Cold-Case Christianity (book review)

From Perry Mason and Dragnet to Blue Bloods and Law & Order, I’ve always been a fan of watching detectives and attorneys sorting through all of the evidence to find the truth. I’m also passionate about Christian apologetics, so Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace is totally in my wheelhouse! 

Wallace is a cold-case detective and he’s also a Christian, but criminal investigative work was a part of his life long before he had a relationship with Jesus. In fact, Wallace grew up as an avowed atheist and openly mocked Christians for their “faith.” That is until someone challenged him to investigate the claims of the Bible regarding Jesus as he would investigate one of his cases. 

The similarities are fascinating. In most cases, Wallace cannot interview eyewitnesses, but has to rely on other evidence. Slowly, diligently, he tracks down each lead to come to the most reasonable conclusion. It was exactly the same with the biblical claims about Jesus: the eyewitnesses have long since died. Using his talents for successfully solving crimes which had been left unsolved for years and years, Wallace one day told his wife, “I think it might be true. I think Jesus is who the Bible says He is.” 

Wallace now shares with his readers how they too can use the same skills to explain to skeptics why the biblical case for the authenticity of Jesus is reasonable. He takes us out to the crime scenes as we look for evidence, into the interview room to talk to witnesses, and into the jury box to weigh all of the evidence. 

Skeptics of Christianity will find this book eye-opening, and Christians will find this book informative and helpful to them as they become Christian case makers. This book reads like a detective story to me, and I think others will be just as fascinated with the content as I was.

3 Possibilities For An Empty Tomb

3 possibilitiesLast week we explored the validity of the evidence for the accuracy of the biblical accounts for the life of Jesus (you can check that out here). You might be one who says, “Okay, I think Jesus was a good Man, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to believe that anyone could be raised from the dead after three days.” I think that’s a reasonable thing to explore…

If the tomb where Jesus was placed is really empty, then there are only three possibilities for us to consider.

(1) Jesus didn’t really die.

  • It’s hard to imagine anyone could go through the intense torture Jesus did prior to His crucifixion unscathed.
  • The crucifixion process itself is one of the most gruesome forms of execution man has ever invented.
  • As a result, forensic science shows that Jesus most likely died of a heart attack. The mention in John 19:34 of the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s body is an indication of the cardiac distress His body experienced.
  • Men who were followers of Jesus handled His dead body, and undoubtedly would have checked for any signs life (John 19:38-40).
  • A Roman centurion reported to the Roman governor Pilate that Jesus had in fact died (Mark 15:43-45).
  • Extra-biblical historians, many of whom were unfriendly to Jews and Christians, reported Christ’s death as an historical fact.

(2) Jesus didn’t really rise.

  • Some have claimed that Christ’s followers “saw” Jesus only in a grief-induced hallucination. The problem is, Jesus appeared to individuals, small groups, and large groups multiple times and in multiple settings over the course of 40 days (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
  • At least one of Christ’s closest followers said he wouldn’t be convinced by verbal testimony alone, but needed to touch Christ’s body for Himself (John 20:24-28).
  • The disciples were afraid and lacked any military training that would have allowed them to get past the trained soldiers guarding the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66; 28:11-15).

(3) Jesus really did die on a Cross and was raised back to life.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes rightly said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Real-life cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace explains how detectives use abductive reasoning to examine all of the evidence and infer to the most reasonable explanation from that. As a result, Detective Wallace says about this third explanation:

“The last explanation (although it is a miraculous, supernatural explanation) suffers from the least number of liabilities and deficiencies. If we simply enter into the investigation without a pre-existing bias against anything supernatural, the final explanation accounts for all of the evidence without any difficulty. The final explanation accounts for the evidence most simply and most exhaustively, and it is logically consistent…. The final explanation is also superior to all other accounts (given that it does not suffer from all the problems we see with the other explanations).” —J. Warner Wallace, Alive

The truth is Jesus loved you so much that He had to die for you. He had to pay the penalty for your sins. And God loved His Son so much, that He raised Him back to life. Jesus can live in you now, and you can live with Him forever, if you will simply believe what He did for you on Calvary.

Jesus left an empty tomb behind to show how powerful His love and life is!

The Man Who Knew Too Much (book review)

The Man Who Knew Too MuchRegular readers of this blog have probably noticed that I don’t read very much fiction. Partly this is because I have so much to read that I need to keep strict requirements on my reading list, and partly because many fictional works are so much mental cotton candy. By that I mean it’s sweet for the moment, but it’s quickly gone. But there are exceptions, and The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton is a notable exception.

Chesterton is usually known for his non-fiction theological writings. But the wit, insight, wisdom and humor he uses in his non-fiction work is also on full display in this book, which chronicles the observation skills of Mr. Horne Fisher.

Fisher is the man who knows too much. Because he knows too much, he solves mysteries and riddles “backwards” from the way a typical detective would. Although Fisher is not a detective, but just a man who is well-known and well-connected, he seems to stumble upon the most bizarre settings. Fisher knows too much, so he spots what’s missing, and then works “backwards” to unravel the conundrum. It’s quite fascinating to watch him at work, and Chesterton’s insights into the human spirit make his characters very engaging.

These are not your typical detective stories, but the uniqueness of Horne Fisher’s crime-solving technique makes The Man Who Knew Too Much an enjoyable and enlightening book.

I typically share some of my favorite quotes from the books I review, but in this case I have included some of the wittier lines and descriptions that Chesterton employs. Check it out in the comment below….

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