I first became involved in apologetics (although I did not know it by that name) in the 1990s. Although I had been brought up in a mainline church, I had just made a personal commitment. It was a time before the internet and my online apologetics activity took place on something called FidoNet. If you search carefully on the internet, you will find some of the archived discussions I had on a forum called Holy Smoke.
Considering I was a new Christian and I had no apologetics training, I think I did pretty well for myself. It helped that I had read the Bible front to back three times before becoming a Christian.
Still, there are a few things I wish that I had known back then.
- It is unlikely that a diehard skeptic is going to convert because of Christian arguments. I really thought it would happen and I tried. This is not to say that apologetics is useless. It is useful for the fence sitters who are watching the conversation.
- Many of the claims of skeptics are simply assertions. They would throw around ideas about the Dead Sea Scrolls and mystery religions when in fact they knew as little about them as I did.
- There is no point in getting upset by mockery. When skeptics mock, it is because they have run out of any rational arguments.
- I was not alone. I really did not know that there was other good apologetic material around. I had read Mere Christianity but I assumed that C.S. Lewis was a little weird because no one at my church talked about this stuff. Even in the 90s there were some good resources available.
- I needed to pray more. I saw my work as looking at skeptical arguments, searching the Bible and responding accordingly. I really did not take the role of prayer seriously.
It may be that these things are all common sense to you. They are to me now. But back then I wish that I knew them.