I just returned from speaking in the Women in Apologetics Conference at Biola in La Mirada, California. What I enjoyed most 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 a this groundbreaking movement.
Even ten years ago the landscape looked quite different. Our first women’s apologetics conference at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, about seven years ago was among the first apologetics conferences just for women. Since that time, we’re seeing women flooding into seminary apologetics programs and about half of our PhD student body at SES is comprised of women.
Some may wonder why we need apologetics conferences just for women. I think it is a legitimate question. The content of apologetics forms a single body of knowledge, so there is no distinct “women’s version of apologetics.” This body of knowledge is comprised of evidences for objective truth, existence of the theistic God, miracles, biblical reliability, and the deity and atoning work of Jesus Christ, in terms of general categories.
But, here’s the point. While the content of apologetics is the same for men and women, the way that women learn this content and deliver it is distinctive. For example, many Christian women avoid apologetics because they see it as a 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 to their already overloaded plate of commitments.
But as more and more women are entering this field of study in seminary and are fulfilling their calling to teach other women, Christian women whose expertise lies in other areas, from homemaking to banking, are hearing these vital apologetics truths in women’s voices, with women’s relational concerns at the forefront. Because of this, Christian women as a whole are now seeing apologetics as a vital tool they can use to build their own faith as well as to provide somewhere to go in a conversation when their co-worker or college-aged kid asks a question or raises an objection to the claims of Christianity.
It’s a long time coming. Our brothers in Christ have paved the way for us. It’s not a competition. It’s time for us to move alongside them and to encourage each other as women, fulfilling our Titus 2 commission to mentor other women, and specifically to mentor them in understanding and embracing the rational basis for our faith.