2019 Apologetics Day Writing Competition: How has apologetics impacted your life?

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

To celebrate Apologetics Day*, we are hosting another writing competition in RZIM Connect!

The winner will receive free access to watch the 2019 Church Leaders Conference livestream!

Writing Prompt:

Address the question, “How has apologetics impacted my life?”

Guidelines:

  • To enter, simply reply to this post with your entry.

  • Incorporate Scripture, personal experience, and any other relevant sources (quotes, poetry, art, etc.) to share how apologetics has impacted your life.

  • Please verify that your contribution is less than 600 words (about one page).

  • Carefully edit your contribution.

Deadline: 3:15pm Eastern time on March 15th, 2019

After the contest closes, the winning entry will be selected on March 18th by myself with consultation from members of the RZIM Connect community.

*Apologetics Day

Apologetics Day takes place on March 15th each year — or 3/15. This date was selected because perhaps the most often cited verse by apologists is 1 Peter 3:15. This verse reads:

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

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(Carson Weitnauer) pinned #2
(christopher van zyl) #3

It was the first day of university. The first lecture on my first day, first thing in the morning. A very pregnant lecturer proceeded to teach the lesson on how life began. From panspermia theories to the Miller-Urey experiment, with each word more doubt crept within me. She then moved on from the beginnings of life and how it can’t be God, to how she is making talk of God obsolete to her children as soon as they are older, because all he is there for is comfort.
Before I even knew what apologetics was, I had to search whether there was a christian defense to these things. I found John Lennox, to whom I am forever indebted by. His books and debates have brought forth an immense level of light.
I then went on to CS Lewis, Ravi Zacharias and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. From thoughts like “without God, everything is permitted” to the “3-4-5 grid”, a worldview began to shape within me. It is here where I finally understood Lewis when he said that he believe in christianity “as I believe the sun has risen: not because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”.

Apologetics comes from the word which means ‘a reasoned defense’. I began studying so that I could give a reasonable answer to anyone who asked. When you hear the word defense, its not uncommon to picture a shield. That is how I viewed it. I was making my shield bigger and bigger, and instead of shielding the claims of christianity, I began using it to knock people over. A shield is not a very effective sword. I have now learned that the painful way. It was here where I realized that the first part of the verse is that you ought to set Christ apart as Holy, a colossal piece I had failed to implement. It was like the sun had risen on me, and darkness had been exposed. Apologetics isn’t only a defense of the faith. No, for me it was much more. It was a defense from my pride. Its realizing that a sword and a shield aren’t different by degree but by category. Apologetics has brought me closer to my Lord and to my community.
It has made evangelism better, as I have the tools to answer people instead of their protests, because “behind every question lies a questioner”.
On apologetics day, I will be celebrating the reasonable faith we can all share.

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(Sarah West) #4

I grew up in the church and around the Christian lingo my entire life. I often joke I spoke fluent Christianese as a teen, but as I got older, my doubts about God grew. Everywhere I looked I saw peers and adults making claims of faith, but their lifestyles reflected something very different. I did not see a life changing faith as many of them often claimed. My doubts grew. I asked questions but was often chastised for my “lack of faith.”

When I started college, I was in a spiral. I sought acceptance and found value in intellectual pursuits. Many of my professors were atheists and were very quick to share their thoughts on the illogical aspects of the Christian faith. I felt shame and remained quiet. If my professors, men and women of great intellect, had found no reason for God, how could I justify the faith I had blindly accepted as a child Eventually, after a stint in ministry in my twenties, I renounced everything I grew up being taught.

When my Christian friends would try to talk to me about God, I often became combative. It did not take long for me to disarm their Christian defense. If I’m honest, I was annoyed at their lack of ability to give me a reason to believe. Deep down, I so wanted to believe in the God I prayed to as a child.

During one of my debates, my friend countered my question. Why do you believe God doesn’t exist? What evidence do you have? (There’s a reason this girl is my best friend!) I really had never thought much about it beyond the experiences I had with other professing believers. My friend encouraged me to take time and discovered the evidence for both sides. I had no idea, at that time, what apologetics was and did not know a single person who studied it. For the next year, I retraced my steps. I dug deep in God’s word and relearned what the claims for Christianity truly were, why the bible could be trusted and how the world beautifully pointed back to a Creator. God was revealing His character to me daily.

