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Further Reading

Blip

Defensive Lines

A review of J. Warner Wallace's Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith

by Terrell Clemmons

J. Warner Wallace often asks professing Christians, "Why are you a Christian?" Answers usually resemble one of the following: "I was raised that way," or "Because of experiences I've had," or "I just know . . ." The one response he seldom hears is, "I'm a Christian because I believe it's true."

Article originally appeared in
Salvo 42

This is something Wallace is out to change. In his first book, Cold Case Christianity, he wrote about his conversion from atheism to Christianity and presented a reasoned, evidential case for Christianity based on the reliability of the New Testament Gospels as eyewitness accounts. In his second book, God's Crime Scene, he made the case for the existence of God by showing how the theistic worldview best fits the evidence we can observe in the universe we find ourselves inhabiting. And now, with Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith, he crowns the trilogy with what he calls his "Case for Case-Making."

"Now, more than ever," Wallace writes, "Christians must shift from accidental belief to evidential trust." While an "accidental" belief—one that a skeptic could write off as the result of random happenstance, such as family background or national origin, or one's private intuition or personal experiences—may lead to the right conclusion, it isn't enough to give anyone else any reason to take Christianity seriously. In order to communicate our faith effectively to people who don't already share it, we must learn to think about it forensically.

The term "forensic" has become associated with the art and science of presenting legal evidence and making arguments, but as a form of reasoning, it's simply the thought process of reasoning from effects back to causes. As a homicide detective, Wallace regularly examined evidence and then reasoned from evidence back to the most likely cause. Scientists, too, use this form of reasoning (except when it comes to origin-of-life studies, but that's another matter). And whether or not we realize it, we all use it in everyday life.

A forensic faith, then, is belief because of the evidence. "We hold a forensic belief when we believe something because it is the most reasonable inference from the evidence, even though we may still have some unanswered questions," Wallace explains.

Sheepdog Training

As a crime scene investigator, Wallace is a seasoned expert in thinking forensically. But he's also an expert teacher, and Forensic Faith is a step-by-step training manual for learning to think forensically about faith. This book will help you:

• Embrace the high calling of contending for the one true faith,

• Learn to master the evidence for Christianity, and

• Communicate Christian truth claims with clarity, confidence, and in ways skeptics can't so glibly dismiss.

"As Christians," Wallace writes, "we'd better embrace a more thoughtful version of Christianity, one that understands the value of evidence, the importance of philosophy, and the virtue of good reasoning." If we don't, we are failing our calling.

Maybe you don't need reason or evidence to shore up your faith. But consider the vulnerabilities of your family, your friends, or your fellow church members. Your children! Chances are, many among them do. Sheepdogs are desperately needed today to help protect the flock from the wolves. Forensic Faith will train you in the art and science of serving the flock as a sheepdog.


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