Women in Apologetics on the Rise

by Krista Bontrager

Last November, while working for Reasons to Believe (RTB) at the annual meetings for the Evangelical Theological Society, I met Rachel Shockey from Women in Apologetics (WIA), a fairly new ministry organized in May 2017. We filmed Rachel about WIA for RTB’s 28:19 show. You can check out that segment here.

Then in January, I attended the inaugural WIA conference at Biola University. Sitting in on many of the talks caused me to reflect more deeply on my own journey, as well as the unique contributions that women can make to the larger enterprise of apologetics.

I entered seminary in the early ‘90s. For the first few years, I was the only woman in my program. I labored in relative obscurity, wondering most days what I was even doing in the male-dominated world of theology. Thankfully, I had some male professors who kept encouraging me, even though I honestly didn’t know if being a “lady theologian” was even a thing.

I’ve now worked professionally in the realm of theology and apologetics for almost 25 years. For most of that time, it has remained largely a male-dominated field.

But that’s changing.

It was so encouraging to see so many women, many of them younger than me, from all different backgrounds coming together to talk about how apologetics connects to their lives as wives, mothers, worship leaders, and teachers. It was also deeply gratifying to see what role RTB had played in the journey of many of the speakers. Several have even taken courses through Reasons Institute.

I noticed that most of the presenters at the conference did not have PhDs or hold an academic position at a university. A few did, but most did not. The highest degree many of them have is an MA in Apologetics from Biola. As such, many of them probably wouldn’t be considered academically qualified to speak at most of the larger apologetics conferences or do big debates with atheists. However, I would like to suggest that these women are still making a very valuable contribution to the field of apologetics. Here are two critical results that I see emerging from this movement…

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Women in Apologetics on the Rise