How do you answer this basic question: “Why are you a Christian?” In his latest book, Forensic Faith, J. (Jim) Warner Wallace challenges Christians with this central question. He appeals to believers to provide an answer that isn’t simply based on a personal experience, but based on what he calls a “Forensic Faith,” which is a faith that rests on solid evidence.

When Jim asked me to review his third book in the trilogy of books he’s written about evidential Christianity, I was honored and challenged at the same time. I’m honored because I was one of his first students at Biola (and he still remembers me!), but I was challenged because I’m the type of Christian Jim focuses on—one who based my entire Christian faith on a personal experience. Jim has been instrumental in converting me from an “experience-only Christian” to learning evidenced-based Christianity. This knowledge now better equips me to obey the Great Commission.[1]

Jim and I have two things in common: we’re both Christian apologists (defenders of the faith), and we were both raised in non-Christian homes. Yet, how we came to believe in Christ couldn’t be farther apart!

Jim came to the faith through the evidences of Christianity. As a retired cold-case detective, that professional career trained him well to look for the truth in cases that had little to no hard evidence. He mostly solved crimes from personal eye-witness accounts of events that took place decades ago. He eventually took these same detective techniques and applied them to the New Testament Gospel stories, figuring he’d disprove them. However, his investigative background led him to believe the eye-witness accounts in the Gospels. Jim became a Christian based on the evidences of the eye-witness testimonies as described in the New Testament, as well as other credible, historical sources. He now calls himself an “Evidentialist.”

On the other hand, I came to the faith in exactly the opposite way. I felt what I now recognize as God’spresence when reading the Book of John in the New Testament, and came to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior because of this ‘experience.’ And I am exactly the kind of Christian Jim wants to reach with his new book, Forensic Faith.

Because I knew there must be more to my faith than just my experiences, I enrolled in Jim’s very first course he taught at Biola University, when his first book came out, Cold Case Christianity. I enjoyed that book because I found out why my experiences with God were based in truth—evidences that no other world faith could claim. I learned that Christianity is falsifiable: which means, you can show it to be false or true (and it’s true, of course!).

Jim made the case for the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. Just like the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:14, the entire Christian faith rests on this pivotal event. If it didn’t happen in history, then all Christians are believing a lie. However, if it did happen in history, then that is the ‘evidence’ needed to show that putting one’s faith in Jesus is a reasonable decision.

I sat there, mesmerized as I listened to Jim’s lecture. Yet, I was troubled. I popped my hand up and asked: “What about my experiences with God? Isn’t that proof enough to put one’s faith in Christ?” He chuckled, and answered that he gets this question all the time. But how Jim answered this question stopped me in my tracks. He said, “The members of every religion seem to give the same answers about having ‘an experience’ that made them believe.”[2]

Mic drop—boom! I suddenly realized why Jim was so adamant in teaching the evidences of Christianity. A clear majority of believers from any religion can claim they had ‘an experience,’ which is why they put their faith in anything. Christians need better answers! We need to show that an experience, although sincere, is not enough. We need evidence.

What Forensic Faith teaches is that religious experiences are common, but not sufficient for placing one’s faith in a set of beliefs. There needs to be more than just experiences because many claim to have experiences, so why should someone believe a Christian’s experience over that of a so-called Unicorn worshipper?

Contrary to popular thought, not all religions are the same. Many make entirely contradictory claims about things like who Jesus is, or how salvation is found. Jim shows in Forensic Faith how some religious claims are wrong, or some could be correct, but given the contradictory claims, all religions can’t be right.[3] For example, Islam teaches that Jesus did not resurrect; whereas, the entire Christian faith states emphatically that Christ did rise again in a new, resurrected body. Both of these statements cannot be true; one must be false.

Today, if someone asked you why are you a Christian, how would you answer? If you told them about your experiences, they may smile and think that’s nice, but it doesn’t prove your experience is any truer than that of a Buddhist or a Muslim. Therefore, you should have a better answer. Reading Forensic Faith has the resources you need to give better answers.

We live in a culture rampant with “fake news,” skepticism, and people believing that religious truth is a matter of opinion, not fact. Believers need to provide solid reasons why Christianity is true, despite what the culture claims. We need to be like the people of Issachar who, “understood the times and knew what the people of God should do.” (1 Chronicles 12:32.)

J. Warner Wallace has a passion to reach churches all over the globe with the excellent resources he’s made available in Forensic Faith. His writing style is clear and concise, not overly academic, and he uses cool graphics he created to emphasize his points. I would encourage you to pick up a copy, comb through its resources, and develop a Forensic Faith to teach those you lead, or for personal, spiritual growth. Jim made an 'evidential believer’ out of me, and he can you, too! Click To Tweet

Christians need to know the evidences about their faith to show that putting one’s faith in Christ is not a “blind faith,” but one that is backed up with solid evidence. Forensic Faith has the information that you need so that next time someone asks you why you are a Christian, you will be able to reply, “Because it’s true. Let me tell you why…”

 

 

 

 

[1] The “Great Commission” is a term used to describe what Jesus told His disciple to do before His ascension into heaven—to go and make disciples of all people (Matt. 26:16-20).

[2] J. Warner Wallace, Forensic Faith (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2017), 22.

[3] Ibid.