Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Practical apologetics: conversations and interviews

Cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace has a new post up at Cold Case Christianity.

Excerpt:

Most of us are familiar with these kinds of interactions. Conversations are two directional; they involve a dialogue between both parties. Most of my professional interactions with anyone begin this way. In the early part of my interaction, I want to build relational bridges with the people I engage.

[...]I began to eat meals with the people I arrested. After taking them into custody, I would often ask them if they were hungry, and if they were, I would order something and make sure I ate with them in the interview room. I recognized that many of God’s most important conversations with humans have been over a meal (the Lord’s Supper is the most powerful example of this). We don’t eat with people we don’t know well, and a simple meal can unite two people in a way that few other settings can achieve. Once my heart was broken for people, I was actually willing to eat with the people I arrested. The conversations we had were powerful, even though they weren’t directed intentionally at the issues we would later cover together. Conversations are benign interactions between two people who share something of themselves with the person they are engaging. Be prepared to open up a bit and share something personal if you expect the other person to do this with you.

At some point, conversations turn toward interviews. In an interview, one person begins to probe more deeply into an area by asking specific questions related to that area of interest. Something is usually mentioned in the initial conversation that triggers a line of questioning. When we begin to probe this aspect of the conversation, we are slipping into interview mode. Interviews are not antagonistic, they are simply inquisitive. My questions are not pointed at this stage of the interaction, they are simply curious and directed. My goal is to establish a baseline from the person with whom I am talking. What do they believe? What did they see? What did they do? What happened next? If I am talking to a witness, I am simply trying to collect data. If I am talking to a suspect, I am trying to establish a preliminary story and baseline that I can then compare to later statements and evidence I have at the scene.

I favor the interview approach. Go in there with a list of questions. Buy them lunch or dinner. Ask the questions. Don’t respond to them or argue with them. Think of how you would respond.Write a blog post. Send them the blog post before you publish it to check it for accuracy. Then publish it so everyone else can see.

By the way, Wallace’s new book on apologetics is now available for pre-order.

Here is the description:

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 Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity.
A unique apologetic that speaks to readers’ intense interest in detective stories, Cold Case Christianity inspires readers to have confidence in Christ as it prepares them to articulate the case for Christianity.

His book is not a general apologetics book with lots of science and philosophy. It is a homicide detective’s look at the historical accounts about the life of Jesus. This might be a good book to pick up if you want to present Christianity from a practical point of view. Everybody likes mysteries and detectives, after all.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , ,

Two great podcasts from J. Warner Wallace of Please Convince Me

J Warner Wallace and Please Convince Me

J Warner Wallace and Please Convince Me

Please Convince Me is my absolute favorite podcast. The host, J. Warner Wallace, is a cold case homicide detective. He has a real job! And he talks about Christian things like you might expect a detective to talk – everything is logic, case-making and evidence. Very cool.

Why Being Respected Is Better Than Being Liked

The MP3 file is here.

The most interesting segment starts at 8 minutes and ends at 21 minutes in.

Topics

  • humans have an innate desire to be liked and to fit in with their peers
  • there are times when our desire to do what is right will conflict with the desire to be liked and to fit in
  • 1 Peter talks about how Christian living in the world will often have these conflicts
  • Christians have a different standard and that creates conflicts with the surrounding culture
  • at times like this, it is important for us to be RESPECTED rather than LIKED
  • being a Christian conflicts with the goal of being popular
  • two ways for us to proceed: 1) agree with others, 2) be who you are and let others agree with you
  • James also says that there is a conflict between being friends with the world and friends with God
  • you cannot have both friendship with the world and friendship with God
  • even non-believers understand that there is a conflict between morality and the hedonistic culture\
  • courage is needed in order to resist the pressure to embrace the beliefs of others in order to be liked
  • courage is needed in order to point others to the truth so that they change to match what is true
  • politicians often change their positions in order to appeal to the culture
  • politicians seem to shy away from trying to argue through why others should accept their positions
  • we should seek to influence others by explaining why others should accept what we believe
  • we should have the courage to make the case for what we believe
  • even if people do not accept our beliefs, they will still respect the way we can make the case
  • they will respect our courage in being willing to prepare a case and make the case in public
  • they will respect that we have not formed our beliefs based on feelings
  • we need to get better at knowing more stuff and communicating that knowledge better
  • wanting to be popular is too easy
  • we should take the harder path and desire to be respected instead of liked

Other topics from listeners:

  • the interpretation of “thou shalt not kill” in the Bible
  • can a person still be a Christian if they are not doing works, like tithing or serving in the church?
  • theistic evolution and the presumption of naturalism in science

And here’s another good podcast – it’s on the same topic as the PCM post I linked before.

Stop Teaching Young Christians About Their Faith

The MP3 is here.

