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Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels (English Edition) par [Wallace, J. Warner]
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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.

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470 internautes sur 501 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A thorough interaction with Cold Case Christianity 17 janvier 2013
Par Lyndon Unger - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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:


1. The book is wonderfully written and organized. J. Warner Wallace has done an excellent job writing with both clarity and accessibility, presenting his points with little technical jargon and explaining what jargon he uses (more than once too!). The chapters logically flow and the entire book is written with a layman in mind.

2. The book is wonderfully engaging. Being a homicide detective, Wallace has a body of experience that is both foreign and intriguing to your average reader, and he utilizes parallels and descriptions from his police experience very effectively. Also, the book has pictures and a bit of variety in the page layout; these thoughtful insertions keep the chapters from becoming stale and visually repetitive.

3. The book has a very broad scope and serves as a great introduction to a wide variety of apologetic issues (i.e. the resurrection, the arguments for the existence of God, textual criticism, the problem of evil, etc.) without bogging the reader down in details and nuanced argument.

4. Wallace generally presents the counter-arguments to his points well. His responses are clear and concise, and one gets the feeling from reading Wallace that he has had a lot of practical conversations with people regarding the issues under discussion.

5. Wallace usually gives good explanations of the concepts he discusses, like philosophical naturalism (page 25), abductive reasoning (page 33), reasonable doubt (age 131), etc. He's neither wordy nor vague, and he knows how to illustrate a concept effectively.

6. Pages 55-60 contain a great, helpful discussion on the validity and usefulness of circumstantial evidence and its value when compared with direct evidence. This is definitely a place where his experience in the courtroom comes forward and assists him greatly, and this is one subject that many a Christian needs to brush up on for practical purposes.

7. Pages 69-85 contain a very insightful and helpful treatment of eyewitness testimony, as well as excellent interaction with common accusations related to the unreliability of eyewitness testimony.

8. Pages 109-117 contain a fantastic treatment of conspiracy theories, exploring and explaining the practical difficulties for concocting and upholding a lasting conspiracy involving multiple parties. Again, he draws examples from his police experience that prove to be excellent illustrations of his points.

9. Page 131 has a very insightful unpacking of the standard of proof and reasonable doubt vs. possible doubt. Again, Wallace's legal understandings and courtroom experience provide helpful illustrations here.

10. Pages 135-136 give 2 good responses to the problem of evil: Wallace points to the presuppositional philosophical inconsistencies of the problem of evil (if objective evil exists for the problem to have substance in the first place, there must be a universal standard of "good" by which evil is judged), and also gives what I call the "Ten Trillion Year" response (God is eternal and judges good and evil from his eternal perspective; i.e. ten trillion years from now, the ten thousand years of evil that mankind endured will be considered inconsequential to the 9.9999999 trillion years of comprehensive and continuous good of paradise earth).

11. Wallace has incorporated a wide variety of information, including some rather recent stuff from the academic world. One example of this was how on page 192 he included the recent work of Tal Ilan on the frequency and distribution of names in the New Testament world to show how the writers of the Bible were from the geographic location that they claimed. I was also really pleased to see Wallace reference Edwin Yamauchi (page 209) and give a brief discussion of the actual problematic nature of archeological evidence; how most items from history don't actually survive as evidence and our picture of the past, as based on archeological artifacts, is actually amazingly incomplete and inaccurate.

12. On the whole, chapter 12 was excellent, exploring the internal and external corroboration of the Gospels. For the Christian who has recently discovered the popular (and mostly irresponsible) manifestations of doubt regarding the reliability of the New Testament (i.e. Richard Carrier, the movie "Zeitgeist", the skeptics annotated Bible, etc.), this chapter would be a welcome encouragement.

13. I did appreciate his call for Christians to be case-makers, especially with his cooking analogy on page 260-261. I thought it was a great way of presenting the difference between the biblical office of Evangelist and the Christian who responds to the great commission.

14. His list of books for further reading was great; 2 or 3 books per topic and not too overwhelming, though I did think that some of his books might be significantly above the reading level of someone who might find "Cold Case Christianity" a bit challenging. Going from a 5 page discussion of textual criticism to reading Metzger, Wallace and Comfort is a leap that will likely leave a lot people on their faces. Then again, I'm not really aware of a layman's introduction to textual criticism outside of James White's "The King James Only Controversy", so there possibly is a book that needs to be written there. I'll get right on that.


