Documentary film about heaven part of apologetic push to promote Christian faith, says Strobel

NASHVILLE, TN | Former investigative journalist Lee Strobel says today’s skeptics need proof before considering Christianity’s claims.

It’s one of the reasons why, according to the best-selling Christian non-fiction writer, his 2021 book “The Case for Heaven” is premiering as a documentary film in theaters April 4-6.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful film with an original score,” Mr. Stobel said at the 2022 National Religious Broadcasters conference. “We take you to exotic and wonderful places. It’s a kind of new kind of apologetics. It takes evidence, facts, logic and reason, but creatively presents them in a way that touches the head and the heart.

The Washington Times is a sponsor of the broadcasters’ conference.

The film is a production of Sandoval Studios and K-LOVE Films, a unit of the popular Christian radio network, and is distributed by Fathom Events.

The documentary includes interviews with renowned pastor and author Francis Chan, bestselling Christian author John Burke, the late evangelist Luis Palau and others, including Sharon Dirckx, who holds a PhD in brain imaging from the University of Cambridge and now Principal Tutor. at the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics.

Documentary director Mani Sandoval said “The Case for Heaven” focuses on documented cases of individuals whose near-death experiences gave them a glimpse of heaven, or something other than a person” clinically dead” should not be able to perceive, before regaining consciousness.

When Mr. Strobel first described the book and the potential movie to him, “I immediately, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t very interested, because all the ‘death experience movies imminent [of] people going back to heaven came to mind,” Mr. Sandoval said.

Such skepticism is well-founded: in 2015, Tyndale House Publishers, a leading Christian publishing house, withdrew “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”, which had sold over a million copies. copies since it was published in 2010. Alex Malarkey released a statement saying he didn’t die, didn’t go to heaven and fabricated his story “because I thought it would attract ‘Warning”.

Mr. Sandoval said he came after Mr. Strobel “gave me a two-minute presentation” on verifiable near-death experiences.

“It just blew my mind,” the director said. “I’ve been a Christian all my life and I didn’t know much about that stuff. So I was like, ‘Man, if I don’t know about this stuff, I bet there’s a lot of people who can really benefit from it.’

Mr Strobel added: “So I only looked at those cases – because I was skeptical of near-death experiences – I only looked at the cases where we had corroborated. Things that people report seeing or hearing that they could only see or hear if they had actually had an out of body experience.

He told the story of a woman named Maria, who “died” in a hospital but said she was aware of the measures taken to revive her because her spirit was outside her body during this time. Before regaining consciousness, the woman said she saw “’a tennis shoe on the roof of the hospital and it’s a left foot. It is dark blue. It is a men’s tennis shoe. There is some wear on the pinky toe and hidden laces under the heel.

Hospital staff found the shoe exactly as described. That and similar cases made Mr. Strobel’s belief in a soul that ascends to heaven or descends to hell at death even stronger, he said.

“A lot of atheists will say we are just our bodies, we are just our brains, we have no souls,” he said. “But then near-death experiences do indeed say that our soul survives our clinical death. It’s amazing,” he added.

A former atheist himself, Mr. Strobel applied his skills as an investigative journalist to assessing claims of Christianity when his wife found faith.

After the brief theatrical release, the film will be available on DVD and streaming, Strobel said. Her hope is that the documentary will cause people to question what exists beyond this lifetime and to think about what to do based on their own faith.