66 pages 2 hours read

Lee Strobel

The Case For Christ

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1998

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Introduction-Part 1, Chapter 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “Examining the Record”

Introduction Summary: “Reopening the Investigation of a Lifetime”

Strobel’s introduction opens not with a theological story, but with a legal one: he tells the story of James Dixon, who stood accused of shooting Chicago police sergeant Richard Scanlon in what was considered to be an open-and-shut case. After Dixon’s neighbor called the police to report a domestic disturbance, Sergeant Scanlon arrived on scene to find Dixon fighting with his girlfriend. When a fight breaks out between Dixon and his girlfriend’s father, Scanlon tries to intervene. Scanlon is shot in the stomach during the altercation, and Dixon is arrested for shooting a police officer. Strobel explains the overwhelming case against him: “Piece by piece, item by item, witness by witness, the evidence tightened a noose around Dixon’s neck. There were fingerprints and a weapon, eyewitnesses and a motive, a wounded cop and a defendant with a history of violence” (9).

Dixon pleads guilty, and the case seems closed until one of Strobel’s informants tells him that Scanlon was actually shot by his own (illegal) pen gun, which accidentally discharged during the altercation. Scanlon takes this new evidence to the prosecutor’s office. A new investigation reveals that the facts of the case are not what they originally seemed. Dixon is acquitted of the crime, and Scanlon loses his job over the incident.

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By Lee Strobel

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Lee Strobel
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