I’m At Home With Evidentialism Because the Evidence Brought Me Home

by J Warner Wallace

I authored a book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, which takes an evidential approach to Christian Case Making (apologetics). That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone purchasing the book, given its title.  I am, after all, a homicide detective. But I occasionally receive a challenge or objection because I take an evidential approach to Christian Case Making. One critic recently wrote:

“…Cold-Case Christianity places far too much emphasis on the role of extrabiblical sources. No doubt there is a legitimate role for biblical archaeology and extrabiblical writing from antiquity. Christianity is, after all, a faith firmly rooted in human history. But there is a grave danger when truth is suspended because of an apparent lack of corroboration from extrabiblical sources. And Wallace, I’m afraid, wanders too close to this dark side of apologetics… Wallace seems to suggest we cannot affirm the truth of the Gospel accounts without the stamp of approval from archaeology and other extrabiblical sources. Such reasoning is dangerous, not least because it cannot affirm the inerrancy of the Bible. But also, it places the final court of appeal in the realm of extrabiblical sources rather than of God’s all-sufficient, all-powerful Word.”

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Granted, the critic in this case favors presuppositional apologetics, so it’s clear that any evidential approach (such as might be offered in books like The Case for Christ or I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist) is likely to come under fire, but I thought I should at least explain why evidentialism has been so powerful in my own life. First, let me begin by saying that I have repeatedly affirmed the role that God plays in first removing the enmity that all of us have in our natural, fallen condition. I’ve never argued that humans begin from a position of neutrality. I think we are, instead, aligned against God until he does something to remove our hostility. But once that has occurred, I do believe the role of evidence is critical. Let me share my own personal story. My father was, and still is, an atheist. But his wife, my stepmother, is a Mormon. I have six half-brothers and sisters who were raised in the Mormon Church.

When I first became interested in the things of God (after God removed the enmity I had toward Him for 35 years), I began to investigate the gospels, as I have chronicled in my book. But I also began a parallel investigation…


The Poached Egg ApologeticsI’m At Home With Evidentialism Because the Evidence Brought Me Home



Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus


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