Book Plunge: So The Next Generation Will Know

What do I think of Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace’s new book published by David C. Cook? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is not your typical apologetics book. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it an apologetics book. If you want to know if God exists, you’re wasting your time coming here. If you want to know if Jesus rose from the dead or if the New Testament is reliable, look elsewhere. If you want to know if you should wait until marriage to have sex, come back to this one later on.

Yet despite that, this is still a very important book for apologetics.

Why? Because this is dealing with Generation Z, a generation many older people will not really know how to interact with. For Z, 9-11 has always been a reality. Either they were born after it or they were born in a time when they couldn’t really know what was going on when it happened. This generation has grown up with internet that you don’t have to dial-up to use. This generation has grown up with smartphones. As a gamer, I can even use one of the images that I think of when I see the younger generation of gamers coming up.

If we talk about gaming, in my generation, you had to do something like read Nintendo Power, or once a month or so call a long-distance (GASP!) line that charged to get tips you needed to win or talk to kids on the playground. Not so today. Nope. You just get on Google and look up what you want to do or watch a YouTube video where someone shows you how to do it.

Generation Z is also looking for real relationships and real answers. These are people that won’t answer a question with “I don’t know” but “Let me Google that for you.” They can fact check what you say right on the spot. It doesn’t mean they will do a good job of it necessarily, but they can try. This is a generation that will talk to you while on their phone and not think a thing about it. (Okay. I’m 38 and I will do the same thing so it’s not totally different.) This is a generation that is quite literally, plugged in.

Wallace and McDowell have written a book about how to reach them. This is something that if you are a youth pastor should be required reading. Parents should also learn about this generation and the realities that they grow up with. This generation needs to know the Gospel as well, especially since our society is becoming more and more post-Christian.

The book is a guide on how to best interact with this generation in the home, in the school, and in the church. McDowell and Wallace have experience as well having gone on trips with these young people and having had jobs where they were in touch with them and working with them. They talk about the way to build up relationships and do so in a way that the youth will actually listen.

As someone on social media, I see many people coming up who I think are in generation Z and some are Christians and apologists like myself. Some are also non-Christians and antagonistic towards Christianity. I can still notice the differences in our approach. It still amazes my wife and me when we both talk about “kids today” realizing we’re doing what our parents did and wondering when we became them.

If you are in youth ministry, get this book. If you are in a pastorate, get this book to learn how to interact with those younger people. If you are a parent, get this book. If you care anything about the next generation, get this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters


Book Plunge: The Case For Miracles

What do I think of Lee Strobel’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Lee Strobel holds a special place in my heart. It was his books that really lit my fire in the area of apologetics. Not only does Strobel present great information, he also does it while introducing you to the best scholars in the field so you know where to go to next for more information. It was through him that I came across scholars like Craig Blomberg, Ravi Zacharias, Peter Kreeft, J.P. Moreland, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, Ben Witherington III, etc.

This book is no exception, though in some ways it is quite different. One obvious way is that it does start off with interviewing a skeptic. The interview is with Michael Shermer. While Shermer is a lot nicer and more real than many other skeptics, many of his arguments are really just as weak. As I read through the chapter, I kept thinking that if this is one of the leading faces of skepticism, then we’re in good hands.

Still, I think it’s a good change to have taken place. I would like to see in his books Strobel interviewing both sides. It’s also quite impressive to realize Strobel resisted the urge to be a debater with Shermer and just let him speak.

From there, Strobel goes on to interview other scholars. Big shock that on this topic, the first person on the list is Craig Keener. Keener wrote an epic two-volume work on miracles called Miracles. Anyone skeptical of the reality of miracles should read it. The good news is if you have read it, you will find still new stories in this one. Craig Keener has more miracles and I understand from my interactions with him that he collects them regularly now.

The next interview is with Candy Gunther Brown on prayer studies. Now I will say that these kinds of studies have never really convinced me. There are too many variables that can’t be tested and you’re dealing with a free-will agent. What is much more convincing with prayer are testimonials like the ones Brown talks about where she goes to third world countries and sees people being healed after they are prayed for in the name of Jesus.

Other interviews on topics related are J. Warner Wallace on the resurrection and Michael Strauss on the origins of the universe. Both of these are interesting and to be expected. Both are also highly enjoyable chapters.

Roger Olson was a chapter that was really convicting. The chapter was on being ashamed of the supernatural and while I don’t care for the term supernatural, the point is still there. We often pray for wisdom for doctors in operations instead of for healing. It’s as if we expect God to not do miracles. This really caused me to look at how I approach prayer.

