Title: Cold Case Christianity
Author: J. Warner Wallace
Major Themes: Christian Apologetics, Christian History
Synopsis: A cold case murder detective takes a look at the historical claims of the Bible, trying to prove whether they stand up to scrutiny or not.
One of the most fascinating subjects I studied in my school work the last few years of school was the topic of apologetics. After reading More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, I was very interested in reading other books by recent Christian apologists. And although I haven’t had many chances of reading more books like that, I have read the ones that are available. My most recent find was Cold Case Christianity, written by J. Warner Wallace. It has a forward by the well-known author Lee Strobel, and I was intrigued to see what yet another perspective on the truth of the Bible would be. This book didn’t disappoint, either—it was a great read!
Wallace begins his book by sharing examples from different cases he has done, and pulling out different points about them that illustrate tools we can use to figure out Biblical reliability. Each chapter is dedicated to a different subject. Some I found fascinating (such as the chapter about conspiracies), and others didn’t mean as much to me, but he seems to have a very balanced view overall, and his thoughts were interesting. I remember there was a chapter about the book of Mark, too, and different witness’ points of view, and that was fascinating considering the historical significance—both who inspired a lot in it, and when it was written.
The second portion has several very long chapters, but each of them deals with extremely pertinent details to the story. While it could be hard slogging, I found it encouraging because it shows how reliable the Biblical record is. It isn’t something that I often find myself questioning, but it is faith-building, perhaps, to see it laid out in black and white.
As a whole, this book was a very encouraging, rich read. There’s a lot of information in here, yet it’s presented in a readable, understandable way. I learned several new things, and I know some of my questions about different things have been answered, so I’m thankful for that! In all, if you want a good overview of modern apologetics, I’d probably either recommend this book or More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. They’re both excellent!
For the past few months, our small church has been studying through Cold-Case Christianity for Kids together. The adults have been reading Cold-Case Christianity along the way. I found this book to be very interesting, and helpful. It’s certainly a unique way to look at the Bible; as the sub-title says, A homicide detective investigates the claims of the Gospels. Until reading this book, I never would have thought of approaching the Bible as a crime scene.
J. Warner Wallace was an atheist, and then he heard a pastor describing Jesus as a smart man. He bought a Bible and started reading it to find out what the man meant. Then, he realized that the Gospels read like eyewitness accounts of a crime scene. As a police officer and detective, highly trained in questioning witnesses, he knew how to extract the truth from varying reports. Now, he is teaching us how to do the same.
The first section of this book is titled, “Learn to be a Detective.” Wallace goes through ten principles that detectives need to master. These include learning to infer, circumstantial evidence, and how to sift through eyewitness accounts, which may vary wildly, to find the truth. Each chapter begins with a story of a real murder that Wallace investigated, which illustrates the principle that he is discussing in the chapter.
Section 2 is entitled “Examine the Evidence.” In this section, Wallace applies the principles of investigation, introduced in the first section, to the Gospels. He asks questions like whether or not the authors were present to witness the events they wrote about, whether the authors corroborated, and if they were accurate or biased. I found this section quite interesting, and some of the chapters made me want to do more investigating!
We have found Cold-Case Christianity, as well as the children’s version, very helpful. One woman whose family is participating in our study commented that it’s good to know why we can trust the Bible. We’ve been taught all our lives that the Bible is true, but why? How can we know for sure? Reading this book will help you know, and give you tools to figure out the truth for yourself.
WARNING: Several of the examples at the beginning of chapters are slightly gruesome (describing murder scenes in order to illustrate a point)—I particularly noted chapters 1, 2 (around pg. 38), and 3. There is lying by the detective in order to get a person to confess in chapter 7.
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults