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Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

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9781434704696: Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
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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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From the Author:

I wrote Cold-Case Christianity because the historic truth claims of Christianity are under attack from every direction. If ever there was a time to study the case for the eyewitness reliability of the gospels, the time is now:

  • Anti-Christian Books Are Increasingly Influential: Books like Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great, Sam Harris' Letter To A Christian Nation, and Bart Ehrman's Forged: Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are have influenced millions of readers and challenged the essential truth claims of the gospel accounts.
  • Fewer People Identify Themselves As Christians: The number of people who identify themselves as Christians in America, for example, has decreased by over 10% in the past 20 years (American Religious Identification Survey 1990-2008)
  • Young People Are Leaving the Church in Record Numbers: As many as 70% of those who identify themselves as Christians entering college will walk away from their faith by the time they are seniors and only about a third of these young people will ever return to the Church (LifeWay Research Study 2007)
  • Intellectual Skepticism Is a Growing Problem: When young ex-Christians are asked about their reasons for leaving, the largest percentage identify intellectual skepticism or doubt as the culprit (Smith and Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, 2005)
  • The Claims of the Gospels Are Under Attack: When surveyed, young members of the church are less and less convinced that the gospel accounts are reliable. 63% don't believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead (Josh McDowell, The Last Christian Generation, 2006
It's time for a "Cold-Case" approach to the Gospels. Cold-Case Detectives investigate specific types of criminal events:
  1. Events that occurred in the distant past
  2. For which there are typically no living eyewitnesses
  3. And little or no direct physical evidence
These cases are made by examining the nature of circumstantial evidence and assembling a convincing, cumulative circumstantial case. The claims of the New Testament Gospels can be similarly investigated:
  1. The gospels record events that occurred in the distant past
  2. For which there are no living eyewitnesses
  3. And no direct physical evidence
The tools used by Cold-Case Investigators can be applied to the New Testament gospels to determine if the facts they represent are a true record of the life of Jesus.
 
I want to teach you how to be a good detective. Cold-Case Christianity will:
  • Provide you with ten principles of cold-case investigations and equip you to use these concepts as you consider the claims of the New Testament gospel authors. These simple principles will give you new insight into the historic evidence for Christianity.
  • Provide you with a four step template to evaluate the claims of the gospel writers. Cold-Case Christianity will teach you how to evaluate eyewitnesses to determine if they are reliable. You'll then be able to employ this template as you examine the claims of the gospel eyewitnesses.
  • Provide you with the confidence and encouragement necessary to make an impact on your world. As your evidential certainty grows, so too will your desire to share the truth with others. Cold-Case Christianity will equip you to reach others with the truth. 
Cold-Case Christianity will help you understand the power of circumstantial evidence, drawing on 25 years of law enforcement experience (15 years spent working Cold-Case Homicides). I'll share my personal journey from atheism to Christian certainty while describing the essential components of eyewitness reliability, abductive reasoning and the rules of evidence. You'll come away with fresh insight and the ability to articulate what you already intuitively understand from your cultural familiarity with homicide investigations. You'll also be able to apply this renewed understanding to the case for Christianity.

From the Inside Flap:

"'Cold-Case Christianity' reads like the fast-paced detective drama it actually is. The book is chocked full of interesting evidence and arguments, and it is unique among the literature in exhibiting a legal-reasoning approach to the evidence for and against historic Christianity. I enthusiastically endorse this great book and thank J. Warner Wallace for his excellent work." J.P. Moreland, Author of The God Question
 
"Cold Case Christianity offers a fresh approach to Biblical fact-finding that actually makes apologetics fun! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the evidence that backs up the Christian faith, whether you're a skeptic, a spiritual seeker, or a committed believer. Everyone will benefit from reading J. Warner Wallace's powerful new book." Mark Mittelberg, Author of The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (with Answers)
 
 "J. Warner Wallace's Cold-Case Christianity offers a fascinating angle on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. While Wallace does have experience as a former atheist--a bonus feature--he brings his expertise as a cold case detective to bear on the forensic aspects of the events surrounding the first Easter. This book is a unique contribution to the growing literature on Jesus' resurrection." Paul Copan, Author of  Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God
 
"Cold-Case Christianity is one of the most insightful, interesting, and helpful books in defending the faith I have read in a long time. Whether you are a Christian or a skeptic, J. Warner Wallace will challenge you to consider the evidence through fresh eyes. I have been studying the evidence for the faith for many years, and yet Jim helped me look at the historical, scientific, and philosophical facts in a new way. I could not recommend it more." Sean McDowell, Author of Is God Just a Human Invention?
 
"With his background as a detective, J. Warner Wallace is qualified to sift through evidence and reach well-reasoned conclusions. Jim's Cold-Case Christianity is therefore unique among apologetics resources available today: the facts of history and related evidence are examined via the same protocols that a professional investigator would follow in handling a case. Wherever one falls on the faith spectrum, Christian, skeptic, or somewhere in between, Jim's application of investigative principles in his examination of Christianity makes for a 'must-read' contribution to the realm of apologetics." Alex McFarland, Author of "10 Most Common Objections to Christianity,"
 
"WARNING: Do not start reading this book unless you have time set aside...You will NOT be able to put it down. This is a one-of-a-kind, ground-breaking book that everyone should read. J. Warner is a man who is in a unique position to investigate the claims of Christianity. He is quickly becoming my favorite apologist. 12 stars out of a possible 10!" Don Stewart, Author of over 70 books
 
"The work of an investigator requires an eye for observation and a mind to recognize its relevance. God has blessed Jim Wallace with such gifts. Those gifts have been sharpened by years of use and proved in such works as this. In the tradition of the great Sir Robert Anderson of Scotland Yard, Wallace digs for the facts and presents them reasonably." Ken Graves, Pastor, Calvary Chapel, Bangor Maine
 
"Cold-Case Christianity reads like an exciting detective novel and a textbook at the same time. Using his seasoned detective skills, J. Warner Wallace builds an incredible case that Christianity must be true. I'd love to bring him to every college campus in America to present his case and let the students be the jury." Rick Schenker, President, Ratio Christi - the University Student Apologetics Alliance
 
"J. Warner Wallace, my colleague in the fraternity of law enforcement, has made a valuable contribution to this generation and those to come. His book has the potential of becoming a classic for those seeking truth. Jim does a superb job of using the discipline and logic of a police detective as a matrix through which to examine the evidence for God, Jesus, the reliability of Scripture, and the message of the gospel. Skeptics, seekers, and committed believers will all find his analysis interesting and compelling. Armchair detectives and scholars alike will treasure this work. This book will be an important resource in my personal library." Robert L. Vernon, Assistant Chief of Police (ret.) LAPD, Founder, Pointman Leadership Institute
 
"Today Americans are searching for truth. The most fundamental truth is the reality of a sovereign God. During his journey from agnosticism to apologetics, J. Warner Wallace uses his 'cold case' investigative techniques to prove the reality of the divine. READ his book. You will not regret it." Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, Retired United States Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Author of Kiloton Threat: A Novel
 
"Detective J. Warner Wallace is as creative telling a story as he is solving a crime. This is his ultimate case, where he investigates his own personal transformation by applying many lessons he learned on the job." Robert Dean, Producer, NBC Dateline

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