Apologetics, far more than a “defense of the faith”… It’s about giving hope
Devotional thought of the day:
14 But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15 But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 1 Peter 3:14-15 (TEV)
As I was looking through all of the resolutions our group of churches will consider this summer, there are many that concern me. One of them calls for our seminaries and our publishing house to work on training all pastors in “the defense of the faith”. One of the texts such is based on, I’ve shown above.
The resolution troubles me…. a lot.
The word “answer” in the italicized text is the word in Greek that we get apologetics from, a word many translate as “defense”. When they translate it either from a milatristic sense – we have to defend our position, or from the sense of jurisprudence – defending ourselves in court.
And for a Christian, neither is necessary, and it is not what the passage above is talking about – at all.
The word in Greek from where we get apologetics is a compound word – from “apo” the word “from” and logos – the word we get logical, and reason, and well “word” (as in John 1:1-14.
St. Peter’s words here aren’t about creating a philosophical, forensic defense of the Christian faith. It’s not about defending the church from persecution for its beliefs. It’s not about doing battle with other religions, or with atheists and agnostics. It’s not about the church at war. Apologetics isn’t about memorizing arguments and strategies for dealing with the enemies of God. ( Atheists and agnostics and those of other religions aren’t our enemies… they are those we are called to love and serve and sacrifice for, that they may know God)
It’s about the church, the people of God and explaining the hope that we have, living in Christ Jesus.
You see – the logos part of the word apologetics is used again in the sentence….the word “explain” as in explain the hope.
That they would know the hope… that they would be able to rejoice and dance as they realize God’s love, and the freedom He gives them from sin, and from evil and that they no longer have to anxious about death… for they know they will then share in God’s glory.
We go on the defensive, we plead our case… they don’t hear why we have…. hope.
We don’t need to be trained to go into battle – we need to know God’s love, we need to know why we have hope….
When it comes to giving a plea before judges and courts, hear these words of Jesus,
18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:18-20 (NLT)
One final thought – that word logos….
He is our hope, He is our reason… and He is what the world needs
Posted on June 2, 2013, in Devotions and tagged APologetics, case for Christ, Christ, Defending the Faith, defense of the faith, God, hope, Jesus, life, love, Peter, Spiritual Warfare, theology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.