Tag Archives: David C. Cook

Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace

Wallace, J. Warner. Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for  a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith.  Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 224 pp. $18.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Introduction

J. Warner is a living, breathing cold-case detective with a master’s degree in theology. He lives in California with his wife and four children. His detective work has been featured on television shows like Dateline and Fox News. He has written Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene. You can follow him on Twitter where he is pretty active.

Summary

Divided into only four chapters, Wallace sets this book up as if you were a police officer sworn to serve and protect the community. This community, however, has eternal consequences for the one investigating the claims. Chapter one calls the reader out for their distinctive duty as a “Christian Case Maker.” Chapter 2 offers targeted training as the reader prepares to become part of the front-line defense of the faith.

Chapter three offers five practices to help the reader, and consequently, help others examine the claims of Christianity like every good detective approaches a tough case. The fourth chapter offers five principles to help you communicate this evidence as if you were a prosecutor on the case. Even if you have all of the evidence in your favor, you still need to be able to share it with others in such a way that the verdict you are striving after is beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are a few appendices that offer answers to common challenges as well as resource recommendations to help build your apologetic library.

Review

Apologetics was one of my first “loves” after I was saved. I have a fairly large collection of resources dealing with a wide range of apologetic topics including Geisler’s Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics and Koukl’s Tactics as two resources that I have referred to over and over.

I wish I had Forensic Faith. It is designed well with the illustrations to help cement the principles as well as the “forensic faith” boxes interspersed throughout the book that offer investigative guidelines, training recommendations, definitions, challenges, and even assignments. As a seasoned Christian and apologist (I could never get over how other Christians could not articulate what they believed and why they believed it), the principles in this book are extremely sound and written in a very memorable way.

The caution with apologetics is always the concern that one begins to believe they can argue someone into the faith. If you can convince someone they need Jesus apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, then you run the risk of making someone twice the person of Hell. Fortunatly, Wallace takes the time to explain that he is only offering a training course of sorts to help the Christian better articulate his faith. This is specifically helpful for your teenager who is looking to go to college where the Christian faith is regularly attacked and undermined and even mocked and derided.

Recommendation

If you are a youth pastor or you engage a college-age crowd in the ministry, this is a must own resource. If you want to become better equipped to defend the faith, you could not do much better than beginning with Forensic Faith. Wallace’s style is both engaging and informative and, before you know it, you will be out on the streets as it were tracking down a lead and showing all the evidence of the Christian faith and, Lord wiling, leading people to Christ.

 

God’s Favorite Place on Earth by Frank Viola

God's Favorite Place on EarthViola, Frank. God’s Favorite Place on Earth.  Chicago: David C. Cook, 2013.  208 pp.  $14.99.  Purchase at Amazon or for Kindle for much less.

Introduction

I have reviewed Frank Viola before and have always been challenged by him. Further, I have read many of his works and though I disagree with some of his applications and assessments, I have always found him to be engaging.  You can learn more about Frank and his writings at his website, Beyond Evangelical or FrankViola.org.

Summary

From the back of the book:

When He came to earth, Jesus Christ was rejected in every quarter in which He stepped. The Creator was rejected by His own creation. “He came to His own and His own received Him not,” said John. For this reason, Jesus Christ had “no where to lay His head.” There was one exception, however. A little village just outside of Jerusalem named Bethany. Bethany was the only place on earth where Jesus was completely received.

God’s Favorite Place on Earth is a retelling of Jesus’ many visits to Bethany and a relaying of the message it holds for us today. Frank Viola presents a beautifully crafted narrative from the viewpoint of Lazarus, one of the people who lived in Bethany with his two sisters. This incomparable story not only brings the Gospel narratives to life, but it addresses the struggle against doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, rejection, and spiritual apathy that challenges countless Christians today. In profoundly moving prose, God’s Favorite Place on Earth will captivate your heart with its beauty, charm, and depth. In this book you will discover how to live as a “Bethany” in our world today, being set free to love and follow Jesus like never before.

Review

This is more a work of historical fictional than a theological treatise though I am sure many would say it is a theological treatise.  What makes this work so good is the view from the “common man” concerning the person of Jesus Christ.  Frank strives to break down stereotypes as he offers the important lessons from Christ’s interactions with His friends.  This is important as we often fail as Christians to truly and genuinely interact with others.  Furthermore, Frank helps us to see that our lack of interacting with others hinders the gospel and denies the central truth of grace found in the gospel message.

As usual, Frank will step on toes and challenge common thinking.  You will probably not agree with everything he says and that is good.  What will and should happen is that the reader be forced into Scripture to better understand the Word and further be pushed to self-evaluation to see if he is living out his faith in as practical a manner as we are called.

The discussion guide at the end of the book is designed to help the reader in a private or a group setting adopt and apply the principles which Frank discusses.  The analogy of Bethany and our hearts is one that will alter (in a good way) how you read this beloved New Testament story.

Recommendation

As I stated above, I do not always agree with Frank, but I always find him to be very thought provoking.  God’s Favorite Place on Earth is just that.  I can safely recommend this book to all believers.