Robin Schumacher and his wife, Susan, had been married three years when a small lump on Susan’s neck revealed she had a rare form of thyroid cancer.
Schumacher watched as cancer slowly engulfed her body over the next six years.
“I always called it living with the cloud,” said Schumacher, 57. “Whether you got up, went to bed, you had the cloud over you. I got a feeling early on that it was going to be fatal. Although we had glimmers of hope, I lost her. I was raising our baby, Hannah, who was 1. Six months later, I lost both my parents within a week of each other. I got remarried within a year. I moved. I had a new job. I hit six of the seven life events within a year. I think I rang every one of the bells.”
Suffering led Schumacher to begin studying apologetics because he was seeking to answer the age-old question: “If God is good, why does evil exist?”
“I started investigating evil,” Schumacher added. “When my wife passed away, I started with the concept of, ‘Why would a good God allow this to happen—take my wife and my daughter’s mother?’ I was reconciling God and evil. I read a lot of books that didn’t help and finally I came upon a single sentence from A.W. Tozer: ‘If God has singled you out to be a special object of His grace, you can expect Him to honor you with greater pain and more suffering than others who are less favored.’ That was one of the most radical statements I had ever heard … that was the first course correction that sent me down the right path to figure out as much as I can.”
Schumacher, a Southeast Christian Church member, has been digging into understanding some of the harder questions of the faith ever since.
“You can’t get bored with God,” he said. “I’ve been thinking, writing, teaching on the subject of evil for over 20 years, and I just learned something new the other day. It’s a bottomless well of things you can learn. One apologist called God, ‘The ultimate novelty.’ You still continue to grow and have some of those moments where you go ‘Aha.’”
Church and apologetics
Schumacher was born in Michigan and moved around a lot before settling in Louisville. He has been attending church all his life, but wasn’t saved until his late teens.
“My mom had me in church since birth,” Schumacher said. “I’m a good testimony that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking into McDonald’s makes you a hamburger. I sat under one of the best teachers in the country, Bob Russell, for four years before I finally became a Christian.”
One book that had a profound impact on Schumacher was Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth,” which offered the sinner’s prayer at the end. He recited it while crossing his legs on his mom’s living room couch.
“I had the same friends, school, job, church, everything, but when you’re born again, suddenly you have those Godly affections in your life,” Schumacher added. “I picked up the Bible and started reading it on my own for the first time and was like, ‘Good grief, where have you been all my life?’ Even though I had been preached at forever, I never took it in.”
For the last two decades, Schumacher, who has been married to his second wife, Laura, for 22 years, has been a software executive specializing in creating software products.
“When you’re watching Netflix and pushing pause, it’s going into a database I helped create,” he said. “When you’re on iTunes, it’s all going into a database I’ve helped manage for the last eight years. Whether you’re doing your health app or financial app, it goes into a database. I’ve been on companies that have used our database to help find missing children. It was awesome. Then I remember sitting at a conference and talking to a company that helped married couples cheat on each other. I was nauseated listening to it, so it can be used for good or bad.”
In 2004, Schumacher earned a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary and later received his Ph.D. in New Testament from Greenwich School of Theology.
“I’m a huge reader, just drawn to theology and everything else, so I would self-educate,” Schumacher said. “One of the books I read was ‘I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist’ by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. It was something I really had not read about before. I had studied all of what you believe, but very little of why you believe it.”
Schumacher writes a weekly column for The Christian Post, has answered many faith-based questions at www.gotquestions.org and contributes articles to a variety of apologetics publications. He also helps teach in Men’s Ministry at the Blankenbaker Campus.
“It’s those types of things that I really want to be able to do,” Schumacher added. “I’m hoping to eventually do a phase two/halftime career to teach in colleges and seminaries and anywhere else. Mainly just, ‘How can I help? How can I serve?’”
Last fall, Schumacher self-published “A Confident Faith: Winning people to Christ with the Apologetics of the Apostle Paul.”