Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cold-Case Christianity by Jim Wallace

Wallace is a cold case homicide investigator. He was a skeptic. He thought the supernatural was impossible.
He decided to investigate the evidence for Christianity using his skills as a detective.
He introduces us to the tools and techniques he used to crack unsolved murders. He explains how he used the same analytical thinking on the claims of Jesus.
Wallace was thirty five when he began his journey, reading the gospelsfor the first time. He used his training in Forensic Statement Analysis and concluded them to be actual eyewitness accounts. As a cold case investigator, he had been trained in working with facts from the distant past.
As he gives us the principles detectives must learn, he illustrates each principle by using examples from his own cases to illustrate the techniques. He writes about presuppositions, abductive reasoning, circumstantial evidence, trusting eyewitnesses, separating artifacts from evidence, establishing chain of evidence, and more.
In the second part of the book he applies the investigative techniques to the claims of Christianity.

I was impressed with this book on several levels. I love to read mysteries and I was fascinated with the way Wallace wrote this book. He'd start a chapter with a case, perhaps how an eyewitness was essential. Then he would describe the importance of that aspect of the investigation. That is eventually applied to the claims of Christianity.
An insight that really impressed me was the idea of making a decision while there are still unanswered questions, still pieces of the puzzle missing. In many cases, there is enough evidence for a decision even though the evidence is not absolutely complete. Wallace applies that concept to Christianity. The evidence does not have to be complete, just reasonable, for one to make a reasonable conclusion.
His collection of circumstantial evidence for a created universe is impressive.
His insight into how eyewitnesses may tell different stories depending on their vantage point relates well to the differences in the gospels.

If you are skeptic of Jesus being who he said he claimed to be, you need to read this book. You can become a Christian because of the evidence, not in spite of it.
If you are a believer, this book will build your faith and help you explain your faith to others in a more informed way.

I have read many books on apologetics and this one is the most interesting I've seen. The combination of investigative techniques and evaluating the evidence is enlightening. Certainly skeptics should not ask perfect evidence when a jury makes a life and death decision on reasonable but not perfect evidence.

Great work Wallace. I highly recommend this book.

Find more about Wallace and his ministry:

Jim Wallace is a cold case homicide detective, a missions leader, and a church planter. As a result of his work he has been featured on many television programs. An outspoken atheist for many years, he is now an apologist for Christianity with a master's degree in theology. He and his wife have four children and live in southern California.

David C Cook, 288 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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