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Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels [Kindle Edition]

J. Warner Wallace , Lee Strobel
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (471 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Written by an L. A. County homicide detective and former atheist, Cold-Case Christianity examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal investigator.
 
Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity.
 
A unique apologetic that speaks to readers’ intense interest in detective stories, Cold-Case Christianity inspires readers to have confidence in Christ as it prepares them to articulate the case for Christianity.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Cold-Case Christianity is a fantastic book. I wish I had this resource when I first examined the Christian faith. It would have answered many of my questions and helped set me on the track to truth." (Josh McDowell, Speaker and author of Evidence that Demands A Verdict)

"Cold Case Christianity is simply the most clever and compelling defense I've ever read for the reliability of the New Testament record. Case closed." (Gregory Koukl, President Stand to Reason, Speaker and author of Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions)

"It's a fascinating process, with Jim drawing on his quarter century of police experience to explain how and why the evidence of history decisively tips the scales in favor of Christianity." (Lee Strobel, Author of The Case for Christ and The Case For Faith)

"The moment I heard of J. Warner Wallace's idea for a book, I thought it was one of the freshest ideas I'd heard in a long time. And now seeing the book in hand, he totally delivers." (Craig J. Hazen, Founder and Director of the Christian Apologetics Program, Biola University, author of the novel Five Sacred Crossings)

“My friend Jim Wallace was an angry atheist for 35 years until he walked through the doors of Saddleback Church. There his life was radically changed by Jesus. Today, Jim is one of the most thoughtful and winsome apologists for the Gospel I know. Cold Case Christianity is literally packed with insights to share with the skeptics in your life and this book will give you the confidence to share it!”
Dr. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church

From the Author

I wrote Cold-Case Christianity because the historic truth claims of Christianity are under attack from every direction. If ever there was a time to study the case for the eyewitness reliability of the gospels, the time is now:
  • Anti-Christian Books Are Increasingly Influential: Books like Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great, Sam Harris' Letter To A Christian Nation, and Bart Ehrman's Forged: Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are have influenced millions of readers and challenged the essential truth claims of the gospel accounts.
  • Fewer People Identify Themselves As Christians: The number of people who identify themselves as Christians in America, for example, has decreased by over 10% in the past 20 years (American Religious Identification Survey 1990-2008)
  • Young People Are Leaving the Church in Record Numbers: As many as 70% of those who identify themselves as Christians entering college will walk away from their faith by the time they are seniors and only about a third of these young people will ever return to the Church (LifeWay Research Study 2007)
  • Intellectual Skepticism Is a Growing Problem: When young ex-Christians are asked about their reasons for leaving, the largest percentage identify intellectual skepticism or doubt as the culprit (Smith and Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, 2005)
  • The Claims of the Gospels Are Under Attack: When surveyed, young members of the church are less and less convinced that the gospel accounts are reliable. 63% don't believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead (Josh McDowell, The Last Christian Generation, 2006
It's time for a "Cold-Case" approach to the Gospels. Cold-Case Detectives investigate specific types of criminal events:
  1. Events that occurred in the distant past
  2. For which there are typically no living eyewitnesses
  3. And little or no direct physical evidence
These cases are made by examining the nature of circumstantial evidence and assembling a convincing, cumulative circumstantial case. The claims of the New Testament Gospels can be similarly investigated:
  1. The gospels record events that occurred in the distant past
  2. For which there are no living eyewitnesses
  3. And no direct physical evidence
The tools used by Cold-Case Investigators can be applied to the New Testament gospels to determine if the facts they represent are a true record of the life of Jesus.
 
