Ryan Crews is the first Legatus Christi recipient we are introducing our readers to this spring. The Legatus Christi Certificate is our recognition to students who are outstanding pupils of apologetics and who apply it on and off campus. 

Ryan is receiving this special designation as an LC recipient for starting and leading a successful apologetics club at his university.

Glenn Smith, RC’s regional director for the state where Ryan goes to school, has mentored Ryan and says of him:

“Ryan has shown tenacity and maturity. He saw a vision for an apologetics club and worked diligently to get one started. He worked with several faculty and scholars to influence the school's decision to allow the group. In the meanwhile, Ryan kept up with his apologetics studies, attending training in the summers and self-study year-round. He participated in a panel discussion with recognized scholars, facilitated meetings, planned the growth of the group, and responded to difficult challenges to Christianity. His ability to defend the Christian faith is well-rounded and deep. We are proud to have Ryan a recipient of the high honor of Legatus Christi.”

We spoke with Ryan about his background and his discovery of apologetics.

Q: When did you find Christ as your Savior, and how did that come about?

I grew up in a Christian home, so it is hard for me to say exactly when I accepted Christ as savior – my childhood was defined by steady spiritual growth, but no lightning conversion. That being said, there was certainly a catalyst that caused me to take my faith, and the intellectual defense of it, far more seriously; when I was in middle school and high school, I was surrounded by peers that did not share my faith, and sometimes outright attacked it. I had two possible courses of action to deal with the doubts that this caused: I could either give up my faith without a fight, or I could go looking for answers. I choose the latter, and my life has never been the same since.

Q: How did you discover apologetics?

There wasn’t much in the way of formal training at my home church or youth group about the Christian faith and reasons to believe, but I benefited greatly from the fact that my father was himself a student of Christian apologetics. In that regard I was very lucky, but I know that my relatively early exposure to the intellectual side of the Christian faith was relatively unique among my peers.

Q: How would you best describe what your current apologetics group does?

We serve as a forum for Christian thought with 35-45 students in attendance every meeting. We have put together a loose curriculum, drawing on resources from I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Cold Case Christianity, and the Reasonable Faith ministry, which we cover every year. We do invite several students from the local Student Secular Alliance, and they regularly attend. We feel this always keeps our discussion robust and honest. We now offer a separate meeting solely for a select number of Christian students who want to dive deeper into the study of Christian apologetics.

Q: What is the mood toward Christian apologetics on campus? 

The majority of the people we encounter on campus will self-identify as Christians (although there are several non-Christians, as I already stated), but most of them have never had exposure to Christian apologetics. In fact, there is a general apathy towards the intellectual defense of the Christian faith. Our goal is as much to overcome the apathy of Christians as it is to counter the false ideas of skeptics.

Q: What does receiving the Legatus Christi certificate mean to you?

I am elated! It serves as a reminder of the wonderful work that I have been so blessed to be a part of.

Q: In what ways has apologetics enriched your life, your own faith, and your witness to others?

You can’t be a strong witness to non-believers dealing with intellectual skepticism if you can’t give a reasonable account of the reasons for the hope that you have. I have certainly found that my ability to witness to others is so much more robust when I can demonstrate that the faith I hold is rooted in reality, not mere fantasy. What’s more, this knowledge has strengthened my own personal faith – I am so much more inclined to submit my life fully to a God that I have excellent reason to believe is there, than I did to a God that I simply hoped was there.

Q: Define in your own words the “Exponential Evangelism” component of why you received Legatus Christi. 

A: Exponential Evangelism is the same notion of disciple-making that we are given in the Great Commission. The original disciples were called to make more disciples, and their disciples would in turn make even more disciples after them. This same principle applies to Christians in the twenty-first century just as much as it did in the first century; part of our Christian duty is to take the knowledge and truth that we have learned and use that to make disciples of our own on our campuses and the larger community around us.

Q: What’s next for you when you graduate in May? 

I am graduating with a degree in Finance, Accounting, and Economics. I will be starting full-time as a Management Consultant in Dallas this summer.

Q: How do you think you might “carry the torch” of the apologetics you’ve learned into your future endeavors?

This pursuit of truth is far too important to abandon after college. I have no idea what this might look like, but I know that I will always be looking for ways to engage the marketplace of ideas with the truth of Christianity. That could be at a local high school, a college or university, or perhaps something entirely different altogether. The future may be uncertain, but my commitment to continue learning and teaching is not.

So I will be looking for opportunities to continue an apologetics ministry in my new home, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and to serve in whatever way I can. This would include returning to speak to the group that I have been with since its inception and to advise them in whatever capacity they require. That being said, I’m fully confident in the team that will take my place, and I know they’re going to continue to take the chapter to new heights.

Q: Tell us anything else you’d like our readers to know:

I would be remiss not to thank my father for all the guidance and direction he gave me in the early days of my study into Christian apologetics. I have no doubt that I would never have accomplished what I have without his example. And I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the support of have received from my wonderful fiancée, Ashley. Although we’ve lived in different states for the last four years, she has consistently encouraged and reaffirmed me in this pursuit, and there’s no one I would rather have at my side as we continue to explore the depths and the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord our God.

Our prayers are with you, Ryan!