DoubtLesss Faith is a Journey

martin-freeman-in-the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey

2016 . . . a year of change. Every year brings new challenges and new experiences, opportunities to grow or to dig your heels in and refuse to move. This past year has been a little bit of both. For me, 2016 began with my first class in Southern Evangelical Seminary’s PhD in Philosophy of Religion program, which has led to both laughter and tears. It has been both a joyous time of growth and expansion, as well as frustration and sleepless nights. I have learned more than I ever imagined possible and found strength in God to move forward beyond what I ever dreamed. No PhD program is for the faint of heart and I am learning that it is only through Christ that my faint heart can persevere. It has been a wonderful experience; one I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. But that is not all the change that 2016 brought. This year brought changes in family relationships, a budding new romance, and changes in the direction of DoubtLess Faith.

God gave me the idea for DoubtLess Faith 6 years ago, in my first year of my Masters studies at Liberty University. I remember reflecting on all that I was learning about God and the Bible in my classes and thinking “Why on earth wasn’t I taught this in church and Christian school?” I was overjoyed with what I was learning and disappointed it took the pursuit of a seminary degree in order to discover it, and with that DoubtLess Faith was born. It was born out of a desire to bring the fruits of seminary study to people who would never attend seminary.

change-architect-sign1In the 6 years in-between DoubtLess Faith has transitioned many times. It started as a blog where I could share what I was learning and when I finished my Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and had more time to devote, it shifted outside the internet. We had our first conference in 2013 with over 500 people in attendance and we’ve gone on to do more conferences, seminars, classes, and events. We expanded our internet reach to over 116 different countries and started a weekly devotional to help those that were introduced to Christ deepen their understanding of His word. We grew from a team of one to a team of four with Catalina Kreider, Miguel Benitez, Jr., and Kyle Clark writing and speaking at events.

Together we dreamed of an apologetics organization that would have national impact and of opening a Learning Center that would be culturally transformational. We dreamed big and made strides in our personal professional pursuits to position ourselves in a way that would allow God to use us for His kingdom. But with the desire to be a tool for Christ comes the reality that sometimes our plans are not God’s plans, at least not right now. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).” How true this proverb has become to me in the last year. While I made plans, God was establishing our steps to move in different directions. It is with a glad heart and hope for the future that I share with you these changes.

In the past year, Miguel Benitez, Jr. has transitioned fully into an academic role, both as a PhD student in the Great Books Honors College at Faulkner University, as well as a full-time professor of both high school and undergraduate students. He now teaches live online classes for high school students and in person Humanities and Systematic Theology classes for Palm Beach Atlantic University in Orlando. A devoted husband, father, professor, and student, you can continue to follow Miguel’s future endeavors at his website: http://www.miguelbenitezjr.com/. It is with great gratitude for both his apologetic insights and friendship that I wish Miguel all the best in this exciting transition.

A sister in apologetics, which is hard to find, Catalina Kreider is a deeply devoted follower of Jesus. A grade school teacher turned full-time missionary, Catalina, her husband Derek and their two children are moving to Romania in June of 2017 to become full-time missionaries for the Gospel of Christ. They are a part of Mission to the World and will be partnering with the Transylvania Center for Leadership and Development to help raise up strong Christian leaders in Romania’s post-Communism culture that can use apologetics to equip the church in evangelism. You can follow the Kreider’s missionary endeavors at their website: http://www.dckreider.com/. It is with excitement that I wish Catalina and her family the best in this new adventure.

same_change_smallSo where does this leave DoubtLess Faith, you ask? This is a question I’ve been wrestling with God over for the past few months and I think He’s finally provided an answer. DoubtLess Faith is in a time of transition. God has been doing many things in my life over the past few years: He’s shown me that I love to speak in addition to writing, through our conferences and events. He’s shown me that He has plans I haven’t dreamed of through the Christianity Today article two years ago, speaking invitations, and an apologetics mission trip to South Africa in July 2017. He’s shown me that I love to teach and can have an impact in the classroom, through His provision of teaching opportunities as Southeastern University and Houston Baptist University. He’s shown me there are options I hadn’t considered with new people and new avenues of outreach.  He’s been showing me many things I had not previously noticed or known. Which means that I need to trust that DoubtLess Faith is in God’s hands.

What does that mean practically? For now, DoubtLess Faith will be in a place of prayerful reconsideration. While the method may shift, the focus has not. DoubtLess Faith is still committed to “enabling confidence in the word of God.” I am still committed to bringing the fruits of seminary study to people who would never attend seminary. With that in mind you will see a new variety in the DoubtLess Faith posts. One of the things I love about my educational pursuits is that no matter how deep we go in philosophy, archaeology, theology, science, etc. God always returns the topic to practical matters. There are a multitude of apologetics resource sites on the internet. A friend of mine recently reminded me that the apologetic arguments for Christianity are the arguments. They don’t change with time and rarely do we discover one that has not already been proposed by a previous mind. What we do discover is new applications, new points of cultural interaction, and new insights into things we had not previously considered. This is the new direction of DoubtLess Faith.

What I hope to bring to you is both academic and application. I’ll share my research and my papers, but I’ll also share how that research has helped my faith become more DoubtLess. Some posts will be academic, some posts will be personal. A life of integrity is a life of oneness, a life where all parts are integrated. With that in mind our academic pursuits should integrate with our personal encounters. Our minds should affect our hearts and our hearts should not carry us away from our minds. We must live a unified life that is not so academic that it cannot be understood by those with whom we interact, nor so emotionally driven that it cannot be influenced by a pursuit of truth. DoubtLesss Faith is a journey, a journey I hope we can go on together.