Apologetics and the Wisdom of Proverbs

by Sharon Lareau

I firmly believe that Christians should obediently respond to the words written in 1 Peter 3:15.  I believe it so much that this verse is one of the cornerstone verses of my ministry.

“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 3:15 (NASB)

Through my ministry I hope to assist Christian women in their efforts to be “ready”.  It is why my page Defense for Our Hope and the related articles exist.  Being ready to speak up and make a defense for our hope is important.  Opportunities to share our testimonies are bound to come up.  We may also need to answer those who question our faith.  This work of apologetics is valuable even if it is done on a small scale.

With that in mind, it might seem odd that I would include a page in Defense for Our Hope about when not to speak up.  In doing so I am not minimizing our need to be ready. I am simply pointing out that there are times when we can or should remain silent. I have learned that such moments do exist. As Ecclesiastes 3:7 says there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” For the purpose of this article, I am referring to the times when sharing our testimony or responding to questions or comments about our faith would most likely end badly.  I’m not referring to the rejection of the message, but to the interaction between us and another person.

There will inevitably be times when we run across those who are unreasonable and/or insincere in their discussion about the things of God and Christianity.  These are the folks that tend to be impolite and not truly open to a fair exchange of ideas.  Oftentimes things will descend into negativity that may include personal attacks or misrepresentations of the facts.  One example that comes to mind is if someone callously refers to God as a “spaceman”. There is a really good chance that this person is not really sincere about the conversation. It is really important to judge the value of entering into or continuing a conversation with folks who have this type of disposition.  It is ok not to.

How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I have collected a number of verses from the book of Proverbs that have helped me to remember that it is ok and even wise to either not engage or to walk away from some conversations. When this happens, I aim to follow the last part of 1 Peter 3:15 and behave with gentleness and reverence…

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