Before I address the cons, I must say that most of the things I didn't like about the book were admittedly minor in nature. Only the last 2 con points (points 5 & 6) were ones that I would consider relatively significant.

1. On page 41 Wallace presents the Habermas/Licona "minimal facts" argument for the resurrection. I understand that the "minimal facts" argument for the resurrection is convincing to Christians, but it's actually a really weak argument for most people to use outside of a New Testament studies class in a seminary. Arguing that "a majority of scholars agree on these four facts" basically assumes that most people on the street care what a majority of "scholars" say. Let's face it; your average atheist/skeptic electrician who's spent a hundred hours on the internet reading about New Testament history (and watching YouTube) thinks he knows as much as most "scholars" and has absolutely no problem dismissing academic consensus in favor of an idiotic theory on some website ("Zeitgeist" anyone?). Beyond that, the first point (Jesus died on the cross and was buried) is actually denied by significant academic skeptics who hold that Jesus did die but was simply tossed in a mass grave (i.e. Marcus Borg and Bart Ehrman are vocal about this). Far more significant than this is the fact that the first point is denied as an unassailable tenet of faith by every Muslim on the planet. Living in a city where 1/3 of the population has immigrated from the Middle East or South Asia, I've long stopped using this argument.

2. I was sad that on page 66 Wallace includes the transcendental argument for the existence of God in his list of arguments, but doesn't present it to his readers. Not a big deal, but as a presuppositionalist, I felt robbed. Boo hoo for me.

3. On page 136 he gives the "love" defense to the practical problem of evil: A world with love is better than a world without love, love requires freedom and in that freedom many choose not to love. I know that idea gets a fair amount of traction in various apologetics circles, but there are at least 2 fatal problems with the "love" defense:

3a. It's simply contrary to the consistent and explicit teaching of the scriptures with regards to why evil exists (namely that God has decreed that evil occur for his own good purposes i.e. Genesis 50:1-21). I don't find apologists offering an exegetical defense of this idea; it's a rather shallow and sentimental response to a serious problem that portrays the God of the Universe like a teenage girl (poor little guy just wants to be loved).

3b. Why is a world with love better than a world without love? That whole idea is simply assumed, and I've found that many an atheist/skeptic sees the flaw in this argument instinctively: if a world with love has a world where a majority of people don't experience that love but rather experience war, disease, abuse, suffering, etc., that doesn't actually seem better for most people than alternatives (i.e. not existing at all, being a mentally deficient creature that experiences comfort but not love, etc.).

4. Wallace writes like many popular apologists and seems to think that the biggest threat to Christianity is aggressive atheism; he repeatedly interacts with both the popular skeptics (Dawkins, Harris, etc.) and the academic atheists (Bart Ehrman), and I think I know why. Everyone who is in apologetics circles for any amount of time hears the scary numbers: 80% (or more) of kids that grow up in church leave the church when they get to college and most apologists (including Wallace) think that the reason is a lack of apologetic instruction. Those 80% of kids want to believe but their nasty philosophy or religious studies professors overwhelm them with arguments against Christianity and those kids, being unprepared, abandon the faith.

I would suggest that this whole paradigm is mistaken and this leads me to my 2 serious points of disagreement with Wallace in the book:

5. Wallace seems to argue that the reason people disbelieve the scriptures is because of philosophical naturalism. He comments on this on pages 25-26, and he points to this idea throughout the book (like on page 208 where he suggests that skeptics disbelieve the Bible because of the presumption [without evidence] that the account is false unless corroborated, and this doubt stems from philosophical naturalism.) I would suggest that the Bible is clear that the philosophical naturalism (and every other articulate expression of doubt) is the fruit of unbelief, and unbelief is the natural state of a sinful heart.

One place where this is explicitly taught in the scriptures is in the story of John 9-10, where Jesus heals the man born blind and the Pharisees refuse to believe, though the man stands before them with his eyes being healed. The disbelief of the Pharisees is confusing to Jesus' disciples (and the man born blind), and the whole scenario boils over in John 10:22-27, which reads:

"At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

The whole point there was that the unbelief had nothing to do with the presence of evidence, for the evidence was both public and irrefutable (the man born blind could see). Nowhere in John 9 or 10 does anyone challenge the obvious nature of the evidence; the problem was only with the interpretation of the evidence. The Jews did not interpret the evidence correctly (i.e. they manifested philosophical naturalism that refused the possibility of the miracle proving Christ's claims) because they were not among Christ's sheep (i.e. they still had sinful, unbelieving hearts).

