God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Showing posts with label J. Warner Wallace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label J. Warner Wallace. Show all posts

Monday, August 19, 2019

Is It Biblical To Have An Evidential Faith?

Introduction

Is biblical faith blind or reasonable? This is one of the most hotly debated questions between believers and unbelievers. While most who say that faith is blind are unbelievers, I have also heard many Christians claim this as well. The claim is that faith and reason are at odds with one another, and that the more evidence or reason that you have to believe something, the less faith that you need. 

Is Faith Blind or Evidential?

In his book "Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes The Case For A More Reasonable Evidential Faith," J. Warner Wallace emphasizes the evidential nature of Jesus' ministry on earth. Jesus never asked people to believe His claims without a good reason to: the miracles that He performed. He performed miracles to demonstrate that His claims to be God (such as is found in His claim to be able to forgive sins in Matthew 9). Based on His followers' witnessing His miracles (eyewitness evidence), He asked them to have faith in Him. This was not a request for blind faith, but an evidentially-based faith. 

In the book, Wallace not only appeals to the entire ministry of Christ on earth but also to specific passages of Scripture where Jesus explicitly identifies this specific purpose for His miracles and where other New Testament authors also encouraged their readers to test claims: 


John 10:25- "'I did tell you and you don't believe,' Jesus answered them. 'The works that I do in My Father's name testify about Me.'"
John 10:37-38- "If I am not doing My Father's works, don't believe Me. But if I am doing them and you don't believe Me, believe the works."
Acts 1:3- "After He had suffered, He also prested Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God."
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21- "Don't stifle the Spirit. Don't despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good."
1 John 4:1- "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 
These passages do not ask for someone to believe just anything based simply on the word of the person making the claim ("...because I said!"- a blind faith) but based on the actions of the person making the claim. Notice, too, that in the 1 Thessalonians and 1 John passages, the authors are so confident that the claims will pass evidential tests that they openly invite testing! None of these passages ask for blind faith; in fact, they encourage the exact opposite: a faith that is not blind rather a faith that is grounded in evidence and reason.

A Biblical Faith And The Resurrection

Biblical faith, correctly understood from Scripture, is not blind; it is tested and firmly grounded. In fact, today, we can test the central claim of Christianity: that Jesus rose bodily from the dead (1 Corinthians 15). As we investigate the evidence, based on tried and true investigative methods (as outlined in J. Warner Wallace's book "Cold-Case Christianity") and historiographical methods (as outlined in Gary Habermas' books "The Historical Jesus" and "The Risen Jesus and Future Hope"), we discover that the only explanation that consistently explains all the evidence is that Jesus rose from the grave, as is claimed in the gospels.

Conclusion

Because this central claim passes the evidential test, a faith in Christ is not blind or because "the Bible tells me so;" it is firmly grounded in proven methods used for discovering the truth of claimed events of the past. There simply is no reasonable reason to reject the Resurrection. While we certainly are free to reject the conclusion of the evidence and arguments, we should not fool ourselves into believing that the rejection is anything more than an emotional leap of blind faith despite evidence to the contrary.

To Investigate Further, See the Links Throughout This Post And These Additional Ones:

Monday, July 1, 2019

Top 5 Books on Having Productive Conversations

Introduction- How To Have Productive Discussions With Those With Whom You Disagree

In today's cultural climate, discussions of great importance, such as politics, worldview, morality, and science, often get heated. All sides are trying to convince the other sides that one view is correct and all others are incorrect. Usually, the sides reject the others due to their seeing that it does not match with the world as it is and/or that it violates some universally recognized, objective moral value. Those who strongly desire to be on the side of reality and morality have a deep conviction of the falsehood of the violating views and a deep conviction of the truth of their own views (assuming that view does not also violate reality). These deep convictions often cause discussions about which view is correct to get quite emotional. Each side accuses the others of either being unwilling to deal with reality and/or of being pure evil.

