Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
|Cold-Case Christianity||Participant's Guide||Video Series||Cold-Case Christianity for Kids||Faith Blueprints: A 30-Minute Overview of Cold-Case Christianity|
|Overview||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.||This fully-illustrated, eight-session guide takes participants through ten important principles employed by detectives, applying these techniques to the New Testament Gospel accounts.||In this eight-session DVD, with facilitator’s guide, viewers will learn how to employ ten important detective skills as they watch Detective Wallace test the accuracy and reliability of the New Testament Gospel accounts.||Detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity.||Faith Blueprints are executive summaries, designed to quickly and efficiently provide you with the main concepts and highlights from some of David C Cook’s best books.|
"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)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B00A71Y7I8
- Publisher : David C Cook; 1st edition (January 1, 2013)
- Publication date : January 1, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 18433 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 290 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #61,454 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Wallace then states “If you’re a skeptic who rejects the bible like I did, my experiences and insights might help you to assess the gospel writers in a new light. If you’re someone who has encountered Christians who were unprepared to defend what they believe, I’d like to encourage you to be patient with us because the Christian tradition is actually intellectually robust and satisfying, even if we believers are occasionally unable to respond to your challenges. The answers are available, you don’t have to turn off your brain to be a believer. Yes it is possible to become a Christian because of the evidence rather than inspire of the evidence.” I agree that you don’t have to “turn off your brain to believe”, but you do have to be selective with the evidence/information you choose to seek out. Many things can be considered as evidence and some are better than others. The religious do not seek out all of the evidence and then weigh it out rationally to determine which more closely comports with reality. So, when rational fact based argument are presented they do not have rational evidence based responses.
Wallace moves on to speak of people holding presuppositions which influence beliefs and he claims, “I’ve learned to do my best to enter every investigation with my eyes and mind open to all the reasonable possibilities. I try not to bite on any particular philosophy or theory until one emerges as the most rational, given the evidence….. you simply cannot enter into an investigation with a philosophy that dictates the outcome. Objectivity is paramount.” He also states, “When I was an atheist, I held many presuppositions that tainted the way I investigated the claims of Christianity.” This indicates to me that he me that his lack of belief in the claims humans make about a god existing were based on something other than lack of evidence. Later all he does is contradict his statements as he proves that he is not following the most rational theory based on ALL of the available information/evidence.
Wallace goes on to “Philosophical Naturalism” as a philosophy that detectives hold because they work in the “natural world.” He defines it correctly as: The presupposition belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural forces) operate in the world; philosophical naturalists believe that nothing exists beyond the natural world. I agree with this definition. He then claims that most scientists adhere to this philosophy and because of this they will not consider (refuse to consider) paranormal explanations. What Wallace doesn’t understand is philosophy deals with concepts; it is entirely theoretical. In other words it is a mind exercise only. Most scientists (and skeptics) adhere to “Methodological Naturalism” which is: “A strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes, even as a remote possibility because, while it is possible supernatural causes may exist, they are impossible to investigate using any known method. If a supernatural event was able to be investigated, and the cause was able to be determined, it would then fall into the realm of the natural.” Scientists can believe in the supernatural all they like, and many do. However when conducting actual scientific study they have no ability to investigate the supernatural therefor they must test only things which can be tested; i.e. natural causes and if a natural cause cannot be discovered at this time the answer is “we don’t know why” because we humans have no ability to test for the supernatural. If we can’t test for the supernatural, why would we ever assume supernatural causes for events when as yet undiscovered natural causes are more probable? Wallace then goes on to speak of historians also adhering to philosophical naturalism. “…many historians are also committed to a naturalistic presupposition. The majority of historical scholars, for example, accept the historicity of the New Testament gospels, in so far as they describe the life and teaching of Jesus and the condition of the first-century environment in which Jesus lived and ministered. But many of the same historians simultaneously reject the historicity of any of the miracles described in the New Testament, in spite of the fact that these miracles are described alongside the events that scholars accept as historical. Why do they accept some events and reject others? Because they have a presuppositional bias against the supernatural.” While historians may accept that the bible does describe the general life and culture of the time and place fairly accurately (they may also say that the Harry Potter novels describe the general life and culture of England for the time period at the end of the 20th to early 21st century, but that doesn’t make magic real), the majority do not accept the stories of Jesus as accurately recorded history. The bible was not written by historians using the methods of the historians at the time the bible was written. As far as historians not affirming the historical accuracy of the miracle claims in the bible: They cannot accept them as true by the very nature of methods used by historians. Historians do NOT have the ability to verify the factual accuracy any miracle claim. The best a historian can do is record the claim as a claim (examples: Jane Doe claimed she flew like superman to the top of Mount Everest on June 1st 2018.) Mr. Wallace, as a homicide investigator can you simply accept a suspect’s claim that he only killed someone because he was possessed by the devil at that time; and you should be arresting Lucifer based on his claim? Of course not!! This is the same argument you are making regarding scientists and historians. I guess you have the exact same presuppostional bias against the supernatural as all those scientists and historians. Mr. Wallace, show me the evidence that supports the miracle claims in the bible without using the bible itself!!
