A few years ago, after returning home from teaching at the Women in Apologetics Conference at Biola in La Mirada, California, I reflected on what I enjoyed most. I think it was interacting with several hundred women who were passionate about learning and sharing the rational reasons for our hope in Jesus Christ. This passion is spreading among Christian women across the nation, and I am so excited to be a part of this groundbreaking movement.
How the Apologetics Scene has Changed for Women
Even fifteen years ago the landscape looked different. At that time, our women’s apologetics conference at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, was one of the first apologetics conferences in the nation designed for and led by women. Organized by SES’s Dean of Women Norma Hale, with sessions taught by female apologists such as Patti Tunnicliffe and me, we tackled some of the critical objections to the Christian Faith, such as how to respond to New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman’s arguments that the New Testament was filled with errors and thus, unreliable.
At the time, there weren’t many women apologists prepared to teach the needed topics. Now, Christian women are flooding into seminary apologetics programs. In fact, when I graduated from the PhD program at SES in 2021about half of our PhD student body was comprised of women.
Is There Such a Thing as Women’s Apologetics?
If you’re wondering why we need apologetics conferences just for women, you are asking a good question. The content of apologetics when viewed as a field of study forms a single body of knowledge, so there is no “women’s” apologetics in terms of content. Though there are differing approaches to Christian apologetics, each advocating its own distinctive starting point for discussion, the foundational body of knowledge is comprised of evidences most often includes evidences for the existence of objective truth, the theistic God, miracles, biblical reliability, and the deity and atoning work of Jesus Christ. Explaining these truths as applied to contemporary contexts comprises “cultural apologetics.”
While the content of apologetics is the same for men and women, the way that women learn this content and teach it to others is unique to women. For example, many Christian women avoid apologetics because they see it as argumentative and academic, with very little connection to their daily lives. Some also believe that the content is just too hard to learn, or they cannot bear the thought of adding one more to-do task to their already overloaded plate of commitments.
Time to Get Off the Sidelines
As more and more women enter this field of study in seminary, prepare themselves, and fulfill their calling to teach others, these vital truths are heard in women’s voices, with women’s relational concerns at the forefront. As a result, many Christian women are now recognizing their need to learn the evidences supporting the truth claims of Christianity. These tools enable them to stand unshaken when their faith is challenged, and they also train their family members to distinguish truth from error and how to live faithfully for Christ.
The sidelines are no place to be. On the sidelines, we stand inertly wringing our hands and pray desperate but uninformed prayers while watching our loved ones get caught in the vortex of worldly ideologies that hate everything true, and good, and just.
Entering the game means acting in faith to learn the truth and then apply it to our situation. Entering the game is risky. We risk failure and rejection, even in, or especially within, our families. But there is no time to waste, and we as women have never had so many resources available to us. So, grab your Bible and several good apologetics resources and prep yourself to get in the game.