(Photo: Carson Weitnauer)
College campus ministry leader and "Reasons for God" founder Carson Weitnauer wants to make it clear that having answers to questions from skeptics about God is an important component of the Christian community's broader evangelistic responsibility.
Weitnauer said that Christian apologetics, the discipline of defending a faith in Jesus, is a part of so many people's stories on the receiving end of getting answers about God before they became Christians that he wants to collect such stories in order to share. He's setting up an "apologetics testimonies" page on his website that will offer a continually growing list of people who have come to faith in part through the study of apologetics.
"I've been doing campus ministry for 10 years and throughout the course of my ministry, by God's grace and through the work of the Holy Spirit, I've seen God use apologetics to lead many people to faith," Weitnauer, who serves students at Harvard University, Boston College Law School, and other campuses around Boston with Telos Ministries, told The Christian Post.
"I thought if I took my personal experiences and others' personal experiences and I shared them through the medium of the Internet we could encourage many others to understand the practical value of apologetics – that God is using that method to bring people to faith," he explained.
In Weitnauer's recent blog post discussing what he wants in the way of apologetics testimonies, he asks, "Did you come to faith after studying the evidence for and against Christianity?"
He's not the first to come up with the idea. For example, apologist Dr. William Lane Craig of Reasonable Faith, has hundreds of stories collected and posted on his website. Craig's comes in the form of comments from people impacted by his work and the resources at ReasonableFaith.org.
"I want everyone to have a justified confidence that Christianity is not only true, but reasonable, and not only accurate, but a solid foundation for life," Weitnauer states. He said his website is "designed to offer a comprehensive rationale for God, sort of an intellectual resolving of doubt, but also encouraging singleness of purpose in life found in Christ and in the words of Scripture. Also, the practical benefits of serving our neighbors and encouraging love for even our enemies."
In addition to the apologetics component, he believes Christians are "called to pray, to proclaim the Gospel, to love our friends, pursue justice, partner together as a whole church, practice unity, read the Bible with our non-Christian friends, and depend upon the providential work of God."
He writes, "The Bible emphasizes that all of these activities are important in the work of evangelism.
So, consider 1 Peter 3:15-16:
"…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame."
If the Bible is to be our guide in the work of evangelism, as in all matters, should we not also be prepared to explain the reasons why the Christian faith is true? In other words, why not also answer our skeptical friends' questions?"
Weitnauer said he hopes that stories would encourage Christian leaders to prioritize having an apologetics ministry at their church.
"One of my dreams is that every church would have a trained apologist with a humble heart and a loving posture towards others and help resolve their doubts," he said.
On the Web: http://www.reasonsforgod.org.