J. Warner Wallace on How to Do More Apologetics at Your Church Without Boring People


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jimwallaceJ. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, a Christian case maker and an author. Jim was a conscientious and vocal atheist through his undergraduate and graduate work in Design and Architecture (CSULB and UCLA); he always considered himself to be an “evidentialist”. His experience in law enforcement only served to strengthen his conviction that truth is tied directly to evidence. But at the age of thirty-five, J. Warner took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for the Christian Worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true. Today Jim still works actively in law enforcement while writing and speaking on how to apply his “case making” skills to the claims of the Bible. Today’s episode will help church leaders wondering how to add apologetics to their ministry in fresh and new ways.

Jim Wallace // [Website] [twitter] [Book: Cold Case Christianity]

Interview Highlights //

0:00:36 //          Rich welcomes his friend Jim Wallace, author of Cold Case Christianity.

0:02:45 //          Jim shares his religious and professional background from his childhood to the present.

0:09:38 //          Jim shares his views on preparing young Christians.

0:16:23 //          Jim shares his views as a Pastor of adjusting, molding, shaping, experiencing, and through that your church should start to grow.

0:17:35 //          Jim talks amount the opportunities as you preach through scripture.

0:21:36 //          Jim mentions great examples of apologist Pastors and how it has blessed him.

0:26:48 //          Jim wants to show biblically, philosophically, and evidential to those who don’t believe.

0:27:41 //          Jim discusses case making.

0:30:49 //          Contact for Jim and his ministry.


Interview Transcript //

RICH: Well, Happy Thursday everybody, welcome to the unSeminary Podcast. This is Rich Birch, your host. Thank you so much for tuning in, we’re so glad that you’ve taken some time this week as you’re preparing, getting ready for this weekend at your church. We’ve got a real treat. Today, on the show we have Jim Wallace, author, speaker, blogger, podcaster, he does it all, Cold Case Christianity Jim, welcome to the show today.

JIM: Hey, thanks for having me. This is a neat just to be able to do this on video isn’t it? Where are we come, where we can do it’s not this radio interviews anymore or telephone, it’s awful, we’ve got Skype here too, so glad to be here. My room’s a mess but if they get a chance behind the curtain, you know, it takes the man behind the curtain so, here we go, this is how bad it looks at my house.

RICH: Nice, well Jim I appreciate you taking some time out. Jim is an apologist at Heart and we’re going to about apologetics today and, kind of, the role in apologetics in local churches and we’re trying to convince you that your church should be doing something on the apologetics front. I just want to give you a quick, kind of, history, a little bit, of how Jim and I got connected.
Before Easter, this year, 2014 about a month before we had Jim come and speak. We built a whole series called, Cold Case Christianity, based off of his book. Jim was right in the middle of that series so Tim, our lead guy started off the series, then Jim spoke on the second week, and then the third week, actually, Tom, our secondary teaching guy ended up finishing up the series.
It was, it was a, total, win for us, from my point of view, I think, Jim does a great job positioning the content of apologetics, I think, and we’ll get into that in a minute. kind of, how his take on it, I think, is very fresh, its accessible for a broad range of people, which I think is fantastic, and just even, strategically, for us it worked our serunduplicity that Jim was available a month before Easter. What ended up happening for us was we, kind of, were able to have a whole bunch of guests show up the month before Easter and then were able to invite them to come back a month later for Easter.
We know they’re not going to back next week, it takes them a couple weeks for them to come back and we ended up having the biggest Easter ever in our church history. I think a part of that was the fact that we had Jim with us a month before to, kind of, stir people in thinking about that so that’s, kind of, how Jim and I got connected but why don’t we take a step back Jim. Tell us, kind of, a little of your history, kind of, the Jim Wallace story in a couple minutes.

JIM: Well, I was really not interested in Christianity or any views related to God. Growing up my mom was, kind of, a cultural catholic. My dad was a pretty committed atheist, never spoke about the things of God. I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s when you really had a sense that Star Trek, you know that first generation Star Trek cast would, actually, have all the answers to how he got here, and where we’re headed, and what purpose we could find in life, or what’s valuable in life.

