My Apologetic Testimony

By Justin Wishart

Is apologetics important? Is it effective? As our Be Ready Conference draws closer, I wonder how many people would answer “no” or “I don’t know” to these two questions. A biblical mandate for apologetics could be provided here, or a philosophical reason could be explained; but I wanted to give you a personal testimony of how apologetics deepened my faith and how it made me a more effective witness for Christ.

In many ways I view my childhood in two parts, as if I have two childhoods, because my parents divorced when I was very young. I only remember this time in my life, when we were all a family, in small fragments. I later discovered how this affected my self perception, how I think, and how effective apologetics were to me.

After my parents split, my brother and I moved to the West Coast with my mom while my dad stayed here in Calgary. Between my dad and I stood the Rocky Mountains, and I only saw him a few times a year.

My mom was a devout Christian while my dad was a Socialist, and while he never actually outright denied Christianity, he became very agnostic about it. My mom had grown up on the mission field in Asia and was about as committed to the faith as anyone could be. I don’t think she had many deep questions, or if she did we didn’t discuss them, and so there didn’t seem to be a great need to search for why one should believe that Christianity was true. It simply was true.

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My mom raised me in a very godly manner, but I didn’t ask these hard questions. When I was 14 years old I decided to move in with my dad in Calgary. With my faith firmly intact I headed out over the mountains. While living with my father, he would ask me questions over dinner, or while driving, about why I thought Christianity was true. He didn’t do so in any mean-spirited way, he just wanted to give me something to think about and was curious about my answers. This started me thinking for the first time about why should I believe in Christianity.

My dad avidly listened to CBC radio, and one day he called me into the kitchen to listen to a broadcast. It featured a member of the Jesus Seminar, and what the speaker claimed did not fit my views at all. He said that biblical scholarship had demonstrated that the vast majority of words attributed to Jesus were in fact fabricated by Christians after Jesus had died. I was stunned and troubled, and even though this didn’t cause me to renounce my faith, it planted a little seed of doubt…

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