we first want to say thank you so much for joining us today. Sure.
Wow. I want to just turn personal for just a moment, if it's okay. Will knows our two friends. We have two friends that have got terminal cancer, and both one's a new believer in the last two years, came to know the Lord, and the last two and a half years, which is praise God to that. The other one's a long-term believer and has fought cancer through in the past, but has come back in this time.
It's terminal. I'd like, if you don't mind, I'm sure we've got plenty of listeners out there that are probably fighting the same same problem right now and dilemma in their life and that hurdle that they're becoming, or a loved one. With all your research, and all the stuff that God's put on your heart, and you've been able to articulate, and written for them, and your lectures, what would be a few things, if you were talking to your loved ones, that you would share about heaven, about that upcoming journey, and just to fall right in line behind the release of your book? I'd love for you to share for these men that are in our lives, that are going through this battle.
Yeah. Well, you know, the greatest news about heaven is that it's real. The greatest news about heaven is that we can trust the words of Jesus, that because of His love for us, because of His grace, because of His having made us in His image and wants to invite us to spend eternity with Him, heaven is going to be a place of wonder, and joy, and satisfaction, and fulfillment that we can't even imagine in this world. In fact, there's a quote in my book from the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon that really changed my perspective on going to heaven, and these people with terminal cancer are going to be, you know, before long, in the presence of God Himself.
And this is what Spurgeon said, he said, the very glory of heaven is that we shall see Him, that same Christ who once died upon Calvary's cross, that we shall fall down and worship at His feet, nay more that He shall kiss us with the kisses of His mouth, and welcome us to dwell with Him forever. Wow. Amen. Lee, we're getting ready to wrap up. If you would like to close us in a quick word of prayer, and then we'll hold with you for just a second after we close the session now.
Yeah. Father, we do pray for those that are facing difficult situations right now. Give us the hope of heaven in our spirit. Please reaffirm and strengthen our conviction that we will spend eternity with you, and in a place of unbelievable joy and fulfillment. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen. It's been such a pleasure to have time with you. Wow. Well, thanks. Great to be with you guys.
Yeah. Please give your wife our best, and we'll hold with you for here just one second when we close out. Sure. As we wrap up today's show, be assured that TAWCMM, Talking and Walking Christian Men's Ministry, is building a community of men that are Christ followers with a desire to be servant leaders in their homes, communities, churches, and work environments. Check out our website for upcoming events and regularly scheduled meetings. Drop us a note for topics that you would like to have us visit in the future. Thank you for joining us on Man Talk today. Visit us at www.tawcmm.com. Men walking the talk. This is the Truth Network.
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