Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace
A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith
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J Warner Wallace is a Christian author you may already be familiar with. His previous books, Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene have sold very well. His newest book, Forensic Faith, is presented as the final installment of the trilogy, all designed at making the case for the Christian faith.
This book is well worth reading. J. Warner Wallace is an engaging author, a skilled communicator, and a man on a mission. His enthusiasm for Jesus Christ is contagious. The book will challenge you in many ways, to think through how you have come to faith, and what you are doing to pass a solidly-grounded faith on to the next generation of Christians.
On The Author
J. Warner Wallace is a driven man. As a cold-case detective, his career included solving some very sticky cases through tenacity, logical thinking, and meticulous analysis of the known facts. As a convert to Christianity, J. Warner pursued a graduate degree in theology while staying in touch with his police background. His storied background, theological training, and ability to communicate clearly with creativity have all come together to deliver Forensic Faith.
A Concern For The Present With An Eye On The Future
J. Warner Wallace absolutely loves young people. Forensic Faith is distinctly a call for church leaders and teachers to adopt an active stance of engagement with apologetics, in order to ground our young people firmly in the faith. From beginning to end, the author brings up how challenges to the faith will certainly arise in the future lives of our young people and he does not want them to be unprepared or ambushed. This makes Forensic Faith a much different book than Wallace’s previous two books. While those works were written to inform, educate, and model the reasonability and connectedness-with-history of the Christian faith, Forensic Faith is written to drive changes in behavior on a wide scale. It is much harder to move people to act, than to simply move people. Wallace has his work cut out for him, with such a lofty goal. I would say that he largely succeeds in making the case for making the case for Christianity. There is no doubt that J. Warner is driven to attempt this out of love for the church at large, and young Christians specifically. He is trying to move Christian leaders in the local church to help ground young people in the real-world connections that are part and parcel of the Christian worldview.
A Distinctive Voice In The Wilderness
J. Warner is an engaging, entertaining, inspiring speaker and writer. These qualities give him a platform across a wide range of churches. He has a unique opportunity to speak with directness to churches who fail to equip their flock with a robust, distinctly Christian worldview. Forensic Faith is that directness put in print. Worldviews reach far beyond worship services emphasizing emotion or great music. A worldview is an interpretive grid to help you make sense out of, well, the world. It is a lot of work to think through what you know, how you know it, and how to talk to others about it in meaningful and engaging ways. Wallace is calling a broad range of churches to engage in exactly that – the hard but worthwhile effort of bringing the Christian worldview to light in their people’s minds and hearts.
Digging Up Old Bones
Forensic Faith is a concerted effort at being deeply evidential in its apologetic method. Some readers may be aware of previous internal skirmishes fought over apologetic method. Some may not know that history or the heat that can be generated between Christians of differing opinions. It is my hope that Forensic Faith will not be the epicenter of a new apologetic earthquake which leaves lay readers shaken by over-the-top reactions from within the Christian faith community. I wasn’t born yesterday, and I’m sure some discernment bloggers will not be able to keep their claws sheathed for very long, especially if this book lives up to the potential impact its author is shooting for. If it does, many “voices” will be compelled to make their opinions known far and wide.
Points of Concern
I do have concerns at the ease with which J. Warner appropriates his law-enforcement background and replaces biblical language with wording from his former profession. His proposal that the Christian’s life mission is “to protect and to serve”, rather than the Great Commission given by Jesus is a far reach which, I think, flattens out the richness of the Christian life we are called to by Christ. Likewise, his encouragement to replace the biblical picture of disciples as “sheep”, instead speaking of us as “sheepdogs”, is likewise concerning. I understand why he moves in that direction, but too much is lost in translation. To actively teach a robust Christian worldview is enough, without jettisoning biblical word pictures for more modern ones.
Take Up And Read
Even if you think you’ll disagree, or that you might believe differently about important points of theology than Wallace, get the book and read it. I did, and I’m glad I did. He definitely gave me food for thought and action.
I received a complimentary copy of Forensic Faith and was not obligated to write a positive review.