Then there’s the chapter that could be the hardest one to read in the book. This is the chapter about what about when miracles don’t occur. Douglas Groothuis is the person interviewed for that one. His wife Becky had a disease that was killing her memory and brain function bit by bit. Sadly, Becky has since the time of publishing passed away. Groothuis is there to remind us that miracles don’t always occur and how to handle it.

If there was one chapter I would have liked, it would have been one on the philosophy of Hume. Keener touched on that some, but he’s not a philosopher. Perhaps it would have been good to have had someone like John Earman as an interview to talk about it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/15/2017: J Warner Wallace

What’s coming up Saturday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Why is the sky blue? Why are plants green? Where do babies come from? Yes. We all know that kids like to ask questions, and they have a lot of them. This also includes questions about Christianity. It is going to be necessary that we answer these questions of an audience that is younger and younger.

Not only do we have to answer these questions, we have to teach people how they are to be answered. How do you go and investigate a matter? If you have questions, what’s the best way to think through those questions? How do you solve the proverbial case?

When it comes to solving a case, there’s none better than J. Warner Wallace. When it comes to equipping kids now, he’s got you covered. J. Warner Wallace has come out with Cold-Case Christianity for Kids and that will be the subject of our interview. This is a resource to help your children be able to learn how to answer questions. So who is J Warner Wallace?

I’ve been speaking publicly for over 15 years, from small seminars to keynote appearances at major national events. My investigative work as a detective has been highlighted on local and national television programs like Dateline, Fox News and Court TV. In fact I’ve been on Dateline more than any other detective in the country. I also host a weekly television show on NRBTV and appear in God’s Not Dead 2.

I have an interest in the arts and attended California State University at Long Beach, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Design. I then earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture from UCLA. As a result, my presentations are designed to be powerfully visual in nature. I try to use my background as an artist to communicate difficult concepts in a captivating way.

I served as a police officer and detective for over 25 years. I worked as a Patrol Officer, served on a street level narcotics unit and SWAT, worked the Gang Detail and a career criminal surveillance team, and eventually became a Robbery / Homicide Detective. I have been investigating Cold-Case Homicides exclusively for many years. As a result, my presentations employ the techniques that I’ve learned as an investigator. I try to use my background as a detective to teach audiences about the nature and power of evidence.

I was a committed atheist until the age of thirty-five, but once I became a Christian, I quickly became interested in Christian theology. I entered seminary at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies (I am presently an Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at BIOLA University). My presentations are rooted in the classic, orthodox truths of Scripture. I try to use my background as a pastor to encourage audiences about the reliability of the Bible and the evidence for God’s existence.

I’m also an author. I’ve contributed articles to the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, and I’m the author of Cold-Case Christianity (and the related booklet, ALIVE) and God’s Crime Scene. I’m presently working on my third book and a series of children’s books. I’ve been with my wife, Susie, for thirty-seven years; we have two boys and two girls. In our spare time we run, enjoy the beaches near our home in Southern California and take walks our trusty Corgi, Bailey.

If you have children and you want to see them equipped, please be listening to this week’s show. Even if you don’t, the book can be good for all ages, perhaps if you’re just getting started. I hope you’ll be watching your feed and please leave a positive review on ITunes of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Cold-Case Christianity for Kids

What do I think of J. Warner Wallace’s book published by David C. Cook publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

J. Warner Wallace has extended his work on Cold-Case Christianity and made a version for kids. This one is full of pictures and short. I literally read it in an evening. Of course, for my purposes, that probably isn’t the intended use. It’s more intending for kids to read through with their parents and then discuss. There is a website going with it as well.

In the book, Wallace invites you to join with one of his former mentors, Alan Jeffries. You’ll be investigating the case of a lost skateboard that was found. Who was the owner? This will also be how you investigate the case for Christianity. Did Jesus rise from the dead?

The terminology is simple and easy for kids to follow around and the pictures are going to be helpful as well. Parents will have a good resource to discuss these questions with. I am also quite thankful that this has taken place because children need an education in this at a younger and younger age.

The case will also involve several young kids all coming together and they all have different approaches to the question of Christianity. Jeffries, the main detective in the book, will not tell the kids the answers. He will instead lead them to the answers. It’s quite fascinating how the story of the skateboard and the story of Jesus all tie together.

For positives, like I said, the book is short. Parents wanting to review the material in advance so they can discuss it will be able to do so quickly. With a website involved, this makes the book more interactive and in that sense, I hope it would be more capable of keeping a kid’s attention. Perhaps if he hasn’t done it yet, J. Warner Wallace would even consider an app for this since so many even young kids have smartphones these days.

The book is also easy to understand. It won’t speak over the heads of the kids and the idea of the skateboard case will help them along on their mission. As they think about the skateboard, they will see how it does tie into the investigation into Jesus.