Unlike what some people may believe, the reality of the world and morality are not at odds with one another, so if all sides are truly committed to truth and morality, there is nothing to fear from discovering that our views need tweaking or are completely wrong and need to be jettisoned. But how do we get from staunchly believing that our view is the only possible true view to thinking that we could be wrong, and how do we converse with others who do hold to a wrong view and need to change their view? For Christians, we are given the command to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do so with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).

Monday, May 27, 2019

7 Independent Lines of Evidence for God's Existence

Introduction- Why Is God's Existence So Important?

One of the most heated debates in any setting is the existence of God. If God exists, then He is the foundation for objective morality. One's view of morality governs their thinking in everything from politics to workplace interactions, from scientific research to everyday behavior. If God exists, then there are objective behavioral boundaries which should never be crossed. If God does not exist, then no such objective boundaries exist, and anyone may behave however they wish in any situation without concern for the violation of some objective standard (that is not to say that relative/cultural/legal standards cannot be violated- but that is a topic for another time). If we do not examine this question carefully, we risk believing what is false about reality and morality, and such false beliefs will necessarily lead to behaviors that are not in keeping with reality and morality. This means that many of the political and ethic debates opposing people have come down to whether or not God exists.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Did The Historical Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Introduction- Why Is Jesus' Resurrection So Important?

Those who have followed this blog know that I focus a lot of my writing on defending the compatibility of science with the Christian worldview and that I spend much energy addressing philosophical and logical challenges to some of the finer details of Christian theology that skeptics offer as defeaters for the Christian worldview. However, it is important to remember that the truth of the Christian worldview rests on one, single historical event: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Christ has not been raised, then none of the other details of the Christian worldview matter. The Apostle Paul made this very clear in 1 Corinthians 15:

"If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone."- 1 Corinthians 15:17, 19

While finding answers to the finer points of the Christian worldview can be difficult, if Christ has been raised, then there are answers to every scientific, philosophical, and experiential challenge. Even if we may not know all those answers at any given point in time and even if the answers are different from what we envision or desire, if Christ has been raised, Christianity is true, and we can work out the finer scientific, philosophical, and experiential details later. So, it is important that all skeptics and Christians deal with and be made aware of the evidence for this essential historical event.

In today's post my goal is not to be comprehensive with the evidence for the Resurrection but to give the skeptic some videos and other resources to begin seriously looking at this claim and to make the Christian aware of resources that they can have to "always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that they have" (1 Peter 3:15).

Monday, December 17, 2018

Book Review: God's Crime Scene for Kids

Introduction

Several years ago, cold-case homicide detective J. Warner Wallace wrote the book "God's Crime Scene" where he details his investigation, as an atheist, into the evidence for God's existence. In the book, he explains that investigating the universe for an outside cause is quite similar to the investigation of a death scene. If the evidence at the scene can be explained by "staying in the room," then an outside cause (murder) can be reasonably removed. Likewise, if all the evidence within the universe can be explained by "staying in the room" of the universe, then an outside cause (God) is not a reasonable conclusion. In both cases, though, when evidence requires an outside cause, then the conclusion cannot be avoided. You can read my chapter-by-chapter review of "God's Crime Scene" here.

"God's Crime Scene" is the second book in a trilogy that includes "Cold-Case Christianity" and "Forensic Faith." Because of the popularity of this series, Wallace and his wife adapted the content of the books to a younger audience: kids! Today's review is the second in the kids' series: "God's Crime Scene for Kids."


