I have written this opening sentence several times and have come to the realization that I might be over thinking this subject a little too much. So to keep it simple here is a fact of life. If your faith is such that it has a heavy influence on your actions, you might be a Christian, a follower of the way or a disciple of Jesus Christ. If this be the case it is inevitable you will be called on to defend the faith. To take this to the next step it is your faith that has placed you in this position and in reality you are defending or better said, presenting “an Argument for Christ.” Peter has set down acceptable ways to enter into this mode of Christian defense.
…always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence.[c] Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.
We must start off being reasonable, which in this present world of discourse is not easily done. It must be inspired by the word of God. It must be an intelligent, clear and applicable statement of position and of divine reasoning. It should contain an element of intelligence that conveys the message that you have prepared yourself through study and prayer to defend your faith; always remembering that you are defending Christ Jesus. This approach requires that you have come by your faith through first hand experience and not another’s story. William Barclay writes,
“It is one of the tragedies of the modern situation that there are so many church members who, if they were asked what they believe, could not tell, and who, if they were asked why they believe it, would be equally helpless. Christians must go through the mental and spiritual effort of thinking out their faith, (Barclay, DBS…1 Peter Pg 266)
Our defense must be given with gentleness. Our attitude must not be one of arrogance. We must not be of the temperament that those who do not agree with us are stupid or they are unreliable. We must not do as some others with differing opinions and try to shove our beliefs down the throats of those who disagree with us. We must present our Christianity with love and tolerance while maintaining the scripture as written with divine discernment. We must understand that we cannot bully anyone into The Way. We can only lead them to the foot of the cross and allow the Holy Spirit to bring them to Christ. Most any debate today can easily become an argument. There are many debates within and outside of the Christian community that are just a word or two away from becoming an argument. Christians can become engaged in discussions that move to debates and then to full-blown arguments especially concerning theological differences. I wrote earlier that an argument for faith is an argument for Christ. Any presentation of a case for Christian faith or beliefs must be presented with reverence, the tone and language must be pleasing to God’s ear. There is no room for rancor of any kind. Love for Christ and his love for all people must guide our behavior. As Christians our lives need to be a compelling and a living example that makes it easier for others to believe the message……makes it easier for others to believe in God, Jesus Christ and salvation.
Thanks for coming by, hope to see you in the pew next week.
Life is Good