Sunday, January 2, 2011

With Gentleness and Respect...

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. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. (NLT)

15 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; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (NASB)

In this passage from 1 Peter 3:15-16, often cited in support of doing the work of apologetics, Peter says that while we are always to be ready to give an answer or defense, we are to do it with gentleness and respect. We apologists are fond of the defense part, but it seems we too often ignore the gentleness and respect part. I often fail that part, but I think I've improved some, and I pray God will continue to grow me.

I post this in the hope that you, reader, will remember this admonition when you talk about your faith with others.


  1. That's a great reminder, Chris. Every apologist needs to read that passage before they send that email or blog comment and ask themselves, "Am I acting in gentleness and respect?"

  2. You nailed it. My #1 gripe against the apologetics authors and bloggers. Francis Schaeffer advocated something beyond gentleness; empathy, learning to see the life from the perspective of the other persons worldview. I suppose we could include that under "respect". Scoring points in arguments isn't the way to go about getting a hearing.

  3. I think you're absolutely right about empathy, C. I think Christians are right to stand up firmly in defense of the essentials of the Christian faith, but that needs to be done in gentleness and respect, and with empathy.