Monday, December 10, 2018

Book Review: Alive: A Cold-Case Approach to the Resurrection

Introduction

I am always on the lookout for succinct presentations of a defense of the truth of Christianity. Unlike many of the (excellent) books available, shorter ones have a better appeal to those who are curious but do not wish to invest too much time (yet) into their investigation. This is where the book I am reviewing today comes in. "Alive: A Cold-Case Approach to the Resurrection" by J. Warner Wallace condenses the case for the Resurrection into approximately fifty pages and presents in a way that both engaging and easy to follow. Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who was an atheist when he first investigated the evidence for the reliability of the gospels as eye-witness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He originally detailed his investigation in the book "Cold-Case Christianity." and this book takes the reader through a condensed presentation of that investigation. Before I get to the review, here is a short video about the book:

 
Alive from J. Warner Wallace on Vimeo.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Top 5 Books For The College-Bound

Introduction
The time is coming soon for a new chapter of our children's lives to begin: college life. This can be quite an apprehensive time for both Christian parents and the teens. The parents are preparing to let their kids go out into the world, unable to be protected by Mom and Dad from the various dangers that they experienced too at that age. The students are preparing to get a better taste of independence, learn more about the world and prepare for their future career and lives as individuals. Through exposure to new experiences and new ideas, they will be challenged mentally and intellectually.

Unfortunately, during the years at the university, many Christians become less convinced of the truth of the Christian worldview and many give it up entirely. This is a scary thought for Christian parents, as they know their kids may not be prepared to properly think through the philosophical challenges that this new world will put before them. That is why I have put together a short list of books that parents can go through with their college-bound kids as they prepare to enter this exciting new world. Whether you have been actively preparing your teens for these challenges or have not been so focused on them, I believe these books will prove to be vital resources to read before attending college and throughout the college years. Click the titles to see my full chapter-by-chapter review of the books. They are:
  1. Tactics: A Gameplan for Sharing Your Christian Convictions- Greg Koukl
  2. Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower's Guide for the Journey- Jonathan Morrow
  3. Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels: J. Warner Wallace
  4. Legislating Morality: Is It Wise, Is It Legal, Is It Possible- Frank Turek and Norman Geisler
  5. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache- Emerson Eggerichs

Why Did I Choose These Books?

1. Tactics: A Gameplan For Sharing Your Christian Convictions

My first recommendation is "Tactics: A Gameplan For Sharing Your Christian Convictions" by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason. I begin with this book because it is an easy read and will help ease apprehension in the reader about how to discuss what they believe. Skeptical questions from friends and others they respect will be common in college and can be intimidating, especially when they do not know the answers right off the top of their heads. The advice offered by Koukl in this book will allow the student to carry on a conversation about their beliefs without necessarily being "in the hot seat." This is the best place to start as it will prepare the student for any "awkward encounters" no matter their level of knowledge. Koukl offers wise advice throughout the book for the apprehensive student (and the over-zealous one), so it is

2. Welcome To College: A Christ-Follower's Guide for the Journey

This second book is by Jonathan Morrow and specifically targets the college student. Morrow not only discusses the intellectual challenges to the Christian worldview that will be faced in the university but he also covers that normal day-to-day challenges of campus life. The book certainly will not remove all surprises from the campus experience, but it will definitely reduce them and help the student to maintain focus. This is a great book for the student to keep on their bookshelf and reference from time to time or even revisit between semesters throughout their college career.



3. Cold-Case Christianity

The third book focuses on one of the major challenges that the Christian will face from both professors and fellow students: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of the fact that the entire worldview of Christianity rests on this single historical event (1 Cor 15:14), understanding the evidence for its happening in history will be necessary for any student who wishes to show evidence of the truth of Christianity in a college setting. "Cold-Case Christianity" was written by cold-case homicide detective J. Warner Wallace. He uses his years of experience working murder cases where no existing eye-witnesses are still alive ("cold" cases) to investigate the death and resurrection of Jesus- the most important claimed event that also has no living eye-witnesses. He takes the reader through the process of investigating cold cases and shows how the same methods can be applied to investigating the Resurrection. If you really enjoy this book, you may also want to check out Wallace's book that uses the same methods to investigate the case for God's existence: "God's Crime Scene."