Now this may seem like splitting hairs, but abandoning philosophical naturalism for supernaturalism is not synonymous with becoming a believer in the person and work of Christ. As a Christian apologist, I don't want people to abandon philosophical naturalism; I want people to repent of their sin and believe the gospel. This then leads to my final point of disagreement.

6. This also manifests in Wallace's one strange idea; the "2 decision Christian" idea. On pages 253-255, Wallace talks about a criminal named Santiago who got saved at a crusade and then became a bank robber for several years but finally got caught by Wallace. What is shocking is Wallace's interpretation of the events:

" Santiago made a decision to trust Jesus for his salvation, but he never made a decision to examine the life and teaching of Jesus evidentially. Santiago failed to make a second decision to examine what he believed. He was unable to see his faith as anything more than subjective opinion as he struggled to live in a world of objective facts. As a result, his beliefs eventually surrendered to the facts of his situation and the pressures of his addiction. He allowed his friends and family situation to influence him, rather than becoming a source of inspiration and truth for his friends and neighborhood. Santiago was a one-decision Christian, and that decision was unsupported by a reasonable examination of the evidence." (page 255)

Now this is the description of a guy who was a career criminal: "he made a decision to trust Jesus for his salvation" and Wallace says the problem was that " Santiago was a one-decision Christian". I would dare suggest that Wallace disagrees with the apostle John:

" Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him." - 1 John 3:4-6

Santiago didn't need to make a second decision to examine what he believed; he wasn't a tier 1 Christian who needed to get to tier 2. It seems fairly clear that Santiago was a guy who, at some time in the past, was made to feel guilty for his sin and was, for whatever reason, lead to believe that if he walked to the front of a building, his life would somehow change and he'd get what he wanted (good marriage, no more addictions, etc.).

Santiago had been deceived and now was living a life that proved it.

Santiago needed to believe the gospel and repent of his sin (for the first time), and I praise the Lord that during his time in prison, it sounds like he did.


- I know that this review has a longer "con" than "pro" section, but I wanted to give a fair and critical review of a book that was deserving of a serious interaction (and I do so out of respect for Wallace as a co-laborer in the gospel and an effort to give helpful feedback, not out of some effort to belittle him). I honestly found "Cold Case Christianity" to be a fantastic general introduction to apologetics. Wallace and I have some serious theological differences, but those differences don't really manifest with an overwhelming majority of the material in the book. In the future, I'll most likely use "Cold Case Christianity" as an textbook in my introductory apologetics courses for senior high and college-aged kids, and the theological differences we have will be easily addressed in a single lecture.

I give Cold Case Christianity 4 solid stars (I'd give it 4.5 if Amazon would allow) and a high recommend.

***Update - Jan 25th***

I recently got the chance to hear J. Warner Wallace speak in my town and got the opportunity to talk with him directly. He basically gave a talk that was a 1.25 hour overview of this book, mostly focusing on the second half of the book (establishing the credibility of the Gospels). Wallace was a wonderful speaker who was thoroughly enjoyable to hear, and I appreciated his presentation immensely.

After the presentation, I got an opportunity to speak with him privately and he asked me if I had read his book. I admitted that I had read it and had already reviewed it, and we got into a quick discussion about some of my issues with the book (as well as discussed some of the harsh responses from certain Calvinists, a category in which Wallace apparently places himself). I mentioned several of my personal questions that I had when I read the book (i.e. whether he gave the book of Revelation a late date...and he admitted that he wasn't informed enough on that issue to have an opinion) and then I basically focused on my serious question; the "two decision Christian" issue.

Much to my delight, Wallace admitted that he needed to rework that portion of the book and acknowledged that it wasn't near as clear as he wished it was. What he apparently meant with the story of Santiago was that:

a. Santiago had made a profession of faith at some time in the past (but was living as if he had not).

b. If Santiago had made a decision to study the life and teaching of Jesus, he would have discovered that he was NOT living in proper correspondence to his profession.

Wallace wasn't talking about some sort of "second blessing" theology at all, and he wasn't suggesting some sort of wild "no Lordship" position on salvation/sanctification. I definitely look forward to and next revision of the book, and I'd now up my review score from 4.5 to 4.75.

