Earlier this summer I asked my good friend Blake Wallace to answer the question of how apologetics had impacted his early years as a Christian. This was his response:
I would consider my conversion to Christianity a unique experience. I was not evangelized to by men but rather by God through the Word. Therefore, I did not have a direct source to ask questions to in my early Christian life. However, naturally, I still had many unanswered questions and doubts that arose concerning my faith. With faith, doubt is certain, and doubt will either strengthen Christians or completely break them. I found that a major factor that allowed me to grow through my doubt is the discipline of apologetics. I found apologetics very early in my walk with Christ. Apologists like Frank Turek and Jim Wallace in addition to Christian scientists like James Tour built a solid extrabiblical foundation that supported my Biblical views through logic. In this age, claiming the authority of the Bible to give proof of what you believe is not as effective as it was in centuries past, especially for unbelievers. Apologetics strengthens the bridge between “blind faith” (which is not truly blind but that’s a discussion for another day) and certainty.
The most dramatic benefit that apologetics has had on my faith was recent. My mind is inclined to be scientific and to search for certainty. Initially, I was unsure if faith was very compatible with certainty. There was quite literally a leap of faith. By the grace of God, I was recommended a book called Proper Confidence by Lesslie Newbigin. Newbigin worked through the intellectual history of the areas influenced by Christendom and he worked through the transition to the standard of certainty that this world adheres to. He then developed the argument that all intellectual pursuits are based on the personal commitment to any idea. There had to be a basis for any thought which requires a personal commitment as the basis to develop any further thought. He explained how this was the basis of Christianity. A personal commitment to Jesus, who is the logos (logic) made flesh, allows us to grow closer to God. What Newbigin presented was, to me, intellectual security for the faith required to be a Christian.
Apologetics should not be a substitute for trust in the authority of the Bible. However, it should be used to supplement your faith in the Word of God. Apologetics allowed me to be more intellectually comfortable in my faith. I’ve been able to pursue my faith with greater trust through apologetics. Also, as I began to learn more about the Lord through searching for answers to my many questions. I was able to ask the questions that skeptics would ask me to criticize my faith before the skeptics even came. Apologetics prepared me to not only defend internal questions about my faith but also develop answers to the external attacks upon my faith.
I think some comfort came to my heart knowing that the questions that I did have, others had before me. Even more, those same questions have answers. I was not alone in my doubt, skepticism, or questioning. God is faithful to provide what we need to know about Him. I find myself digging deeper daily and I am not afraid to ask questions because I have a God who is real. Apologetics helped me realize that I am not hiding in the dark or intentionally living under a rock to keep the faith. Through trials and fire, my faith still stands, the questions are answered. This gives me unbelievable comfort.