The Christian Broadcasting Network

Browse Videos

Share Email

Investigating the Truth of God

Homicide detective and former atheist J. Warner Wallace shares his approach to a secure faith in Jesus Christ. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Jim Warner Wallace is a cold case homicide

detective and a former atheist.

JIM WARNER WALLACE: If you told me that I was a sinner,

I would have laughed at you.

I know what sinners look like.

They're the folks I take to jail.

That's not me.

I'm a good guy.

NARRATOR: But when Jim started checking out the Bible

the same way he investigated a case,

the evidence couldn't have been any clearer.


was willing to take a step with it

and start to examine it as an eyewitness account.

NARRATOR: In his book Forensic Faith, Jim

makes the case for Christians to be case makers for Christ

and why it's vital to do so right now.

J. Warner Wallace is with us now.

Welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me.

I appreciate it.

It's so interesting to come across material

like yours or Lee Strobel--

gentlemen who set out to maybe even disprove

the Bible's authenticity and truth,

or maybe you went to it with a more open mind,

and then come out of the experience believers.


I mean, Lee's a friend of mine, too.

And I think our stories are similar, right,

in that sense that he was really trying to respond to his wife's

interest in the gospel.

And I kind of was, too.

My wife was not a believer, but I

think she sensed there was some innate value in religion

and Christianity and from her own upbringing.

So, she decided we wanted to go to church.

Our kids were very young I was working undercover at the time.

And I said, OK, I'm willing to go as an atheist

because I figured, hey, you know, I want to please her.

So I went.

And probably a lot of us go to church for the first time

because we have a believing spouse that drags us in.

I was probably blessed that day because the pastor pitched

Jesus in a way that I could catch him.

He intrigued me.

He said a bunch of things, but the thing that I remember--

the only thing I remember from that first day--

was that he said that Jesus was the smartest

man who ever lived.

And, as I read through the--

I bought a Bible.

Why did that grab you so much?

I think because I was interested in wisdom.

Basically, he also said that he was so wise

that the moral teaching of Jesus had become the foundation

for Western civilization.

And here I was working as a police officer,

enforcing the laws, that this pastor now is telling me

we're grounded in the teaching of Jesus.


Let me take a look at that and see if that was true.

And that's where I spent the first six months.

And what I was really encouraged by

was the evidential approach that Jesus

himself took in the narratives.

He would say things, like in the Gospel of John,

where he'll say, hey, if you don't believe what I just

told you, at least believe on the evidence of these miracles

I have worked in front of you.

He would allow Thomas to touch his wounds.

He would spend 40 days with the disciples in Acts 1

showing them convincing proofs, evidences.

And as I read that, I thought, wow, he

seems to be a man after my own heart in the sense

that he didn't just make proclamations

about visions he'd had.

Investigate me.


He's saying I'm here for you to see publicly

to know if this is true.

So as a cold case detective, what

was the evidence that transformed your life?

A lot of times it comes down to how we evaluate witnesses.

Can we trust-- because you can make an entire case by just

calling in witnesses who will tell you what they saw 30 years


but we have to evaluate the witnesses

to know if they are reliable.

So we have a process in place.

As I applied that process to the gospel authors,

they passed the test.

But what that did for me is it gave me a different idea

of what faith is.

I couldn't understand-- if faith was unreasonable,

if I had to believe things that there was actually

evidence that demonstrated they weren't true, then I was out.

If I had to believe things even though there

was no evidence at all I could examine,

then I was really out, too.

But if you're telling me that faith is really the step

you take at the end of an evidence trail--

because every evidence trail stops just short of perfect

and you have to make a step of trust based on the evidence.

Now, we can call that step faith,

but that's really what we're doing here.

And, by the way, every worldview does this.

Even as an atheist, I did this.

But I think now as I've examined this,

the step of faith across that unknown boundary

is much shorter for Christianity than any other worldview.

Do you think many Christians, sincere followers of Christ,

are naive to or even ignorant of the fact

that there is so much evidence for the truth of Jesus Christ?

Oh, absolutely.

I hate to say that, but absolutely.

I wrote two books before this book

where I talk about the evidence for Christianity

and the evidence for God's existence.