Wallace states that when he was an atheist he allowed presupposition and that he refused to consider anything but natural causes when considering the claims that a god exists. The problem with this is that it isn’t whether or not you consider anything outside of the “natural” it is about evidence. Based on what I have previously stated, humans have no way of investigating paranormal claims so anyone who claims they have witnessed a supernatural occurrence cannot determine the cause; the best they can do is make an assumption of the cause. However, the honest answer is to simply state “I don’t know what caused the occurrence” until such time we can accurately determine the cause.
Wallace moves on to “abductive reasoning” which is inferring (deduce or conclude from evidence and reason rather than from explicit statements). He then states, “While it’s interesting to imagine the possibilities, it’s important to return eventually to what’s reasonable especially when the truth is at stake.” I fully agree with this statement. But he then goes on to say “…We can apply the process of abduction to our spiritual investigation as well.” Actually, you really can’t without ultimately making a guess at the end, because we have no means of investigating the supernatural. He then goes into an apologetic argument I’ve heard many times: “How do we explain the empty tomb.” He gives 4 “Facts”, which are absolutely not proven facts, to begin his argument: Jesus died on a cross and was buried; the tomb was empty and no one produced a body; the disciples believed they saw Jesus after; the disciples believed Jesus was resurrected. These are unverified claims made in the bible and not one of them is supported by any valid extra-biblical sources. These cannot be considered fact because they have not been proven to be fact. Here is what we actually do know: At some point in the early 1st century (roughly 66-70 AD) some unknown men (or a man), who were not historians using the methods of historians of the time, wrote down some stories about an apocalyptic preacher named Jesus who lived in the country of Israel from approximately 4 BC to 33 AD. These stories include many paranormal claims. That is all of the actual evidence we have. Wallace is including MANY presuppositions into his investigation when he previously claimed he was trying to remove presuppositions. The evidence we have points more to: The stories that were written down where partially or completely inaccurate. (We have no valid evidence of anything supernatural.) We can provided countless examples of people writing down things that are factually inaccurate (some intentional some unintentional). Just look at all holy writings (with supernatural claims) outside of the bible. I’m sure Wallace would not accept those to be true based on the criteria he has provided.
At this point Wallace goes into a list of standard apologetics arguments. He obviously isn’t the unbiased investigator he claims to be because he never mentions the more logical responses to these questions. (1) How the universe began: Wallace used the standard argument from ignorance fallacy called “the god of the gaps.” I don’t know the cause therefore god did it. The real answer is “We (human kind) do not current know the answer to this question.” No one knows and no one has ever known up to this point. So Mr. Wallace should stop pretending to know things that he doesn’t know. In addition to prove your hypothesis your first step is to demonstrate that your god exists. (2) The universe was designed. Again another argument from ignorance. I don’t understand the complexities of the universe therefore god did it. (3) How did life begin? Another argument from ignorance. I don’t understand how life could have begun therefore god. (4) I don’t understand the diversity of life on this planet, therefore god did it. Nope. We (human kind) does understand this process. All Mr. Wallace had to do was borrow a good science book on evolution from the library to get the answer to this one. (5) DNA is a code. Yet another argument from ignorance. DNA is complicate therefore god. DNA is not a code. Scientists use this term loosely to help laypeople understand. DNA is a group of physical and chemical reactions. It is not a language used to communicate between two minds. Ultimately We (human kind) do not have a full understanding of how DND developed but we are working on discovering the answer. (6) Objective Morality. Nope, all morality is subjective on a personal (each “mind) level and it can be somewhat objective at a societal level (we enact laws and associated punishments based on consensus of what is harmful to humans and society). Even if there is a god there is no objective morality as morality would be based on god’s subjective opinion. (7) The bible can be considered eye witness testimony. This one is ridiculously wrong, especially coming from someone who was a police officer. The bible is a big book of claims; claims which must be demonstrated to be true. IT IS NOT EVIDENCE! Using the bible to prove the claims of the bible is circular reasoning. If you can use this method to prove the bible is factually accurate than you can use the same method to prove every holy book that has ever existed to be factually accurate. (8) Martyrdom of the Apostles: First Wallace has to prove that these Martyrdom stories are factually accurate, but even if he does; people will willingly go to their deaths for what they believe. This happens often. I’ll give one example: The Tank Man from Tiananmen Square. He was willing to be run over by a tank for his socio political beliefs.
