Becoming All Things to All People with Apologetics

by Sheryl Young

“Apologetics is something that is integrated into my faith, so in a sense I am always doing it. It is the way that I love God with all of my mind. So I would never want to stop.”

These are exciting words from Jessica Thompson about using our minds along with our heartfelt faith. Jessica is the outgoing student president of Ratio Christi at Rutgers University. Upon graduating this past spring, she was acknowledged by Chapter Director Julie Miller with our Legatus Christi outstanding student recognition.

Miller explains why she chose to acknowledge Jessica:

“Jessica is very capable of sharing the gospel and giving reasons for God’s existence through apologetics in a manner that shows a heart of compassion. She displays all of the Legatus Christi core values. She excels at engaging and befriending atheists on campus. This is a huge reason we have so many atheists who come to our meetings. As she heads off to Biola University, we are very sad to see her go.”

We had the chance to ask Jessica about combining her Christian faith with learning apologetics and being a part of RC.

Q: When did you accept Christ as your Savior?

A: I found Christ at four years old in the Sunday school of my childhood church. As I grew, my relationship with Him grew as well.

Q:  If you were in a high school church youth group, how much did you learn there about the Christian faith and reasons to believe?

A: In my high school church youth group I asked a lot of questions and had youth leaders who made themselves available to talk through and answer my questions. I would say that the answers I received were very limited compared with what I know is available now, but they were a start. I was encouraged to ask my questions rather than discouraged, which I am grateful for.

Q: How did you get interested in apologetics?

A: I was given a few books by Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel. In the summer before high school I attended my first apologetics course at a Christian summer camp called IYPC (Interdenominational Young People’s Conference) about The Da Vinci Code, which was a hot topic at that time.

I remember the instructor doing something that had a huge impact on me. He brought in copies of the Gnostic gospels, explained them to us, and let us read them for ourselves. His lack of fear and willingness to let us see for ourselves what we thought by our own investigation has stuck with me. That’s the type of attitude I strive to have – openness to seeing where evidence leads and a lack of fear due to trust that the Truth will be revealed to those who seek it.

I have always been a question asker, so even before I knew it was called apologetics it was a part of my mindset. I also tended to befriend atheists and skeptics in high school and college, so they were always forcing me to think and discuss objections to Christianity. Before Ratio Christi I would read those few books I had or talk to youth leaders about these things. I loved it.

Q: So how did you get involved with RC?

A: When I came to college, for my first two years I spent time leading an evangelistic small group. The majority of the people were not Christians. Additionally, I became a member of the Atheist Student Alliance on campus, where I made a lot of really good friends. Because of this experience, I was asked to partner with Julie Miller to lead a series of evangelism training sessions for the annual Jesus Awareness Week at Rutgers. This is an event where different fellowships work together to host joint evangelistic efforts for a week.

I first met Julie at the session we were leading together and instantly found that we were like-minded in our approach to talking with skeptics! It was refreshing to find that there was someone else out there who didn’t dismiss questions as a lack of faith yet still understood that salvation is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot argue someone into faith.

The truth is, it was actually an atheist friend of mine who invited me to RC! He was a regular attendee before me. When he invited me, I thought of my discussions with Julie and decided that I would attend Ratio Christi…

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Becoming All Things to All People with Apologetics | Ratio Christi