Homicide Detective Takes the Witness Stand in ‘God’s Not Dead 2’
by Sheryl Young
J. Warner Wallace was a Los Angeles homicide detective and expert on solving cold cases when he started using his detective skills to investigate the claims of the gospel. As an atheist, he considered four typical areas used by detectives to judge whether suspects and witnesses are telling the truth. He ended up accepting Jesus as the true Messiah and assembled his findings in the book Cold Case Christianity.
This started his journey toward being one of the most well-known Christian apologists today. His apologetics website and ministry, formerly known as PleaseConvinceMe.com, has now been brought under the name of his book.
Wallace had the opportunity to present his conclusions in a nutshell when he was “put on the witness stand” as himself in the movie God’s Not Dead 2. In its opening weekend of April 1, 2016, over eight million dollars’ worth of movie goers got the chance to hear him tell the truth.
We started our interview by asking our apologetics colleague why it’s important for Christians to see God’s Not Dead 2, because some of us in Ratio Christi know quite a few people who still haven’t seen the first movie.
“Actually, when I speak around the country I ask people if they’ve seen (the first) God’s Not Dead, and about 85 percent of church audiences have seen it,” he says. “The good thing about what we do and what Ratio Christi does with students is – we’re trying to help students take a step in the hostile environment they have to be in. The documentaries we may produce don’t get much viewing by church audiences, but church folks are watching major movies that deal with these subjects. So a major movie is a great opportunity to spread the word about our areas of study.”
He believes churched people are noticing the downturn in our society’s values and viewpoints.
“Our church audiences do feel a shift in the culture, and we’re wondering if we’re going to win or lose the battles. These movies are engaging the church; we use them as a gateway to important issues and the audience can agree their kids are experiencing this, and we mention that the cases are listed at the end of the movie. Skeptics often say we’re making a fuss about nothing, but it’s actually happening.”
RC: Is it vital for us to encourage non-Christian Americans to see it, and how can we approach them to do so?
JW: Many of our most adamant objectors may not go to see it, but some may be the wives or husbands of believers and they’ll go with them. What we need to do most is encourage believers to mention what comes up in the movie when myself or author Lee Strobel explain things (as characters). It introduces the broader church culture to what I do and what Ratio Christi does. It would be great for parents to have these answers for the kids before a real-life situation comes up for them.
RC: How did it come about for you and Lee to be part of the cast?
JW: I met Rice Broocks who wrote the book God’s Not Dead that inspired the first movie. He is a pastor, and he was starting to write about apologetics. He asked me to meet him for dinner. I didn’t know what he wanted from me at first, but he got me interested in sitting down with the writers for the next movie, and we talked about how to introduce a case for historical Jesus studies into a movie plot line…
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