Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Singer's "Cross Examination" Helpful for Defending Faith

  • Randall Murphree AgapePress
  • 2006 12 Sep
Singer's "Cross Examination" Helpful for Defending Faith

Author:  Randy Singer
Title:  "The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ"
Publisher:  WaterBrook

Randy Singer has earned a place of note among Christian novelists. His very first novel, "Directed Verdict," won a 2003 Christy Award for the year's best Christian suspense novel. But the Atlanta attorney says that for several years, he has toyed with the idea of writing apologetics. He wanted to make apologetics less intimidating for us average joes.

Simply put, apologetics is the branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity. We shouldn't be afraid of the Word. In fact, we need the very thing it offers – to be able to defend our faith. And Singer wanted to help us out.

In an exclusive interview, Singer said, "I think sometimes God gives you a vision or a dream, and then He says, 'Not yet.' He put into my heart a desire to engage the culture with apologetics, but I wasn't ready yet. As I read my [apologetics] stuff, I said, 'There's really nothing new here. This is what Josh McDowell and Lee Stroebel have done so well. I can't improve on that!'"

So he back-burnered the idea for a few years. Fortunately, Singer finally hit upon a creative way to view the subject of Jesus' trial and crucifixion. His nonfiction book, "The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ" (WaterBrook, 2006), appeared last spring at the same time his hit novel, "The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney," was released.

Reader Gets Role in Drama

In the nonfiction book, Singer begins by putting us readers into the story. That's right – in chapters one and ten, we are on center stage as a character in Singer's dramatic little exercise. As casting director, he assigns us the role of Octavian, Pontius Pilate's primary legal advisor.

Admittedly, that's fiction, but remember that fiction is often used in literature as a device to convey a deep truth. Jesus Himself did it often with His parables. In chapter one, Joseph of Arimathea comes to you, Octavian, and asks for your help to free Jesus and get the trumped-up charges dismissed.

Joseph explains to you that the whole "trial" is a kangaroo court. The Great Sanhedrin court meets in the middle of the night, though a nighttime trial is prohibited by Jewish law. No public notice was posted, Jesus was not assigned an advocate, and various other requirements of the law were ignored in the trial of Jesus.

The middle chapters recall eight of the most explosive and intense confrontations Jesus had with his critics. Singer's unique approach works, in that this little book does, indeed, bring us more insight and clarity on the trial of our Savior.

Author Finds Idea in "Da Vinci"

"Believe it or not, my idea [for this pair of books] came from 'The Da Vinci Code,'" Singer said. He had observed with dismay and concern that Dan Brown's controversial novel was driving people away from Jesus and the time-tested truths of the Christian faith.

So he began to search his mind for a way to use fiction to drive people toward Jesus and Christianity. The two "Cross Examination of ..."  books stand alone and each does not require the other to be a complete and satisfying reading experience. Yet, the connection makes them complement each other so well that reading both more than doubles the impact of reading only one.

The most creative and clever device Singer uses is to include codes in the nonfiction "The Cross Examination" of Jesus Christ that would help the reader solve the mystery in "The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney." From the outset, the author's motive for both titles was simply to help us take a deeper, longer look at the life of Jesus, His trial, His death and resurrection.

Playing the role of Octavian has challenged me to do just that. And, that done, I am a little better equipped to understand, explain and defend my faith.

© 2006 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.