Some Christians eschew evidence-based apologetics. They reason that if our faith is based on, say, historical evidence and other evidence turns up that casts our historical conclusions into question, then our faith may be weakened or destroyed. Indeed there are some anti-apologists who say they used to be Christians but lost their faith because of contrary evidence.
There are several reasons why I find this thinking problematic. First of all, if our faith is not based on evidence for the truth claims of Christianity then what is it based on? Our own subjective feelings? Certainly subjective considerations have a lot to do with belief (regardless of what one believes), but I don’t see how this makes a better foundation for faith than arguments based on evidence and sound application of logic and reason. Feelings can change. Likewise if our own experience is the basis for our faith, that can be outweighed by other experiences (or perhaps by arguments that call our experiences into question).
Second, in every case that I’m familiar with of Christians who have lost their faith, there were significant factors at play other than strictly evidence-based arguments against Christianity. Often it’s the case that Christians lose their faith because of some personal crisis where they doubt whether God is really watching out for them. It starts with a loss of trust in God and then proceeds to full-blown apostasy, perhaps aided by skeptical arguments. But the arguments themselves are not terribly persuasive based strictly on their merits.
Third, my own experience of studying historical apologetics has always had the result of strengthening rather than weakening my faith. In particular, my study of arguments for and against the Resurrection has shown the weakness of the skeptical position very clearly to me. The striking thing is the lack of any coherent explanation for the evidence from the skeptical side. The traditional skeptical arguments have been shown to be full of holes. The evidence is too early for it to have been the result of legendary accretion, even though that’s usually the leading theory these days. There’s also no evidence for any development of the belief in the Resurrection – it appeared very suddenly and very early, serving as the foundation of the beliefs of the early Christians. Other skeptical theories have been repudiated time and again, including theories such as that the disciples hallucinated Jesus’ appearances to them, that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross but revived in the tomb and managed to escape, that the women went to the wrong tomb, or that the disciples made the whole thing up and hoodwinked a gullible Jewish audience.
N.T. Wright says he sent the manuscript of his impressive tome, The Resurrection of the Son of God, to his former tutor at Oxford, an atheist. The tutor said, “you’ve made a very impressive argument. But I simply choose to believe that there is some natural explanation for this other than Jesus rising from the dead.” Ultimately the skeptic falls back on the argument that says, “there must be some natural explanation for it.” But that, of course, is simply an assumption on the part of the skeptic. If all options are on the table including the supernatural one, the superiority of it is clearly demonstrated.
Thus I see no reason for Christians not to engage in historical, evidential apologetics, and many good reasons to do so.