Awesome Advice for Aspiring Apologists



(The FreeThinking Theist)


October 13, 2017

“Never get stumped by the same question twice!”

I first received this advice from Sean McDowell in 2010. I listened to him speak about apologetics and the importance of this branch of theology at the Challenge Youth Conference that summer in Columbus, Ohio. I was a youth pastor at that time and my students had been asking many tough questions that I could not answer. I was so happy to hear a guy like Sean seemingly have all the answers!

After his first talk I immediately purchased one of his books and went up to the long line forming at his merch table so I could get his autograph and ask him where I should begin as a youth pastor needing to answer tough questions my students were raising. Sean could see that I was interested in learning more about apologetics and using this discipline to strengthen the faith of the students in my youth group and to increase my evangelistic efforts. He told me as I began my journey that I was going to run into many roadblocks! He said I was going to be confused and constantly stumped time and time again. To my surprise, he told me not to be dismayed by these questions in which I had no answer. Rather, he instructed me to actually be encouraged by these questions — to get excited when a new challenge comes along!

He said every time you get stumped by a question do not feel like you have to answer it at that moment. Instead, go research and study it as long as it takes and go find the answer! Once you find the answer make sure you do not forget it. Write it down, save it in your Evernote, put it in your “toolbox,” and add this newly forged weapon to your arsenal! “Never get stumped by the same question twice!”

I took Sean’s advice and started this journey by taking one step at a time, tackling one question at a time. This journey eventually led me to Biola University where I actually had Sean, or should I say “Dr. McDowell,” as a professor for my last semester of classes! He also was one of the readers for my master’s thesis which focused on the Freethinking Argument.


Ever since Sean gave me that advice several years ago, I have devoted my life to finding answers to all of the questions and objections I could find! I am sure there are some that I have not yet considered or been exposed to, but every question that has come my way I have been able to find at least one possibly correct answer or response. That is to say, there is no good reason to think Christianity is false!

Sean’s instruction several years ago provided a catalyst in my life. His advice drastically changed my ministry and the course of my life. I encourage all aspiring apologists to heed his advice and “never get stumped by the same question twice!” 

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton

*This article was originally posted on Sean McDowell’s website.

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About the Author



(The FreeThinking Theist)

Timothy A. Stratton (PhD, North-West University) is a professor at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. As a former youth pastor, he is now devoted to answering deep theological and philosophical questions he first encountered from inquisitive teens in his church youth group. Stratton is founder and president of FreeThinking Ministries, a web-based apologetics ministry. Stratton speaks on church and college campuses around the country and offers regular videos on FreeThinking Ministries’ YouTube channel.

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