I really believe that science found the answers for those things and I stay committed in that position and grew in that position over the years and became more and more of an evidentialist. As a police officer, I got hired back when I was 27. I had a background of the arts before I came to law enforcement. I have a bachelor’s degree in design and a master’s degree in architecture.

I really thought I would be involved as an artist or as an architect and then become police officer, my dad’s, kind of, history as a police officer from the 60’s. I took his job and I became even more rooted I think. An evidential approach to metaphysical claims, let’s face it. The kind of work we’re doing is we’re making cases on the basis of evidence.

We’re skeptical people to begin with, I think, cops, that, kind of, skepticism serves us very well. It protects us, it helps us to get home at night, it helps us to make cases that are even stronger in court so that approach really became [inaudible 0:04:05.9] which I saw everything, including issues related to God’s existence.

I really didn’t take any of that seriously until I was about 35 when I was in a church, really for the first time, other than like a wedding or a funeral. A big mega-church here in Southern California, in some way, it has a sense of exuberance that really reminded me of Liquid. Liquid reminded me of this shirt because there was a sense in which a great joy there, a buzz, it was tangible, it wasn’t the thing that would draw me in.

As a matter of fact, usually, I’m pretty skeptical of that, kind of, big, kind of, carnival experience, as a skeptic as an atheist but it did get my attention. I’d never seen people like worship before at that point. Pastor was very accessible, that’s a word that you’ve used and I’ve used it a lot too on my podcasts. Accessibility is really important and this Pastor was able to pitch Jesus in a way that I could catch him. He was able to convince me that this Jesus guy was, probably, pretty smart, probably, got some wisdom, some ancient wisdom from the past that I could use, I could just deal.

I was always [inaudible 0:05:21.2] as a kid in High School, I had a sociology teacher who was [inaudible 0:05:23.6] and I was more than willing to read the writing of the hollow law. I felt like that was really good stuff that was, kind of, time embedded. If it’s lasted this many years and people are still looking at it, it, probably, as an atheist, I would’ve said ‘there is some cultural value to it.’

Long story short I started looking at the writings of Jesus, at the words of Jesus, and, of course, the problem with that or the neat thing about that, those are embedded in the historical counsel, the gospels. You really now are going to end up sifting through those historical or, allegedly, historical accounts in order to get the RAD letters and, although, I was only interested in the RAD letters, initially.

I became more and more intrigued with the structure of the accounts and the similarities I saw with other eye witness accounts where you’ve got more than one person who sees the same criminal event, reports it a certain way with lots of fuzzy details that seem to be unanswered questions but you puzzle these things together the whole account makes sense. That was happening to me as I read through the gospels and that’s what got me started. That’s a long answer to a short question.

RICH: No, no, that’s fantastic so you, kind of, roll the clock forward today you’re, actually, still active retired, kind of, with, as a police officer, right?

JIM: Yes and you’ll see there’s lots of activity in my house, I’ve got, you’ll, probably, here in the background, there’s always people here, I’ve got the DA over at my house most of the time. He’s here during the week, sometimes, just helping me to get ready for the next trial. We had a trial coming in June.

RICH: Okay.

JIM: He, after the most part, I think, I’ll be done after that trial. My formal work will be done.

RICH: Right.

JIM:But I will, probably, always, kind of, play with us in the sense that people ask me all the time for help on cases. As a matter of fact, I’ve got two emails sitting right here in my box that I really need to read.


JIM: But I just haven’t had the chance to do it to help other officers with their cases so, yeah, there’s always some work that you could do once you’ve started to do this it will make you more familiar in the business,

RICH: Right, absolutely.

JIM: trying to help.

RICH: Your passion over the last number of years has been to try to apply those lessons too. Like you said, the historical claims of the New Testament or of the Bible and to try to help people get a clear picture of what it means to follow Jesus and so, and that’s where, I guess, our world’s intersected.

