My conversion to Christianity was a surprising one. Such was the case because I didn’t even realize I wasn’t a Christian.
False disciple. False brother. False convert. Take your pick; I was that.
Like many young people filling our pews, I was raised in the church but didn’t become a Christian until later in life. For whatever reason, I never really had a clear grasp of the gospel until sometime in university. But once it all finally clicked, I had no hesitation with placing my faith in Christ.
Why the lack of hesitation? Because apologetics had already played a subtle part in my faith journey and helped to make me receptive to the gospel when the time came.
When I was born, my parents were relatively new believers and had few resources available to help them raise their children with the strong Christian foundation they desired for us. Nonetheless, to their credit, they did the best with what they had at their disposal and even managed to get their hands on some Christian apologetics materials.
Now, in hindsight, these apologetics resources weren’t all that great. I wouldn’t even call them good. But it was these materials that helped convince me of things like God’s existence and the historical reliability of the biblical documents. (I guess God can use a crooked stick to swing a straight blow, as I’ve heard one apologist put it.)
However, my convictions didn’t really go any further than that. I had only an intellectual belief in God and the Bible, not saving faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, I knew God existed, but I didn’t know him. Rather, I treated the whole thing as an intellectual exercise more than anything else and enjoyed debating with my atheist friends over the subject.
I was intellectually arrogant, morally self-righteous, and spiritually deluded. I rarely prayed, never fed on God’s Word, and couldn’t stand going to church. Nonetheless, I hid all this quite well. I knew how to speak Christianese, I attended all the regular church functions and youth events, and I always made sure to go a little above and beyond when others were watching.
I even hoodwinked myself with the charade, foolishly thinking that I was more than good enough to earn God’s favour—that if anyone was going to Heaven, it was going to be me. It wasn’t until the start of my third year of university that I got a rude awakening.
Seeing Jesus Clearly
One of my favourite Bible passages is Mark 8:22-26 wherein Jesus heals the blind man in Bethsaida. This episode naturally stands out as it’s the only one of Jesus’ recorded healing miracles wherein he heals in stages rather than instantaneously. After the first stage, the man’s sight was only partially restored and everything looked kind of fuzzy. After the second stage, however, the man’s sight was fully restored and he could see everything clearly.
What many readers overlook with this passage is that Jesus healed in this peculiar way so as to illustrate his disciples’ own spiritual blindness (see vv. 14-21 for context). Like the blind man after the first stage of the healing, they could only see in part who Jesus was and what he had come to do. However, like the second stage of the healing, Jesus was going to make the disciples see more clearly. (Though they didn’t respond very well to this. See vv. 31-33.)
I can really relate to this story, because like the blind man after the first stage of the healing, I could only see in part. Like the disciples, I only had a partial (and very fuzzy) picture of Jesus and the gospel. But all that changed one day as I sat alone in my dorm room on the university campus. God used an evangelist I stumbled upon online to help me see clearly.
For the first time in my life, I saw myself as a sinner in need of a Saviour. I understood both the natural and judicial consequences of my sin and recognized that I couldn’t save myself from my sorry state of affairs. With a penitent spirit, I turned to God through Jesus Christ and asked him to give me a new heart with new desires.
And he did.
Scripture says that the devil himself seeks to blind the minds of unbelievers to the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). It describes the tools he uses as “strongholds” in the form of arguments and objections raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
Well, by the time I turned to Christ, any such strongholds had been destroyed. I had no intellectual barriers to placing my faith in Christ. Why? Because exposure to Christian apologetics early on in and throughout my life had already removed any such barriers. In other words, when somebody pointed me to the gospel of Jesus Christ, I already had a clear view. (Much to the devil’s chagrin, no doubt.)
I still had plenty of questions, of course—even more so now that I would start taking the faith and Scripture more seriously. But I’ve repeatedly found solid answers to those questions and have been thoroughly satisfied with the reasonableness of the Christian worldview, including the arguments and evidence for its account of history, the divine, the human condition, and the person and works of Jesus Christ.
It seems to me that the whole thing has the sure ring of truth to it.
The Defense of the Gospel
I came to faith in Jesus Christ almost ten years ago now, and a few short years into my newfound faith, I joined up with Ratio Christi to help start a Canadian branch of the ministry. I did so because I know firsthand the important and, indeed, transformative role apologetics can play in a person’s life and faith journey, and I want to serve that end. Indeed, one of my “life verses,” as they call it, has been Philippians 1:16: “I am put here for the defense of the gospel.”
Maybe you have more questions and objections to Christianity than you know what to do with and haven’t been receptive to the gospel simply because you don’t think it’s true. If that’s you, then I would humbly invite you to check out some of our free resources on the matter.
Or maybe you’re in a similar boat as I was ten years ago and, despite appearances, don’t really get the whole Christianity thing beyond a handful of intellectual convictions. If that’s you, then I would strongly encourage you to reach out to our ministry as we would be more than happy to walk alongside you and help you get a clearer view of who Jesus is and what he’s done for you.