Apologetics Restored My Faith
by Caleb Lee
If someone were to ask me, “When did you become a Christian?” I would respond, “I’ve been a Christian my entire life.” I was born into a Christian family, grew up in church, and never really left to explore anything else. I’ve always believed in Christ because Christ is all that I’ve ever known.
But I was what you would call a “nominal Christian.” I would go to church weekly, attend every Bible study, and even serve in many capacities. But looking back, those were empty times. I knew the stories of the Bible, the head knowledge of who God was. I had the typical Christian education: God created the universe and everything in it, Man fell into sin, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down, died and rose again for our sins because He loved us. While that isn’t wrong, that was the extent of my faith. I was living comfortably in my Christianity and my faith was never being challenged so I had no reason to defend it.
Michael Nelder says in his poem, “Facts,”
“I was like a dictionary full of definitions with no ideas, and it’s crazy how we can get so caught up in the information that we mistake for knowledge, like people who think they know us because they’ve been following our Facebook statuses. I used to hate God because I would memorize facts like I needed to prove to myself and everyone else that I knew Him but secretly resent Him when life would always present these tests with questions that required more than one word answers… You see I had built this legacy focusing on all the facts because it was easier to fit God into my curriculum based on who I already decided He was than to actually listen and trust Him with the answers to my questions.”
That was me. I memorized the “Sunday school answers,” everything that I needed to know to make it look like I was a Christian. I prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” every retreat. I tried to fit God into the image that I was comfortable with, rather than who He really was because I was more comfortable with my image of God. But the reality hit me when I came to college: I didn’t know Him.
My church life up to that point was based on emotions, relying on my version of God when things were tough and ignoring Him when life was good. I didn’t know what the Bible said about certain issues because I had never read it outside of Sunday service or Friday night Bible study. I realized after coming to Berkeley, the most liberal city in all of California and arguably all of the United States, and being questioned on my beliefs, that I didn’t have any answers to the tough questions.
That was how my freshman year of college passed. I church-hopped for most of the year so I didn’t have a firm community around me, and I was feeling more lost in my faith than I ever had before. I went home that summer, still feeling lost.
That summer, there was an apologetics conference at my home church with RZIM speakers Nabeel Qureshi, Alycia Wood, and Cameron McAllister. At the time, I didn’t really understand what apologetics was, or why I needed it. However, as the conference was going on and I sat in the back listening to the speakers talking about the very doubts that I had in my mind at the time and logically going through each issue and showing how God was the answer, something stirred my heart…
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