We were intrigued by that and were intrigued by your approach so you’re now, you’ve written a couple books, Cold Case Christianity, is, kind of, the core one. Then you’re, also, a podcaster, it’s just super accessible. This guy cranks out content like there’s no tomorrow, makes me jealous. So let’s talk to church leaders for a minute. Now, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here.

JIM: Yeah, please.

RICH: Apologetics, it’s, kind of, a stale topic like no one is waking up the morning, none of the people in my neighborhood, my next door neighbor isn’t waking up wondering about the evidence for Jesus. Are they?

JIM: Well, a couple things about that, I think that, I’ve been through the whole spectrum of this. My backgrounds as a cold case investigator, I’ve been working these unsolved murders and that’s a certain skill set. I get that there’s not a lot of interest, maybe, in apologetics, the way it’s pitched, sometimes in some places.

For me, it wasn’t like ‘I’m going to grab onto this idea.’ This is the way I came to fate I was examining the case, became convinced of the rehabilitee of the scriptures and then had to do something with Jesus for most of the day. That was the way I came to fate, Now, I do agree with you, that there are times when it feels rather dry. It’s because people haven’t been, haven’t seen their need.

For example, no one buys a car until their old car breaks down or eats a meal until they’re hungry. The part of the problem is, is that the church, for the most part, I think, is a slate and doesn’t realize the threat, doesn’t realize, they’re, kind of, watching the culture shift and they’re wondering how it is Miley Cyrus is now doing this but they haven’t figured out what role we play as a church in that process.

RICH: Okay.

JIM: What are absence of a roll has allowed in the process and that’s when I realized for the first time, not as a new Christian, because I was just investigating the case, became a Christian, and, ultimately, I went to seminary, at Golden Gate Baptist Theological, here in the West Coast. I ended up pastoring as a youth pastor and that’s, that’s where, for the first time, I realized the situation and its step.

It’s easy for us, and me at 52, to have a certain apathy, maybe, about the challenges or the [0:09:53.3-case worker] especially, if I was raised in the church my entire life. I wasn’t but if I had, you are a 20 year old. For the first time that thing your parent would, kind of, put on you like a back pack and sent you off to college. Now, for the first time, someone’s carrying that bag, and I asked them why are you carrying that stuff? There’s no reason to carry that stuff, no one carries a back pack anymore.

Now, for the first time, young people are having to examine whether or not this is true. What we see and this anecdotally on my experience as a youth pastor. When I first started I was a big Leonard Sweet fan, I was really developing experiences for my young people.

I was in the arts so to music and visuals and this is why I’m so impressed to be honest with you with [0:10:36.2-liquid]. Two things, number one, you haven’t released, you haven’t said ‘okay’. You embraced apologetics, case making, like Christian case making.

RICH: Yeah, yeah.

JIM: You still had a very robust artistic approach to what you should do on the weekends. I had that same approach for about a year without the case making aspect. At the end of that year, my High School Seniors who graduated, they graduated from my ministry and left, kind of, toward the summer, by the middle of the summer they were gone.

After the first quarter at places like UC Berkley, Sonoma State, places like that, they came back to me at winter break, that’s ten weeks after, that’s like, you know, end of November, beginning of December.

RICH: Yeah, right.

JIM: They were already walked away from this church

RICH: Man, crazy.

JIM: they were almost done

RICH: Crazy.

JIM: in ten weeks.

RICH: Right.

JIM: I said ‘okay, I’m a terrible youth pastor, number one, what I need to do to change this?

RICH: Right.

JIM: I realized that a lot of that was a lot of that was riveted in their own intellectual skeptics. It’s a bad formula folks. It is the unprepared nature of young people, young Christians. We don’t prepare them properly, it is, too the, kind of, aggressive hostile nature at many Universities, not everyone, but many Universities and divisions in the University and it’s three, the natural desire of young people to pursue their desires.

RICH: Right.