4. Legislating Morality: Is It Wise, Is It Legal, Is It Possible

Fourth, Christian politics will be constantly challenged not only in the classroom but also in the student's life apart from the classroom. Because politics are dependent upon ethics and morality, these are also under constant attack. Drs. Frank Turek and Norman Geisler wrote the book "Legislating Morality: Is It Wise, Is It Legal, Is It Possible" specifically to address many of the common challenges Christians face regarding politics. Turek and Geisler demonstrate how anyone who claims to be against the legislation of morality is actually guilty of doing just that. They also demonstrate how the protection of human life via laws can only be grounded in the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the Image of God. Even if college students can avoid discussing politics with their friends, they will be challenged by professors, and they need to know how these challenges are resolved within the Christian worldview.

5. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache

Finally, the book that I want to be freshest in the memory of the college-bound student is Emerson Eggerich's "Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache." While the other books help the student to analyze, internalize, and begin to articulate the case for the truth of the Christian worldview, this book focuses on the presentation: the communication. Eggerichs describes eighty different ways that communication can go wrong and presents four questions to always ask before speaking or pressing "send" on the internet.  for ensuring that what the student communicates is effective: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it clear? It is important that the college student use discernment when speaking to friends or in class or communicating on the internet. Ensuring truthful, kind, necessary, and clear communication with friends and professors will help maintain friendships and establish trust with those around them. This book will not only be helpful in communicating the case for Christianity, but it will help in all other interactions. This is another book that the college student will want to keep on their shelf and revisit often.

Bonus: A Secret Weapon

And, I want to add one bonus title to the list for the student who wants an extra "secret weapon" in his or her arsenal. Learning how to think logically provides anyone who wishes to discover and defend the truth an incredible advantage over those who do not take the time and effort. The bonus book is not the most entertaining to read and is definitely the dryest in this list, but it does provide this most valuable tool. "Come, Let Us Reason" by Norman Geisler takes the reader through both deductive and inductive logic. He explains how arguments are formed using each method and what level of certainty (necessarily true or probably true) each provides. This will help the student to properly form their arguments when speaking to others and to be careful not to overstate the certainty level of their conclusions. It will also help the student identify when professors and fellow students make fallacious arguments and/or claim a greater level of certainty about their conclusions than is warranted by the argument they are presenting.

Conclusion

While there are many books that would be helpful for the college-bound to read to prepare for their journey, as I've read each of these, I wished that I had had them available to me during that those crucial years. If you want more great books on other topics that will benefit the college-bound, please check out the other Top 5 Books lists. I also recommend that the student join their college's chapter of Ratio Christi (if available on your campus) to have a place where they can go to discuss the many other challenges that they will encounter. Other apologetics ministries that have local chapters that the Christian student can find encouragement and support from are Reasons to Believe and Reasonable Faith. And, of course, the Christian student MUST remain in the Word of God and in prayer throughout their years in college. The challenges that they face will be powerful, and they will not only be intellectual. The student must not only know that Christianity is true but trust and dedicate his or her life to following Jesus Christ. It is as much a heart issue as it is a head issue, and it is only in Christ that the student can find (and show to others) that both the head and the heart can be fulfilled.

I have written other posts that the college-bound may find useful as various challenges arise. Please check them out and save them for when that time comes:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: Forensic Faith

Introduction

I have to say that ever since I heard that cold-case homicide detective J. Warner Wallace was working on a new book, I was extremely excited, especially when I heard it would be a book on learning how to be a Christian case-maker. I read and reviewed his two previous books (Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene). In those books, he brought a unique and powerful perspective, as a cold-case homicide detective, to presenting the case for Christ's resurrection and God's existence. However, many Christians are not convinced that there is even a need to make the case for the truth of our worldview. In "Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith" (paperback, Kindle, audiobook), Wallace's aim is to appeal to these Christians, who are hesitant about making the case, by presenting them with the biblical reasons for making the case and the resources to do so.