I want to teach you how to be a good detective. Cold-Case Christianity will:
  • Provide you with ten principles of cold-case investigations and equip you to use these concepts as you consider the claims of the New Testament gospel authors. These simple principles will give you new insight into the historic evidence for Christianity.
  • Provide you with a four step template to evaluate the claims of the gospel writers. Cold-Case Christianity will teach you how to evaluate eyewitnesses to determine if they are reliable. You'll then be able to employ this template as you examine the claims of the gospel eyewitnesses.
  • Provide you with the confidence and encouragement necessary to make an impact on your world. As your evidential certainty grows, so too will your desire to share the truth with others. Cold-Case Christianity will equip you to reach others with the truth. 
Cold-Case Christianity will help you understand the power of circumstantial evidence, drawing on 25 years of law enforcement experience (15 years spent working Cold-Case Homicides). I'll share my personal journey from atheism to Christian certainty while describing the essential components of eyewitness reliability, abductive reasoning and the rules of evidence. You'll come away with fresh insight and the ability to articulate what you already intuitively understand from your cultural familiarity with homicide investigations. You'll also be able to apply this renewed understanding to the case for Christianity.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
312 of 333 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough interaction with Cold Case Christianity January 17, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Christian apologetics is a constantly growing and changing scene and although it's the one career path that will absolutely guarantee that you'll never be rich, but there's definitely no shortage of "C-list/B-list" apologists out there. These folks are usually uneducated "discernment ministry" types running their own basement/blog "ministries" and defending the faith against the attacks of skeptics, academics, heretics and YouTube atheists. But, there are also a few "A-List" folks who have respectable education, write books, teach at Christian Colleges/Seminaries, debate Bart Ehrman or Richard Dawkins (two resume-making debaters for Christian apologists) and put on Alaskan cruises devoted to apologetics and worship via buffet. Of the "A-List" apologists, William Lane Craig is one of the biggest, so it's no surprise that several in his circle, the newest of which is J. Warner Wallace, are climbing onto the "A-List" and getting exposure (and plenty of endorsements from the staff and friends of Biola).

All that being said, when I started reading "Cold Case Christianity" by J. Warner Wallace, I already had an idea what to expect: Card-carrying evidentialist apologetics, mainly philosophical defense of Christianity, plenty of party-line towing with regards to the evidentialist apologists (i.e. Craig, Licona, Geisler, Habermas, Strobel, McDowell, Koukl, etc.), and a bit of theological inconsistency. I was not disappointed on that front; the book was what I expected.

There was also a lot that I didn't expect, and that is why this book has climbed high on my ladder of apologetics texts. I'll throw down the Pros and Cons of the book:

PROS:

1. The book is wonderfully written and organized. J.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent apologetics book that reads like a novel January 3, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll forego the preliminaries here and just say it: this is the best introductory apologetics book in regards to the historicity of the Gospels I have ever read. If you are looking for a book in that area, get it now. If you are not looking for a book in that area, get it anyway because it is that good. Now, on to the details.

The book maps out an investigative journey through Christian history. How did we get the Gospels? Can we trust them? Who was Jesus? Do we know anything about Him? Yet the way that Wallace approaches this question will draw even those who do not care about these topics into the mystery. As a cold-case homicide detective, Wallace approaches these questions with a detective's eye, utilizing his extensive knowledge of the gathering and evaluation of evidence to investigate Christianity forensically.

He begins the work with a section on method. He argues that we must learn to acknowledge our presuppositions and be aware of them when we begin an investigation. Like the detective who walks into a crime scene with a preconceived notion of how the murder played out, we can easily fall into the trap of using our expectations about a truth claim to color our investigation of the evidence for that claim. Learning to infer is another vastly important piece of the investigation. People must learn to distinguish between the "possible" and the "reasonable" (34ff). This introduction to "abductive reasoning" is presented in such a way as to make it understandable for those unfamiliar with even the term, while also serving as great training on how to teach others to reason for those involved in apologetics.

Chapter 3, "Think Circumstantially" is perhaps the central chapter for the whole book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By sclough
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came to a decision point in my life at the age of 40. I had grown up in a Christian home, but through the years grew away from it and quite frankly had grown sceptical of many of it's claims. Sceptical in a good way, not a bad way. I think we should all be sceptical to a degree and pursue truth as best we can. What I found is that the more I studied and thought below the surface the more it made sense. I purchased dozens of books and DVD's on the subject by both theist and atheist authors. One of my purchases was "Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels" by J. Warner Wallace. What a great read!! I would highly recommend to anybody - atheists who are open minded, Christians who need to bolster their faith, and especially to teenagers who are asking tons of questions and are on their own search for truth as young adults.