JIM: So if you can provide me, as a 20 year old, with an alternative world view that counts for how we got here, why it’s messed up, and how we can fix it without feeling bad about sleeping with my girlfriend. That’s an easy choice. I mean, I’m going to hold on to Christianity or this alternative reasonable road that allows me the freedom to do whatever I want to do anyway and not feel bad about it.

RICH: Right.

JIM: See ya.

RICH: So true.

JIM: That’s, honestly, what really drives and now I was that guy, I was raised as a Christian, so I chased all those passions as a young man and I can see that the drive is still there amongst, we’re all fallen, we’re all like [0:12:25.5-bad guy] so that’s the dilemma we have for young people. Now, what’s it going to take for us to get excited about the foundation? That, kind of, philosophical, evidential foundation for what we believe, typically, it takes someone hitting us in the face.

RICH: Okay.

JIM: The thing that, usually, hits us in the face is when our 20 something is no longer with us. When our 20 something says ‘I’m out.’

RICH: Right.
JIM: Then I get people who come to these presentations like Al Lockwood and afterwards in the time we’re having together when I’m signing books and talking to people after church, I can’t, I had, at least, three people at Liquid come to me and say, and this is a young church.

RICH: Right.

JIM: I think it was, probably, one of the youngest churches I’ve worked with but they still had either teenagers or new somebody, ‘I want to get your book.’ This happens, all the time, by the way, Rich. ‘I want to get your book to help my daughter who’s no longer a Christian.’ I always say ‘well, you can get the book, she’s not going to read it, you’re going to give it to her, she’s going to put in on shelf.

She’s got questions but she needs you to answer those questions if you’re at dinner or you’re at the next time she comes home from break or a holiday because in the end, she’s not going to read those. We have, as the church, we have to get equipped to be able to answer the questions that our young people

RICH: Right.

JIM: or be prepared to see the exponential departure of young people from the church, although, there are churches like yours that are growing with young people, which I’m so pleased to see. By and large, across the country, that’s not what I’m seeing.

RICH: Right.

JIM: if I was to walk in to [inaudible 0:13:56.1] this is my start, usually, in every church. We didn’t have much time in Liquid as I have in other. I’ll come in that first day and say, “Hey, can I just have somebody here raise your hand and tell me why you’re a Christian. You wouldn’t believe the kinds of answers I get.

RICH: Right.

JIM: None of which are much different than the answers I get, my dad remarried, I have six brothers and sisters, they’re all LDS.

RICH: Right, oh, wow.

JIM: There all more, and I could tell you that the answers I, typically, get from my Christian brothers and sisters are just like the answers I get from my Mormon brothers and sisters.

RICH: Right.

JIM: They’re based on, hey, I was raised in a church, I pray to God, I see he works in my life. Well, these folks say the same stuff. We don’t believe that Mormon is we don’t believe the history in the book of Mormon.

RICH: Right.

JIM: And we contest that.

RICH: Right.

JIM: So, our answers ought to be, somewhat, different, I think, ultimately, than the other kinds of answers we get and if we’re really going to rely on ‘well it’s based on, truly, my, personal, experience or, purely, my history in the church or, purely, a sense I have.

That God is close to me and answers my prayer. A lot of people say that who aren’t Christians. What is going to distinguish us, evidentially, from all those other folks? That’s really the question we have to ask.

RICH: Jim, you’re getting convicting now. Now you’re getting convicting, which is good. So let’s say I’m a church leader and I’m out there and I’m like ‘you know I want to take a couple first steps, I know, doing another series on relationships, maybe, won’t, necessarily, be the kind of thing I need to do.

I need to, somehow, take some, initial, steps, whether with young people or with our adult population. What would you say to a church leader that said ‘yeah, I want to take a couple steps towards apologetics?’

JIM: Yeah, that’s a great question and I contain that I’m torn in this because I see the value. I want to tell you, the guy who reached me was a big church leader who was doing felt needs preaching. This is a big guy who everyone knows, who, basically, reached this selfish, sub focused, myopic, atheist. Like, picture Jesus as somebody who could meet a need that I selfishly wanted.

