Eight Steps to Investigating the Case for Christianity
by J Warner Wallace
There’s a reason why God calls us to worship Him with our minds, understand the value of evidence, examine our beliefs until we are convinced, and live as Christian “case makers”. While our faith and trust in Christ saves us, our ability to make the case for Christ protects us and transforms our world. “Case making” needs to be a part of our Christian identity, and all of us need to be ready to defend the Christian worldview. We can’t continue to delegate this responsibility to well-known apologists and Christian authors. We don’t need another “million dollar apologist”; we need a million “one dollar apologists”. All of us can be equipped to defend our faith; it doesn’t require a master’s degree in apologetics; it doesn’t require a library full of books, a radio show, or a podcast. It simply requires a personal commitment to learn the truth and defend it to others.
After twenty-five years spent handling evidence and investigating the truth (much of that time related to cold-case homicides), I’ve learned a few things about how we can investigate the Christian worldview and present it to those who have questions. There are a number of important parallels to be drawn between criminal investigations and examining the case for Christianity. In this post, I want to share eight steps I take in all my cold-case investigations. In my next post, I provide you with eight steps prosecutors take when presenting our cases. I hope there are a few valuable principles you can apply to your own investigation (and presentation) of Christianity. When I open a cold-case investigation, there are a number of steps I have to take before I can even begin to think about making a presentation to a jury. The process looks something like this:
STEP #1 – Read the Book Completely
I begin by pulling the original case book off the shelf. All our cold cases are bound in red notebooks and stored in a special vault. I start by selecting a case, opening the case book and reading through each and every word recorded in the notebook. The notebook contains the original crime reports the investigative summaries, original eyewitness interview transcripts, autopsy reports, crime scene investigation reports and everything else documented and collected at the time of the first investigation. Before I can do anything with this case, I need to read and understand the case book as though I was part of the original investigation. This can sometimes be very interesting, but it can also be quite boring. I’ve got to be diligent here, and it helps to try to “place myself” in the original investigation. I need to understand everything the original detectives were going through, what they were thinking and the nature of the culture at the time of the crime.
As a Christian…
I’ve got to do something very similar if I want to be a “Case Making” Christian. Before I can hope to make a case for the Christian Worldview, I better open the “book” (the Bible) and become intimately familiar with what it teaches. I’m going to need to read the original eyewitness transcripts (the Gospels) until I know them thoroughly. I’ve got to do my best to “place myself” at the scene and understand what the writers were writing from their perspective. This might require me to study history or geography to better understand the culture and how the original eyewitnesses thought so I can better understand their statements…
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