At age 32, I met the God I had searched for since I was little. He introduced Himself through His word and through His creation. My journey to learn and grow in my faith has not stopped since. So, I thought it fitting that the first apologetic based class I ever taught was Rhetoric to a group of 8th through 10th graders at a homeschool co-op. I stood in awe at the topics we discussed and how, through that teaching co-op, I grew in my own understanding! I stand amazed at the truth that was always there, even in my doubts.

People often ask me if I regret walking away from Christianity in my twenties. I can honestly say no, I don’t regret my time in the wilderness. God’s word says if we seek Him with our whole hearts we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). It was there, through study and SEEKING, that I saw God for who He truly was. And it is because of tools, such as apologetics, that I am able to give a reasonable defense for the faith that is within me. (1 Peter 3:15)

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(M Schmidt) #5

All my life, my style of thinking has been oriented around function and value. An idea or thing is valuable based on what function it enables or greater understanding it produces. I studied engineering in college and felt right at home with their reasoned approaches to systems and processes. My religion however was always relegated to a style of thought I am poor and ill-equipped to. God was a person to be experienced but not understood. And I won’t tell you my faith was dead, I did experience Him first hand on many occasions. However, when I tried to share my testimony of those experiences it never felt right. I’d struggle to believe why anyone else should believe my personal testimony. I’m certain if I heard my own testimony from someone else, I’d roll my eyes dismissively. It felt like I was deficient/ill-designed for this ‘felt’ relationship with God. I felt condemned that I was bad at caring about Him and His Word. My limited bible reading was mostly out of a felt duty and I rarely strayed from Proverbs which I felt was one of the few straightforward books.

Then my mother bought me a CD copy of Mere Christianity. It was my first audiobook and my first apologetics book. I was astounded at the approach Lewis took to God. Suddenly God was expected to make sense, to be consistent and fair, and furthermore we can show that he does all that perfectly. Suddenly, I started to actually care what Salvation, Baptism, and the Trinity mean because I understood why they matter. I distinctly remember being stunned as I heard this quote from the book.

“All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love’. But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.” – C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

My rational and functional mindset latched on to all the theologies and histories of the church which I’d previously ignored. Suddenly something about God felt exciting. Romans 5:13 is a great example of something I would just read through mindlessly before but now stop to ponder how consequential this is.

“To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.” - Romans 5:13

I’m way too eager right now to share all the verses I’ve found incredibly profound, but I must continue. Since finding this love of reason I considered something inconceivable, I told myself (soon after reading the testimony book of Nabeel Qureshi) I need to give other faiths the benefit of a doubt; a chance to prove they are more rational than my faith. I started out reading a book by Kenneth Daniels “Why I Believed”. The first chapter was excruciating, it brought back all my fears about the old testament being brutal and the bible being unsubstantiated. However, as I prayed and studied these issues, I actually found myself just refining my own incorrect thoughts about God and justice. I found myself not learning reasons to doubt the faith but rather the true cost of freewill and the true meaning to unconditional love. Augh, word counts! In summary, apologetics is how God designed me to love and understand Him. Knowing that is matters how we understand God allowed me want to understand Him.

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( KIRAN KUMAR) #6

Hi I am kiran and I am from India. I have went into deep depression because of some personal reason few years ago
And I thought to my self who could deliver me from this situation. Then my uncle suggested me to hear Ravi Zacharias talks. Where I have heard the word apologetics for the first time from Ravi.
The prophet marries prostitute on just thinking has impacted my life so much , God is willing to accept me again and he gives me hope for future. Before I used to make constant promises in God’s presence and I would break them again and again. In that talk Ravi says that God would interrupt after Hosea talks to people of Israel that “COME BY ALL MEANS but remember the promise that you made last time” That struck my heart so much.