Topics:

  • our nation is becoming more and more secular
  • secularism makes it harder for us to defend our faith and values in public and influence the culture
  • why is secularism happening? it’s because young people are walking away from the faith
  • young Christians are leaving the faith in high school and college
  • this is where the real battleground is – and that’s where apologists need to focus
  • we need to be focused especially on junior high school and high school, and to a lesser degree college
  • it’s good that we have lots scholars working physics, philosophy and biology
  • but what we really need is ordinary Christians to get serious about apologetics and work on young people
  • some people believe that there is no great youth exodus problem: are they right to doubt the statistics
  • it’s undeniable that young people are inarticulate about their faith – that much is certain
  • what young people in church actually believ is not Christianity, but moralistic therapeutic deism
  • young people: life is about feeling good, being liked, and nice people of all religions are saved
  • young people think that there is so little substance to Christianity that it can’t even be discussed
  • the focus among young people today is not on true beliefs, but on being kinds to others
  • even in churches, there is higher respect for helping others than on having knowledge and evidence
  • instead of focusing on the worldview that grounds good works, the focus is on good works
  • young people have learned to minimize discussions about specifics of theology
  • teachers and college professors are hostile to public expressions of evangelical Christianity
  • television is also hostile and much less Christian than it used to be
  • even if young people come back to the church, they come back for the wrong reasons
  • the adults come back for tradition and comfort but they don’t really believe Christianity is true
  • they want to pick and choose what they believe based on what they like, like going to a buffet
  • they return to church when they have kids so that their kids will absorb values – but not truth
  • that’s what we have sitting in the pews: people who think Christianity is false, but “useful”
  • and that’s why so many christians are so liberal on social values (abortion, same-sex marriage)
  • they don’t really accept the Bible as authoritative, they pick and choose what they like and don’t like
  • if Christianity is taught as “useful” then they will dump it when they find something more “useful”
  • people who leave the church are exposed to Christianity, but it doesn’t stick
  • young people lose their faith before college, and then when they escape the nest, they act it out
  • the disconnecting from the faith occurs in high school, but it only becomes public after they leave home
  • young people are becoming more focused on redefining “the good life” with consumption and materialism
  • the typical experience of young adults involves alcohol use, drug use, and recreational sex
  • young people actually want more than niceness – they want real answers to serious questions
  • young people have doubts and questions, but no one in the church or home is equipped to answer them
  • adults have to be involved in the education of young people
  • parents who are engaged in teaching their children Christian truths see much better retention rates
  • we need to stop teaching people (one-way preaching) and start training them (two-way interactive)
  • when you give a young person a definite goal – a fight with a date certain – then they will be engaged
  • when people know that they will fail unless they can perform, then they will be more engaged in learning
  • church needs to be in the business of scheduling battles, and then training young people for the battles
  • there is no sense of urgency, risk and purpose in young people, so the teaching is not effective

I’m absolutely sure you will love these podcasts. Give them a listen! I’m pretty sure that he will put me in jail if you don’t listen to them. So, um… please do!

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday night detectives: one episode of Hercule Poirot

Tonight, I’ve found us “The ABC Murders” – an Agatha Christie mystery with detective Hercule Poirot.

IMDB mean rating: [8.6/10]

IMDB median rating: [9/10]

Description:

Hastings returns to Britain after a long absence to find Poirot anxious for a new case which will challenge his gray cells. Poirot quickly gets his wish in the form of taunting letters from a serial killer who has dubbed himself ABC and who leaves an ABC railroad schedule at the scene of each crime. The victims as well as the crime scenes appear to be chosen randomly, but maintain an obsessive adherence to alphabetical order.

This is the highest-rated Hercule Poirot episode – the series ran for about 10 years. Don’t miss it!

Happy Friday!

Related posts

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Friday night detectives: two more episodes of Sherlock Holmes

Jeremy Brett is the best Sherlock Holmes ever.

Here are 2 episodes of “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”.

The Blue Carbuncle

IMDB mean rating: 8.5 / 10.

IMDB median rating: 9 / 10.

When the Countess of Morcar’s priceless blue carbuncle is stolen, a reformed thief is charged with the crime.

Silver Blaze

IMDB mean rating: 8.1 / 10.

IMDB median rating: 8 / 10.

Holmes investigates the disappearance of a champion racehorse and the murder of its trainer on a lonely moor.

These are considered to be two of the best Sherlock Holmes short stories.

If you like these two, there are two more linked in the related posts! (Links fixed)

Happy Friday!

Related posts

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , ,

Friday night detectives: two episodes of Sherlock Holmes

Jeremy Brett is the best Sherlock Holmes ever.

Here are 2 episodes of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”.

The Speckled Band:

The Red-Headed League:

These are considered to be the two best Sherlock Holmes short stories.

Happy Friday!

Related posts

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , ,

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