The brown envelope on my desk was not expected. Upon picking it up, it was obvious that it contained a book (almost always a good thing). That book turned out to be the latest book from J. Warner Wallace and it is entitled Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. It was indeed a good thing.
I have reviewed Mr. Wallace’s earlier editions in this series entitled, Cold Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene so am familiar with and enjoy the author’s style. Like his two previous books, Wallace mixes in stories from his experience as a police detective to illustrate the points he makes through the book.
In Cold Case, Wallace demonstrates how the skills of a detective can be used to evaluate the claims of Christianity and the reliability of the Gospel Accounts. In God’s Crime Scene, he examines the evidence for a divinely created universe. I found both books to be helpful and enjoyable to read.
This book focuses more on the process of presenting the evidence in support of Christianity. We are called to make disciples and to fulfill that call, we need to be able to present the evidence in support of our belief.
I was especially challenged by the first chapter where Wallace encourages his readers to embrace their calling as Christian Case Makers. In that chapter, he points out that Jesus challenges his followers to use our minds when he gave us the Two Great Commands in Matthew 22:37-38. Wallace notes that Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 but Jesus changed one word in his quotation. He substituted the word “mind” for the word “strength” in the original. Wallace writes:
“All the gospel authors agree that Jesus used the word ‘mind’ in His summary of [Deuteronomy 6:5] (instead of the word ‘strength’). The Greek word used by these authors is dianoia: a word used to describe our ‘minds,’ our ‘understanding,’ or our ‘intelligence.’ Here in Matthew’s gospel, the word is used to describe the ‘place where thinking occurs.’ Jesus’ intentional word exchange raises the bar for us as Christians. We are not only to love God with all our heart, soul and might, but we are also commanded to use our mind and our intelligence to understand the truth of Christianity.”
Using our minds is not optional. Contrary to those who caricature Christians as those who blindly accept the unbelievable, we are called to use our minds to weigh the evidence and make a decision.
If you are at all interested in learning to present the claims of Christ to others, this is a book that would be worth reading. Wallace’s writing style is engaging and he presents concepts clearly. I also like that whenever he uses a technical term, he includes a side bar explaining the term.
This is a book that will remain on shelf because it is one that I will read again.