The pursuit of meaning episode on let my people think had really pushed me forward that what brings my life meaning.
I found that wonder, truth, love and security, without them I cannot have meaning in life. An atheist can never legitimately say that what brings human life meaning. I have found the biggest reason to defend my faith in God.

After hearing lots and lots of episodes on the platforms from RZIM. Now I coming from a Hindu background had legitimately found the reasonable answer of the four fundamental questions of life ORIGIN MEANING MORALITY AND DESTINY IN THE JUDEO CHRISTIAN WORLD VIEW.

And it reminds me always that I once was lost and now I am found in Christ. As Ravi quotes that Jesus did not come into the world to make bad people good but to make the dead people live.
His thought that concludes the existence of God, where he begins from EVIL. Gave me more apologia to answer to any atheist.
That if evil exist then good must exist. Then there should be a moral law which can differentiate between good and evil and if moral law exists there must be a moral law giver. Because every time the problem of evil arises it raises because of a person or about a person where person hood matters a lot.
That drives me to a conclusion that God is one divine being and exists in three persons. So he being a person understand our personal problems not only he understands but he helps us to solve our problems when we are in need.

Sometimes when struggles comes disappointments comes within myself that I feel desolated and dried because of hope for future.
It reminds me that when Paul ment eye has not seen ear has not heard and neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God had prepared for those who love him .
When Ravi quotes this on the episode lessons from royalty
He says when we violate that we abuse ourselves we abuse humanity. An atheist or a secularist etc can never know the intrinsic worth of a human being, and then I heard this intrinsic worth comes from a transcend infinite divine being.
This gives me hope that my heart still loves God. So I shall not want because he holds my future.

I never heard that before " The shroud of Turin " when Ravi talks about this. And the word SCOURGE. When he explains how Jesus was scourged and died on the cross
I felt my entire understanding of cross was changed. It helped me when I was suffering the scourging of Christ would literally flash into my mind and I will be comforted because by his stripes I am healed he was suffered because of my sins.
That concludes how apologetics (means not only giving reasons to atheists but to other religions also) has impacted my live by Ravi Zacharias.

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(Billie Corbett) #7

In the plan of God, Christian apologetics has been a means of strengthening my faith and my marriage. God in His grace has used apologetics to connect my spouse and I with other like minded believers, especially when we have felt isolated in our understanding of God’s word.

My spouse and I have a good relationship. We love deep discussions about serious and intellectually challenging topics. Since the beginning of our relationship, we have had what we call our “Soap Box Saturday Mornings”. It’s a delightful part of our weekend. Our first priority is coffee together. Inevitably, we end up diving into a long conversation. More often than not, our chat ends up in the realm of Christian apologetics.

One Sunday, (about 20 years ago), we turned our TV on to watch Living Truth with Charles Price, and discovered that Ravi Zacharias was the guest speaker.

True to my spouse’s (Torontonian) skeptic roots, he said, “How disappointing!” “Forget that”…”I am not going to listen to some random guy.” I said, “Hey now, please leave it on.” “I want to hear what he has to say.”

We both listened to Ravi for the first time and ended up feeling blown away! From that moment on, my spouse listened to every available pod cast of Ravi’s. He has had a huge impact on his faith.

My spouse is a smart man but he is not a reader. He a mathematician who loves tech. He also loves science, physics and astronomy. Generally, any reading he does is computer based and related to these topics. His mode of absorbing theology and apologetics is through listening.

The role apologetics has been fundamental in developing my spouse’s understanding of his faith. It has deepened our relationship and understanding of one another.

We still have our “Soap Box ” discussions but, because we are retired, they are any day of the week.

Christian apologetics is something in which we both have a deep interest. Finding meaningful sources of apologetics continues to nurture and minister to our intellectual and spiritual needs and to our relationship in general.

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(Patrick Prabhakar) #8

As I was pondering over the real impact of apologetics over my life, I was amused to find myself stranded in trying to trace the origins of my journey, where did it all begin?

I’m sure it must have started even before I have ever heard the word: apologetics.

But when was this?

I seem perplexed. I’m just not able to trace it.

