OK, now that I’ve embarrassed myself by writing a title for this post that brutalizes the letter “A” with reckless abandon, let me tell you that I believe this sentence to be true. Accessibility is always my personal goal as a Christian Case Maker, and I’ve tried my best to write books that are, first and foremost, accessible. I hope the accessibility of y books is more than simply be a consequence of my own intellectual simplicity; I make a conscious effort to write books that are engaging, straightforward and easily grasped. In fact, my first book, Cold-Case Christianity, was actually my second effort at writing a book. I began a year earlier and wrote two complete chapters. I gave them to my wife, Susie, and asked her for her opinion. She told me they were boring. She was right (she is always right about such things), so I shelved the effort for a year until Sean McDowell encouraged me to start once again. Susie has always been my best editor and critic. When I was in art school, she was the one person I trusted to tell me if my work was sincere or simply an effort to please the educated and elitist professors and art critics who would eventually sit on my jury. I used to tell her that she was my “untrained eye”; the one person who could tell me if my work was accessible to others or simply a self-indulgent work of arrogance. So I trusted her to tell me if each chapter of Cold-Case Christianity was readable and engaging.
Susie is good for me because she possesses the attributes of a good juror and she represents the audience I am trying to reach: smart, sincere believers and seekers who are not tracking every development in the apologetics world. There is a desperate and important need for scholars and experts; without them, none of us would have a foundation to stand upon as Christian Case Makers. But that’s not who I am, and I bet that’s not who you are either. I am a case maker; someone who wants to reach the 98% of Christians who aren’t even familiar with the notion of Christian Case Making. I’m after the folks who say, “Apologetics? What’s that?” or better yet, “Apologetics? Why should I even care about that?” I’ve often said that it’s not the expert witnesses who get to decide the fate of a defendant; it’s the twelve jurors who have been selected from the broad cross-section of our community. They are not experts, they’re just like you and me, and these are the folks that prosecutors and defense attorneys must convince.
If you’re interested in Christian Case Making (and most likely you are if you’re reading this blog or have purchased Cold-Case Christianity), you know that the Church is filled with jurors, not expert witnesses. These are the folks we need to reach and train. Even more importantly, those in the Church who are facing challenges to their faith (and are beginning to question the truth for the first time) are most likely young people. These students are also jurors rather than experts; our efforts as Christian Case Makers need to be focused on them first. The one thing I’ve learned from criminal cases over the past twenty-six (or seven) years is that it all comes down to what the jury thinks. It’s not about me and how intelligent or important I want to sound. It’s not about the prosecutor and how educated and articulate he wants to appear. It’s about communicating difficult concepts and evidential relationships in a way that makes sense to the jury; it’s about throwing the ball so they can catch it. That should comfort most of us as Christian Case Makers. We don’t have to try so hard to sound intelligent and informed. Yes, we need to be intelligent and informed, but in the end, our ideas and arguments need to be compelling and easily understood. We need to make accessibility our aim.
For more information about the nature of Biblical faith and a strategy for communicating the truth of Christianity, please read Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. This book teaches readers four reasonable, evidential characteristics of Christianity and provides a strategy for sharing Christianity with others. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Forensic Faith DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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