How Do I Share What I Believe? When Evangelism Is Like Baseball

by J Warner Wallace

I’ve been doing criminal interviews and interrogations for many years now, and I’ve interviewed a variety of criminal offenders (although most have been murder suspects). I’ve learned an important principle, analogous with baseball, in these repeated efforts to get to the truth: homeruns aren’t the only way to score. In fact, there are times when swinging for the fences can be a distinct liability. Baseball games are usually won with singles and doubles; realistic efforts to get on base and let the next guy at bat do his job. I’ve learned not to make the “copout” my singular goal in interrogations. If I can score a homerun and get a confession, great; if not, a number of lesser admissions will serve the same purpose when we finally get to trial. If I can get enough singles, I’ll still drive in a run.

This analogous truth is equally applicable to our efforts to share and defend the Christian worldview. In recent months (and years) we’ve seen a number of movies released in an effort to evangelize or make a defense for Christianity. Some are good, some are not so good. Less successful efforts have typically targeted homeruns rather than singles. Ten years ago, when Mel Gibson

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produced the critically successful, The Passion of the Christ, he decided to limit the narrative to a very small portion of the Biblical account. As a result, the movie was laser focused and had the time (and creative “space”) to do the narrative justice. It was a well-placed single, causing many people to rethink what they believed about Jesus. It started conversations. It had a deep impact, even though it left many questions unaddressed and omitted the vast majority of the Biblical narrative. The producers reined in their ambition and produced something limited, but powerful. They never preached the Gospel directly, but their movie certainly loaded the bases for many of us who came to the plate later and did our part to drive in a run.

Our private conversations with non-believers are similarly analogous to baseball. In every conversation I have with unbelieving friends, I am ever mindful of the value of singles. I don’t have to “win” every encounter…

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