Question of the Day (Thursday): How has God used apologetics in your spiritual journey?

Hey @GlobalApologeticsConference!

For our Thursday question of the day, we want to hear how apologetics has shaped your walk with God.

Our hope is that you feel confident that Christianity is true - that it aligns with the way the world actually is. Because if Christianity is true, it means we can ask even our toughest questions with boldness. Some of us have amazing testimonies where God has answered exactly those questions!

I credit my parents with a huge role in that journey for me. My dad in particular turned me loose when he sat me down for an eye-opening conversation at age 14. Looking me dead in the eye, he delivered a serious challenge to my faith: that if I was thinking of being a Christian just because I grew up in a Christian family… I wasn’t allowed.

I’m sure the surprise on my face was obvious (we laugh about it now!) but he went on:

“Kasey, if you’re going to follow Jesus, you have to believe it because you have a personal, heart-level conviction. You should believe it because you’re convinced that it’s true. Anything less than that, and your convictions will either be lukewarm, or fold under the slightest pressure.”

He was right - but it takes another level of boldness to have that conversation with a 14-year old!!

But as time passed, I became more and more grateful for the freedom that conversation gave me —the freedom to read, study, search, debate, pray and discover… discover for myself that the answers of the Christian worldview are existentially satisfying, logically coherent, and trustworthy above all else. They answer not only the questions of the heart but the questions of the mind.

That’s my apologetics story in a nutshell - and to my great joy, it continues to this day. We’ll never run out of true things to discover about God!

Your turn @GlobalApologeticsConference. How has the discipline of apologetics impacted your spiritual journey?

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Thanks @Kasey_Leander for starting us off here and sharing your experience. Great to hear that you were encouraged to have that kind of freedom of thought, and even better to see that you chose to exercise it and find that the story checked out!

Mindy experience is somewhat opposite of that. I grew up in a faithful, churchgoing family who very obviously loved God, but didn’t really engage me in questions. I fell easily into the trap of being a nominal Christian, at best, and probably did the exact thing your dad warned you not to do.

I majored in philosophy and science in college, and that raised all sorts of questions I couldn’t answer or resolve. Not only did I have my own questions, but my atheist friends had questions for my so-called faith that I couldn’t respond to at all, while at home I was basically told in my family, “don’t worry about all that stuff, you just have to have faith.” But that wasn’t enough for me. It shook me and I veered from my faith and ignored God pretty much until around age 30 when I met believers who were willing to engage questions and talk with me about the the stumbling blocks I had. Through a series of experiences, I got introduced to the writings of Tim Keller and the Alpha Course. Reading Keller’s apologetics and getting to process Christianity in Alpha helped me not only understand that there were answers to the questions I had, but that they were good ones. Enough so that God used those to open my eyes and make the Gospel real to me. And once I realized it was true, that changed everything for me in my life, and I committed my myself to Christ.

From there, my scientific and philosophical curiosity was piqued to study apologetics, and I vowed that I would never let myself be in a position to not have a response to questions of others or be unable to speak with confidence about my faith. So, I have been studying apologetics fervently and out of devotion to know God more, and share Him with others, ever since. That eventually resulted in the privilege of attending the Emerging Apologist Program at RZIM in 2019, and since then I have been working to get an apologetics ministry going at our local church and incorporate apologetics into my parenting, socializing and professional work, because everyone deserves to hear the Good News and have their questions addressed, just like me.

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As a dying Jewish atheist who thought Jesus was completely fictional, had I wanted a god-which I did NOT- the last one I would’ve chosen would’ve been Jesus. I chose Jesus not because I wanted a god. I chose Jesus because He is true.

Scientific/logical apologetics and the inquiry into truth brought me back to reality after Jesus saved me and healed me overnight and had me question everything I had been taught & believed. His light brought me into Truth.

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Investing the time (& mental energy!) into reading, listening and watching videos on apologetics, my confidence in God’s Word, ability to accurately share the Word of the Living God (most of the time, I pray!) has grown. I listen much better for the clues of spiritual emptiness, error and need as we converse. Most times the Lord brings just one thing to talk about with them. It is exciting!!

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I love this question as each individual has a story so very unique and beautiful. Thanks @Kasey_Leander for sharing your story! I love how your dad approached you with this topic and that you came to realize the need to make Christianity your own at such a young age!

