Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: Cold-Case Christianity For Kids


Several years ago cold-case homicide detective J. Warner Wallace wrote the book Cold-Case Christianity. When Wallace first read the gospels, as an atheist, he noticed that they read like eye-witness accounts that he was used to analyzing everyday. He decided to conduct an investigation of Jesus' resurrection just like a cold-case. Cold-Case Christianity takes the reader through his investigation and encourages the reader to be the "jury" to evaluate the evidence. You can read my full review of it here: Book Review: Cold-Case Christianity.

That book has been quite popular and has helped numerous people to see the evidence for the truth of Christianity. Because of that, Wallace and his wife decided to take the content and adapt it for a younger audience. The result is the book Cold-Case Christianity for Kids.

The Story

Wallace wrote this edition as a story of a police cadet academy, where the new recruits (including the reader) learn how to investigate mysteries. One of the cadets locates an old skateboard that their instructor, Detective Jeffries, uses during their eight-week training to explain the various techniques used to investigate mysteries. The first thing Detective Jeffries explains to the new cadets is to never come to an investigation with their minds already made up- do not be "know-it-alls." One of the cadets asked if Christians were "know-it-alls" for saying that Jesus did miracles and came back from the dead. Detective Jeffries decides to take the cadets on an investigation into the evidence for Jesus' resurrection alongside the mystery of the skateboard. As principles are taught using the skateboard mystery, the cadets then apply them to the claims made in the Bible. The detective teaches eight basic principles to the cadets:
  1. Don't be a "Know-It-All"
  2. Learn how to infer
  3. Think circumstantially
  4. Test your witnesses
  5. Respect the chain of custody
  6. Hang on every word 
  7. Separate artifacts from evidence
  8. Resist conspiracy theories
After learning each one and using it to get closer to the owner of the skateboard, Detective Jeffries asks pointed questions to the cadets to guide them on their application of the principle to the claims in the gospels. As the training and investigation progress, the cadets build their case for the owner of the skateboard and the best explanation for the claims of the Bible. Once the final piece of the skateboard puzzle is discovered and the owner identified, the cadets conclude their investigation of the gospel accounts- discovering that the most logical explanation of the claims of the gospels is that Jesus was actually raised from the dead. 

The Cadet Academy

What is really great is that the experience the kids get is not limited to the book. The way the book is written, the reader is actually one of the cadets. Wallace has created a companion website ( to guide kids and their parents through the same "Cadet Academy" that is in the story. Once the academy is completed the kids receive a certificate that they can show off and use to start conversations with friends and family. 

My Recommendation

I really like how Wallace and his wife converted the content of the original book to an exciting mystery for kids. The book is a great length for kids, and Wallace includes sketches on nearly every page to visually bring the kids into the story, as one of the cadets. The way that Wallace wrote this edition is quite entertaining for kids who like mysteries (or one to may need to get hooked on them). The content taught is presented in ways that are easy to understand. Obviously, I highly recommend this book for kids, but I want to be a bit more specific in my recommendation. As a homeschool family, we do plan to use this as part of our Bible curriculum. I see how this could be quite a fun study in Sunday School or children's church (what kid wouldn't want to tell their friends that they learned to solve mysteries at church?). Of course, this could be a good book for book reports or vacation reading. This is a book that every parent needs to have for their kids. 

More books from J. Warner Wallace

1 comment:

  1. Going through it now with my kids. Its a bit too heavy for my eight year old girl - who is not a big fan of having to think for herself. (which we are working on). My 11 year old boy loves it.

    I recommend going through it slowly, and reviewing the terms that the kids are introduced to, as it will help them better understand and process what is going on as they go through the book. I also recommend listen to Jim's vides on his website, before each chapter.


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