Chapter 1: Distinctive Duty

J. Warner Wallace begins by telling of his graduation from the police academy in California. As part of the graduation, the new graduates took an oath; they sore to protect the citizens of their state from all threats using the training they had received. This instilled in the new officers a great sense of duty. As an officer of the law and a detective, evidence played an extremely important role in Wallace's everyday life. When Christian officers witnessed to him, he was not impressed because they seemed to have a faith that went against the evidence. However, when he investigated the Gospels for himself, he found the complete opposite: that Christianity made claims about reality that could be falsified or verified by evidence, and Jesus and his Disciples, in fact, encouraged people to believe based on the evidence and witness to others using the evidence.

Wallace observes that every Christian believes the claims of Christ based upon the direct evidence of the eye-witness testimony of the Disciples given in the gospels, so having a faith based upon evidence is nothing foreign to the Christian. However, to make his case more powerfully, he takes the reader through the New Testament to show that Jesus encouraged people to believe His claims based on the evidence He offered, and that the Disciples accepted their duty to witness using their eye-witness testimonies (direct evidence). He observes that while Paul explicitly stated that not everyone was necessarily called to be an evangelist (Eph. 4:11), Peter explicitly stated that everyone is called to be a Christian case-maker (1 Peter 3:15). He then takes the reader through early Church history. In this he cites several historical writers at the time who provided evidence to their readers for the truth of what they were claiming about Jesus Christ. Wallace concludes the chapter with a call to every Christian to accept their biblically-established duty to be Christian case-makers for the next generation.

Quote from J. Warner Wallace- "Now, more than ever, parents need to raise their children with a forensic faith. We need to be ready to answer their questions and raise them with the evidence confidence they will need to stand tall in the midst of the pressure they will inevitably experience in the university." #God #Christianity #apologetics #Children #Faith #evidence #College #Jesus #God

Chapter 2: Targeted Training

For those who have accepted their duty as Christian case makers, Wallace now moves to training. He observes that despite the fact that the Church has been teaching the Word of God, the desired effect is not borne out in culture: most adults (including Christian adults) do not have an accurate Christian worldview, and our kids are leaving the Church in droves. From Wallace's own experience as a youth pastor, simply teaching is still resulting in our children rejecting Christ. He decided from that experience that he needed to employ a tactic from his work on the police force: training. Instead of merely providing instruction in a classroom then going off to do something fun within the confines of the Church, he decided to train his students. This involved more than just instruction, and he lays out his system using an acrostic:

Test
Require
Arm
Involve
Nurture

It is important that Christians test each other's (and their own) ability to answer the tough questions from skeptics. This will reveal the focuses of training. Christians need to raise the bar and require more of themselves and each other than what we think can be handled; this encourages growth in knowledge. As we stretch our minds, we must arm ourselves and each other. Learn what is true and how to communicate it clearly. We do each of these in order to involve ourselves in culture and engage the challenges of skeptics; we must use the knowledge and skills that we have practiced. As we involve and engage, those with us will discover areas where they are weak, and we must be there to nurture them in the middle of the battle so that they can get back on their feet. Wallace explains that all these are necessary if we wish to see the trends described at the beginning of the chapter reversed. He concludes the chapter with a specific call to parents to get trained so that when their kids ask challenging questions, they will "be ready to give a reason for the hope that they have with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)

Quote from J. Warner Wallace- "Our mastery of the 'reasons' we have for our 'hope in Jesus' should result in an attitude of 'gentleness and respect.' The more we prepare ourselves for battle, the calmer and more poised we will be in the height (and heat) of the struggle." #Christianity #Evidence #apologetics #discussion #evangelism #TheGreatCommission #God

Chapter 3: Intense Investigation

In the third chapter, Wallace describes five practices that he exercises in order to investigate cold cases, and he demonstrates how to apply each one in order to have a forensic faith. His first practice is to read the case file completely and know it backward and forward. He must be extremely familiar with the material. The Christian, likewise, needs to read the Bible (Christian file) completely and know it from cover to cover. His second practice is to remember that everything can be evidence, even things that we may not usually consider. When reading the Bible, the Christian must understand that everything contained within its pages counts as evidence in one way or the other. The third practice is to take extensive notes and thoroughly analyze.

