Meet Jackson Turner, the "Backbone" of his RC Chapter
Ratio Christi’s chapter at the University of Georgia (UGA) is sending a graduate off to law school as another ambassador for Christ. Jackson Turner was recently recognized with RC’s Legatus Christi certificate for his grasp on Christian apologetics and the way it can be used to reach more people.
“I really feel like I truly hadn't earned it yet,” Turner says of his surprise in being presented with the certificate. “I look upon that award less as a complete achievement and more as a goal for me to reach and a responsibility and duty to continue.”
But Chapter Director Jason Wisdom (pictured with Turner) feels Turner was very worthy of the acknowledgment.
“Jackson was the backbone of Ratio Christi at UGA in the 2013-14 school year,” Wisdom states. “He planned meetings, invited Christian and non/Christian friends, shared his testimony, led discussions, and gave presentations. Jackson is unmistakably passionate about defending the faith. You only have to talk to him for a minute to figure that out. He can tackle a wide variety of questions and offer an abundance of evidence for the Christian faith. He has an apologist's heart.”
The Legatus Christi doesn’t just reward the application of apologetics within one’s witness, Wisdom explains. These students are also expected to be able to teach others:
“Jackson showed that he also has a heart for training others. He insisted that the group focus on equipping people over drawing a big crowd. The result, of course, was that the whole group gained a tremendous amount of respect for Jackson. He left a huge impact on the group. For these reasons, Jackson was an ideal candidate for the Legatus Christi award.”
This is one of RC’s exponential goals through recognizing students in this manner – the student becomes a conversational evangelist using apologetics (logic and evidence) to undergird the gospel, and then in turn is inspired to teach others to defend truth and Christianity in this way.
We learned more about Turner in a recent Q&A session.
Q: When did you accept Jesus as your Savior?
A: It was toward the end of high school. I was raised in church and went to youth groups and did Christian things – but I had a deep resentment in my heart against God because my father died from a heart attack when I was 10. I went through the motions of Christianity without actually trusting God and wanting to be in a relationship with Him. But after learning some facts and figures about the Christian faith through apologetics, I saw how foolish my rage actually was in light of God's truth, I decided to give up the struggle.
Q: How much did you learn about Christianity and reasons to believe in your youth group?
A: I learned a lot about the faith itself, but very little about how it made sense or fit a logical pattern. It was all about emotion, about spiritual highs or trying to get kids to behave morally, ethically. Little to no time was invested in explaining the faith in such a way that a skeptic or nonbeliever would understand it.
Q: You were a founding member of this RC chapter. How did you get involved?
A: I was a founding member indeed! I got a call from Thomas Griffin in very early 2013 and he asked if I would like to contribute. I told him that based on my studies, I'd love to do whatever I could to help. Eventually, I found myself the co-president. My fellow officers, Tanner Lowe and Josh Parrish, comprised a kind of leadership triangle. I did Facebook group maintenance and hosted speakers.
Q: What are the dynamics of this RC chapter like?
A: It's mainly been frequented by philosophers and Christians interested in apologetics – which is one of my chief goals. There are dozens and dozens of Christian organizations at UGA that don't take a lot of time to teach their students how to explain and defend the faith, and that kind of thing is fine. I wanted us to be that supplement. I wanted us to be that group that tackled the tough questions and wouldn't shy away from some unpleasant discussions about God and the Bible. We've had several non-Christians come, which has been thrilling, and it's motivated us to do our best with discussion and speakers!
Q: How has learning apologetics enriched your life, your own faith & your witness to others?
A: I wouldn't have followed Christ without it. It's given me a great lens with which to look [at Christianity], and it's certainly helped me explain to others that reason and faith are NOT the completely separate things people seem to believe they are.
Q: Do you think you'll take the apologetics you’ve learned into your future endeavors?
A: Absolutely. I am considering looking into possible employment at Alliance Defending Freedom someday (he’s now starting Mercer Law School), as an attorney protecting the rights of organizations like Ratio Christi to continue to exist on secular campuses, to provide students of all belief systems and ideas the chance to hear Christianity defended and rationally explained.
Apologetics is inextricably linked to my evangelism. I find the two are actually inseparable, considering Colossians 4:5-6 [make the most of opportunities with outsiders] and 1 Peter 3:15-16 [be ready to give a reason for your faith]. I’m not sure what type of law I’ll practice, but I intend to forever be a potential source for training others in apologetics as a type of ministry. In other words, wherever I settle myself and eventual family in at a church, I'll offer training in apologetics to any and all who are interested.
Q: Can you tell our readers why it’s important for young Christians – for all Christians – to learn apologetics?
We live in a time where more and more, religion is looked at as this weird thing...this psychological condition that isn't true and isn't right. It's very important if we are to deal with the changing world to be able to explain that Christianity is NOT foolish or stupid, but is believable and real based on the evidence that we can see and understand. Everyone should attempt some type of apologetics training, even if it's one class or a Bible study here and there, to expose them to answers they'll no doubt be asked by a skeptical world."
It’s obvious that our Ratio Christi students emerge from their training to take their Christianity very seriously – thanks to Chapter Directors like Jason Wisdom, a busy husband and father who teaches apologetics, hermeneutics and theology at a private Christian high school and also maintains an apologetics website, BecauseIt’sTrue.com.
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