It must have definitely begun in search for some answers on life.

Boom!

A memory just landed on the runway of my brain and my heart makes the arrival announcements:

“It was a lazy afternoon. You were despondent during your college years. You were resentful at God for your personal condition. Actually, you were resentful at God for everything in your life and started mocking the ‘All-Powerful One’ for letting stuff happen to you, a christian. You entered your home and locked the door of your room. For some reason, you picked up your bible to check on unfulfilled promises, with which you could frame ‘God’. Suddenly, you realized that you were reading from the ‘Book of Job’ and I was palpitating as you were reading a long list of questions from God.”

Job 38:1-3 NKJV [boldface mine]
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

In retrospect, I am thankful for that day as I am today, that the ‘Sovereign One’ still chooses to humble Himself by communicating with us on our level of understanding and invites us to reason with Him.

The ‘Psalms of David’ are loaded with screams of:

Why?
Where?
How?
When?
Who?
What?

We all have similar questions.

Questions are in themselves not evil. God furthered my relationship with Him because I had questions on Him, but as we also see in the ‘Book of Genesis’, the devil could use manipulative questions to make us doubt the goodness of God.

Genesis 3:1 NKJV [boldface mine]
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

The power, beauty and sanctity of a question are brought out succinctly in the below dialogue from a pivotal scene in the movie ‘American History X’:

Bob Sweeney: There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed White people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn’t get no answers 'cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.

Derek Vinyard: Like what?

Bob Sweeney: Has anything you’ve done made your life better?

Copyright © IMDb, Inc.

In closing, I concur that apologetics has definitely impacted my life to discern right questions from wrong questions, to take any thought that arises from within or without, neglecting every shame and condemnation, and to reason with the Teacher at the foot of His Cross.

Isaiah 1:18 KJV
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

2 Corinthians 10:5 YLT
reasonings bringing down, and every high thing lifted up against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of the Christ,

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(Jennifer Wilkinson) #9

In The God Who Is There, Francis A. Schaeffer told of a discussion group in Detroit where they covered “intellectual” matters. Afterward, the pastor of the church shook his hand and thanked him for what he shared.

If he had said, “Thank you for helping me to defend my people better,” or “Thank you for helping me to be a better evangelist,” I would have been very glad that what I had said had been helpful, and then possibly I would not have given it another thought. But what he actually said was, “Thank you for opening these doors to me; now I can worship God better.” I will never forget him because he was a man who really understood. (p. 125)

Apologetics makes life coalesce. The ministry of RZIM has helped me connect my head with God and both with my heart. When I read of the intricacies of a cell, I am filled with awe for our Creator. That moment of wonder is incredible, but if I stopped there, it would still be empty. When worship remains an amazement felt at a distance, my life isn’t changed. Thankfully, apologetics also brings God near.

As I learn about other religions, my heart is touched by how precious the gospel is. It’s like those days as a child when I played in the kitchen pantry, letting my eyes adjust to the dark and then stepping out into the light. I marveled at how bright that light really was.

Other religions have aspects of great goodness, but they all lack one thing—the cross. At the cross mercy and truth meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other (Psalm 85:10). The light of the gospel fills my heart as I gaze on the God who is just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus. My heart is moved beyond awe to love, a tender love for the God who did this for me.

I am looking for ways to do more apologetics ministry, but I know this ministry can never be merely intellectual. I pray I can say with the apostle Paul, “For the love of Christ controls us … Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 20 ESV).

I thank God for the example set by the RZIM speaking team. I have learned from RZIM’s staff how to listen with love and respond with grace. The message “How to Answer Questions” by Amy Orr-Ewing and Michael Ramsden changed the way I approach conversations. I listen better now. I hear my friends’ hearts.

I want to continue growing in these areas as apologetics moves me from worship to love of God and love of my neighbor. As I reach out to my neighbor, the circle is completed because I am worshiping not with my head alone but also with my body and my heart.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31 ESV)

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(GUY G YASIKA) #10

Why Study Christian Apologetics

Have you ever been asked to defend your faith in Christ? Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." How would your defense of your Christian faith differ from any other person’s faith? Most people will use a personal testimony for a defense. The problem is that the same defense can hold true for many other faiths or religions. Many people will say that they feel better because they follow some other belief or practice and it gives them peace.

