In the last couple decades, there seems to have been a spate of books about people’s personal journey to disprove the Bible, only to become convinced that it is indeed true, and while many of these books are admirable, Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels stands out in a unique way. J. Warner Wallace used to be part of an elite squad of detectives who was selected for special training in forensic interrogation because of his existing gifts in questioning witnesses.
This book first teaches us readers how to analyzing witness statements and use abductive reasoning and rules of evidence to evaluate a case. It contains numerous examples from Wallace’s 15 years on the cold-case homicide squad to teach us about logic and various tests a detective or a member of a jury should perform in evaluating the credibility of a witness or other form of evidence.
Only after thoroughly teaching us the key to performing in depth analysis does Wallace move on to applying these methods to the witness statements found in the Gospels and certain parts of some epistles. He helps us understand how pieces work together to corroborate each other, how police suspect collusion among witnesses if the statements sound too similar, so the variety of materials found in the Gospels actually works to support each other instead of contradict things. Seemingly minor details give further meaning to later statements. For example, Wallace points out that in the Feeding of the 5,000, Jesus asks Andrew and Philip where to get food for all the people. Since these two men seldom take on any action on their own, it seems unusual for Jesus to turn to them until the person analyzing the passage realizes that these two men were from Caesarea, where the crowd had gathered, and thus would naturally know more about the resources of the area.
There are so many fascinating points of logic here that it is too hard for me to select one to share in this review. Instead, I want to tell you about Wallace’s challenge to turn belief THAT the Bible is true into belief IN its being true. He tells about a colleague whose routine stop for a DUI led to his getting shot because unbeknownst to him, the driver was on parole and determined never to go back to prison. The officer saw the driver reach for his gun and knew he couldn’t get off the first shot. However, he put his trust in his bullet proof vest and stood his ground to take the bullet, after which he got off his own shot that killed the driver. This officer had long believed THAT the vest would stop a bullet, but his belief switched to believing IN the vest the moment he decided to entrust his life to this vest. In the same way, Christians need to move past believing that the Bible is true to embracing its truth by believing in it and trusting their souls to God.
The book was ably narrated by Bill deWees, who helped to keep the topic of logic lively and not dry, as it could have become.
Cold Case Christianity is the perfect book both for those who are just exploring the claims found in the Bible and for those who have been Christians a long time. It will strengthen the faith of the latter, giving them resources to share their faith. For the former, this book is an excellent resource because it helps them sort out their thoughts and teaches all readers how to perform analytical criticism using logic as the basis. Now we readers can be prepared to use such tools to study other claims of anything else that comes our way. I give this excellent book five stars.
To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.