As we read the Bible, notes should be taken regarding different relationships among passages and concepts, and the claims (along with the specific words used and not used) all need to be thoroughly analyzed. The fifth practice is to organize the data and summarize it. Doing the same with the Bible will assist in understanding and recollection of the investigation. The fifth practice is to look for evidence outside the original case file. For the Christian, most skeptics do not recognize the Bible as a source of truth, so if they are to reasonably believe what it says is true, they need to have evidence from a source that they recognize as valid (which will be outside the Bible). For each one of these practices, Wallace presents an example of application for the Christian that will help in developing a forensic faith.

Quote from J. Warner Wallace- "Jurors make decisions even though they have less than complete information, and they aren't the only people who make decisions in this way. Regardless of theistic (or atheistic) worldview, we all trust something is true, even thought we can't answer all the questions. Today, I am a Christian because the evidence for God's existence and the rerliability of the New Testament are robust, cumulative, and compelling. This doesn't mean all my questions are answered. They aren't. But I've reached a conclusion based on the evidence I do have in much the same way a jury reaches a decision. In a strict sense, this is actually an 'act of faith,' given that I trust in something I can't fully demonstrate or understand. But my 'faith decision' is more akin to 'trusting in the best inference from the evidence' than 'believing blindly' or 'believing in something in spite of the evidence'." #Christianity #Evidence #Investigation #Jury #Faith #Certainty #Epistemology #Reason

Chapter 4: Convincing Communication 

Of course, once we have developed a forensic faith, we cannot keep it to ourselves, we must communicate to those who must decide, a "jury" of sorts. Wallace again draws upon his experience to provide the Christian with principles for communicating what evidences have been uncovered for the truth of the Christian worldview. His first principle is to be insightful in deciding who to present the evidence to. Just as jury selection is important for a trial, so is the selection of the people to present evidence to. He explains that there are generally four kinds of people: Committed skeptics, committed Christians, Christians who are doubting, and skeptics who are doubting. Generally the ones who are most receptive to the evidence are the last three. His second principle is to instruct those you present evidence to on how to examine evidence. It is not always common knowledge how evidence is to be handled; if someone does not understand how evidence builds a case, then they will not likely see how powerful the case is when presented.

The third principle is to remember that whoever makes a claim bears the burden of proof, not just the theist (as many atheists would have you believe). Any time that someone claims something (even that God does not exist), it is their responsibility to make a case. Fourth, always remember that possibilities are not arguments against your case or the evidence presented. There will always be unanswered questions, and there always seems to be some speculative way to avoid the conclusion. However, speculated possibilities are not supported by the evidence; the conclusion you present is. Fifth, the more evidence you present, the more reasonable the conclusion. If you claim that something happened, the more support you can present, the more evidentially persuasive the case will be. Familiarize yourself with as many pieces of evidence for the truth of Christianity as you can. Finally, Wallace encourages the Christian to communicate passionately yet humbly; never overstate your case. He concludes the book with a reminder of the importance of the duties of those who are called to "serve and protect" in law enforcement and encourages the Christian to accept the same duty to "serve and protect" the members of the Body of Christ.

Quote from J. Warner Wallace- "When skeptics say the case for Christianity is weak because it can't be built with scientific, testable, physical, forensic evidence, they simply don't know how criminal cases are tried every day in America. That's why we need to help people understand: Everything counts as evidence, including behavior of the original witnesses, the testimony of those who listened to the statements of these witnesses, the corroborative evidence of archaeology, the internal confirmation of geography, politics, and proper nouns, and the deficiency of alternative explanations. These forms of evidence (or something very similar) are used in criminal trials every day." #Evidence #Christianity #Faith #Reason #Apologetics #God #Jesus #Bible

