Monday, November 23, 2015

The Great Commission for Apologetics (1 Peter 3:15...Get it Straight)

David and I have just come back from a week of philosophy and apologetics conference sessions. There was no shortage of the oft-quoted, passion-instilling, lock-yourself-in-a-room-to-read-Plantinga inducing slogan for apologetics that is 1 Peter 3:15—“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” I’ve seen and heard this phrase quoted more times than I can count. It has essentially become the Great Commission for Apologetics.
The exhortation is simple: Christians need to be ready to defend what they believe. This verse provides the biblical charge for Christians to engage in apologetics. But this is not all that we are commanded to do in 1 Peter 3:15. The beginning portion of the passage is rarely, if ever, quoted as a charge to those engaging in apologetics. Yet it provides the foundation for apologetics! Without it, apologetics is utterly useless.
Here is the entire passage, in context:
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
The first thing we are commanded to do is to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts. This is the foundation for our apologetic. To “set apart” Christ as Lord means to acknowledge that he holds the reins in every area of our lives. We ought to dedicate and consecrate our hearts for God, making Jesus the Lord of our desires, motives, inadequacies—all of who we are. This makes our apologetic more than a mere intellectual exercise; it’s an opportunity to defend the hope we have within us.
We must first have this hope before we defend it. If Christ is not the foundation of our lives from which our apologetic can spring forth and produce fruit, then it is done in vain. All the long hours of study avail nothing if they are not built upon the foundation of who Christ is and what he has done in our lives.
Defending the faith cannot simply be an intellectual pursuit for the faithful apologist; it must be an earnest endeavor to make Christ, the hope of glory, known to those around us. Our defense should stem from the lordship of Christ, who is our hope. Because God has made us “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3), we can build our apologetic on this very hope. This is the hope we need to express, articulate, and defend to those who ask us. This hope should drive our apologetic.
And because Christ is Lord in our lives, we can fulfill the end of the passage, as well: “do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” That part essentially speaks for itself. No senseless quarreling. No name calling. No outbursts of rage. We must present ourselves and our arguments with gentleness and respect, always seeking to truly understand opposing positions and being charitable in our responses.
To sum it up, the Great Commission for Apologetics gives us three commands:
1. Set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts.
2. Be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope within you.
3. Do this with gentleness and respect.
The next time you feel the urge to quote 1 Peter 3:15, it might be helpful to share the whole passage. Then let the late nights studying Plantinga commence.


  1. Keep in mind all your arguments on man's essential and also ultimate life purpose, are intellectual treatises. You may compare parallel lives and doctrinal commandments well. However, the basic drive of any doctrinal commandment, which is at the psyche dimension, remains equivocal. Therefore, that which did set forth the self identity of your audience in general, still remains untouched unmoved.
    Unless the psyche of an individual goes into divine refinement, the individual differs not one iota in psychic response from animals. That is animals show reflexive caring even self sacrifice to save
    their of springs. While humans who self sacrifice to expand idealism as divinely ordered living, have been trance induced to do so by other humans. Clearly, countless people address man's ultimate life purpose, as experts of the ultimate truth. Nonetheless, that which they actually do is totally equivocal.

  2. That's why I'm a Van Tilian Presuppositionalist.

  3. Good post guys. Epea Deus I got no idea what the heck you're even saying.

  4. OT:
    Could you pls respond to this video:

    1. All this video demonstrates is the ignorance of the creators and sadly that people don't read their bibles anymore or receive proper instruction.
      Whereas both the Bible and the Quran have violence in it, the difference is in the core message and how it relates the violence, which is the opposite.

      The creators of the video used the verses in the Bible out of context in a similar fashion that people use peaceful verses in the Quran out of context. The Bible is a historical document with recorded history, the good along with the bad. However God's intention of having a relationship with man remains the same.

  5. I have a suggestion concerning the violent passages in the quran. Propose a replacement scripture that is contrary to it. ex. Kill the infidels where you find them could be replaced with , It is evil and wicked to harm those who are not muslim. When you find them, leave Islam and help the Jew to all join with the people of the book.

    Do this for all the verses then print a quran and accompanying writings, purging the evil, then print the new version and pass them out to muslims.
    I know, dumb idea....

  6. Just a comment regarding the violence in the Old Testament. Firstly after the fall of Adam & Eve mankind descended into complete & utter wickedness such that God had to wipe the entire race and start again with Noah & his family. God promised never to destroy all mankind again but man was bent on doing evil and before long whole cities were once again consumed by sin. So God had to eradicate those sin cities to try and contain the spread of evil. That is why God commanded the Hebrew people not to intermarry or intermingle with other tribes so they may not be corrupted by their wickedness. God was preparing a people that would one day be a light to the world through whom tribes and nations would come to know the one true God. God wanted to zealously protected the Hebrew nation especially in their infancy stage so He ordered the killing of of whole tribes because of their severe wickedness The killing of children in those wicked nations was actually a mercy killing because as children they were not yet corrupted and therefore would be delivered from the eternal punishment that would befall their parents. Animals were also slaughtered so that the Hebrew people may not take as booty anything from these wicked lands. God punished the Hebrew people severely when they sinned as a deterrent. Otherwise there would have been complete anarchy amongst the masses during their time in the wilderness. It is important to note that people of this time were barbaric & uncivilised. Harsh punishment was the only deterant especially since no structured law system was in place With time as the nation of Isreal became more firmly grounded in Gods laws & commandments the implementation of harsh punishment diminished. At the time of Jesus people no longer lived by the law of the land but were guided by a system of laws & regulaions. So towards the close of the Old Testament the barbaric mass slaughtering of people was nolonger in practice
    Hope this helps put the violence of the Old Testament in its proper perspective.