For something, I’d like to see different, I was hoping that there would be a section pointing out works by others that the kids could read. Even if not for kids, parents reading this could be pointed to several backup materials that they could use. It could even be referred to as “Work by other detectives in the field.” Wallace had a similar ending at the end of his original Cold-Case Christianity. I think such an addon would have been quite helpful for either younger readers or parents looking for more with their children.

Still, the content in here is quite good and something helpful for kids and does draw them in with a story. I want to think my friend J. Warner Wallace for sending me a copy of it. I hope this will equip young children as they go into an increasing hostile environment to start sharing truth at a younger and younger age.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: God’s Crime Scene

What do I think of Jim Wallace’s latest book published by David C. Cook publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deepest Waters and find out.

I consider J Warner Wallace a friend of mine and I was pleased to see he wrote a new book. Upfront, I’ll say scientific apologetics for the most part I don’t really find very interesting. I find science items quite interesting at times and I find I have questions raised when I read things about science for both sides of the atheism/theism debate, but for the most part, I just don’t get convinced. I also have a concern that we live in a scientism culture and if we marry everything to science, what will happen when the science changes? Hence, I prefer to go with metaphysics that has lasted through the years to demonstrate theism, but let’s talk about Jim’s book.

Jim’s book is written in an attractive format and for the most part it’s easy to follow. While it has a lot of pages, many of these also have illustrations so the book is not as large as it first appears. It’s written in a good chronological format that will help the reader go step by step. I suspect if one had just one issue in mind, that each chapter could be read in a stand-along fashion. Wallace also does not ignore the opposition and he does cite the people who disagree with him and includes them as expert witnesses.

Yet one of the best aspects is that each chapter starts with a story that will draw the reader in. Many of us love mysteries. I know I do. I have been disappointed for instance to find that he Monk mystery series has apparently come to an end. Wallace begins each chapter talking about a crime case that he’s covered and uses that to explain the data. It’s a wonderful illustration, although be warned that there are some crime scenes that you don’t want to hear the description of. Some will also just break your heart especially, like hearing about the deaths of children to violent crime.

Also, while I do not care much for science, there are other areas talked about such as a case for dualism or the case for the argument of objective morality. There’s also the answer to the problem of evil. These are definitely areas that I find more interesting and was pleased to see them discussed.

Now here are some things I would like to see improved if a second edition comes out.

I would like to see more emphasis on the metaphysical arguments that demonstrate God’s existence. I think it’s a shame that Protestants have tended to remove themselves from the classical arguments used by Aquinas. These are excellent arguments that have stood the test of time and do not depend on the science of the day. Another area I would like to see is the addressing of the question that I always get from atheists that I never saw mentioned in the book and that would be “Well you’re telling me God created the universe. Well who created God?” Now I think this is a question that needs to be answered, but not the defeater that many atheists think it is and yes, I think the Thomistic arguments answer it well.

Still, I would hope that Wallace’s book would do what I think he most wants it to do. Start the conversation. That’s why Wallace includes resources on both sides of the argument at the end of the book. Not convinced by your immediate reading? I think he would understand that and in some ways appreciate it. By all means go and look at the evidence, but consider this a book that can get your foot in the door. Again, while I do not speak as an authority on matters of science as science, I think the discussion is interesting and while I am not one much for scientific apologetics, if you are, this is a book you will want in your library. Wallace has done extensive research to make his case just like any good investigator. Being a good juror, you owe it at least a listen.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 7/6/2013

What’s coming up on this week’s podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Our boys in blue have always been known for putting away the bad guys behind bars and protecting the populace. While most of them go after physical crimes, there was one that decided to also take his skills of investigation and go after intellectual crimes, that is, false ideas floating around concerning Christianity. This was as a result of his using his detective skills to answer the greatest cold-case of all time. Did Jesus rise from the dead?

That should be enough to tell you who my guest is this week. If you don’t already know and you’re enthused about Christian apologetics, then this is someone that you definitely need to know. He is the newest member of the Stand To Reason Family. He is the producer of the Please Convince Me web site and podcast. He is the author of Cold-Case Christianity.

That’s right, my guest is Mr. J. Warner Wallace.

I’m quite excited to have him as a guest on the show as I’ve found him to not only be a great defender of the faith, but a good friend as well. J. Warner Wallace is a really down to Earth guy who has a passion for what he does and that passion extends especially to the youth of today.

As many of you know, the youth of today concern me greatly. So many of our Christians are falling away by following just one click. A young man can be on YouTube listening to his favorite Christian video and see a link to an atheist video in the related links and there gets that objection he’s never been told about in school.

All it takes is just one click.

