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

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  3,160 ratings  ·  378 reviews
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 Christia
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by David C Cook
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 ·  3,160 ratings  ·  378 reviews

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J. Wallace
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
The best book I've ever written (OK it's the ONLY book I've ever written)!

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:

1. 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 Ehr
Stephen Bedard
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is an abundance of apologetics books available, many of them saying the same thing in the same way. J. Warner Wallace offers something unique as he brings in his experience as a cold-case detective on the Christian faith. The book is filled with real life criminal cases that illustrate how we must sift through evidence and evaluate testimony. These illustrations bring out the biblical evidence in a fresh way. This would be a great book to give to a skeptic as it is very well written and wi ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
TL;DR - This book is not for the skeptic. It's for the Christian who wants to feel safe.

This book was frustrating. I need more time to reread and gather all my thoughts, but here is a brief over-view.

My mother recommended this book, hoping it would help with my apostasy. The author, J. Warner Wallace, was a detective and self proclaimed former atheist and skeptic.

First the good: The style is interesting and it's a half decent intro to hermeneutics for laymen. Even with all of the following rant
Mike (the Paladin)
This is an excellent book. Of course in the spirit of complete disclosure I am a Christian so there's no real controversy here for me.

If you've read The Case for Christ you have read a little of what's here but Mr. Wallace goes further and lays out a coherent case for each piece of evidence. He goes so far as to "track the evidence chain" to look at the reliability of said evidence.

The bottom line for belief or unbelief is that we all look at the same evidence. Some come to Theistic belief other
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian, e-books
A homicide detective's investigation into the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Overall, this was an okay read. The author attempted to collect all the historical data from documented sources, summarize such, then analyze it as if he were solving a murder case. His conclusions are generally consistent with his acknowledged Christian faith, but he does stay true to relying only on facts he believes are supported by the evidence to backup his positions. My only criticism is
Barton Jahn
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A first-rate scholarly defense of Christianity…coming from the uniquely original viewpoint of a seasoned criminal investigator…examining the New Testament “case” for its evidentiary reliability and veracity.

A must-read for anyone interested in the field of Christian apologetics…J. Warner Wallace makes a compelling argument that the gospel writers were first-hand eyewitnesses of the events of the life and teachings they wrote about, the early dating of the New Testament, and the corroboration o
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Review: COLD-CASE CHRISTIANITY by J. Warner Wallace

Author J. Warner Wallace writes in an intriguing and compelling style of his discovery of the Christian faith. He walks reader's through evidence of the Gospels, utilizing the same principles which he applied to fresh homicides during his long career, and later to cold cases, his current vocation.

Mr. Wallace's approach is easily comprehensible to readers, and following along is akin to investigating a cold case and applying the criteria of foren
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics
Sherlock Holmes would definitely be a Bible loving Christian. The Clues DEMAND it.

Of course Sherlock's nature and human desires would play a huge part in whether he embraced Jesus as his savior - or if he just embraced the truth of the Christian religion from logic and evidence (2 very different things). Thankfully J. Warner even mentions this on page 255: "Belief that" and "Belief in". What do we do with all those clues??? And how does it affect our life?

I've heard many atheists proudly declare
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before picking this up I feared it would be too similar to Strobel's The Case for Christ, but I was pleasantly surprised. They are similar — one man using his vocational experience to evaluate Christianity — but it's written in a very different voice and style. Wallace is very grounded in his time as a detective, whereas Strobel was a journalist. Wallace uses court cases as direct metaphors, and constantly keeps the focus on the reader as juror, evaluating evidence to reach a conclusion.

The firs
James Hold
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a former cold-case homicide investigator, Wallace, a former atheist, set out to show the testimony of the Four Gospels was unreliable. Instead, he came to the opposite conclusion. This book is not easy to get thru. It combines modern-day examples of digging thru the facts of murder cases with a comparative look at the writers of the Gospels, examining their perspectives and motives. Entirely convincing and believable, and a refreshing approach to all those modern believe-or-go-to-hell TV frau ...more
Ann Kietzman
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While I appreciate the author's effort to prove Christianity is true, I am not convinced he has accomplished this task. However, the book is interesting and caused me to examine my own beliefs. ...more
Dave Jenkins
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics
When detectives investigate cases they take a look at all the evidence in order to find out what happened during the crime. What would happen if a detective took all of his training both in a secular job, and his training in seminary and wrote a book? What would happen is Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates The Claims Of The Gospels by J. Warner Wallace. Mr. Wallace was formerly a devout atheist and detective who worked cold cases and writes with great knowledge about not o ...more
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a very convincing book. The author is an investigator for the police department. He spent many years investigating cold cases (old cases that were not solved)..Using this expertise, he treated the four Gospels as a cold case to draw a conclusion as to their accuracy.

In the process of doing this, this atheist became convinced that the four Gospels were true and they should be believed. As a result, he became a Christian, went to seminary, and became a Christian pastor and author.

His inve
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, apologetics
What would happen if a cold-case detective turned his skills towards examining the truth claims of the gospels? Would the Bible come up wanting? Would he expose faulty evidence and discredit their reliability? J. Warner Wallace is such a cold-case detective and he shares his findings in his highly readable book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels.

