How Apologetics Saved My Faith
by Matt Rawlings
I became a Christian at 24 after a cancer diagnosis. I had been an atheist for 10 years but came to God in desperation. I left Capitol Hill (and politics altogether) to learn about Christianity. I attended what many believed was a conservative seminary but had slowly slipped into liberalism by the time I arrived in 1999. I was sold on “higher criticism” (or a skeptical approach to the historicity and inerrency of Scripture) and joined the then growing “Emergent Church” movement. Within a few years, I was where Rob Bell is now–a soft universalist with a condescending attitude toward conservatives. Yet, I was also spiritually dead and was struggling with depression. I was quickly headed back to the atheism I had thought I had left behind while praying for my life.
During this time of personal struggle, my wife and I were helping a small church in Charleston, West Virginia. When an elder learned my wife had a degree in micro-biology and had helped overseen a science program at Cornell, he asked her to meet with the youth group and answer their questions about science and the faith. In preparation, she picked up the book, The Case for a Creator, by Lee Strobel (Zondervan 2005). She devoured the book and went on and on about wonderful it was and how I had to read it. I resisted as the cover struck me as “fundamentalist nonsense.” Yet, she persisted and it became clear that either I was going to read the book or spend a few nights on the couch!
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I opened the book with a bad attitude. After all, my seminary professors had told me that “apologetics is dead!” and that “Generation-X and -Y desired experience not ‘answers.’” I was even more resistant when I saw the first few chapters take on evolution. I was convinced Genesis 1-11 was all myth, Darwin had been proven correct and that only nutters questioned it. But after reading Strobel’s interaction with Dr. Jonathan Wells and Dr. Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute, I realized I had no real counter argument to intelligent design…
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