When picking a jury for a homicide trial, it’s important to try to pick folks who will fairly examine the evidence without a pre-existing emotional or volitional bias. Good jurors are able to set aside their partialities and presuppositions in order to evaluate the evidence fairly. There’s a strong parallel between the characteristics of a good juror and the characteristics of a Good Christian Case Maker (I’ve written much more about this in my book). Let me tell you what I look for in a juror, and help you see why the characteristics of valuable jurors are similar to the characteristics of valuable Christian Ambassadors:
Good Jurors Are Smart Jurors
I investigate complicated cold-cases. They’re difficult to assemble and they involve complex relationships between circumstantial pieces of evidence. I need jurors who are smart enough to be able to understand the relationships and inferences.
Good Jurors Are Humble Jurors
The last thing I need is a juror who thinks he or she is an expert in some aspect of the case. We’re going to call expert witnesses to the stand and we need jurors who are humble enough to evaluate what these experts have to say, without thinking that they know better (when they actually don’t).
Good Jurors Are Passionate Jurors
More than anything else, I need jurors who give a darn. I want people on my panel who are excited to uncover the truth, are glad to be there, and are appreciative of their opportunity. Apathy is extremely dangerous on a jury panel.
That’s it really. There are more attributes of good jurors that I could list here, but these are the most important characteristics, and I think these attributes will serve us well as Christian Ambassadors and Case Makers. We need to be smart; not just in terms of our ability to absorb and comprehend the arguments and evidences related to the claims of Christianity, but also in our ability to understand how to navigate our conversations about these truths. We need to be humble; there are many dimensions and fields of Christian Case Making. While I may possess some expertise in one area of research, I need to recognize my limits and rely on the work of others (more on that in my next post). Finally, we need to be passionate; if we are apathetic about our opportunities to examine and articulate the faith, we will fail to act at all.
Passion is perhaps the most important of these characteristics; it’s the one attribute I find most lacking in the Church as I begin to travel around the country speaking on these issues. Most of us are not passionate about Christian Case Making. We fail to recognize the calling of 1 Peter 3:15-16 on our lives. We’re not excited about it. Apathy is dangerous on a jury panel but it’s even more dangerous in the lives of those who have been given the truth of the Gospel. The stakes are so much higher. Jurors have to come to a decision about matters involving the temporal life of a defendant. Those who examine the claims of Christianity are making a decision about their eternal life with God.
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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