For thirty-five years, J. Warner Wallace was a vocal atheist. But as a homicide detective, Mr. Wallace knew that truth is tied to evidence. Once he considered the evidence for Christ, everything changed. During this week's broadcast, John Stonestreet welcomes this author of the best-selling book, "Cold-Case Christianity," to share his testimony and his unique apologetic technique.
As a decorated cold-case homicide investigator, it was Wallace's job to put together circumstantial evidence, the seemingly unrelated fragments left behind by a murder, into a picture capable of dispelling all reasonable doubt, and convicting a suspect. But his world was a material world, devoid of the supernatural knowable by observation alone.
J. Warner Wallace
"I was a very committed, obstinate kind of obnoxious...my dad would say I was an angry atheist," he confesses. Wallace had a dedication to his atheism which he ascribed to his zeal for evidence. And it caused him to butt heads with his coworkers in the police force who seemed to apply a different standard to spiritual issues.
"I had coworkers," he recounts, "who had a very high regard for evidence in their professional life, in terms of the work we did as detectives, but when I would push back against their Christian beliefs, they really were flat-footed and didn't seem to have a very high regard for evidence in their spiritual lives, and I got really impatient with it...That's why I think I stayed away from Christianity for as long as I did."
But all of that changed when Wallace and his wife began attending a church whose pastor challenged his congregation to think through their faith, and discover how reasonable it is. Wallace says they went seeking a Christian cultural climate and perhaps nuggets of wisdom accessible to secular sensibilities. But instead, he found himself launched into a full-scale investigation of the Christian faith and Scripture, to determine whether its claims stood up to scrutiny:
"I spent months and months applying the same template I use to test the reliability of witnesses. I applied that same template... to the Gospels, and it took me a while. I was stubborn to the very end. But once I determined that these were reliable accounts about a guy named Jesus, I was forced to do something with what they ultimately describe."
In his book, Wallace lays out the case which resulted from this investigation, and demonstrates using many of the same techniques and criteria employed by homicide detectives that a reasonable person cannot dismiss the claims of Christianity, or the Gospel accounts of Jesus.
But he stresses that evidence alone isn't enough to convert someone. For that, a work of God is required. And as Wallace tells it, God used the overwhelming evidence for the validity of Christianity to demolish his objections and lay bare his intentions.
"I believed that these were reliable accounts," he says. "I believed that they were telling me the truth. But it didn't get me to belief in. For me, that step was not searching for Jesus in the Gospels, but learning what the New Testament had to say about me. And as I learned what it said about me, I moved from belief that to belief in because I recognized my own need."
It's Wallace's hope and ours that you can use his book, and the meticulous case for faith it lays out, as a tool to clear away objections in your mind, or in the minds of your friends, families or coworkers. Because when excuses disappear and the verdict is in, God does business with the souls of men and women. Pick up this outstanding book and help a skeptic in your life follow the evidence where it leads—straight to the risen Savior.