J Warner Wallace Wants You to Have a ‘Forensic Faith’ (and so do I)
by Greg West
In J. Warner Wallace’s third installment in his Christian Case-Making series (Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene being the first two), Wallace makes a departure from making a case for the truth claims of Christianity to making a case for Christian Case-Making itself. While in the past fifteen years or so there has been a virtual explosion in books defending the truth claims of Christianity, and others that offer critical arguments against competing worldviews, there has been very little written about why we need to make a case for Christianity in the first place—with Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith, Wallace helps fill the void.
I was first introduced to J Warner Wallace and his writings many years ago through his former website, PleaseConvinceMe.com, before he started ColdCaseChristiany.com prior to the release of his first book of the same name. I was attracted to Wallace’s writing because as a former atheist and cold-case homicide detective in L.A., he has a way of taking complex ideas and putting them in terms that laymen (like myself) and young people (unlike myself) can understand.
Why is this book needed? Wallace himself has said that, “Most churches are still uninterested in making the case for Christianity, while more and more Christians want to know why Christianity is true.” 1 Sadly, while progress is being made, many Christians and churches are resistant to the need for Christian Case-Making, or “The Discipline formerly know as Apologetics”. Yes, that was a little joke, but that’s what Christian Case-Making actually is—apologetics, which comes from the ancient Greek word “apologia” which means defense or reason. “…But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15.
In my line of work in finding articles to feature here at The Poached Egg, all too often I run across an article written by some well-meaning Christian that is critical of apologetics and attempts to make a case for why we don’t need it or that it is even damaging to the cause of Christianity (i.e. glorifying Christ and making disciples). This is very baffling to me because I returned to the Christian faith by way of apologetics (although I didn’t know what it was at the time) after having abandoned it as a young man who had been raised in a faithful church by faithful Christian parents and I know many others with similar stories—not to mention that these arguments against apologetics are self-defeating because they are using apologetics to explain why we don’t need apologetics. Sheesh! Seriously, no matter how many of these articles (there have been books written on the topic as well) I read, I fail to understand how anyone could object to a Christian knowing why they should believe what they believe… and this is where Forensic Faith shines…
Wallace not only shows how practicing apologetics is not only biblical, but is also biblically mandated. The first chapter of Forensic Faith is dedicated to showing how apologetics is biblical and how it was used by the apostles in the New Testament, then by the church fathers who followed, and then by many who followed after them. The remaining chapters (2,3, & 4), focus on training to become a Christian Case-Maker, learning how to effectively investigate the truth claims of Christianity, and finally, learning how to effectively communicate what you learn so that you can become a better evangelist. The chapters are somewhat long, but they are neatly divided into sub-chapters and include many eye-catching and helpful illustrations as well.
I truly think that if every believer took the discipline of apologetics seriously that the world would be turned upside down. We can share and proclaim the gospel all day and night, but the minute someone in your audience asks “why” they should believe it and you don’t have an answer, then you’re dead in the water. You might be saying to yourself, “Well, it’s just my job to share the gospel, the rest is between them and the Holy Spirit—my job is done.” Well, my friend, I’m sorry but that is not only intellectual laziness, it’s spiritual laziness as well.
If you are a Christian who is wondering what all this ‘apologetics’ business is all about, a Christian who is convinced of the truth claims of Christianity but wants to learn how to be a more effective evangelist, or maybe someone who already has an interest in apologetics but you are not sure how to convince others that it’s needed, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of Forensic Faith today!
*Note: I received a review copy of this book and am under no obligation to give it a positive review.