Reviewer's Thoughts

I had high hopes for this book, and Wallace certainly did not disappoint. While there are numerous aspects of this book to appreciate, the one that stood out to me was his thorough use of Scripture throughout the book to make his case for providing an evidential case for Christianity. One of the principles he's learned in his career as a homicide detective is to "overwhelm" his jury with the evidence for the guilt of defendant so that there is little-to-no doubt in their minds of his/her guilt. His use of Scripture certainly follows that principle. If you have not seen a decent case for presenting evidence for the truth of the Christian worldview, this is the book that you need to read. If you have heard about "apologetics" and have been curious but do not know where to start, this is the book to get. I cannot recommend it enough as the starting point for anyone who feels Peter's call to "be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have." After this one, be sure to continue your development of a forensic faith with J. Warner Wallace's two other great books, "Cold-Case Christianity" and "God's Crime Scene."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: Cold-Case Christianity For Kids

Introduction

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.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: God's Crime Scene

UPDATE: My review of the new Kids' edition has posted! Click Here

Introduction

"God's Crime Scene" (KindlePaperback, GoodReadsPromo Video) is the highly anticipated "sequel" to J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels". In his first investigation Wallace looks at the evidence for the claim that the Gospels were eye-witness accounts of the life of Jesus. In his latest book, he investigates the existence of God. He takes his experience and skill-set as a homicide detective to bring together the evidences and present them in a coherent and convincing manner for the jurors (readers) to decide. God's Crime Scene is 204 pages divided into eight chapters. He has also included nearly 80 additional pages of case files for digging deeper into the cases he investigates in the book. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book but it cannot be substituted for reading the full text. I've included short interviews with J. Warner Wallace and Bobby Conway from The One Minute Apologist at the end of chapter summaries so you can hear a synopsis of the chapter directly from the author.


Opening Statement: Has Someone Else Been in This Room?

J. Warner Wallace begins his investigation by taking the reader through one of his first crime scene investigations. The crime scene involved a death that needed to be determined if it was the result of natural causes, suicide, or homicide. Wallace explains that when making this determination, the investigator quickly assess the pieces of evidence in the room and asks whether those pieces originated inside the room or if the came from the outside. If the evidence cannot all be explained by remaining inside the room, then they have evidence of an intruder- someone outside the room. Not only can these pieces of evidence establish that an intruder invaded to commit the murder, but they can also be used to give the identity of the murder (a suspect profile). He notes that it is important to have multiple independent types of evidence to build the strength of the case for the type of death (homicide) and the identity of the murderer.

Wallace explains that investigating God's existence is analogous. If all the evidence of the universe can be explained by staying inside the universe, then there is no need to appeal to someone outside the universe. However, if all the evidence cannot be explained by remaining inside the universe, then we have stumbled upon direct evidence of a source outside the universe. Just as the same evidence can be used to construct a "suspect profile" of the murderer, so too can the evidence that must be explained by going outside the universe be used to construct a profile to identify the "intruder" external to the universe.

Video- How Does A Detective Investigate God's Existence?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: Cold-Case Christianity

Book Review: "Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels" by J. Warner Wallace
UPDATE: My review of the new Kids' edition has posted! Click here


Introduction


Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels (Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook) is one of the latest books to examine the evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. Homicide detective J. Warner Wallace was an atheist before he began putting Christianity to the same tests that he places witnesses and suspects to in his investigations of crimes. He split his book into two sections. The first deals with the methods used in detective work. He uses his own experiences to illustrate and applies them to the different aspects of Christianity. In the second part, he specifically targets the reliability of the four gospels as eyewitness accounts of history. This review will be a chapter-by-chapter summary but should not be taken as comprehensive of Wallace's presentation:

Section 1: Learn to Be a Detective


Chapter 1: Don't Be a "Know-it-All"

In the first chapter, Wallace begins his training of the reader by speaking a bit about presuppositions. He explains that presuppositions are ideas that we come to an investigation with prior to any investigating. They usually determine our conclusion before we examine the evidence. Though everyone has these, it is required that an investigator or juror set them aside to be able to come to an objective conclusion. The consequences of allowing our presuppositions to guide our investigation are that we are likely to come to a conclusion that is not accurate. This goes for investigating murders and investigating truth-claims of worldviews.