In This Day and Age, Evangelism Is Spelled:
by J Warner Wallace
On Saturday morning I woke up to find God’s Crime Scene ranked as the #1 Best Seller on Amazon’s list of “Evangelism” books. I will admit I was excited and humbled, but truly surprised. Saturday was the first day the book was available to the public, and prior to this publishing date I saw it was doing well in pre-sales in a variety of Amazon classes. God’s Crime Scene had been listed in the #1 “Hot New Release” spot in the Apologetics, Physics, Metaphysics and Philosophy categories at one time or another in the weeks prior to its release. It is, after all, an apologetics book that utilizes scientific and philosophical evidence to make the case for God’s existence (from the perspective of a homicide detective), and I was delighted to see it was doing well in those expected categories. But evangelism? I really didn’t anticipate people would see it as an attractive alternative to the many other titles more traditionally written as evangelism books. But the early success of God’s Crime Scene may simply be a reflection of a new and important reality: In this day and age, evangelism is spelled A-P-O-L-O-G-E-T-I-C-S.
Dr. Richard Land, the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary has been saying this for some time now. When interviewed about his opening speech as the seminary’s fourth president, Lamb recalled, “I said in my inaugural address, that we were going to be involved in doing ‘apologetic evangelism’; that I was increasingly convinced, and have been even more so during the time that I’ve been here, that the way we’re going to spell evangelism, the way we’re going to spell missions, the way we’re going to spell discipleship in the twenty-first century is going to be APOLOGETICS.” I think Land is absolutely correct. We often hear it said “No one is argued into the Kingdom,” and while this statement may be true in many ways, my own experience converting to Christianity has convinced me of the truth of Dr. Land’s thoughtful insight.
I was a committed skeptic and atheist until the age of thirty-five. I was also a detective and a thoughtful evidentialist. The vast majority of my co-workers were non-Christians, but I did know a few committed believers who worked as detectives at my agency. When I poked fun at their beliefs and challenged them to give me just a few reasons why I should trust the New Testament or believe in the supernatural, they were woefully inept and unable to make an evidential case for what they believed. Every failure on their part only strengthened my atheistic resolve…
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