It’s for reasons like this that J. Warner Wallace wrote his excellent book “Cold-Case Christianity” which we’ll be spending a good deal of time talking about. Cold-Case Christianity is one of those entry level books that is going to be for this generation what Case for Christ was for an earlier generation.

Cold-Case Christianity has the advantage of not only giving you good information, but also about giving you proper thinking tools when examining evidence. In other words, you don’t just get the answers, but you get told how it is that one is supposed to be able to reach those answers and what mistakes to avoid.

The book is so good that when I begin teaching through Skype for a church up north this month, it’s going to be the textbook that I’ll be using.

The Deeper Waters Podcast, as I hope you know, airs from 3-5 PM EST on Saturday. Our show will be live so we welcome your calls. The call-in number for our show is 714-242-5180. I urge you to listen live to the show, but keep in mind that you can always download a podcast and listen to it later on.

So please join me this Saturday as I welcome on my fellow apologist, and even more importantly, my friend, J. Warner Wallace.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Cold-Case Christianity

What do I think of J. Warner Wallace’s book “Cold-Case Christianity”? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Many people know about J. Warner Wallace from his web site and podcast of “PleaseConvinceMe.” For those who do not know, Wallace was an atheist for several years and a cold-case homicide detective. To explain, cold-cases are cases that have been closed for a time due to lack of finding the criminal and then re-opened years later. Wallace has done a number of these and closed them, one I understand being done so well the jury returned a verdict in less than five hours. Wallace now has recently been put on staff at STR, the ministry of Greg Koukl. This is certainly a welcome addition.

As a chapter head of a Ratio Christi chapter (The Issues and Answers chapter), I was fortunate to receive a complimentary copy in the mail. Wallace and I have emailed some back and forth, especially since I got a link that he had shared some of my blog material, and a friendship has formed. Still, I want to be as impartial I can in my review.

Wallace approaches the questions of Christianity as if they were a cold-case. This is especially fitting since there can be no doubt that right now, all the witnesses are dead. What we have to go by is the writings that were left behind. If we followed this using the rules of detective work, would there be a strong enough case to return a verdict of true from the jury? (To which, we are all jurors)

Wallace’s work is different from many others in that he starts off each chapter in section 1 with a story about criminal investigation. Then, he relates that to a piece of evidence. He does not just give evidence, but he does something better. He actually describes the process by which the evidence is evaluated, which is something I find monumentally important. Wallace does not say what to think. He says what he thinks and he shows how he got there.

There are illustrations in the book to demonstrate the point, such as a picture of puzzle pieces, and there are sidebars that will tell a little bit more about a topic that has been presented, so the reader can always have more information. Each chapter in section 1 ends with “A tool for the call-out bag.” This is a bag a detective keeps nearby for when he gets a 3 A.M. phone call and has to go to a crime scene. For those investigating the claims of Christ, this is a tool of reasoning that will be used.

In the early chapters, Wallace deals with cases such as the resurrection, the existence of God, and the handing down of the New Testament. The chapter on conspiracy theories is quite amusing, especially when he brings forward subjects like “The God Who Wasn’t There” and “Zeitgeist” and even brings out points about Mithras, something that most Christians aren’t prepared for.

Section Two deals largely with the case that Jesus rose from the dead with analyzing the accounts in the gospels the way a detective would with the tools of forensic analysis. Wallace’s book I would consider a primer in apologetics, but at the same time, I saw him making points about the gospels to which I’d be saying “That’s interesting. I hadn’t considered that.” As someone who has been in apologetics for over a decade, I find that if a primer is bringing out points that I have not read in several years, it’s a really good one.

Wallace then has a section on becoming more than a Christian who just believes, an abbreviated Christian as he calls them, but one who acts on what he believes, particularly by becoming a case maker. He uses the analogy that few of us are professional chefs, but all of us know how to cook some meal. Few of us are professional apologists, but all of us who are Christians need to know how to make some sort of case.

Finally, in the end, he lists a number of other sources for each chapter. These are scholarly books that complement what he has written. He refers to these as expert witnesses who will come forward and testify. If the reader looks at this part, he will find an abundance of resources to continue his studies, an excellent aspect I think of any introductory book.

Naturally, I don’t agree with every statement in the book. There are some arguments that I think could have been phrased better and some points I did not find convincing, but there are more than enough that are convincing and excellent for those wanting to get started in apologetics.

There can be no doubt in my opinion that the verdict is in. This juror will put Cold-Case Christianity right up there alongside Case for Christ as one of the best introductory books to Christian apologetics. Wallace’s writing style is engaging and his style of showing how to reach a conclusion along with what his conclusion is will show readers that this is not just a blind assertion. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

In Christ,

Nick Peters