Detective Wallace did not grow up in a Christian home, attend church, or read the Bible for the first
Rachel Stephens
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I've been a Christian nearly all of my life. As the child of a Bible scholar (not the author of this book) I've been well versed in Biblical history yet at the same time, I've been aware of nearly every argument imaginable as to why the Bible is bunk.

As a sort of "crime junkie" I love reading case files and watching detective TV, so when I came across this book at a Christian bookstore, I was intrigued.

This book takes you through forensic statement analysis, how to determine when books were wr
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
While I really enjoyed the detective-based approach and learning more about that field, the book didn't flow well and made it more laborious than it ought to have been.

I'd recommend a book like Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" (and his other apologetics) over this one.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Jr.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2013
I could tell by reading the promo material for Cold-Case Christianity that this book of Christian apologetics would land firmly in the camp known as “evidentialism.” The blurbs read like a who's-who of contemporary evidentialists: McDowell (and McDowell), Mittelberg, Moreland, Copan, McFarland.

I appreciate the work done in this camp—Josh McDowell was instrumental in my own mother’s conversion, and Evidence that Demands a Verdict was on our family bookshelf my whole life. I do somet
Bill Kupersmith
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I'd not go so far as to say that every Christian ought to read this book, but all Christians should have the author's confidence that the intellectual foundations of their faith are solid, that a rational & unbiased examination of the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the biblical accounts of the life, death & resurrection of Jesus are historically probable. A book the author relies on for what he calls "expert testimony" is Richard Bauckham's Jesus & the Eyewitnesses, a book that t ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
free on kindle

A journey from casual assent to committed trust, from belief that to belief in.

As a reader, you experience the journey CSI style. As a detective and a skeptic who rejected the bible has written his account of belief in by examining ten simple principles of evidence that can change the way you look at Christianity. There are many reasons why for unbelief, other Christians (which is a cop out, we are to follow Christ; not other Christians.), the evidence of God and his authority,
Gail Welborn
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
***Veteran homicide detective teaches ten cold-case principles & how to apply them to the Bible***

Accomplished veteran homicide investigator Jim Wallace, was an “angry atheist” until he walked through the doors of Pastor Warren’s Saddleback church and met Jesus Christ. A “spiritual skeptic” for thirty-five years, he had rejected the Bible and thought Christian principles were not worth consideration until a “fellow officer” invited him to that church service.

The sermon “caught his attention” w
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
the literary style of this book was pretty interesting and I was very interested in the things the author had to say. Unfortunately I found myself not at all content with the way many arguments were made. the author seemed to treat the gospels as if they were exactly the same as eye witnesses, where the identities were known and where cross examining questions could be asked of them. the author often started with interesting insights but would then extrapolate a theory that did not at all meet h ...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
Everyone in my small group really loved this study. It gives a unique perspective on the scriptures and digs into the heart of why we can trust the New Testament Gospels as eyewitness accounts--not just because we've been told the Bible is the word of God but because of factual evidence. I learned an immense amount about the specifics of the Gospels and why they hold up under scrutiny. Wallace's background as a cold-case detective gives him a uniquely qualified perspective--he's used to examinin ...more
Leah  Hickman
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written from the perspective of a homicide detective, this book offers a reasoned defense of the gospels as eyewitness accounts. The context of the courtroom provided a helpful framework to Wallace's examination of the facts surrounding the resurrection, and the content was both interesting and faith-affirming. It's an excellent book for Christians looking to build their defense for their faith. Also, since the tone wasn't preachy or degrading to non-Christian readers, I'd recommend this book as ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith-building
I love that we have a reasonable faith! I like how this one was set up with stories that illustrated his point. I also liked how he began with quotes from skeptics. He’s not afraid to ask real questions and reminds me that Christianity has stood the test of time. This is one I would recommend.
Natacha Ramos
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
J. Warner Wallace once said that if you say you're Christian, one day someone will ask you why; it's up to us to give them answers that honor our God and our cause the most. This book helps us do just that.

Our main source of information about the life of Jesus are the Gospels, that's why skeptics attack them so merciless. If they can prove somehow those accounts are inaccurate or filled with a bunch of lies written by a group of people driven by their ambition of power, they'll remove all faith
Oct 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, 2014
Great concept. Poor delivery.

We learn more about how the detective methodology is employed than an actual result. Very disappointing. Did not finish.
Sarah Howard
Read with family at dinner time
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: apologetics
In my college years, learning arguments in favor of Christianity was a huge help to my faith. Christian apologetics provided answers to many questions I had and gave me a love of learning and reading. Over the years I have become somewhat skeptical of the utility of Christian apologetics, at least in terms of a method for sharing the gospel. That said, I still think apologetics has value and that good answers are out there.

J Werner Wallace’s book Cold Case Christianity has been on my kindle for
Karen Rettig
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
This book was fascinating. The author, J Warner Wallace, is a police detective who has spent decades solving cases, first robbery, then current homicides, then cold case homicides. He explains that eyewitness testimony does not resemble a second-hand account, and an experienced detective can easily tell the difference. A pugnacious atheist, he had always believed the gospels to be unreliable second and third hand testimony. But when he actually read them, he was stunned to find that they were ey ...more
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J. Warner Wallace is both a detective (currently working cold case homicides), a missions leader and a church planter. He started his career as a designer (earning a BFA from California State University at Long Beach and a Master’s in Architecture from UCLA). He eventually joined a law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County and has been a police officer and detective for nearly 25 years. Jim was ...more

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