I was blessed to grow up in a strong Christian home where questions were always welcomed and encouraged. Often times if us kids weren’t asking my dad questions he’d start asking us questions, getting us to think about what we believed and why early on. Still there were many things I didn’t have personal answers to as I leaned on my parents for answers to a lot of the questions our culture has… But, that’s when RZIM comes in. During quarantine this year I started feeling the need to really know for myself why I was a Christian and why I could trust the Bible etc. so that I could coherently share my beliefs with others and not just have to say “yeah, what they said” or “go ask so-in-so” I’ve been in the books/ podcasts/ YouTube and all things RZIM since then and have become a lot more confident in sharing my faith with others.

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God has used apologetics to wake me up, to revive me spiritually. He has strengthened my faith and given me new tools for sharing the Gospel with others. God has powerfully demonstrated to me through apologetics that Christianity is not just a practical, ethical and moral system to follow as are world religions of our time, but it is true. Absolute truth, how refreshing in this world of moral relativism and perceived fluidity of our individual identities!

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I’m a logical thinker, a biologist/attorney. So, the way that apologetics attacks the BIG questions in a way that my brain can tackle, and not only that, construct pathways towards deeper understanding of the answers.

Apologetics, imho, is the way by which we explain truth, more than anything else.

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I’m an Italian-American. As such I’m passionate but I’m also driven by logic. I am fascinated by the apologetics work because it’s a challenge for me to engage with people with “kindness and respect” as we are called to do. Ravi was (and still is) an inspiration and I want to learn and God willing be used this way!

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Apologetics has afforded me an opportunity to think about Christianity in a coherent and logical manner that elevates my conversation and thinking. I am very convinced beyond a doubt that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Also, I am more prepared to respond to allegations of contradictions and I find that I am able to share with others in a way that helps them to resolve what they perceive to be contradictions. The most profound impact on my spiritual journey is my unapologetic belief in God and his love as expressed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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My study of apologetics was prompted by the questions my adult children had encountered in college. I wanted to be able to engage with them. Also, in obedience to I Peter 3:15, I wanted to know what I believed & why I believed it. I discovered through the process that I have grown in my appreciation for what God has done for me and who He is which has increased my love and worship for Him!

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@Kasey_Leander I just found the discipline and for the 1st time I get answers to my whys and how to live. The best way to describe my journey is that I followed breadcrumbs. I was born and ordained into the Presbyterian church. While I was in church, I heard the word and knew the biblical lessons but my upbringing was far from God. It was everything the opposite of Love, kindness and caring. At around 8 years old, I prayed for wisdom from God. I didn’t comprehend what I had asked for but after that prayer, I knew I didn’t fit my environment so I prayed. My environment got worse but I got my freedom only by a miracle. In my freedom, I thought the promise of God was coming but I encountered the same childhood traumas in a magnified way. So like the prodigal son, I got angry at God for my suffering and walked away from institutional religion and walked the earth on worldly terms. My dreams tormented me. I was never at rest mentally or at night. I found myself returning to God but this time reverted into Islam. I was attracted to the dedication to the word of the Quran and the strict practice of prayer. In my naivety, I thought I was committing to God and in all honesty sort ‘family" that “appeared” to be the core of the Muslim culture. That was a very naïve and dreamy thought. Once again, my dreams got worse and nothing felt right while I was in the faith. Things were so hidden and the rebuked was harsh. I walked away from Islam but this time I didn’t let go of God. I went the spiritual route, namely meditation, Kundalini, chakra e.tc with God at the center. That journey was ridded with soul snares but my dreams remained as a guide. Somehow I was clear about that I will not do and what I will do by God in the practice. Mercifully, In that sect, I had some individuals who directed my path to God. It was in this growth and healing phase, I slowly came back to Christianity and one day stumbled on Ravi Zachariah and Nabeel Qureshi. Their lectures gave answers and captured my soul cause I am a "why’ person. Now, I get to ask questions and not be ignored, rebuked or punished. In addition, I get to learn how to live the right way and deal with tough matters in my life.