Have you ever really thought about why you are a Christian? Some people will argue you are a Christian because you were born in the United States. If you were born in India you might be Hindi, Born in Saudi Arabia you would be a Muslim. Did you know that the Christian faith has an abundance of evidence to support its claims? I certainly was overwhelmed when I learned some basic facts which caused me to look deeper and for more evidence. I thought I was doing this to simply learn a little more about my faith. What I have been discovering is it has affected every aspect of my life and my thinking, changing my worldview forever.
I first noticed that studying apologetics deepened my faith. At first I was shocked by that as I thought my faith was strong before I started this journey. This new level of confidence has inspired me to want to share my faith more and be bolder than I have in the past. Having the knowledge and skill to poke holes in Darwin’s “theory”, discuss the evidence for a Creator and facts about the Resurrection. These are topics that any Christian can learn and share, defend or even just communicate these reasons for their faith.
One of the big topics among apologists on the national scene is our children. They go to public school and are inundated with a worldview that is not congruent with a Christian worldview. We home school our kids and think that we are protecting them from outside influences. The reality is we cannot. We must teach them and give them the tools to defend their Christian worldview with real tangible truths. So that when they do go to college or leave our home they are not defenseless in the world of ideas, or from people that want to teardown our tenants. They need to have the skills and knowledge to be able to defend and even advance a Christian worldview. As a father of adult children I wish I had studied this topic much earlier. I think it would have made me a better parent.
In my marriage, studying apologetics, helps me double my effort to be a better husband. This is a natural outcome, as my faith increases and I realize what a precious gift she is. With siblings, it makes conversations start a little easier. Though I will admit witnessing to family members is hard. You may get a general consensus. The reality is you know that they are just trying to keep the peace or worse not listening at all. Having some facts about our faith can change the conversation. We can use archeological evidence to start a conversation. We can use movies and books that are anti-Christian to start conversations and refute their claims. This way I am not always seen as a Christian nut. I have a rational, reasonable and evidential defense for my faith.
It is commanded for us to spread the Good News. Studying apologetics has given me hope that I can reach people with the facts that are simply undeniable. We get peppered from non-believers, for example, “What is true for you is not true for me”, nonsense. Truth is true for everyone. We need to be able to parse through the silly phrases and common misconceptions that are used as “mic drop” moments and force the conversation that is a rational, truthful, and historically accurate

Guy

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(Steph Hughes) #11

I waded once through muddy murk, my mind a sea of peat and bog. Unfounded, not grounded, and lacking any sort of sure footing, I questioned my abilities and knew not how to make sense of the world around me. Confidently, I had begun my thinking from the root of a world without God, for to me, any sort of religion was absolute nonsense. I looked down on those believers with their pie-in-the-sky hopes, mentally pitying their weak-minded, unintellectual approach to life. Surely they feared death and couldn’t bear to face a world where they existed not. Fear was the root of their delusions.

Fear did not guide me though. I was in pursuit of wisdom, willing to follow the truth to any bleak, dark end to which it may lead. Yet inwardly my Spirit groaned, crying out for an understanding that would give backing to the whole of reality that I experienced. There was a streak of creativity in my otherwise logical and analytical mind that found no solace in explanations of human knowledge. This internal wrestling first found an inkling of hope in my serendipitous reading of Mere Christianity, the thoughts therein captured by Mr. C.S. Lewis were the first to give me pause and lead me to question if there could be a modicum of reason underlying the Christian faith.

Traipsing gently down this possible path of what it would look like to be an intellectual Christian (a combination I first thought to be an oxymoron and now understand to be mark of maturity necessitated for any believer), I quickly encountered sophisticated arguments against God. Surprisingly, I found myself not quite thoroughly convinced, for suddenly all of Creation seemed to affront me with the truth that the world was not a chance occurrence. Never have I enjoyed the seasons quite so as I did in that time. The spring was greener, the warmth of the summer sun sweeter, the rush of autumn wind more exhilarating, and the first dusting of snow falling from the sky more magical than any I have since known. There was a sense of wonder in the world.

