How I Came to Christ Through Apologetics

I grew up unchurched and was pretty much an agnostic up through my twenties. Even though I got baptized as a teenager into the Presbyterian USA denomination, I did it more for social reasons than anything else. There was no great care taken to make sure I was in the faith. Most of my experience with church up until I was 26 years old was about teachings of being a nice person because Jesus was a nice person, or a focus on a bunch of seemingly (to me) unconnected details.

That was until we began to attend church in Orlando, in late 2004. Around the time we began to visit, the pastor started a sermon series answering objections raised by Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. I had never experienced a series of messages that sought out to defend Christianity against objections before, and I found that informative and attractive. Never before had I heard such a methodical taking apart of an item of current popular culture along with a defense of Christian orthodoxy. That sermon series, along with other events that happened then, caused me to want to delve deeper into what I believed. At the time, I had no fixed point for my beliefs and no doctrinal absolutes I could explain to anyone else with any level of certainty.

It was then, amid a bit of crisis that I picked up a little book that had sat on our bookshelf for a few years, Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter. Earlier when we were living in Philadelphia, my wife had gotten McDowell’s book from a University of Pennsylvania student when she was participating in the Penn Graduate Student Christian Fellowship as a vicarious student while I was in graduate school there. That little book was a quick read and summed up and tied together all those unconnected loose ends for me to where I gave my life to Christ around this time of the year, in March 2005. More Than a Carpenter did not exhaustively answer every question I had, but McDowell did show me that faith in Christ was a reasonable thing, and showed that Christianity as a worldview made sense of the world.

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About Daniel Ashworth, Jr.

Daniel is Tonya's husband, a professional Landscape Architect and Planner educated at Mississippi State ('02) and the University of Pennsylvania ('04), and a servant at Union Avenue Baptist Church in Midtown Memphis, Tennessee. Sometime in the future, he plans to earn an education in philosophy and theology.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

    Daniel: If you’re eager to find support for the Christian worldview (that is, you’ve already decided what you want to be the case), this approach makes sense, but I think that if you’re open minded and truly follow the facts where they lead, they won’t lead you to Christianity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=536325089 Ron Kersey

    Daniel: Perhaps a good follow-up to this article would be (providing you have done so already), delving into the nigh-exhaustive McDowell penned apologetics behemoth “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” as well as its second installment (i.e. Part II) which ironically came about from the young Josh McDowell originally being driven by a strong desire to academically disprove Christianity via objective open mindedness (though, one might say his attitude was more predisposed for an atheistic leaning when he started out) and following the historical facts where they lead to. I am aware of the widely circulated “More Than a Carpenter,” which could be considered only the proverbial tip of the much bigger and more stalwart iceburg of apologetic scholarship which manifested itself in “ETDAVerdict.”

  • staircaseghost

    Josh McDowell showed you that “faith in Christ was a reasonable thing, and showed that Christianity as a worldview made sense of the world”?

    Funny thing. Just this week I was listening to my AM Radio on my way home from work and whom to my wondering ears should appear but Mr Josh McDowell himself!

    In this broadcast, Mr McDowell claimed to have given “over twenty two thousand lectures” on thousands of college campuses. But Mr. McDowell seems not to have ever attended a mathematics class at any of those universities.

    Assume he gives one lecture a day, literally every single day, with no weekends and no holidays, never taking sick. At that rate, it would take 60 years to make that number, which means he would have to have started barnstorming colleges at the ripe old age of 13, never looking back.

    This is a perfect encapsulation for all of McDowell’s claims. They impress only to the extent that his audience doesn’t actually go to the effort of investigating them.

  • http://booksforevangelism.org/ Net D.

    This is a very inspiring and wonderful post. Similar to you, I grew up unchurched and I was agnostic in college but I didn’t came to Christ because of apologetics books. When I became a Christian, I started out reading Christian books and McDowell’s More Than A Carpenter is my favorite! Perhaps anyone who is interested with more books on apologetics may check out http://booksforevangelism.org/ . Heaps of books are listed there.

  • Descriptive Grace

    “Most of my experience with church up until I was 26 years old was about
    teachings of being a nice person because Jesus was a nice person”

    Wow. Must have been nice. I had to hear for 26 years that everyone who doesn’t observe communion exactly 100% right and do it every Sunday without fail will burn in hell for all eternity. And can you guess what 100% right meant? Congregations full of people in our own denomination were going to be damned, I was told for 26 years, for using multiple cups in communion rather than just one. If only they had of focuses on morality instead, I wouldn’t have left that denomination.