How are persecution and apologetics related?
Apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith using evidence, reason, and logic.
When should apologetic arguments be turned loose?
– Whenever Christians have doubts or questions about the Christian faith. Evidence and logical reasoning will remove doubts and satisfactorily answer nagging questions. (See Why Apologetics?)
– When unbelievers attack.
1 Peter 3:15 is probably the most famous apologetics verse in the Bible. But it’s context is almost always overlooked. The preceding verses are especially crucial:
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:13-15 NASB)
Peter’s answer to persecution and intimidation is to make a defense of the Christian faith whenever asked. His command to make a defense is in the immediate context of being attacked and persecuted for faith. In the face of suffering for righteousness, Peter’s first instruction is to not fear intimidation and don’t be troubled, but rather give a calm, reasoned defense of Christian hope.
The Apostle Paul exemplified this apologetic approach in the face of persecution in his own life when he gave a reasoned defense before a mob seeking his life (Acts 21:30-22:30). Later he made a similar defense before King Agrippa and Festus when the Jews were seeking his life (Acts 25:13-26:32).
Later from a Roman prison Paul refers to his “defense and confirmation of the gospel” (Philippians 1:7).
Many Christians are timid and hesitant to defend their beliefs. Yet if we truly believe with deep conviction the Biblical truths, there is no rational reason for reluctance and fear.
Apologetics should be part of every Christian’s regular diet (intake) and regular testimony (output). To diminish doubt and foster faith, research questions and learn the answers developed by generations of thoughtful apologists. When attacked for faith, reply with calm logical reasoning.
See Recommended Resources – Apologetics for many good apologetics sites.
The Debate Answers page from Answers in Genesis gives a long list of web articles answering the common questions posed to creationists.
Questions to Ponder
- What specific fears make believers hesitate to make a defense of their faith?
- Have you ever been under attack or intimidated by unbelievers? How could a reasoned defense have helped?
- How would you answer someone who says, “Religious arguments are a waste of time. Arguments about Christianity never converted anyone.”?
- What is the most common question or doubt that non-Christians raise?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the sequel:
See other articles I’ve written on Apologetics.
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday October 15, 2014 A.D.
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.
(1 Peter 3:14-15)