I grasped tightly to this wonder. Since I was a young child, I had always sensed a sort of mystery to life, a magic found in fantasy that I desperately longed for in my diurnal living. Mr. G.K. Chesterton in his book Orthodoxy, speaks of this notion as romance. He goes on to say his ‘slovenly autobiographical account,’ that is his aforementioned book, is for the person who seeks a sort of, “poetical curiosity” in life. Just as Mr. Chesterton came to the conclusion that reason leads to God, so too did I find myself at the same destination.

God broke the shackles of my intellectual captivity and led me to know the truth:

Jesus is real.

Christianity is the best explanation for reality as we experience it. Mine is a life of unbounded freedom and joy that has come from knowing God. In turn I have offered my life back to Him to use as He leads.

Apologetics, the reason for the hope we have, led me to faith.

Apologetics, the study of life’s biggest questions, equips me to engage with non-Christians.

Apologetics, this fascinating intersection of faith, reason, and practical living is the mission that underlies my life today.

God has called me to join in restoring wonder to today’s culture, and find novel ways to share the truth that leads to freedom and abundant life. I hope to be agent of renewing truth, bringing hope to those who are poor in spirit.

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(Tony Mercurio) #12

“Anthony is a hard working and capable student, however his peer-relations and self-control need some attention.” My second-grade teacher Mrs. Hanner spoke into the future with these words. While her later comments on my report card were more pleasant, it’s this first impression that rings most true.

A more recent teacher, the associate pastor at my church, once shed light on this for me when amid a reflective conversation he said, "Your gift is your curse." The same gift that made me a "hard working and capable student" also afforded my objectionable personality and lack of self-control. I was a high achiever who thought great things about my abilities, and even my prospects in life.

Nobody likes a know-it-all. Am I right? Intellectual gifting often lends itself to difficulty. “Ugh. You took out the garbage but didn’t replace the bag? For real?” “You never listen!” The question we’re trying to ask is actually, “Why are you such a nitwit?” Surely everybody knows that you don’t use metal utensils on nonstick cookware. We fight ignorance with obstinance and prove ourselves unbecoming in the process.

I’ve pushed away many people because of my pride over the years. That’s the flesh. At the heart of my gifting is an inquisitive nature and a passion for truth. God introduced me to RZIM through “Let My People Think” at a time when I needed something to grasp onto. The foundation I consequently discovered would eventually push me into the pursuit of ministry.

Maybe that’s where it all began; my calling I mean. I met the Lord as a child and followed as I knew how, but something was missing. While I didn’t have an out-of-body experience, when looking back on those years after college I see the sovereign hand of the Lord orchestrating a singularity. He gave me an opportunity to know him more so than I ever had before, and it started with Ravi.

Questions have always been my currency. Investing with RZIM yielded high returns and helped this thinker to believe. The rest of the story has yet to be penned. The more I learn about God the more humble I must become.

How has apologetics impacted my life? I’d say that encountering the discipline marked the initiation of my earthly sojourn, and my confidence going forward is that it will be an instrument the Lord uses in me to pass along the eternal torch to spiritual posterity.

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(David Bruce Young) #13

While I think of apologetics as more than 1 Peter 3:15, it certainly informs much of my daily thinking and practice. I rise to worship each morning knowing I need to set Christ apart as Lord in my heart. I am reminded that without Him I will not be able to connect with people as I should.
As I worship, read God’s word, and begin praying for people I am learning to see into them. Apologetics is more than knowing answers. It is being able to answer people.
I am being treated for cancer. As I write this I am waiting for chemotherapy. And I have a sense that I am here for others around me. I pray for the nurses, doctors, and technicians. They have unique needs, concerns and ministry to others. They need prayer. It is rare to find medical professionals who will not let me pray with them.
I also see other patients around me. We often appear to have aged prematurely. Part of treating them with respect is seeing them as God sees them. We have to deal with pain and side effects. I am learning to look, as unobtrusively as possible, as I pray for their immediate and eternal needs. And I pray to be alert and available to listen and speak and especially pray with people around me.

