1 Peter – Chapter Three XX

by Ed Urzi

“But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 GW).

Having defined apologetics in our previous study, we will now take some time to establish what apologetics is not with the help of the following authors…

“We view apologetics as primarily a philosophical endeavor to be employed only by those with quick, keen, nimble minds and specialized training. We also believe you have to be a bit of a jerk to be any good at it, since the primary goal, as we understand it, is to vanquish our foe and stand triumphantly atop his lifeless intellect with face lifted toward the heavens and chest swollen with pride. As a result, the average Christian not only believes he or she is intellectually inadequate to engage in apologetics but also has an aversion to the attitude associated with the practice….

I am convinced that when we understand Peter’s teaching on apologetics we will see that (1) his admonition is for every Christian, (2) it has nothing to do with creating an elite, special forces brand of Christian, (3) it is rooted in the context of humility, holiness, and suffering, and (4) it ought to be a natural part of our Christian walk.”  (1)

Thus, apologetics serves (or should serve) a critical function in the life of a Christian as illustrated by the following commentator…

“It is one of the tragedies of the modern situation that there are so many Church members who, if they were asked what they believe, could not tell, and who, if they were asked why they believe it, would be equally helpless. The Christian must go through the mental and spiritual toil of thinking out his faith, so that he can tell what he believes and why.” (2)

Another source makes a similar argument in a more direct fashion…

“…contrary to popular opinion, Christians are not supposed to ‘just have faith.’ Christians are commanded to know what they believe and why they believe it. They are commanded to give answers to those who ask (1 Pet. 3:15), and to demolish arguments against the Christian faith (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Since God is reasonable (Isa. 1:18) and wants us to use our reason, Christians don’t get brownie points for being stupid.” (3)

We’ll continue with our “apologetic for apologetics” with a look at some challenges to Christian parents and Christian leaders in our next study.

(1) Baucham, V., Jr. (2015). Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Page 16

(2) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Christian Argument For Christ (1Pe_3:15 b-16)”

(3) Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Page 29