RICH: Right.

JIM: After getting my attention, though, I, quickly, figured out, by reading through scripture, that it’s, kind of, theological and evidential underpinning for all this.

RICH: Right.

JIM: I, quickly, moved away from this, I thought to myself ‘okay, that’s, but here’s the thing about it, I never bad mouthed that approach because that approached me.

RICH: No, yeah, absolutely, yeah.

JIM: So they know that, that’s an effective approach so I don’t think that, I’m not here to tell you, whatever you’re doing as a Pastor, knock that off.

RICH: No, no, no.

JIM: You just, you need to just, kind of, adjust, you mold, you shape this. A lot of what you’re doing, you should be experiencing growth in your church, you’re doing the right thing but, at some point, you want to be able to add this dimension. It’s not just, I mean, it’s like a, kind of, he just always meet somebody, this is a guy who we’ll talk about later, a guy Tim Keller.

RICH: Yep.
JIM: Whose able to do some of that but, also, then says ‘here’s why evidentially’, and this is true.

RICH: Right.

JIM: Able to, kind of, say here’s what and here’s why.

RICH: Right.

JIM: Here’s the what and here’s the why. I think a lot of what we’re doing is robustly what but it’s very, faintly, why.

RICH: Right.

JIM: So, I think, a lot of this is just taking a first it does not mean you start with a series or you’re going to evidences for God’s existence.

RICH: Right.

JIM: It’s really about, if you are in Romans and you’re in Romans 1, there’s a natural place there for some natural theology in Romans 1.

RICH: Right.

JIM: We’re going to talk a lot about actiological arguments because you’re talking about the conscious and why we all share this conscious, there’s always opportunities as you’re preaching through scripture. Just stop for a moment and think to yourself ‘if there’s an atheist in this, I want to reach in, trig that person. I also want to give a strong foundation of philosophical evidential foundation for why, it just so happens, that the world you’re living in is best described by this book we call, The Bible.

RICH: Right.

JIM: This thing I’m preaching out of really does give the best explanation for the experiences you have every day and, I think, when you see that, when you start to experience that, that’s very powerful. As I, kind of, worked as a youth pastor, after that first year, I stopped. Now, I went to the extremes, anyway I had young people, I had what 14 to 17.

RICH: Right.

JIM: So, for me, what I did, was I stopped on Sundays, that became a day of case making and we did line by line expedition on Wednesday nights.

RICH: Right.

JIM: I just shifted the focus to make sure the largest groups were, I was making a case, lots of scripture, but lots of case making on Sunday and I just wanted to be delivering literate [0:18:23.7] of what we did on Wednesdays. That was one approach that we took with you. I don’t know that, that really, now we lost a church.

At the end of that our churches merged and our two youth groups are merging together is a perfect chance for me to launch a Sail Group, a Sail Church so I was reading a lot on house church leaders, at the time, and the time and I wanted to try this. I’ve been in mega churches, middle churches, and now I want to be in a small church.

RICH: Very small.

JIM: Exactly, so for six years I ran a church of 50 out of my home.

RICH: Wow.

JIM: It was, mostly, young people, college age people, and then their parents started coming.

RICH: Yep.

JIM: But, for the most part, in that strategy, that was in all case making. Again, it was case making on weekends, why am I lying in the middle of the week. I really wanted to equip this group to, and most of those folks now, are either church leaders or have gone on and done a lot of apologetics kinds of things, training. So we’re, kind of arranging another generation of young Christians who, I at least would know, ‘hey, this guy’s not going to walk’.

By the way Rich, if a young person want to walk because they want to pursue their passion, I get that, and I always say that, “Hey, if that’s what you’re going to do, that’s fine, that’s on you. We all do those, kinds of, stupid things, that’s on you.” If you walk, though, because you don’t believe it’s true anymore, that’s on me. I didn’t do the job I was supposed to do.