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Through apologetics I have understood how perfect God is and how comprehensive the gospel is, and also how God loves us and meets us in our weakness, He always knew we would have questions and He decided to provide answers from the start

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Apologetics has helped shape my faith because reason is such an important part of a strong faith. It is also a great TOOL to evangelize with those who have so many “intellectual” objections.

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So my upbringing- Christian home but not living out the confession of our faith, mingled with cultural world view- you were told not to question God or ask certain things, so I didn’t and I honestly had a sense of fear to ask. But beyond that, I wasn’t much interested in God and I had my reservations about him.

When Jesus became Lord of my life I sort of grew in love with him and was on a hot pursuit to get to know him more. However, I had some questions I was afraid to ask because a lot of them always seemed to question his nature.

Apologetics has helped me gain some level of freedom to ask God my honest questions without fear that I might be dishonouring him. Fear is so crippling to a point where you’ll believe something that makes no sense at all really, and so seeing others ask questions has freed me to ask my own questions and thus trust him all the more. My faith has been strengthened, I get to know God more and I’ve grown to trust him. I can help others know truth and draw closer to god, it helps remove barriers to the gospel and it’s just a very necessary discipline for self and those who don’t know God yet.

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Apologetics is a discipline? Funny am looking at it like that for the very first time
For me apologetics plays a major role in sharing my faith and giving answers to those who question the Christian faith around me.
Finding coherent answers to the seemingly hard questions has grounded me in the faith in amazing ways

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As a former agnostic and growing up with a Buddhist background, I’ve always been drawn to apologetics since I became a Christian last year. My life has changed since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I have many atheist family and friends asking me about my faith and why I converted. They asked tough questions and I don’t always know how to be best answer. I’m hoping focusing on apologetics and continuing to write my testimony and experiences will help grow in my faith and be more bold in evangelizing.

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I started my Christian journey when I was 13 years old. I really was not aware of the apologetic discipline until I got to college and discovered C.S.Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I needed this book primarily for me because in 1969, I had professors who openly ridiculed the faith. It gave me a lot of clarity in my walk at that point.

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I actually wrote to RZIM a while back after I had attempted to share the gospel with my brother who is an intellectual and falls somewhere in between atheism and agnosticism. My attempt to share Jesus did not go in the direction I had hoped, rather, at the end of our conversation, my faith was shaken and I was left with so many questions and doubts. @Derek_Caldwell responded to my email. For me, this was a lifeline in a time when I might have otherwise been lost completely. I honestly didn’t think I would receive a response back when I initially wrote to RZIM, but God used this ministry to save my faith and to draw me into a deeper relationship with Jesus.

For me, apologetics is as ongoing as my walk with Christ.
I have to continually set my mind on things above where Christ is, not on things on earth, reminding myself that I have died and that my life is indeed hidden in Christ. I realize that it is okay that I don’t have all of the answers, and that I don’t have to be afraid of questions. I’ve also come to see the great faithfulness of God as He has patiently held me throughout my life’s journey, even when I struggled to believe in Him.

I was beyond thrilled to see Dr. Maher Samuel speak tonight. Since I heard his message on the Glory of the Crucified King, I have longed to hear more of the richness of God’s Word as revealed through him. I think this is only the 5th teaching I have found where his talk had subtitles or was in English, so I especially cherish receiving from him tonight. His 5 paradoxes of Jesus’s humanity is so weighty. This is something I will continue to savor as I seek to “behold the man.”

In these ways, apologetics was and continues to be a preeminent piece of my spiritual journey. The gratefulness I have for these ministers of the gospel cannot be overstated. I hope to one day be able to share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit as effectively as it has been ministered to me through the speakers at RZIM.

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Through all the methods, logic , and philosophy that I’ve learned right here at RZIM I feel like God is putting people from other beliefs in my path to befriend and to speak to,
It has clearly made me a better listener and taught me the ability and the strength to be quiet and listen and learn to know the questioner not the question.
Thank you RZIM

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My experience was on the opposite spectrum to yours @Kasey_Leander. I live in a culture were questioning elders about anything is seen as rude. So when I was 12 and started asking questions it wasn’t received very well. As the years went by my mother discovered Ravi Zacharias and he helped a ton. I’m a sunday school teacher now and I’m always encouraging my kids to ask ALL the questions. I get a lot of wild questions but at least their questions are answered

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