J.Warner Wallace is a retired cold case homicide detective who has applied his unique experience to Christianity in his books Cold Case Christianity and Gods Crime Scene. In Forensic Faith, Wallace makes the case for case-making. We are not all called to be detectives, but Wallace notes we are called to be case-makers, and offers his insights as to how we can effectively make the case for Christianity.
While apologetics has been making a comeback in recent years, there is still a lot of resistance to the idea within the church. As noted here, there are still leaders in the church who think faith that is not grounded in reasons and evidence is somehow more pure. Wallaces book is part of a growing effort to correct this misconception.
The book is only 224 pages, but there is a lot of insight and information in a small package. In his preface, Wallace distinguishes between belief that happens to be right and knowledge grounded in reasons. He notes that many, if not most Christians hold a true belief, but are not prepared to defend that belief. In chapter 1, Wallace lays out an argument for why Christians ought to be able to defend the faith, giving five examples. In chapter 2, training is emphasized over teaching, noting that training is what prepares you for action. Five steps for training are laid out. In chapter 3, Wallace explains the necessity for research and continuing preparation and offers five things we can do to apply this. Chapter 4 then offers five ways you can make you case like a good prosecutor. These chapters are followed by notes for further study and links to more resources.
Forensic Faith is yet another example of Wallaces gift for communication. He supplements the text with useful illustrations (which he draws himself) and examples from his extensive experience as a detective. What I found especially helpful was his response to those who claim Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. For one, he notes how extraordinary the claim is when he accuses someone of murder, and how they are convicted by ordinary evidence. Moreover, the alternative claims skeptics offer are no less extraordinary yet they do not offer extraordinary evidence for them.
One issue I would approach a little differently than Wallace is in his description of the answers he gets when he asks Christians why they believe what they do. I agree with him that they are unable to defend what they believe. However, I would not characterize this as belief without evidence or reasons. As Wallace himself points out, almost anything counts as evidence. When someone comes to faith, typically it is (on a human level) after they have heard the Gospel from someone they trust. If their parents, or their pastor tell them Christianity is true, and they have reasons to trust their parents and/or their pastor, then this trustworthiness counts and evidence. I realize that if this is all they have, it is of very limited value when it comes to defending their beliefs, but it is still evidence. As such, I would offer this to those skeptics who claim such people have no evidence. I would also offer it to those who think they need no evidence.
The structure of the book, each with an alliterated title (and the Baptists rejoiced) and five points of application (and all the apologists rejoiced) is easy to follow. This book is accessible for readers from middle school through graduate school. It is a must-read for all Christians. Did I mention its a good book?
"Forensic Faith" explains why Christians need to learn the evidence supporting the Christian faith and teaches some basic apologetics skills. The first part of the book made the case for why it's important not to just have blind faith that Christianity is true but to understand the evidence that confirms it's true and to build your skill at sharing this information.
Many Christian kids are losing their faith due to unanswered questions, yet the answers are out there. We need to train our kids (and adults) with the answers. Training involves practice, and the author described how he's done this with youth groups. I totally agree that kids should be taught the evidence and the skill to share it. I taught myself some of this way back when I first went to college, and it made a huge difference.
The author was a cold-case detective. In the second part of the book, he explained how skills he used as a detective can be applied to spotting evidence for Christianity and using this evidence to make a case for it. A lot of this information was from (and covered in greater detail in) his previous two books. If you've read those books, you're probably already convinced that it's important to learn and share the evidence for Christianity, but you might still be interested in his suggestions on how to train youth groups or on using the evidence to "make a case" when asked why you believe. However, I'd mainly recommend this book to Christians who aren't very familiar with the evidence supporting their faith.
I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Cold Case Detective J. Warner Wallace has written his third book using his skills as a cold case detective to examine the truth of the Scriptures. In the current book, rather than using his skills to defend his/our faith, the author introduces us to the skills he uses to defend his faith. I have not read the two previous books where he examines the evidence of the Gospel and the existence of God, but found his writing believable.
I have no training in forensic science, and, thus, have no way of judging the material presented - but I did find it interesting. The author takes the reader step by step as the authors and participants in scripture make their own cases for faith.
The book is readable and understandable to the average reader. I recommend it for the inquisitive reader that want to strengthen his or her knowledge and understanding of apologetics. It may not belong on the shelf of every pastor, but there should be room for it in every church library collection.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.