It’s time for Christians to “apologize”
by Tom Jaski
It is not a secret that today’s culture isn’t wild about Christianity. We live in a world enamored with naturalism, pluralism, and secularism. Thus, any person who adheres to a religion that teaches that (1) there is a sovereign God (2) who has ordained an exclusive way to enjoy a relationship with Him and (3) encourages His followers to proclaim this message publicly should brace for opposition. Such a religion is offensive and intolerant to the modern mindset. So as Christians, should we apologize? Well, the apostle Peter seems to think so:
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Pet. 3:15)
The Greek word apologia means “a verbal defense” and refers to a legal defense made in an ancient court. Peter exhorts believers to always be ready to make such a defense “for the hope that is in you” – in other words, the blessed
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hope of the Christian faith. This implies more than simply asserting doctrinal truths or quoting Scripture, although it certainly includes these. It means appealing to all the evidence available in support of the claims of Christianity – historical, scientific, philosophical, archeological, etc. It also includes use of logic, reason, and anything that can be utilized to demonstrate Christianity’s truth claims. While Christians believe that the Bible is God’s revealed truth, simply declaring, “This is the truth” isn’t very persuasive in today’s culture, just as a defense attorney simply declaring, “He’s not guilty” isn’t very persuasive to a jury. The more evidence presented, the more compelling the case.
How are we to present our case to those who ask? “With gentleness and respect.” Not with a condescending, holier-than-thou air. Not in an argumentative tone. But in a rational, logical, loving manner. Why? Because the Christian faith is a rational, logical, loving faith…