Apologetics is the type of thing that can really strengthen anyone’s faith. Reading a good book or watching a debate on YouTube can be great for individual training. However, apologetics is also something that I have found can be dramatically enhanced through community interaction.
I became interested in this field like a lot of other people. I started reading books beginning with The Case for Christ, and I knew that I wanted to learn and do more. I certainly could have tried to do it alone, but I want to point out a few reasons that I think community is a particularly important dimension for the development of any Christian apologist.
First, it is impossible for any one person to be an expert in everything, especially right at the beginning. When you have a community around you, people can reinforce and assist in areas where you might not have as much knowledge. As an example of this, I am not an expert on the study of Joshua’s invasion of Canaan. I know the basics, but it is not as if I could write a book on it. However, because I am part of the community at the Christian Apologetics Alliance, I know that there are people I can talk to about any questions that come up. That would not be possible without some type of community.
Second, it is important to have a friendly forum to talk about potential ideas. Every now and then, I have certain illustrations or metaphors that come into my head as a way to try to communicate biblical truth in a way that will be understood by my audience. However, sometimes that doesn’t work out so well, and a community can help with that. I had that happen just recently with some of my classmates in the Master of Arts in Apologetics program at Houston Baptist University. I had some thoughts about the implications of the existence of a “God gene,” but after having a conversation in a friendly community with my classmates, I was able to improve my articulation in a more positive way. Without the community, if I had just put that idea out there to a potentially hostile audience, the results would not have been as good for me or for anyone else. I would have had a poorly articulated idea which would have been decimated by a secular audience, and it would not have been of the quality that God deserves.
These are just two of the many benefits of being part of a community, but they have meant a lot to me. I write this mainly as an encouragement for my fellow apologists to find friends or groups to engage with in this field. The world as a whole is not too keen on apologetics, and it can seem a little bit lonely at times. Nevertheless, there are resources out there, and while they can certainly strengthen our knowledge base without a doubt, the encouragement is also a valuable aspect that we cannot diminish whatsoever.