RICH: Oh, wow, that’s good.

JIM: So that’s, kind of, I think, where we are as leaders, as church leaders so I hope that helps you, kind of, just, it’s different for every person but you’ve got to start. It’s really about marrying the what with the why.

RICH: Absolutely.

JIM: Again, the thing about it, I want to show you why it’s true biblically but I want to show you, also, how that, this is what you recognized of the natural world. The world without Christ, the world outside The Bible supports this notion too.

RICH: Right.

JIM: Because this is all God’s world, it just special revelation is natural of it. I want to show you special and natural are always together.

RICH: Right.

JIM: That was something I always wanted to do with my young people and, I think, as long as we’re doing that every week we are an apologetics church. We are doing apologetics every time we [0:20:29.9] people.
RICH: Absolutely. Are there any, I appreciate your, that’s one of the things I appreciate about your approach is that I do, sometimes feel, just to be, completely, honest, sometimes, some of the folks in the apologetics camp, I do feel like they, kind of, look down their nose on churches like the one you described.
Churches like ours, where we are trying to take an approach that’s accessible. We try to do that and we don’t always get it right. We, sometimes, stub our toe on that, so I appreciate that. Are there churches out there or ministries out there that you’re like ‘hey, they seem to be doing a good job on the apologetics thing?’
You gave some examples of what you’ve done in your own ministry. Are there other ones out there you’d say ‘hey, we should, maybe, look at them to learn from?’

JIM: Oh, no, I think, that’s hard if you’re looking as a church leader as seeing other examples of other, kind of, apologetics churches. I made a list and I’m going to just use my eyes over here for a sec

RICH: Yeah, that’s great.
JIM: until I get on the speaker to look at this because I want to talk about, I’ll show you some things that were pretty cool. I, actually, started to collect a list of case makers who were, also, pastors and, of course,

RICH: Oh cool.

JIM: they all know that Tim Keller’s that he’s got a great example of a church that does this and there are other examples. Matt Rolling’s in Ohio, and no one knows that it’s, probably, it because it’s still too early for Matt to make the kind of debt he’s going to though because he’s, also, one of these Pastors whose an apologist, has a daily blog, is Matt Rolling’s.

RICH: Cool.

JIM: I can think of others that are, also, out there like, Bobby Conway, great example.

RICH: Okay.

JIM: Bobby Conway’s got a, I don’t know if you know who he is, but he’s got a church called, Life Fellowship Church, in Huntersville, North Carolina and Bobby’s got a ministry called, The One Minute Apologists, where he makes an apologetic case on various issues, as close to a minute as he can on video

RICH: Very cool.

JIM: and he posts them online. There, wildly, popular, they’re, extremely, accessible, he’s had the best apologists there and he’s a Pastor, that’s his bread and butter. He’s a Pastor who’s interested in these things.

RICH: Very cool.

JIM: So, I think, that guys like Bobby Conway, like Rice Brooks and Brent would cast Steve just that, God’s Not Dead, the movie from the book that he wrote and people like Matt Rolling’s at Christ Community Church in Poor Smith, Ohio. Those are guys, I think, that are really models for us and I wrote on Cold Case Christianity, a post called, Why Pastors Ought to be Apologists.

RICH: Okay, cool.

JIM: Just go to Cold Case Christianity and google Pastors, you’ll see that list

RICH: Nice.

JIM: that, I think, is a pretty decent list of about, I’d say, 20 that, I think, are really solid and they include Tim Keller and folks like that. Mark D. Roberts over in Laky, Texas, that’s another guy who’s doing great work so, I think, that there are people out there. Now, if you’re just somebody who’s Pastoring and is going ‘how do I, you know, there’s lots of books I could read, but is there a ministry out there that has, kind of, a daily resources or an influence that will impact me.
That’s what we try to do at Cold Case, I, also, think the stand to reason, STR. org does a great job, reasons to believe at reasons, let me see, exactly, yeah, it’s at reasons.org. At corbuswilliamlanecraig@reasonablefaith. There’s another one called Frank Turrick is a really good friend of mine that I crossed examined without org. This guy is out of, I think, he and I are the most alike as I consider this guy to be one of my closest friends.

