When We Spend More Time Arguing About How to Make the Case than We Spend Making the Case

82I’m coming to the end of a 25 year career as a police officer; the past 15 years have been spent in homicide investigations of one sort or another and cold-case homicides have been my area of expertise for the past decade. It’s hard to say goodbye to a career that has been both challenging and rewarding. More importantly, it’s hard to walk away from a job that has been refining my skills as an investigator. It’s one thing to have been an investigator; it’s another thing to continue to work as an investigator. That’s why I am determined to stay active and help detectives and prosecutors investigate cold-cases across the county. Today I am reading a case synopsis provided by the District Attorney in an effort to provide some needed insight (if I am able) to a local law enforcement agency. It’s perfect reading on my flight to Kentucky for an event at the University of Kentucky at Lexington.

Even though I have learned a lot from my years investigating difficult cases, it’s important to continue to examine crimes to “stay in the game”. While investigative theories, principles and approaches have been critical to my success, I can’t call myself an investigator if I’m not actually involved in investigations! And at this point in my life, I’m simply not willing to stop calling myself an investigator. As I transition into the world of professional Christian Case Making (Apologetics), I’ve come to realize that there are many people who think deeply about how we ought to reach the lost and less time actually employing the principles they advance. In fact, some of us get easily sidetracked into philosophical and theoretical discussions that actually distract us from reaching the world around us.

I occasionally attend the California Homicide Investigators Association (CHIA) convention. Hundreds of detectives come together every year to talk about their cases, to learn from one another and to share principles that have helped them to succeed. We spend a lot of time talking to one another at these conventions, but we seldom ever actually solve any cases or make any arrests while we are there. These conventions are important, make no mistake about it, but they simply cannot replace the day to day work of investigating cases and making arrests. It’s one thing to talk to one another about how to crack cases; it’s another thing to actually to talk to the witnesses and suspects that will help us solve our cases.

My hope, as I shift the largest portion of my time and attention to the field of Christian Case Making, is that I spend less time talking about how we ought to “do apologetics” and more time actually making a case for the Christian worldview to people who need to hear the truth. Both activities are important, but we can’t call ourselves Christian Case Makers unless we are regularly engaging a lost world as Christian Case Makers.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene.

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