Is God Republican or Democrat?
- Randall Murphree Agape Press
- 2004 3 Oct
God -- Republican or Democrat? Some may think the question frivolous or even irreverent, but John Moyers and Cal Thomas give serious thought to the issue of which party best embodies godly values and principles. Their debate will air October 2 in the debut installment of Faith Under Fire, PAX TV's new Saturday debate/talk show.
Refereeing the weekly intellectual sparring match is Lee Strobel, atheist-turned-believer and best-selling author. The hour-long show airs at 10 pm ET/PT and 9 pm CT/MT. It is Strobel's brainchild, and when he talks about it, his enthusiasm is contagious. It is hard to imagine a better man to host the show. He is affable, astute, and articulate.
Strobel is also a bold witness. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, said, "Any man who'll ask Hugh Hefner on camera what he's going to say when he stands face-to-face with God deserves our respect. I'm sure Lee's interview with the Playboy founder had a positive impact."
"I think we have some very provocative television, and we explore some very sensitive and controversial issues," Strobel said in an exclusive interview. "I think the key is that we have good spokespersons for the various positions."
Thomas and Moyers illustrate his commitment to that principle. Moyers is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Thomas is a Christian journalist and host of Fox After Hours with Cal Thomas.
Another question debated on the series debut is, "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?"
"No, of course not," scoffs atheist Richard Carrier.
"Yes, of course," declares Dr. William Lane Craig, an authority on evidence for the resurrection.
"It's my personal conviction that in a fair intellectual shootout, the Christian worldview emerges as the most reasonable," said Strobel, but on the show, he tries to keep his thoughts to himself most of the time. "I don't want to gang up on our guests. I want the best, most balanced debate we can get."
Birth of the Series
Strobel had never really thought about becoming a television personality. At least, not until Rocket Pictures president Jim Berger approached him about doing a movie based on Strobel's life and faith journey. Berger's wife had given him a copy of Strobel's book The Case for Christ and it had sparked spiritual awakening for Berger.
"I told him that would be the most boring movie you could possibly imagine," said Strobel, "but I said, 'I've got another idea. What if we did a show [in which] guests debate controversial topics?'" He persuaded Berger, then they taped a pilot and began peddling it in Hollywood. PAX liked it, and ordered 13 episodes.
Each week, the show covers several issues. Additional subjects on the October 2 show are assisted suicide and the end of faith. Strobel is pleased with the first 13 episodes, which will carry the show through December. He hopes viewers will discover it and like it from the beginning.
Potential for Impact
"Christians have legitimately complained for years that their faith is not well-defined or defended on the secular airwaves," he said. "Here's an opportunity to express -- through our viewership -- our appreciation to PAX. When networks take a risk to present programming that expresses a Christian worldview, I think it's good for us to get behind it. I'm hoping people will do that for this show."
"We're looking forward to it," said Wildmon. "I believe Lee Strobel is just the man to take on such a project, and I urge people to tune in."
Strobel believes the show will be a great evangelistic tool. He envisions viewers inviting neighbors, friends or family to watch the show, and then engaging them in dialogue about their reactions. On Strobel's website he will have questions to facilitate discussion about each weekly show.
"In fact," Strobel said, "some churches are actually going to use it as Sunday School curriculum."
Before coming to faith in Christ, Strobel was an award-winning legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. He won honors for investigative reporting and public service journalism. After becoming a Christian, he began producing best-selling books such as The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for Easter. Those three titles have sold more than five million copies.
There's no doubt Faith Under Fire has potential for great impact. For more information, visit Strobel's website and the series website. Listen to the trailer, scan upcoming subjects, catch the host's excitement, and prepare for debates that will challenge and strengthen your beliefs.
Randall Murphree, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is editor of AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.
Faith Under Fire (http://www.faithunderfire.com)
Lee Strobel (http://www.leestrobel.net)
© 2004 Agape Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Publication date: October 3, 2004