The remainder of the book Wallace covered a few extra-biblical texts which in some vague way “kind of” mentioned Jesus. However some of these have been demonstrated to be forgeries (Flavius Josephus for example), some are written well after the events so were not firsthand accounts, & others are not direct references. He then he writes quite a bit where he attempts to use the bible (specifically the new testament) to try to prove the bible is accurate (circular reasoning) but fails horribly.
I could go on with this review but I will sum up by stating that I see many elements in this book which I have found in many other Christian apologetics books. This book is one huge appeal to authority (I’m a homicide detective and a police officer. I’m a subject matter expert in investigation and I’m non-biased so you can trust me to tell you the truth and to do a full and complete investigation without any presuppositions.) I did see many of the standard logical fallacies that apologists use, which wasn’t surprising. Even though the author claims to have been and “angry atheist” prior to converting to Christianity; he obviously did not write this book for skeptics, atheists or people who adhere to other religious beliefs because none of these people would find any of the information convincing. This type of book is written as Christian propaganda for Christian believers to bolster their ”faith.”
All of the First Line Atheist arguments are dealt with in convincing fashion with reason and without emotion. I am especially thankful for the manner in which he makes clear that you don't have to get to 100% confidence. Understanding the importance of the cumulative case and that these individual "less than 100%" arguments actually add up to a compelling conclusion is very powerful.
Translating the process of thinking through your faith to every day life -- and how we reach good conclusions all the time without 100% confidence helps immensely in discussing ideas and reasoning for faith in Christ.
The concept of focusing on the truth first -- being interested in the pursuit of what conforms to the reality that we can see helps to keep from getting side tracked on conclusion and doctrine confirmation which may not be right -- His emphasis on making sure all the pieces fit in a true picture (if we have evidence, it fits somewhere) underlies the importance of all the types of small corroborative tidbits that line the path and helps to place them into the picture of God's redemptive work.
After reading this book, I was inspired and also intellectually stimulated to dig much further in some of the historical, scientific, philosophical, and theological rationale that supports the Christian faith... AND ... it has made me much more ready and eager to converse with anyone on these subjects.
Finally, I absolutely love the tie-in with solving OLD Cold Case Crimes. Jim's tenacity, instincts and intellect are at the Apex of the Crime Solving profession. The idea that treating the murder of Jesus as a Cold Case to solve and then through the process being convinced of Christianity's truth is incredibly POWERFUL!!!
I also read many of the negative reviews of this book to see what questions remained unanswered out there and other proofs to the contrary. I can't compete with the academic scholars who have spent years studying and researching ancient writings and histories so I can't refute the facts and arguments they bring up, but I did notice a recurrent theme. Many of the people who dispute the authenticity of the gospels are essentially putting them under a microscope and picking out flaws to support their theories. Mr. Wallace, on the other hand, has taken a step back and looked at all the evidence as a body and drawn his conclusion from that. When considered individually, the gospels may have holes, irregularities and unanswered questions, but when taken as a whole with support from the rest of the letters in the New Testament and other historic factors, they form a convincing proof of authenticity.
Any facts can be disputed. There are people that are convinced the Apollo landings were faked, the holocaust never occurred, and the earth is flat. I'm sure people will discount the bible forever. This book took evidence available to us and arranged it in a way that an average person could understand and come to a logical conclusion. Thank you, Mr. Wallace for helping me see the big picture.
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Let's be straight here. I am a "Joe Friday" type of man. Just give me the facts, and never mind the mumbo jumbo. And that is what this book is about. It just gives the facts, as if it were in a court of law, and asks the reader to be the jury. I was very surprised at my reaction to this. It actually brought the New Testament alive to me, as I could see the apostles were not just a bunch of religious fanatics, but ordinary people just like me ... astonished at what they had just witnessed. So was I, and having just finished the book I now have to make a decision. This book presents possibly the most convincing case I have ever seen for the Christian faith, and now I have to decide what to do with it. I pronounce Christianity guilty of being based on facts related by eye witnesses who gave their testimony regardless of the effect it had on their personal lives. Now what am I going to do with that verdict ?
I have read many books making the case for Christianity, but none of them has had the impact on me that this one had.
The author quotes CS Lewis at the start of the book, who said, "Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important".
This is the absolute truth !
If you want to know whether the Gospels are historical, reliable and trustworthy documents, get this book! Detective James Warner Wallace clearly demonstrates why the Gospels can be trusted as the eye witness accounts of the incredible events that took place almost 2000 years ago!
If Christianity is true will you become a Christian?