Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, has accepted a position as professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University, it was announced Tuesday. Strobel told The Christian Post that he is excited to help equip students to make a difference for Jesus Christ.
"I'm excited about helping a new generation work through how we can naturally and effectively share the message of Jesus in the 21st century," Strobel told CP via email. "Our increasingly skeptical world presents special challenges as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission. HBU is assembling an impressive team to innovate new ways for Christians to bring God's message of redemption and hope to our neighbors, our nation and our world.
"I'm thrilled with the opportunity to encourage and equip these sharp young Christians to make a difference for Christ," he said.
Strobel, who is a New York Times best-selling author of more than 20 books, including The Case for Christ, will join the faculty of the Department of Apologetics in HBU's School of Christian Thought.
"As one of the most well-known apologists of the last two decades, Lee Strobel has spoken to audiences both young and old, including tens of thousands of university students," said Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr., HBU president. "He is an engaging advocate for the historical and truthful character of the Christian faith, and his personal testimony is compelling. We believe having him join our already outstanding group of nationally and internationally known apologists will be a blessing both to the University and to all who are courageous enough to hear the case for Christ and are willing to be challenged and encouraged by the truthfulness of the Christian faith."
The university stated that the recruitment of Strobel is just the latest in a string of recent hires designed to strengthen the School of Christian Thought. Professors joining the staff include Nancy Pearcey, whom The Economist has called "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual," and Jerry Walls, author of more than a dozen books, including Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality, which won the 2012 Christianity Today Book Award in the Apologetics/Evangelism category. HBU is also home to three of the best known scholars in C.S. Lewis studies, including Dr. Michael Ward, who was hired recently to direct the university's new C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford, England.
As the result of the addition of these and other acclaimed Christian scholars to its faculty, and launching new graduate programs in philosophy and apologetics, HBU points out that it was ranked fourth on a list of the "Top 15 Colleges for Studying the Bible" compiled earlier this year by the editors of thebestschools.org.
Described in The Washington Post as "one of the evangelical community's most popular apologists," Strobel became a Christian in 1981 after a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus. Beginning in 1987, he served on the staffs of Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, Ill., and Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., before shifting his focus to writing.
In 2005, Strobel shared the Christian Book of the Year award for a curriculum he co-authored with Garry Poole about the movie "The Passion of the Christ." He also won Gold Medallions for his books The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith and The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries distributed by Lionsgate.
Strobel and his wife, Leslie, have been married for 40 years and live in Colorado. Their daughter, Alison, is the author of six novels and co-author of two books for children. Their son, Kyle, has written several books on Jonathan Edwards and on spiritual formation.
Strobel told CP that although he will continue to reside in Colorado, he will be making extended trips to Houston to teach in the classroom and work with students.
HBU is an independent, private Christian liberal arts institution with a diverse student body, according to officials. "The university is dedicated to the development of the intellect, the moral character and the spiritual lives of its students. It has access to all the cultural advantages of one of the largest metropolitan centers in the country," the school states.
On the Web: www.hbu.edu