Last weekend I traveled to Murfreesboro, TN to attend a one day apologetics conference sponsored by NRBTV called “Defending Truth”. It featured notable Christian apologists Ravi Zacharias, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace. There were about 1100 attendees who waited patiently in a two block line to pass police security scanning on a drizzly Saturday morning.
Myself and a colleague facilitated a Ratio Christi table and spoke with at least a hundred attendees in meaningful conversations while handing out loads of brochures and answering questions. The conference attendee profile was primarily parents and grandparents and some of their youth. There was clear consistency about the reasons they were there. They were concerned that their sons and daughters were developing or might develop doubts about Christianity and they didn’t know how to deal with it. They heard that Christian apologetics might be the answer.
The interest at our table periodically could only be described as a furor. There was a near feverish pitch about the demeanor and behavior of attendees and an air of desperation. They wanted answers and solutions to help their children cope with the secular attacks and criticisms on Christianity and the parents and grandparents were frustrated about what to do. We added several college students as new members to our Ratio Christi Tennessee apologetics club and two new faculty advisors who are professors at UT-Knoxville.
Indeed Christian apologetics can help address doubt in many cases. It is a long stated fact that apologetics does not win people to Christ. The Holy Spirit does that. But if the issues relate to intellectual doubt and unanswered questions, skepticism and concerns about science and the Bible, apologetics is the answer.
One ongoing conversation of interest was with a lady named Shannon. Her parents convinced her to come because she was raised Christian but has a lot of issues with Christianity. She was all over the map with a dozen different questions: why is Christianity so exclusive, she looked at all the evidence and is not convinced, what about the age of the earth and science, why are we so against LGBTQ (she thought she heard a speaker say some offensive things about it), she considered belief an involuntary action, and so on. She came back to our table at least half a dozen times, usually after every speaker. Cumulatively I’m sure we spoke with her over an hour. But she listened a lot and seemed to really think our answers were special. She called us the “island in the middle of a river” compared to others she interacted with. One time she was asking a question and her parents stepped in to answer. She said, “No, go away. I only want to talk to these people.” She had enough of standard “have faith” answers and wanted a real answer. I’m not sure where that is all going but I assured her that God will provide enough knowledge for her salvation if she continues to seek but that she would have to make a decision because belief is not involuntary.
On another note, several Tweens curriculum were sold right off the table displays and perhaps half of all conversations we had were regarding how to help youth in the tweens age group. It was very common for attendees to say nothing was available until they found “Apologetics for Tweens”. In fact, my heart melted when one attendee reviewed the material then immediately purchased and was so excited she was holding the book pressed close to her chest as though it was her Bible. She said she was very happy she found this material and was excited to use it and help her home school students. She literally walked away with a bounce in her step and air of excitement. I found out later when I met her husband that they were just married recently and still on their honeymoon. Imagine that! They invested time on their honeymoon to go to a weekend apologetics conference at a church. That says it all about the perceived importance of these issues. Other Tweens sales were made to a Sunday school teacher and youth pastor. Many, many more took about a hundred business cards and all 50 of my brochures.
Does this sound like nothing more than mild interest and gathering information from a couple vendors while at a conference? Or is it something deeper and urgent and critical? Do you really want to take the risk that your kids will be fine and never develop doubts about Christianity? Download some of our free samples and email or phone me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-597-2654.