Defending the Faith? Do we have to?
Discussion thought of the day!
In the Princess Bride, there is a class line by the classic swordsman Montoya. His boss keeps on using this word, “inconcievable”. Finally, fed up with hearing it over and over, used about things proved very possible, he confronts the man saying, ” I do no think you know what this word means!” (or something to that effect- it’s been a long week!)
Perhaps part of it has to do with the rich history of the crusades, and our understanding of the church militant, and how many of our seminaries look like ancient castles and fortresses! But the church militant’s opposition isn’t those who challenge its beliefs – they are our objective, the people we need to liberate. Paul tells us so clearly that we are not at war with them, but with satanic forces, the powers and principalities that hold those people in hostage, and blind them to the grace of God.
That’s where the swordsman’s quote come’s into play. The word is apologetics – and most of the apologetics books and training I have seen recently treat the one hearing our faith as the opposition, or at least as the prosecuting attorney. They talk of defending our faith – as if the battle is too defend a treasure.
But apologia – the word used in 1 Peter 3:15 isn’t about defending the faith – it is about giving the logos – the reasoning, the logic which leaves us not defeated, not broken, not without hope, but with great hope. Hear is one of my favorite translations of the passage:
“3:15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
It is that “be ready to explain it ( Our hope that we have in Christ) that is apologia. It brings us back to the cross, and the fact that we only have hope because He endured it (see Heb 12:2) and rose again, and is returning for us. That’s not defensive, its not competitive, it is simple revealing the truth as it was revealed to us.
We don’t need to defend our faith – we don’t need to go into a philosophical and doctrinal war. God is big enough to defend himself – and His word does that as it opens their heart – and calls them to life They really don’t need us to be at war with them – instead they need to know the hope and love that is found as GOd gifts us with them.. Invite them on the journey, explain why you have found healing and joy, even in the midst of the deep dark valleys that cause anxiety and fear. and shame…yet which we turn over to the Lord who already defeated them… and walks with us, keeping us safe – our hearts, and minds… for we live in Him, and He in us..