Defending the Faith in Your Community – Every Day
by Mark McGee
Ask a Christian to “defend the faith” and you get a variety of reactions. “Why does the ‘faith’ need defending? God can take care of Himself.” “How do I do that?” “I don’t want to do that!” “Are you serious? I wouldn’t know how.” “Isn’t that for professionals?” “Me? I’m not one of those ‘apologists.’ I’m just a Christian.”
Whatever your reaction, the fact is that every Christian can and should “defend the faith” in their community “every day.” Here’s an example from something you may have experienced.
When the officer in charge calls a group of soldiers to attention, then to a ready position, the officer expects everyone to move at the command. The command to attention and ready is not just for captains or majors or colonels or generals. It is for everyone preparing for the field of battle – from the new recruit to the oldest soldier.
When a martial arts instructor calls the class to attention, then to a ready position, it is not just for the Black Belts to obey the command. It is for everyone from the new White Belt student to the highest ranking Black Belt. Being ready for battle or self defense is for everyone.
We have a saying in martial arts that you can be attacked “anywhere, anytime, by anyone.” That’s why the first lessons in martial arts deal with the importance of being ready to defend.
Here’s how that applies to defending the faith in your community.
“defend” - guard and protect with words and actions; stand up for what you believe; help other people understand what you believe, why you believe it, and why they should believe it through informed answers based on reason
“the faith” – vital beliefs based on truth
“in your community” – your sphere of influence … family, friends, neighbors, school and work mates, people who serve you in the community, fellow Christians
“every day” – every 24-hour day you are alive.
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The Apostle Peter wrote to a group of Jewish believers who had gone through some hard times for believing that Jesus was Israel’s promised Messiah. They were moms and dads, boys and girls, grandparents, working people, regular folks – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” (1 Peter 1:1-2) To this group of “pilgrims,” Peter told them “defend the faith.”
“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17
The words “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” in the Greek are hetoimoi aei pros apologian panti to aitounti humas logon peri tes en humin elpidos.
“be ready” – hetoimoi means to be prepared. In a Christian martial arts class, after bowing to God and demonstrating respect to each other in class, we move to a “ready” position call yoi (Japanese) or joon bee (Korean). The idea in the original languages is being ready, focused, and engaged at all times. Being “ready” is the way a true martial artist lives. It’s not something we do just for class or when the teacher is watching. We are to always “be ready” to defend ourselves or others who may need our help. The same is true for Christians. We are to be “ready” at all times…
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READ OTHER POSTS IN THE COMMUNITY APOLOGIST SERIES:
Part Eight: How To Get Apologetics In Your Local Church 2
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