Some Christians say, “people don’t come to faith through apologetics.” My guess is they just don’t know anybody who came to faith this way. But that doesn’t mean nobody does. For example, Paul’s efforts to persuade Jews and God-fearing Greeks resulted in “large numbers” coming to faith (Acts 17:2-4). We also know Augustine and C.S. Lewis both say God used apologetics to draw them closer to himself. Today, we still see skeptics and critics alike abandoning false ideas and embracing a personal relationship with Jesus.
Former Atheists, Now Defenders of the Faith
You might have heard my friends, Stephen Notman and Holly Ordway, at the Bayside Apologetics Seminar talking about how they rejected their atheism and became convinced that Christianity was true. I’d been on their blogs before, but it was great to finally meet them in person a little more than a month ago. Watch how Stephen, an attorney, and Holly, a college professor, summarized their breakout session, called “Inside the Mind of an Atheist.”
We had an experience with Jesus that was central to our conversion to Christianity. He is the “why.” But apologetics played a part in the “how” we became Christians as well. -Holly
On his blog, Stephen wrote:
I focused on the experiential aspect and shared quite a bit of autobiographical information to contextualize my journey from a place of embittered estrangement from God to a place of Grace and the beginning of a new life spent cultivating a relationship with Christ.
On her blog, Holly wrote:
We discussed our upbringing (mine, in a totally non-religious household; Stephen, in a nominally Anglican household much like Richard Dawkins) and the experiences that brought us to where we could hear the Gospel. For both of us, a direct experience of Christ was central to our conversion, but the role that apologetics played in that journey was different, as was the path that led to our willingness to hear the Gospel. For me, poetry and seeing the witness of Christian character made me willing to listen; for Stephen, recognizing his own moral evil drew him to a recognition of the reality of God. My journey to conversion was heavily intellectual, while Stephen’s was heavily emotional;
apologetic arguments played a key role in allowing me to accept Christ, while apologetics helped Stephen recognize the rationality of his experience of Christ.
Both of us stressed the volitional aspect of our conversion: after a certain point, accepting Christ was not a question of having more information, but a question of making the choice to accept His authority – or not.
After watching the video, check out Holly’s new book:
Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith