In my career as a forensic scientist, I enjoy testifying in court more than any other part of the job. While many of my colleagues prefer to not testify, I love it.
The reasons are simple:
1. It gets me out of my normal, comfortable environment at the lab.
2. I have the opportunity to educate people (attorneys, judge, jury).
3. I don’t know what is going to be asked, so I must be ready to quickly think through unusual questions before answering them.
As with most other skills, becoming an effective witness takes time and practice. I spend many hours working with young forensic scientists during their training. In addition to teaching them how to perform laboratory tests, I help them develop the skills that they will need when called to court to testify about the cases they have worked. As a part of their testimony training, they are trained to:
1. Anticipate which questions are going to be asked, and have prepared answers for those.
2. Answer the questions using words that will make sense to the judge, jury and attorneys.
3. Answer the question asked, without adding commentary or other extra information.
4. Maintain the same respectful demeanor, no matter what question is asked or how the attorneys may act toward you.
5. Be able to quickly think through an unanticipated question and give a meaningful response.
6. Be ready to say “I don’t know.”
An effective Christian apologist shares the same traits as an effective expert witness. The apologist should be an expert witness for Jesus. The forensic scientist explains the work they performed in the lab and their conclusions based on that work. Likewise, the apologist explains the work Jesus has done in the world and defends their conclusions based on that work.
In future posts, I will expand on each of the six points above and explain how all Christians can be better prepared to share the reason for their hope in Jesus.
Have you ever been asked to give the reasons for your faith in Jesus? Were you caught off guard because you weren’t prepared?