RICH: Cool.
JIM: In all of apologetics no one, to me, has blessed me as much and, of course, there’s folks like Josh McDowell and Shawn McDowell who are still out there doing this work so there’s enough resources, I think, in terms of

RICH: Right.

JIM: that doesn’t really solve our problem does it Rich. The problem, literally is, how do find a model

RICH: Right.

JIM: that we can employ as Pastors so my suggestion to you is not to change the model you’re in

RICH: Right.

JIM: it’s, simply, to start thinking in each presentation you give in front of a church is people out there are skeptical.

RICH: Right.

JIM: I want to show both why it’s biblically valid and why it’s philosophically valid even if I didn’t except the Bible.

RICH: Right.

JIM: So whatever I’m, usually, teaching on I try to show both sides. I think that natural revelation we see does affirm everything we’ve seen in our special revelation it just makes the doubter, the skeptic think ‘you know, wow, I have seen that.’ I may not be filled with scripture but I have experienced that, that’s hell bound right there.

RICH: Absolutely, we’ll link to all those resources, we’ll link to those at this blog post so people can just drop over to unSeminary and we’ll have links to all that and we’ll have a link to your post to make sure people can see all that. Any, anything else you want to share with the listeners of the show before we jump into the lightening round today.

JIM: Yes, [inaudible 0:25:09.5] so let’s see, I think, that the one thing I’d like to say to all of us who are church leaders. Okay, it’s one thing to say ‘hey you can bring some of my [0:25:17.8] in for a week, that’s helpful. Any apologetic speaker that’s helpful. You can bring in an apologetic speaker in for a series, that’s even more helpful.

There’s a relationship between how much you train and how able Christians are to hold on and, by the way, I always put this together, I used to use this is illustration of a vest all the time because as a bullet proof vest, I’ve shot rounds into bullet proof vests, I know, that they can stop rounds but until you had to stand there in the face of gunfire you just tense your body and get ready, you might have to take a round

RICH: Right.

JIM: with that vest. You just have to believe that. When you stand there now you’ve got belief in because you’re trusting in the vest to do the very thing that you know that it can do because you’ve tested it. Well, I think, all of us as Christians we want to have a rich, robust, belief in Christ but it turns out that the more we test this, the more we examine it, the more we hold it in our hands, and go through it, and take it apart, and put it back together again, the more comments we have that it’s true so, in that moment of dire need, when people are firing rounds at you you’ve, actually, had great trust in this because you’ve already tested it. I’ve see what it can do.

RICH: Right.

JIM: I know it can stand up and now I can trust in it. That’s why we’re doing this training with our churches is not because we want to end up on the wall of someone’s blog post about pastors and apologetics.

RICH: Right.

JIM: It’s because we really want our people to have a robust trust in this, even in the worst of times, which are coming. I think that we’re going to achieve that with those that we’ve trained to believe that it’s evidentially true. That’s enough preaching, go ahead lightening round, let’s do this.

RICH: Alright, well here we are in the lightening round where we ask similar questions to all the leaders who were on the show today. Super excited to have Jim Wallace with us from Cold Case Christianity. Jim, what’s an online resource that you’re using these days that’s, particularly, helpful for you?

JIM: Okay, lots of them I’ve mentioned before, a stand to reason, STR.org is very helpful for me, Reasons to Believe is, also, very helpful for me, Frank Turks cross examine very, very, helpful for me and you can go online now and buy them [inaudible 0:27:28.4] great places you can, actually, go online and get a degree in apologetics but most of which I would say are [inaudible 0:27:35.5] as there at a place go online and get a certificate and then a portion of apologetics, huge resource. Those three are big.

RICH: Nice, what’s a book you’ve read in the last six months or a year that’s had an influence on your thinking, your shaping, your ministry?

