Atheist-turned-Christian apologist Lee Strobel has encouraged Christians to bring their non-believing friends to watch "The Case for Christ" film, as they will simultaneously be entertained and exposed to evidence for the truth of the Gospel.
"I encourage someone if they're going to invite [a non-believer] to say, 'You might like this one character. He's a little bit like you, he's a skeptic...over-the-top atheist, kind of a militant, hostile atheist, and I think you might get a kick out of his story and how it affected his life and his family,'" Strobel told The Gospel Herald during a sit-down interview in Orlando, Florida. "And then offer to buy the popcorn, offer to buy the ticket, but also offer to buy a cup of coffee afterwards and sit down, and then have a conversation about what you just saw. That may be the most significant moment of the evening."
Strobel added that a number of non-Christians had already screened "The Case for Christ" film, which hits theaters April 7 - and they loved it.
"It's been kind of pre-tested; people appreciate it regardless of where they're coming from spiritually," he said.
"The Case for Christ" movie, based on Lee Strobel's book of the same name, tells of his journey as an atheist who used his skills as an award-winning investigative journalist to try and disprove Christianity after his wife, Leslie, embraces the faith. After a two-year investigation, however, he, too, becomes a believer in Christ.
"As someone who likes to see people come to faith in Christ - I realized that some people won't read a 300-page book, some people won't go to church, but most people will come to a movie," Strobel said. "This message of hope and grace, this love story and this story of a father-son relationship, of a mystery, of a big city newspaper, of a spiritual investigation - we thought maybe it would intrigue people, and through that, they might be exposed to some of the evidence for the truth of Christianity."
The film, written by Brian Bird ("When Calls the Heart," "Touched by An Angel"), also explores the struggles Lee and Leslie Strobel faced as her growing faith collided with his antagonism toward Christianity and alcoholism.
Leslie Strobel told GH that she hopes the film encourages a Christian who may be married to a non-believer to understand that they're not alone - and that there is hope.
"I remember feeling very alone as a new Christian," she said. "Not having that joy to share with my husband, and yet having been able to share everything else with him, now I'm just in this new relationship with him that's changed. I think that is a common feeling for women that are in that relational limbo."
She added, "To be able to go to a movie and see...someone that went through this...and how they navigated it, I believe it might give some encouragement and hope to someone."
Skeptics and "honest, intellectual seekers of truth", screenwriter Brian Bird said, can't ignore the story portrayed in "The Case for Christ" film.
"You can watch it and reject if you want, but if you're being honest about trying to understand what makes this universe tick, you have to at least consider this evidence," he explained. "And then, we'll see what happens, like with Lee. I think...a lot of people will watch this movie and it's gonna cause some cravings in them that stir up some soul cravings."
He added that friendship is key, as effective evangelism often takes place after trustworthy relationships have been built.
"I think it's incumbent on all of us who understand what the cure is, to make it relational at that point," Bird said. "A movie is itself... not going to do the whole thing. But, a movie and then a friendship is dynamite. People who may not feel that great or understand how to understand their own faith - this becomes a powerful help for them to be able to explain to their friends, 'This is what I believe.'"
From the makers of "God's not Dead," Pure Flix and Triple Horse Studios "The Case for Christ" stars Mike Vogel ("The Help"), Erika Christensen ("Parenthood"), Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde"), Academy Award nominee Robert Forster ("Jackie Brown"), L. Scott Caldwell ("Lost") and Frankie Faison ("The Wire").