Part II. Q&A with the “Ole Miss” Legatus Christi students:
In Part I of this article. we interviewed RC’s Chapter Director Jeremy Scarbrough at the University of Mississippi, and asked him to tell us about five students he selected for the accomplishment we know as Legatus Christi. Let’s get to know a couple of the students who earned this recognition for outstanding achievement in apologetics at “Ole Miss” for 2014-2015.
By the end of the spring semester, several of the girls were already away on a trip to Prague at the time of the interview. Readers may see their stories added at a later date.
Bentley Anderson, secretary of the chapter, went to church with her family every Sunday. “My mom and dad have been instrumental figures throughout my life as well as in my Christian faith. I have always believed in God/Jesus and everything for which they stand. It was at the end of my junior year of high school that I fully understood what God means to me and I to Him. I have been pledged to His faith ever since. He has awarded me with great things and insight. I feel Him with me all the time looking out for me, embracing me, teaching me what to do and what not to do, as well as so much more that we can’t possibly understand because He is so great.”
Q: In your high school church youth group, how much did you learn about the Christian faith and reasons to believe?
A: I never felt connected with the youth group at my church in Florence, Alabama ( my hometown). I went to Sunday School and enjoyed the people that way but just didn’t feel the youth group at that church was for me. That never kept me from my faith in God/Jesus. The beginning of my junior year, my family became good friends with a husband and wife, Justin and Sarah Cosby. Justin Cosby was the youth director of a church about 30 minutes away from where I live. He invited me as well as my younger brother to attend the youth group gatherings at his church Wednesday nights. I still attended ours, but I also went to that one. This other youth group, along with the Cosbys (who are still hugely influential in my life), greatly strengthened my Christian faith. It was there that I became fully accepting of God’s grace.
Q: How did you get interested in apologetics, and then how did you get involved with RC?
A: I started attending a church in Oxford near the school, and signed up to be part of their Community Group/Bible Study. Jeremy Scarbrough was in the group. One day during our weekly meetings, he announced that he would be starting up an apologetics group on the campus of the University of Mississippi. Jeremy has become a great friend of mine, and I went to the first RC meeting to support him and his club. I was also interested in learning more about what apologetics is and why it’s important. I became involved fall of my junior year of college, which is about when Jeremy began the organization on campus.
Q: What are the dynamics of this RC chapter like?
A: Our group is very free and open…meaning we might have a set plan to discuss during our meetings; however, if anybody wants to discuss something else then we deviate from our original plan to discuss the problems we might be facing on campus or in the world. We will talk about anything and everything trying to understand why we believe what we believe and how to address some questions we might face from others who may be struggling in their faith.
Q: How did you feel about receiving the Legatus Christi certificate?
A: I was extremely overjoyed when I received the Legatus Christi certificate. It is framed in a very nice frame that I am honored to hang in my room and explain to people what it represents.
Q: How did you think apologetics has enriched your life, your faith, and your witness to others?
A: In my faith, I was missing the historical, foundational principles and background of Christianity. I felt it was extremely important to understand who God is, why I believe what I believe, and understand how to defend my faith against those who might try to disrupt it. It is important to be educated in all things so as not to be ignorant when somebody tries to question your judgment. Ratio Christi has also taught me how to converse with others about Christianity. It has helped me become more comfortable about being an evangelist of Christ to others.
Q. Will you be back in RC next year?
A: I will graduate from Ole Miss May 2016 as a fifth-year graduate, and I plan on attending the RC meetings this fall when school starts back.
Q: Did I know anything about Legatus Christi before receiving it?
A: Yes, Jeremy explained in great detail what Legatus Christi is and what it represents. I am honored to be a part of this organization.
Q: As a recipient of LC, will you have a goal of using apologetics in witnessing, in evangelism, and also in supporting and building up other students to follow the example?
A: Yes, I plan on using all the skills, knowledge, and techniques I have learned throughout my time in RC. I absolutely think I will “carry the torch” of apologetics into my future endeavors. I hope to be a positive godly influence with anyone I encounter and to take what I have learned from RC and use it to dialogue with others about Christianity.
Matthew Beazley also grew up in a Christian home. He became a Christian when he found the Lord at age seven. He attributes early theology studies as his introduction to apologetics and Ratio Christi. After receiving his bachelor’s degree this coming December, he intends to go to seminary.
“Right after I started getting into theology, I heard about apologetics but didn’t know what it was,” he says. “So I researched it, and then found the Ratio Christi chapter at ‘Ole Miss’ on Twitter! I contacted them, and Jeremy called me back.”
Q: Do non-members often attend your group, or is it a goal to go out and engage secular thinkers?
A: Our outreach is more individualized – talking to people on campus and coming back and sharing with the RC group to strategize how to help those people we speak with.
Q: Ratio Christi is planning to do College Prep apologetics for high schoolers. Do you think this might be an advantage when these younger students reach college?
A: Younger people would do well to study apologetics – it teaches critical thinking. Although I went to a private school, I know there is not enough encouragement toward critical thinking in the courses they learn in public school.
Beazley also points out that for him, high school church youth groups are not the only place a teenager can learn or embrace Christianity and understanding their faith.
“I learned more about my faith being in church services. I was only 13 or 14 when our youth minister left to be a missionary. There weren’t a lot of young people, and after that the leadership kept changing so the youth group dwindled. Church services are what guided me.
Q: How do you think apologetics has enriched your own life and your witness to others?
A: Apologetics with a philosophy background has helped me shape my thinking – encouraged my own critical thinking – and that affects just about everything – what I do, how I speak with other people, how I can contest peoples’ other views without beating them over the head.
Q: Were you surprised to receive the Legatus Christi certificate?
A: I was the last one to come into the group out of those who got it – so I was very pleasantly surprised to receive one. The girls had been together for a long time.
Q: Do you think you might use apologetics in the future to reach others?
A: I am constantly trying to steer people toward apologetics – if not by that name, then getting them to look at the evidence we have for Christian beliefs, getting them to look at our faith from other peoples’ perspectives, and look at their own faith more deeply than blind faith.
Beazley is currently in general studies, but with three minors – psychology, sociology, and philosophy.
Q: Why did you choose these three fields of study?
A: Although I’ve been a Christian most of my life, I didn’t understand the perspectives of other people – why they think what they do. These are the three most secular topics I could think of. If I understand them, it will help the way I talk to and witness to other people.
Q: What are your future plans combining these disciplines and seminary?
A: At this point, I want to be a pastor, but I just know God is leading me to seminary. Whatever He wants me to do. I will always remember to tell people about RC and apologetics!
Congratulations to Anna, Megan (both music majors), Bentley (elementary education with hopes of achieving M.A.), Gaby (psychology) and Matthew (general studies). We pray many blessings for your future and hope you all remain associated with Ratio Christi.