I was recently asked to answer some interview questions about my apologetics ministries. What follows are the questions and answers, in installments.
1. Will you share your testimony? When did you begin to believe in God and why?
I was raised in the faith and believed in God from my earliest memories. However, despite twelve years of Christian schooling, when I went to college (to become a pastor) I began reading the Bible for myself, for my own interests, rather than for assignments, and was immediately struck by all kinds of difficulties. Worse, when I asked people for insight, no one seemed to have any. That included my professors. I concluded that A., I must be a very bright lad, thinking of these hard questions that no one apparently had ever considered before and B., what does it say when even my professors can’t answer me. Looking back, neither conclusion was the right one. There is a difference between “can’t answer” and “won’t answer.” At the time, though, this was faith-shattering.
For a period of about six months, I dropped God like a bad habit. But within that period, God was working. I did realize that I had been approaching the Bible as though it were ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and recognized that this was not a fair approach. I reversed my approach, and then, when one isn’t nitpicking everything, but actually taking it as it stands as a whole, things begin to make sense. By the end of my freshmen year in college, I could comfortably call myself a Christian again. I did, however, doubt very much that pastoral ministry was for me. My eye turned towards teaching and apologetics.
2. You’re Executive Director over Athanatos Christian Ministries. What is the purpose of the ministry?
After seven years of ‘professional’ church work, my job situation changed, and I decided it was time to put an official umbrella over the apologetics work that I was already doing. In fact, there has never been a time since that freshmen year that I have not been carrying out apologetics. The vision and direction of ACM has changed shape over the years as I myself have tried to sort out just what kind of apologetic work I should be doing. It seems that our early emphasis on apologetics through the arts is what is going to eventually win out. The motto comes from a passage in Ecclesiastes that says, “He has set eternity in the hearts of men.” If you think about that, it has profound implications. C.S. Lewis said once that we have never met a mere mortal. If this is true, then there are other avenues to reach the boxed-in heart, and I find that the arts and ‘literary apologetics’ are one such powerful avenue; incidentally, the enemy knows this too, and is actively working to poison the culture so that it is toxic to faith, faith formation, and even the existence of the believers themselves.