Always Be Ready To Explain It
“‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’” (Matthew 28:19)
As Christians, it is our command to go and make disciples. Oftentimes, we put ourselves in the areas that make us most comfortable and this can sometimes mean that we surround ourselves exclusively with other Christians. Surrounding yourself with other members of the family of God is not a bad thing. Paul wrote in nearly every letter to the new churches about the importance of meeting together as a body of believers. It’s the exclusivity that can be an issue. Jesus spent his time with sinners. He came for those who needed him. We too should make it a point to be around people who need Jesus and “let your (our) light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16).
When the religious leaders of the time were critical of Jesus spending his time with “tax collectors and other sinners,” Jesus explained in Mark 2:17 that “‘healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’”
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15)
With Peter's words in mind, I would like to offer two talking points you can use if you find yourself defending or explaining your faith. When speaking with a non-believer or skeptic, you might encounter a question/view along the lines of “how could a loving God send someone to hell?” or "why does God allow bad things to happen?" Apologist, author, and speaker Dr. Frank Turek responded to a question like this by posing this scenario: If someone told you that they love you but you do not return that love and they don’t go away, instead they pursue you, they stalk you, they eventually kidnap you and force you to live in their house because they claim to love you, is that love? Of course not! Why? Because you have no free will in that scenario and without free will, it’s not love. God is love and God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us; for that love to be real (and it is the greatest love we will ever experience), free will must exist. Our free will is obvious. The fact that the person you may be speaking with isn't a believer is an example of free will; they have chosen (up to this point) not to believe. God is not going to force us into His presence against our will. Free will must exist for love to exist.
Another argument that might come up in speaking with someone who does not know God is that there can’t be free will because God knows everything, He is omniscient, and nothing we ever do will surprise Him. One possible way to address this doubt would be with this scenario: Say your friends or family were planning a surprise party for you but you found out about it. Your knowledge of the party doesn’t affect the actions of the people planning it. Your knowledge of the event does not change their ability to throw the party. Just because the party can’t surprise you now doesn’t stop your friends and family from throwing the party for you. It’s the same with God: just because He knows everything that is going to happen doesn’t affect our ability to act. Now, if God chooses to intervene, He will; He is God and can do whatever He wishes. It would be wrong for us to try to fit Him into a box, but this simple example may help a nonbeliever understand that God’s omnipotence doesn’t negate free will.
Hopefully these examples will help as you take Peter’s advice and are always ready to explain your faith. Live as Jesus lived and put yourself around those who so desperately need Jesus. After all, if Christians won’t, who will?
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P.S. I would be remiss if I didn't say something about starting an initial conversation with someone who doesn't believe. This can often be a difficult and awkward thing to do, but I heard Phil Robertson do it best: he simply asked a man he was having a conversation with, "Are you a godly man?" Whatever the answer, you can ask how they came to that decision, and before you know it, you'll be rolling.