Advice For Up and Coming Apologists

What would I encourage someone getting started to do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I got interviewed this past week by someone for a project in their education to interview an apologist. One question I was asked was what advice would I give to anyone starting in this field. Since I don’t recall ever writing on this, why not do so here as well?

An obvious one is to read everything you can. Nowadays, there is no excuse for not learning what you need to learn. Books have never been more readily available and there are plenty of free resources such as YouTube and even if you’re someone on the road and driving a lot, you can get audiobooks.

Also in that reading, you should be reading material that disagrees with you too. You need to learn directly what the other side is saying and what their main reasons for it are. If the only material you’re reading is that which agrees with you, you are staying in a bubble.

Get yourself a good mentor as well. Find someone wiser than you who can teach you. Again, in the age of the internet, this is far easier. I would generally prefer you have someone in person if at all, but if the only one you can find is someone online, go with that.

Be engaging in debates regularly. Again, thanks to places like Facebook, you can easily find someone you can argue with and who is willing to challenge you. Odds are as well, you will get your butt kicked a good time or two. That’s okay. It is something that will drive you back to your studies more and more.

While I do encourage you to read plenty, it would be a mistake to think you have to know everything. There are numerous fields out there such as history, philosophy, science, cults, other religions, ethics, politics, etc. This naturally includes the Bible, but all Christians should be by default studying the Bible. Your specialty area could be something in the Bible.

Yet even these areas have sub-areas within them. Suppose you want to study other religions. Do you think you’re going to be an authority on Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and many other religions out there? Quite likely you won’t. You might just want to specialize in Islam or a little bit broader in Eastern Religions or just study the New Age movement.

The same applies to any other field. If you don’t know everything, and you don’t, that’s okay as well. In this, it’s good to know plenty of people who are proficient in areas you aren’t. I can enjoy talking about the history of science and the philosophy of science, but when it comes to science as science, I pass that on to specialists I know. When someone sends me questions on Hinduism or Indian culture, I have a friend who does that. I have friends who study Judaism and the New Age movement.

This is why a community is so important and it’s something we’ve often lost sight of. Surround yourself with great minds and people you can learn from. These are the ones to emulate who have walked the road you want to walk.

Choose a field you’re not just capable in, but one that you also enjoy. Choose areas of study that grip you and leave you wanting to learn more. You’ll likely spend your life studying this.

One other question asked was how has God used my ministry. I could have told some stories, but ultimately, I said that’s not for me to know now. It’s really my job to just be faithful with what I have and leave the rest to God. Do the same. There are plenty of stories of missionaries who spent several years overseas without a single convert and now, their names are well-known for the great change they brought to the culture they went to.

If you want to come into this field, welcome aboard, but it will be work. I hope you’re ready.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


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