How a cold-case detective found evidence for Christ

Q&A By Warren Cole Smith

J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold-Case Christianity and founder of the site pleaseconvinceme.com, was a police detective and an atheist until he was 35. Then he started examining the claims of Christ and the scriptures with the hard-nosed skepticism of his police training. As a result, he became a Christian. Now in retirement, his recent book has taken the apologetics world by storm. It begins not with evidence for Christianity, but with a discussion of how we, as humans, evaluate any kind of evidence. I spoke with Wallace, who shared with me how he gradually came to believe the gospels were true.

You were well into adulthood before you became a Christian and accepted the claims of Christ. Can you say a little bit more about your own journey from atheism, skepticism, ultimately to faith? I was older and really had no interest. I wasn’t somebody who came to this because I had a need I was trying to fill. I wasn’t interested in heaven. I wasn’t somebody who had a train wreck of a life I was trying to fix. I was really somebody who had a great life. … I’d been with my wife, at that time, for about 18 years. She … was raised kind of as a cultural Catholic. [She] really had no idea what the Bible taught, had no idea what the principles or the doctrines of Christianity are at all. But I think she would have said, “Hey, I was raised in the church. I would like to have raised my kids in it.” I would go every couple of years. I’d be happy to go as an atheist and sit with her.

When did that change? This particular year, … I don’t know if it was taking her on a holiday or any real reason, but she wanted to go. I said, “I’m willing to go with you.” Sure, I was always willing to go, not as a believer. I was patient and I would sit through. What’s an hour and a half? No big deal.

It was … my first time sitting in an Evangelical Church of this nature for any reason other than somebody died or somebody got married. I went and listened to the pastor preach…

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