Hey there! Intros are awkward, so let's get this out of the way.
I'm Erik Manning. Thanks for checking out my site. Let me give you a little background about myself:
I was raised Catholic but had a very shallow understanding of the faith. I eventually became an atheist and remained one for several years. I eventually started doubting my doubts, and that led me into a journey for the truth. During that journey, the Holy Spirit got in my "bubble" and revealed himself to me in a real way.
I knew that Jesus was real and I wanted others to know him. I became serious about sharing my faith. But that led to some roadblocks.
The challenge of sharing your faith in a post-Christian world
Picture this: You’re sitting a bus stop, scrolling through your favorite social media app for the umpteenth time. You pause for a second and think “hey, what’s the spiritual condition of the person next to me? Maybe I should try and talk to them.”
But then another thought hits you: “Oh man. Are you serious? You’re going to drop the JC-Bomb on this person? They’re a complete stranger and you’re probably just going to bug them. Besides, what if they ask you a question and you don’t know how to answer? Don’t you remember last Thanksgiving with your uncle when he brought up contradictions in the Bible?”
So, with a hurting conscience, you go back to staring at your phone. We’ve all been there. We all feel a responsibility to the lost, but few of us do much about it.
According to a recent Barna survey, 100% of evangelicals affirm that we should be sharing the gospel. In the same survey, 69% actually shared their faith in the last 12 months. That's a pretty big drop off. In another survey, an astonishing 95% of evangelicals have never won another soul to Christ and less than 2% are involved in the ministry of evangelism. (Source)
Why are Christians so sheepish about sharing their faith?
For many Christians, we get tight-lipped about sharing our faith because we're afraid. We're scared of looking like we don't know what we're talking about. In our culture, Christianity has a bad rap.
The faith is seen as passe', misogynistic, imperialistic, intolerant, homophobic, anti-science and anti-reason. There's a lot of negative stereotypes that we run up against.
Because of this intimidation factor, we worry about opening our mouths because we know that once we do, we might get hit with a question we can't answer.
Overcoming my own fears in evangelism through apologetics
I remember not being prepared. I was sitting with some co-workers and somehow the conversation shifted toward spiritual things. I started to share my faith but quickly ran into a buzzsaw of objections. One of my co-workers was a son of Baptist missionaries. He rejected his childhood faith and became a new-age Buddhist. The other co-worker was into science and more of an agnostic. They threw all kinds of objections that left me speechless.
I was deflated. I had graduated from Bible School and knew about theology, but couldn't handle some basic objections. I knew that I had experiences with God and that my faith wasn't based on a fairy tale. I even knew from my own conversion from atheism to Christianity that faith wasn't against reason.
I rejected atheism because I didn't think think the universe just came to be without a cause or had no reason for its existence. I also didn't think my moral intuitions had no objective basis. I mean, I converted to Christianity after reading 1 John. It was there I read about Jesus being "heard, seen and touched". These apostles really believed he was alive. (1 John 1:1-4)
I knew this. But I couldn't articulate it. That's where Christian apologetics comes in. Apologetics doesn't mean apologizing, but giving a "reasoned defense".
I went on a serious quest. I read tons of books. I got introduced into a lot of terms and fancy words I had never heard before. I listened to podcasts and debates. I joined online discussion groups. I did a lot of talking with skeptics who challenged my beliefs. I read some of the best the other side had to offer. I made my brain sweat. I figured that if we really are in a war of ideas in our culture and that eternal destinies are at stake, I had to seriously train.
I eventually found a mentor in Dr. Tim McGrew. Tim teaches philosophy at W. Michigan U. and is a walking encyclopedia on the subject of apologetics. He's debated some skeptical "heavyweights", like Bart Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus, Forged) and Peter Boghossian (A Manual for Creating Atheists). By the grace of God and through Tim's tutelage, I've become more confident in sharing my faith than ever.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
I don't claim to be a complete expert. But I'm convinced that I can pass on the things I've learned. And if I can become more confident in sharing my faith, so can you. Not everyone can become a doctorate in philosophy, history or in science. I know that I didn't have the time or money myself. But every Christian can learn the historical basis of their faith and how to overcome common objections to Christianity.
Every Christian should be able to make the case for Jesus.
This isn't just a good idea. Peter said "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.' (1 Peter 3:15)
That's what this site is about. Sharing the reasons and evidence for the Christian faith.
The main portion of the site is to share the evidence that Jesus has been raised from the dead from what we know from history. Use it to study up on the evidence for the resurrection yourself. You can also use it to help steer the conversation in dialogue with a friend.
The blog is to take a look in more detail into other topics of apologetic or evangelistic interest on a street level. My objective is to help you be armed to have a conversation with the average person you run across every day.
The topics that interest me the most are:
- The historical reliability of the gospels and evidence for the resurrection.
- Arguments for the existence of God.
- Sharing Jesus effectively - conversational apologetics and evangelism.
These subjects will help you make a positive case for the faith in a way that's not awkward.
My goal is to help you be equipped so that you can inject these nuggets of truth with your neighbors to get them to consider the Christian worldview. Change might not happen with them overnight, but I bet they'll be surprised to meet a Christian whose views are well-thought out. And you'll find your own faith strengthened as well.