Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith, By W. Mark Lanier alt

Christianity on Trial

A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith

by W. Mark Lanier

Christianity on Trial
  • Length: 230 pages
  • Published: May 23, 2014
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 9634
  • ISBN: 9780830896349

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Does the Christian faith hold up under scrutiny? What does science tell us about the plausibility of a god? Can we trust the alleged eyewitness testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?

These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier, one of America's top trial lawyers, uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge, and common sense together in a courtroom approach, this "trial" elucidates a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith.

Following the format of a traditional legal trial, Lanier takes us from opening statement to closing summation by way of testimony from well-known witnesses—the scientist, the theologian, the linguist, the humanist, the philosopher, the psychologist and the ancient biblical eye-witness. These sources and many others investigate the sticky subjects of the Christian worldview that are commonly scrutinized by skeptics or overlooked by marginal believers:

  • Who is God in light of astronomical and subatomic science?
  • How could divine inspiration of Scripture or Christ?s bodily resurrection be possible?
  • How should we see the nature of reality, free will and choice, ethics, morality and the idea of heaven and afterlife?

Lanier presents a persuasive case for the Christian faith and leaves it up to us to choose what is worthy of belief and what is not. Christianity on Trial provides a thought-provoking starting point in the search for truth.

"Authored by one of the nation's leading trial lawyers, Christianity on Trial brilliantly employs the truth-finding methods of the legal process to produce an eminently readable, highly persuasive work of Christian apologetics. This is an extraordinary trial lawyer's version of Mere Christianity. In his inimitable fashion, Mark Lanier combines his superb expertise as a courtroom lawyer with profound knowledge of biblical scholarship and thoughtful reflection on daily life. Fearless in tackling the most difficult matters of belief, this engaging book speaks to all those interested in seeking truth—whether in the courtroom, in the library or in everyday life."

Ken Starr, president, Baylor University

"Mark Lanier has probably read more about the Bible than many biblical scholars and combines this with his experience as a leading trial lawyer. The result is a gripping read and a compelling case for Christianity. He touches on so many different kinds of argument that there is something for everyone in this feast."

Peter Williams, warden, Tyndale House, Cambridge, United Kingdom

"Because Mark Lanier is my Sunday school teacher, I have the joy of following his teaching week by week no matter where I am in the world. I eventually print out every lesson for my own reference because he is the quintessential teacher, using every means to invest his discerning exposition and wonderful insights into those of us who follow his teaching. I look forward to this volume not only for my personal edification but also as a book that I can place in the hands of those seeking to know Christ in a personal way and to grow in the Christian faith."

Dorothy Kelley Patterson, professor of theology in women's studies, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

"Mark Lanier has made a successful career at seeking out and defending truth in the arena of the American legal system. Now, serving as biblical legal defense, he methodically presents his case for the fundamental truths of our faith."

Michael Card, award-winning musician and author of Scribbling in the Sand and the Biblical Imagination Series

"Trial lawyers are often noted for incisive analysis, broad knowledge and the ability to spot the weakness in the opposition's argument. Mark Lanier demonstrates every one of these instincts in Christianity on Trial. His expertise in using the biblical languages uniquely qualifies him to ask—and answer—all the really tough questions. As a fresh assessment of the intellectual validity of the Christian, this book will delight pastors, theologians, church members and even critics."

Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

"A witty, well-paced and thoroughly engaging account of the place of evidence in the courtroom and in life. Mark Lanier makes a powerful case for the trustworthiness and reasonableness of the Christian faith."

Alister McGrath, author of The Passionate Intellect

"Historians, scientists and lawyers are after the same thing: to discover what really happened. Mark Lanier, one of America's best lawyers, introduces us to history's expert witnesses regarding our most profound questions and tells a compelling story sure to convince any jury."

David B. Capes, Thomas Nelson Research Professor, Houston Baptist University

"Mark Lanier is uniquely qualified to give God a fair hearing today. His skills as a trial lawyer are renowned. So too is his apologetical persuasiveness and winsome delivery. When you combine these gifts you hear a lawyer's examination of the claims of Christianity and an evangelist's appeal for a decision. Christianity on Trial is a great read for any wishing to examine the compelling evidence about Jesus Christ and reach a verdict about his claim on people's lives."

Simon Vibert, vice principal, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

"Mark Lanier, a noted lawyer and Bible scholar, deftly takes the reader through a carefully argued case for Christianity. Presenting testimony of key witnesses for and cross-examining opponents of the Christian faith, he makes a compelling case. The fair-minded reader will be persuaded that the preponderance of evidence supports the claims of the New Testament about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth."

James K. Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology, Trinity International University

"In his first major Christian book, Mark Lanier brings to Christian publishing the same expertise, communication skills and pure, enthusiastic joy for the subject that he has brought to courtrooms and TV-network interviews across America for decades. But most folks don't know that Mark is as good a theologian and Christian communicator as he is a trial attorney. In some ways this book is a modern Evidence That Demands a Verdict. It is an excellent read for anyone who wants to see the evidence for the basic objective truths of Christian faith."

John Michael Talbot, author of The Jesus Prayer

"Mark Lanier, with his remarkable skills as a trial lawyer and expert communicator, offers an engaging reasoned defense of the Christian faith. Particularly helpful is Lanier's demonstration that many presumed objections to Christianity are based on limited and unbiblical conceptions of what we mean when we say 'God.' Lanier's arguments will unsettle the unexamined assumptions of many skeptics and clear a space for honest reflection about the truth of the story that the Bible tells."

Richard B. Hays, dean, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina

"It does a respectable job presenting a few fundamental arguments on topics such as the nature of God, prayer, the Bible, morality, truth, free will and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. . . . This book will be of interest to Christians looking for a few basic starting points to explaining and understanding their faith."

Brian Sullivan, Library Journal, June 15, 2014

"W. Mark Lanier's Christianity on Trial is a good book to give to the lawyer who has everything except the belief that alone makes those things significant."

Marvin Olasky, World Magazine, October 18, 2014

"One reviewer termed this book a 'modern-day Evidence that Demands a Verdict.' It was also, in some respects, reminiscent of Strobel's The Case for Christ. The case for having this book on your shelves is quite simply compelling."

Martin Saiter, Evangelicals Now, November 2014

"These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier, one of America's top trial lawyers, uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge and common sense together in a courtroom approach, this 'trial' elucidates a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith."

Light Magazine Canada, June/July 2014

"Christianity on Trial represents an important addition to the field of apologetics, one that I hope others will imitate. Perhaps in the face of growing academic opposition to the truths of the Bible, Christians can carry their message out of the classroom and into the courtroom."

Louis Markos, The Federalist, April 10, 2015


1. Opening Statement
2. God? Gods? or Nothing?
3. Who God Is Not!
4. Who Is God ? (Part 1)
5. Who Is God ? (Part 2)
6. Biolinguistics and the Communicating God
7. Reality and the God of Truth
8. Right, Wrong and the Moral God
9. Free Will, Moral Responsibility and the Infinite, Just God
10. The Audacity of the Resurrection
11. Death and Eternity
12. Closing Argument


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W. Mark Lanier

W. Mark Lanier (JD, Texas Tech University) is an attorney, author, teacher, pastor, and expert story teller. He founded the Lanier Law Firm and has received numerous awards such as the American Association of Justice's Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Trial Lawyers Association's Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. Mark has appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as on news shows on CNBC, Fox Business News, ABC, and other networks. He is the author of Christianity on Trial and Atheism on Trial and is the founder of the Christian Trial Lawyers Association. He also teaches a weekly, 750-plus-member Sunday school class focusing on biblical literacy.