A Defense Not An Offense
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as Holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
Some churches in America make many of us cringe. The people who protest funerals, condemn people to hell, and spread hate and anger throughout the United States. For many people, this is Christianity. This is all they see. They see hate and anger towards others. They don’t see love, grace, patience, kindness or any of the attributes Jesus portrayed on earth. This is the trouble with our approach to the lost. If we bang them in the head with Hell, we will never get through. This is where Peter comes in.
For many people, we are attached on many levels for our faith. For us in the US, it might be ridicule, loss of friendships, separation from loved ones. However, for many in the world, the sacrifice is much greater. For many, it is their life. The question is obvious: what do we do when faced with conflict and attacks against our faith?
First, we must be ready to give a defense. Now, I don’t mean the method of some churches who spread hate. That is not what the Bible teaches. What we must do is learn. We must know our Bible and we must know our faith. Many accusations will come that sound convincing but hold no water. If we know our Bible, we can identify and respond to those accusations. Our purpose in responding must be the spreading of the Gospel through evangelism. If we respond with Hell and hate, we fail. Win the man, not the argument.
Second, we must do it with gentleness and respect. Again, not hate. The Fruit of the Spirit that Paul describes in Romans 5 must be evident in our response to the attack. We must demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Always be ready. Always be godly. Always be Christian.