I was definitely blessed to be able to get clarification from the horse's mouth (so to speak), and am delighted that Christian Apologetics has a new addition who is both down to earth, more in theological agreement with me than I had previously suspected, and a gentleman to boot.
59 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent apologetics book that reads like a novel 4 janvier 2013
Par J.W. Wartick - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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. Wallace notes that what is necessary in order to provide evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt" is not necessarily "direct evidence." That is, direct evidence-the type of evidence which can prove something all by itself (i.e. seeing it rain outside as proof for it actually raining)-is often thought of to be the standard for truth. Yet if this were the standard for truth, then we would hardly be able to believe anything. The key is to notice that a number of indirect evidences can add up to make the case. For example, if a suspected murderer is known to have had the victim's key, spot cleaned pants (suspected blood stains), matches the height and weight a witness saw leaving the scene of the crime, has boots that matched the description, was nervous during the interview and changed his story, has a baseball bat (a bat was the murder weapon) which has also been bleached and is dented, and the like, these can add up to a very compelling case (57ff). Any one of these evidences would not lead one to say they could reasonably conclude the man was the murderer, but added together they provide a case which pushes the case beyond a reasonable doubt-the man was the murderer.

In a similar way, the evidences for the existence of God can add up to a compelling case for the God of classical theism. Wallace then turns to examining a number of these arguments, including the moral, cosmological, fine-tuning, and design arguments. These are each touched on briefly, as a kind of preliminary to consider when turning to the case for the Gospels. Furthermore, the notion of "circumstantial" or cumulative case arguments hints towards the capacity to examine the Bible and the Gospels to see if they are true.

Wallace then turns to examining the Gospels-Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John-in light of what he has learned as a detective. He utilizes forensic statement analysis as well as a number of other means by which to investigate witnesses and eyewitness reports to determine whether the Gospels can be trusted. He first turns to Mark and makes an argument that Mark had firsthand contact with Peter, one of the Disciples and an Apostle. He shows how we can search for and find "artifacts"-textual additions that were late into the accounts of the Gospels. None of these are surprises, because we know about them by investigating the evidence we have from the manuscript tradition. By piecing together the puzzle of the evidences for the Gospels, we form a complete picture of Christ (106ff).

It is easy to get caught up in "conspiracy theory" types of explanations for the events in the Bible. People argue that all kinds of alternative explanations are possible. Yet Wallace notes again that there is a difference between possible and reasonable. Simply throwing out possible scenarios does nothing to undermine the truth claims of the Gospels if the Gospels' own account is more reasonable.

A very important part of Cold-Case Christianity is the notion that we can trace back the "chain of custody" for the Gospels. By arguing that we are able to see how the New Testament was passed authoritatively from one eyewitness to disciple to disciple and so on, Wallace argues that conspiracy theories which argue the Gospel stories were made up have a much less reasonable explanation than that they are firsthand accounts of what happened. Much of the information in these chapters is compelling and draws on knowledge of the Apostles' and their disciples. It therefore provides a great introduction to church history.

Wallace provides a number of other examples and evidences for the New Testament. Each of these could be challenged individually, but to do so would be to miss the forest for the trees.

All of these examples are highlighted by real-world stories from Wallace's work as a detective. Readers-even those who are hostile to Christianity-will be drawn in by these examples. It makes reading the book similar to reading a suspense novel, such that readers will not want to put it down. For example, when looking at distinguishing between possible/reasonable, he uses a lengthy illustration of finding a dead body and eliminating various explanations for the cause of death through observations like "having a knife in the back" as making it much less probable that accidental death is a reasonable explanation, despite being possible.

The book also has a number of other helpful tools for those interested in learning more. There are sidebars with additional information and definitions, as well as notes from various court cases or law books that explain some of the headier material.

Overall, Cold-Case Christianity is the best introduction to the historicity of the Gospels I have ever read. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Wallace covers the evidence in a winsome manner and utilizes a unique approach that will cause even disinterested readers to continue reading, just to see what he says next. I pre-ordered two copies to give to friends immediately. I am not exaggerating when I say that this book is a must read for everyone.
49 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A new approach to introductory apologetics 26 décembre 2012
Par Steven Pridgen - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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.
25 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Logical Approach for Investigating an Important Topic 2 janvier 2013
Par sclough - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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.
33 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Practical Guide to Christian Apologetics 12 janvier 2013
Par Peter S. Bradley - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
J. Warner Wallace - the author of Cold Case Christianity - structures his book around the basic conceit of adopting the role of a detective in order to apply the same critical and logical tools to the claims of Christianity as a detective might use to investigate a "cold case" file. Since Wallace actually is a cold case detective, and since he reasons and communicates very clearly, this device works incredibly well. He begins every chapter by analogizing the subject of the chapter - whether it is deciding whether to trust circumstantial evidence or examining a chain of custody - to some story from his detective career and then extending the principles he has learned from pragmatic experience to the more rarified air of history.