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(Carson Weitnauer) #15

Hi friends,

There were many excellent entries! I want to thank everyone for participating. You gave me a lot to think about and provided a great example to anyone else wondering what the value of apologetics is all about.

@c3vanzyl, I really appreciated your heart to share, “Apologetics has brought me closer to my Lord and to my community.” And also, that you have learned apologetics to serve others, “to answer people instead of their protests.” These are really beautiful words and insights.

@Swest, thank you for sharing the story of your own doubts. It is telling how hypocrisy leads to doubt: “Everywhere I looked I saw peers and adults making claims of faith, but their lifestyles reflected something very different.” I am so encouraged that when you dug in to relearn what Christianity is about and search for the evidence, you found that this faith was worth living for - and now you are passing this down to the next generation!

@MCSchmidt, I loved this line, “In summary, apologetics is how God designed me to love and understand Him.” It is encouraging to see how our default ‘wiring’ to the world can sometimes fit so well with a particular discipline like apologetics.

@Kiran, thank you for telling us the story of your own depression. There are so many resonances with Ravi’s own story - and how you have both found the hope and the life that is in Jesus! I liked your sentence, “This gives me hope that my heart still loves God”! May you continue to know God’s hope.

@Billie, I appreciate your heartfelt reflections on how apologetics has strengthened your marriage. What a blessing!

@Patrick, I can relate to the honesty of wondering, ‘when did this get started?’ The stories of our lives start to mingle together. I also loved how you brought out the emotion and insight of the Psalms:

The ‘Psalms of David’ are loaded with screams of:

Why?
Where?
How?
When?
Who?
What?

We all have similar questions.

@gyasika, it was good to see how apologetics has strengthened your faith. As you put it, “This new level of confidence has inspired me to want to share my faith more and be bolder than I have in the past.” It is also good to see from your story how apologetics can make us better spouses and parents!

@Steph_Hughes, I appreciated the dramatic effect your words achieved. Also, apologetics is often thought of as removing mystery, but you had great insight: “Since I was a young child, I had always sensed a sort of mystery to life, a magic found in fantasy that I desperately longed for in my diurnal living.”

@tony_mercurio, I can identify with your struggles. I admire your confession and the acknowledgment that, “The more I learn about God the more humble I must become.”

@Daveswatch, I’m praying for you as I write these words and you battle cancer. I appreciate the tenderness of how you put it, “Apologetics is more than knowing answers. It is being able to answer people.” May your witness to other patients and the medical team be beautiful and inspired by the Holy Spirit!

While each of these entries were excellent, the one that stood out the most to me was @Jennifer_Wilkinson’s contribution. I loved that you opened with a good story and an insightful quote. Further, I thought you spoke poignantly to how apologetics integrates our life experience and enables deeper worship. You also spoke to the central theme of Christianity - the cross. And finally, you circled back to love of your neighbor. The clarity and scope of your entry really engaged my heart and mind. Please enjoy your free access to the Church Leaders Conference livestream!

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(Sarah West) #17

@Jennifer_Wilkinson Congratulations!!! Thank you for sharing your story and thank you @CarsonWeitnauer for the time you took in reviewing all these great thoughts!

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(Billie Corbett) #18

Bravo Jennifer!
What wonderful news for you!

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(Jennifer Wilkinson) #19

Thank you, @Swest and @Billie. I enjoyed reading your stories–I feel your hearts in them, and I’m thankful I can get to know you online. And thanks, @CarsonWeitnauer for the care you put into your ministry on this forum. You are a blessing!

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( KIRAN KUMAR) #20

@Jennifer_Wilkinson congratulations :confetti_ball:, what a touching story. I praise God for your life :blush:

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(Jennifer Wilkinson) #21

Thanks, @Kiran. Your story touched me. I’m blessed by how well you communicate the practical side of apologetics. May you see more and more how incredibly important you are to God. You are right that only God can bring meaning to our lives.

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