by Leslie Keeney
I’ve recently been reading Mary Jo Sharp’s Defending The Faith:Apologetics in Women’s Ministry. There will be a proper review coming soon, but for some reason this particular book has brought back long-lost memories of why I began studying apologetics in the first place and how it has changed my personal faith.
Sharp writes passionately about the need for Christian women to learn more about what they believe. If they’re content with a shallow faith based on nothing but what they feel, she says, they’ll never grow beyond spiritual infancy. Worse still, they’ll be content to look and act like the world, believing advertisers’ lies about what gives people value.
I’ve met a lot of people like this. People who genuinely love Christ, but have never learned anything more about their faith than whatever they happened to pick-up in the first few months after being “saved.” They may go to church, but otherwise they can’t be distinguished from the non-Christian living on either side of them on the cul-de-sac. They still want what everyone else wants—the big house in the gated community, the widescreen TV, or the Jimmy Choo’s. Their spiritual growth is effectively stalled.
For years, that was me. The details were different, but the trajectory was the same. While I was never much for gated communities, I was still spiritually self-absorbed. My prayers were authentic, but they were about me and my problems—not much different than anyone else’s.
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It was only after many years of being a Christian that I was, well, convicted. All of the sudden, I had to learn more about what the Bible said. I had to face down the hard questions—the questions Christians hope no one will ask: How do we know the Bible is the Word of God? How do we know Jesus rose from the dead? How do we rectify the warrior Yahweh of the Old Testament with the self-sacrificing Christ of the New Testament? If God loves his people, why is there still suffering?
And what the heck is up with the nephilim in Genesis 6?
The bottom line was that I had had some mountaintop experiences with Jesus. I had felt Him in my spirit. He had spoken to me. I was afraid to investigate further because I didn’t want to find out that my experiences—and the Jesus I loved—could not stand up under scrutiny. What if I found out that the Bible was just a bunch of books that some bearded guys had hobbled together in the 4th century? What if I found out that Paul invented Christianity? What if the things they said about the “lost gospels” on the History Channel were true?
While I do have a few post-modern tendencies, they’re not strong enough to convince me that absolute truth doesn’t exist. What’s true is true. If I discovered that the evidence effectively disproved the historicity of the resurrection, I would not be able to believe that He had, indeed, risen.
So I researched and read and studied…
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