I've been trying to figure out how to summarize the events of Wednesday night when our son spoke at the "Free Thinkers" meeting. (See the post from October 25th.) My son just sent an email to our church which I'm going to copy and paste here. He explains it very well!
Well, I received my second-worst beating in two years on Wednesday night. Three graduate students (two philosophy, one physics) tag-teamed and not only managed to rebut three of my five arguments, but they raised an objection that I had no answer for (never even heard of it in fact). I must say that two of them were quite nice about it though, and five of us - including the President - went out to dinner afterwards.The hatred for Christ and His gospel was so apparent on so many of the other faces and in so many of their comments and questions that it nearly broke my heart. Even some of the ones who contributed nothing to the debate chose to voice their anger and contempt, partly for me but mainly for my Lord. Of all the groups on earth, the angry intellectuals who mock and scorn Christ and our faith are the ones I love the most, please continue to pray for them.The sting of being inadequate never loses its bitterness, but after three years I've learned how to deal with it. Fall back, repent (for any pride that becomes apparent with wanting to be "right" and "smart" all the time), pray, regroup, rebuild, return, return, return. Undergraduates don't pose much of a problem, but my failure rate is still around 80% at the graduate/PhD level, so I've had lots of practice at this process :)Those emotions which always follow a debate (win or lose) over Christianity are also being felt:
1. Relief at watching my faith stand strong, even when my delivery of some of the strongest arguments for believing is demolished. (PLEASE NOTE: The *most* important thing that I have learned is that the Truth is always True, and that with more prayer, thought and study it will return to triumph. There is no such thing as a failure for the truth, only a setback due to the ignorance of the messenger (ie myself). I have seen it happen dozens of times, and my confidence in the ability of our Faith to hold its own on any ground is firm.)
2. Relief that the salvation of those around me does not rest on my ability to defend the gospel, but upon the Sovereignty of God. Apologetics has purchased the right for me to tell the gospel to hundreds on campus, and it is useful for clearing away objections to the faith and for strengthening believers - but God is quite capable of saving people without my help, thank you very much.
3. Looking forward with excitement to see how the Truth will prove to be true as I continue to study. After watching it happen so many times I no longer suffer the anxiety of my first year, wondering if Christianity can hold its own on intellectual grounds.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support, they were priceless. I should have been asking all along.
Cookie: Thanks for the note, it expressed something I have long felt but have been unable to put into words.
John Burkhardt: Thanks for coming. Since Bailey transferred I usually stand or fall all alone, so it was a comfort to have you there, standing with me.