And as I traveled around the country

to make the case to churches, I can't tell you

how many churchgoers would come up to me and say,

I've never, ever heard any of this,

and I've been a Christian for 20 years.

Now, I think that they probably had been great Christians, too.

But there's a difference now in this generation of young people

who are walking away from the church in record numbers, who

are walking away, and when you ask them

why they are walking away, most of the largest blocks

of answers are some form of skepticism,

evidential skepticism.

We could actually address that and help this generation

if we took a more forensic approach to our faith.

What is wrong, so to speak, with a believer saying,

look, I know it's true because of my personal experience

and how Jesus has transformed my life?

Well let's play a little devil's advocate.

OK, I'm a Mormon, and I know Mormonism is true.

And I know that your view can't be true if my view is true.

But I know my Mormonism is true based on the same thing.

I was raised in the church, and I've

had an experience of the Holy Spirit that

confirmed for me that Joseph was a prophet of God

and the Book of Mormon is true.


Well, we're now kind of at a standstill.

If all we're going to do is trust our experiences,

well, every religious believer-- if I'm a Buddhist,

if I'm a Mormon, if I'm a Muslim, if I'm a Christian--

can come at it that way.

But we happen to have the one worldview that

is grounded in an historical event called the Resurrection.

If that didn't occur, none of this is true.

But it turns out we could investigate it.

And then our answer would be, well, I'm

a Christian because I've examined the evidence

and I discovered there was a man who was actually God.

God himself came to us and rose from the grave

to demonstrate his deity to us.

And on the basis of that, we can know with certainty

that we have a Resurrection coming

and that he has the power-- the words of God

are being spoken by this man named Jesus of Nazareth.

That's a very different approach.

And I think we need to know if what we believe

is transformative.

Because everyone I know who's had

all those other religious worldviews also

say they've been transformed.

The question is, what's doing it?

Is it your imagination?

What's different about Christianity.

What is different about Christianity?

The difference is this is the one evidential

theistic worldview.

Why would we want to explain it that way,

to portray it that way?

I wonder if sometimes it's laziness.

We don't want to do the work to support our belief.

I can tell you that is a part of it,

because if you want to become an expert on something--

But here's what I always argue.

All of us are experts in some area.

So if you said to me, well, my favorite team is--

whatever your favorite basketball team is--

you probably can make an argument

for why that team is going to go this far in the playoffs.

Even if you don't really believe it.

Even if you don't really believe.

But you can make a case for it.

You know who all the players are.

You spent time reading the stats sheets.

You read that sports page every single day.

You're already investing your time and energy in something.

The question is, are you investing it here?

Are you investing it in your religious worldview?

Are you investing it in the one case that

has metaphysical ramifications, or are you really investing it

in this stuff that's fleeting?

And that's where I think the challenge is.

I don't really want people to spend more time or work harder,

just work wiser.

Where does biblical context and the importance of it

come in in all this?

Oh, it's so huge, right.

Because how many times have you said,

my experience of Christianity is I get in the morning.

I open the Bible.

Wherever I happen to open it or wherever up my finger,

that's the verse that God had for me that day.

Now, I know that sounds crazy, but a lot of us do that.

And instead of saying, well look,

I'm going to read a casebook.

If I take one line of the casebook out of context,

I might convict the wrong guy.

I can take one line of his statement

and misinterpret his meaning.

I have to read everything in the context of the entire case,

know the case from front to rear.

How many times do we know people who are Christians for 25 years

but they still haven't read that scripture cover to cover?

They haven't seen the context of the fall to the redemption

through Jesus and seen the entire scope

of the Old Testament and how it's

connected to the New Testament.

They haven't even spent the time to do that.

Most of us get to Leviticus or so, and we're like, OK,

it's getting a little tough here.

Let's skip over to the New Testament.

So I think it's time for us to go back and know our casebook.


Awesome book.

I encourage you all to get it.

If you're looking to make your faith more tangible

or help others discover evidence for the Christian faith,

pick it up.

It's called Forensic Faith, and you can find it

wherever books are sold.

We thank you so much for being with us.

Thanks for having me.

Thank you for the book.

I appreciate that.


Related Podcasts | Do You Know Jesus? | Privacy Notice | Prayer Requests | Support CBN | Contact Us | Feedback
© 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network