I was chatting to someone recently about current political matters. Once it was established that I was a Christian, the conversation turned into a debate and I was now supposed to defend the views of Christianity as well as my own. Before I even had the chance to explain my beliefs, they start firing out-of-context Bible verses at me to contradict what I was saying and twisting my own words.
To say the least, I was disappointed in myself, for not being quicker and more accurate with my responses and corrections. The way this person spoke sounded like they spend all their free time practicing arguments with Christians in front of the mirror and scrolling through atheist websites with questions and answers that were almost scripted and intended to make someone dig themselves a hole.
This encounter proved to me that I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I should have been. Over the last three years specifically, I have had conversations similar to this one and have managed to hold my ground quite well with the intention of teaching and helping them understand, rather than just arguing to prove a point. It’s evident that many Christians don’t really know how to stand up for their faith and even feel scared to because it is so counter-cultural.
For the very reason of Christianity being ‘not of the world’, we need to know how to defend our faith more than ever. 1 Peter Chapter 3 verse 15 says: “But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” The key word in that verse is “defence” not offence, making a conscious decision to use every conversation about God to make disciples, not turn them away.
In the Olympic sport of Fencing, there is a simple defensive move called a ‘Parry’ often followed immediately by an offensive ‘Riposte’ which is a precise but quick extension of the arm to score a point on the opponents chest. This is all in one swift motion normally carried out in under a second to diminish any chance of a counter attack, all of which is made possible by the relaxed starting position famously known as ‘En Garde’ which means ‘prepare’ or ‘on your guard’. If we want to defend our faith with accuracy and swiftness, we must be prepared and in a position of being on guard.
Jesus was intentional
A friend explained to me a few weeks ago how Jesus was intentional with every word he spoke. His words were carefully put together to appeal to the audience he was speaking to. Jesus spoke in parables to his disciples as a way of exercising deeper thinking, also using parables for skeptics and non-believers to explain heavenly concepts with earthly understanding. It was by this that he was able to help the listener to come to their own conclusion about him.
As much as it is necessary to defend our faith, sometimes people don’t want to hear what you have to say and are only interested in argument. Mathew chapter 10 verse 14: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Only the Holy Spirit can move someone’s soul or soften their heart. What’s important is that we show them Jesus through our lives.
Having thought in-depth about the provoking questions people have asked me in regards to God, in retrospect my answers could have been tailored to suit their logical approach to Christianity. I found that arguing with a skeptic or atheist is a bit like pouring petrol onto a fire in the hope of putting it out.
We can’t defend our faith without knowledge and good foundation. We need to know what and why we believe what we do and be able to communicate the message effectively and from a place of love.
Jesse Moore draws from the Bible and classical literature for insight into life’s tough questions. He is currently studying at university to become a film-maker.
Jesse Moore’s previous articles can be viewed at: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jesse-moore.html