JIM: Oh gosh, okay, look, and this is coming so hang on.

RICH: Nice, look at that he’s getting it off his book shelf for the people that are listening in. Oh, he’s got a lot of them, oh. Josh there’s a lot of books

JIM: this is a really, I just want to show you how crazy he gets if you’re making a case. I just, using these here, okay, upside down, oh, great, upside down, oh, well, the point is these are the ones that are influential for me this month because I’m writing a chapter on the Evidence for God’s Existence.
The existence of, upside down, the mind, okay, so, I can tell you right now, one of the one books that I thought was just, fascinating, as a read is from an atheist wants to be known, Thomas Nagel, who wrote a book called, Mind and Cosmos, [overlap 0:28:35.0] Mind and Cosmos. If you’re looking for the insufficiency of a materialistic, world you’re naturalistic world, you can producing what we know a mind. This guy gets it and he’s not a Christian.

RICH: Interesting.

JIM: He suggests that we have to branch out our way of thinking about the world from materialism but he’s not a durist. This is not a Christian besides, the point is, there’s a lot of good thinking in here that, I think, is very true that, I think, atheists are open arms about this book, worth reading, it’s very short, very short, you can see, you can see my

RICH: It’s the bolog ear.

JIM: Bolog ear, but it’s a worth book that was written, okay.

RICH: That’s fantastic.

JIM: Go ahead ask the next one.

RICH: That’s great, alright, so if you could get 15 minutes with any leader alive today who would you want to spend some time with and why?

JIM: Okay, that’s a tough question for me because if I look at in terms like of political leaders, typically, as a cop I’m so pessimistic and have been so [0:29:32.7] over the years that it, probably, isn’t going to be a political leader, okay.

RICH: Right, right.

JIM: I would love to sit with Tim Keller

RICH: Right.

JIM: only because I have a real Pastor’s [inaudible 0:29:39.9] that offered this [inaudible 0:29:41.5] love the way he’s one of the few guys on the planet [inaudible 0:29:44.5] we talked about that but I’m so robustly and so richly joined these two efforts, I think, he’d be the guy.

RICH: Nice, very cool, Alright, so in your personal life when you’re trying to, when you’re not case making, you’re not solving some crime, or you’re not involved in this work here, what do you do for fun, how do you just, kind of, kick back and relax?

JIM: I tell you what, I spent a lot of years at multi-tasking and Pastoring while I was driving 12 hours and working 50 hours a week and during that time, I managed to hang on to the best thing in my life, which is my wife Susan. Here we are 35 years later and she is the person I spend my time with after I’m doing all this stuff. Typically, we spend it running. We love to run, just got back from the Big Seer Marathon, was it a week, two weeks ago?

RICH: Very cool.

JIM: Which is a tough marathon, by the way, my first? Not her first but yeah, we’d be spend our time running, usually.

RICH: Nice, well Jim I really appreciate you being on the show today. If people want to get in touch with you and your ministry how can they do that?

JIM: It’s easy, on Cold Case Christianity is the name of the book that really started it for me and so that’s a thing of our ministry. coldcasechristianity.com is where I blog every day, five days a week, put a podcast up every Friday night and Saturday morning. Then I put our video up every Sunday so that’s a place to reach me and you can join our email team and just, kind of, track along [overlap 0:31:03.3]

RICH: Nice, Jim I really appreciate you being on the show. Thank you so much serving our church so well. I can’t endorse you more for other church leaders. If people are looking to, a way to take a step into this would be to have Jim come to your church for a weekend and, I know, for us that was, it was, hugely, impactful. I appreciate his heart, his interaction with our team was amazing so, Jim thanks so much for being on the show today.

JIM: Thanks so much Rich, I really appreciate you and, by the way, that was a really great experience and I have saved the materials from Liquid Church because, I think, it’s a great example of how to incorporate case making into services. Wonderful job, I appreciate you guys.

RICH: Nice, thank you.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.