I am an engineer by education and enjoy the logical, common sense, methodical approach that J.Warner Wallace employs. Who doesn't enjoy the detective shows on T.V. such as "Criminal Minds" or "CSI". J. Warner Wallace does this for a living and uses his skills and experience to search for one of the most important truths we should all consider - the claims of christianity!

Buy two copies (at least) and give some away. You will be doing a service for those who are earnestly seeking truth.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new approach to introductory apologetics December 26, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it. This book is going to be one of the most influential books for skeptics and Christians beginning to get into apologetics. It is really accessible, while still being academically rigorous. I actually enjoyed it more (and think it is a better training tool) than On Guard, and I love Dr. Craig's work. The crime-scene investigator approach is a refreshing remodel of the often dry and books which are not very engaging for those new to the field. My younger brother is currently in the same Criminal Justice program I graduated from and I am going to get this book for him for his birthday, for sure. Really, I can't emphasize enough how much I enjoyed this book. If I had to choose one book to give to a non-Christian interested in examining the evidence for Christianity or a Christian wanting to begin learning how to defend his or he faith, this book would be my choice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this to believers and atheists alike
Vere logical presentation of taking apart scripture and examining it to determine the plausibility of it being True. Read more
Published 10 days ago by dadnmom
4.0 out of 5 stars I am very pleased with "Cold Case Christianity"
So far, I am very pleased with "Cold Case Christianity".
Published 11 days ago by Jean Pokracki
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book. I highly recommend it.
This is a well researched, informative book that is very easy to understand and read. I highly encourage anyone interested to read it and consider the evidence for themselves. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Jonathan Marney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it
Published 22 days ago by mike anders
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent approach
This is a methodical book that makes the case for the Gospels, but it also explains how the case is made. This is an important work and a faith building book.
Published 27 days ago by Shane Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great price on a great book is irresistible!
Published 27 days ago by R. N. Alsop
4.0 out of 5 stars Making the Second Decision to a Case-Maker
Wallace writes a compelling case for Christians and non-Christians in understanding the reality of Gospel message. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Daniel L. DeLuna
5.0 out of 5 stars A very thorough explanation of how to look at those ...
A very thorough explanation of how to look at those issues often raised by sceptics around the authority of the gospel accounts. Read more
Published 28 days ago by R. CAMAC
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof in the pudding
J. Warner Wallace did a remarkable job explaining the evidence behind Christianity. For those who think there is only blind faith, this book will open there eyes. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Greg Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars How the circumstantial evidence favors the resurrection story.
Excellent book with simple explanations that are easy to remember and use in the defense of Christianity.
Published 1 month ago by Maria Jose Diaz Garcia
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More About the Author

J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker and author. J. Warner was a conscientious and vocal atheist through his undergraduate and graduate work in Design and Architecture (CSULB and UCLA); he always considered himself to be an "evidentialist". His experience in law enforcement only served to strengthen his conviction that truth is tied directly to evidence. But at the age of thirty-five, J. Warner took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for the Christian Worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true. After becoming a Christ follower in 1996, Jim continued to take an evidential approach to truth as he examined the Christian worldview. He eventually earned a Master's Degree in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

J. Warner served as a Youth Pastor for several years, then planted a church in 2006. Along the way, he created and built the Cold-Case Christianity website, blog and podcast as a place to post and talk about what he discovered related to the evidence supporting Christianity. Jim has appeared on television and radio, explaining the role that evidence plays in the Christian definition of "faith" and defending the historicity of Jesus, the reliability of the Bible and the truth of the Christian worldview. Jim also speaks at churches, retreats and camps as he seeks to help people become confident Christian case makers.

J. Warner's professional investigative work has received national recognition; his cases have been featured repeatedly on NBC's Dateline, and he's been awarded the Police and Fire Medal of Valor "Sustained Superiority" Award. Relying on over two decades of investigative experience, J. Warner provides his readers with the tools they will need to investigate the claims of Christianity and make a convincing case for the truth of the Christian worldview.

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