Warner's approach in this book suggests that his greatest gift is the practice of "common sense." "Common sense" not meaning "someone who agrees with the popular prejudices and attitudes of his culture," but "common sense" meaning "practical reasoning," namely approaching a practical, intellectual problem in a pragmatic, non-biased, logical way grounded in lived experience. This may not be a particularly flashy style, but it worked for Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, and Warner suggests that it can work for the rest of us.

As a trial attorney, I found Wallace's reflections on the ins and outs of evidence and defense lawyer arguments to be as engaging and informative as his theological/historical discussion. Lay people who have extensive experience as witnesses - whether they be expert witnesses in civil practice or police officers in criminal cases - often come up with some fairly "off the wall" explanations of why lawyers do the things they do. Wallace, on the other hand, pays attention to the law as it is and seems to have a nice insight into how the legal environment shapes the arguments (as well as the behavior of defense attorneys, who are typically dealt the losing hand at the outset and have to perfect the tactics of declare, destroy or distract.) At times, I found myself saying to myself: "that makes sense. I guess that's why I do that."

Wallace's analytical style is equally effective when applied to the evidential apologetics that he champions. By using the "cold case detective" format, Wallace systematically organizes his material to take the reader from novice to journeyman, both as an analytical thinker and as an apologist. Thus, for example, Wallace's first chapter covers the critical point of "don't be a know it all," by which he means don't assume you know more than you actually do, which in the apologetics realm relates to assuming a materialist presupposition that everything is matter and nature and nothing is spiritual and supernature. This is easily said - in my practice it amounts to the maxim, "always challenge the obvious," but in practice it's never that easy, and in every case I have found myself surprised at the obvious things I have allowed to go unchallenged, until I did, and was surprised by what I learned. Again, Warner's common sense approach is worth the price of the book as both a matter of Christian apologetics and practical reasoning.

Part of a "common sense" or pragmatic approach to reasoning involves doing the hard work of actually knowing the subject. No one can make bricks without straw, and for anyone who is making the bricks of an intellectual life, the "straw" involves the test of patience which is reading the sources and thinking about them until the facts become your facts. For an expert witness or police officer, this certainly involves the unglamorous work of reading the file, organizing the data and becoming sufficiently proficient with the facts, and where the facts can be found, so that there are no meltdowns on the stand. If anyone is interested in reading my prior reviews on matters historical, they will find that I do pick nits over what may seem to be minor factual errors (See my review of Hitlers Cross and God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World(the latter of which is still the third highest rated review despite my one star trashing of that annoying polemic.)) My sense is that finding "small" errors in basic facts is a good indication that the author can't be trusted when the issues are "big." I was pleased to find that Wallace's facts were extremely well gournded. I did not find any errors of fact that might make me question his credibility. To the contrary, I found his discussion of apostolic succession and the extra-biblical support to be solid, succinct and scholarly. I also suspect that his discussion of "undersigned coincidences - where a question raised by one biblical source is answered unexpectedly by another biblical source - will be an argument I will use in the future. Likewise, Wallace's distinction between "artifacts" and "evidence" will be another thing I will use in the future; that distinction was something I was aware of, but I didn't have the vocabulary and, correspondingly, a sharp distinction between the two concepts. Finally, Warner's conclusion that Mark's gospel reads like a "crime broadcasts" and the "discrepancies" between the gospels are consistent with the discrepancies we expect to find in witness statements is consistent with my own pragmatic, "life as it is actually lived and then patiently reconstructed from the imperfect sources you have" experience of practicing law.

A final point from a sectarian perspective: I am a practicing Catholic; J. Warner Wallace is an Evangelical, and writes from an Evangelical point of view. However, I was pleased to find nothing in his book that was anti-Catholic, either explicitly or by implication. Wallace's focus is on unbelievers, and his book does not appear to be interested in "counting coup" over the internecine, inta-Christian debates. I think that approach is quite appropriate at a time when secularists and post-Christians may be in the ascendant. On the other hand, if you are the kind of reader who enjoys reliving the heady days of the 30 Years War, then another book - this one, perhaps, The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy - may be more to your liking. For my part, I would certainly recommend it to my fellow Catholics.

For a reader looking to find a basic structure for thinking about Christian apologetics and the basic tools of rational discussion of the issues, this is the book to get.
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