Five tips for defending your faith
Engaging with non-believers requires patience, understanding and maturity.
I’ve been following a blog on Tumblr whose primary purpose is to defend the Christian faith. The people who run this blog have an admirable passion for answering to the objections of atheists and other non-believers. However, their way of defending Christianity is worrying. What started as civil online debating quickly turned into the bashing and belittling of non-Christians.
As Christians, we are all called to defend our faith. Every Christian is expected by God to do it at some point in their life. 1 Peter 3:15 says:
“Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Though the blog I followed started out with the right idea, somewhere along the way they lost sight of what’s really important.
Here are five things to remember when interacting with non-believers and those seeking truth.
1. Not everyone who makes objections to Christianity cares about your response
Put simply, some people just love an argument. When I’m dealing with non-believers who just want to put Christians down, I’ll answer their questions or counter their objections, but I’ll do it briefly. If it gets to the point where they continuously belittle me or my faith that means it’s time to drop the conversation. I find, if you stay in these conversations too long, it may shake your faith and cause you to doubt what you believe.
However, if a non-believer genuinely wants to know about Christianity, then it’s important to go in depth and give them as much wisdom as they can handle. This is the person you want to really focus on. This is the person that’s open enough to take what you have to say seriously.
2. Be mature
Even if the person you’re talking to is immature, don’t conform to that behavior. Take your time to ponder questions or objections before you answer them. That way you’ll give the wisest answers possible. If you’re immature, people won’t take you - let alone your core beliefs - seriously.
3. Steer clear of jargon
Our Christian friends understand what we mean when we say things like "gospel", “grace” or "sin". However, a lot of non-believers may not know what those words mean, or think they know what they mean and use them out of context. Try your best to keep it simple, and use language that everyone understands.
4. Understand why you’re defending your faith
There are a few reasons why we need to defend our faith. The first and most obvious one is that the Bible says so. (1 Peter 3-5)
Another reason is to help people see what Christians really believe. When I've told people I’m a Christian, I’ve been asked if I’m homophobic, closed minded, ignorant or hypocritical. Talking about your faith openly helps change those perceptions.
Defending your faith can also help bring people to God. Sometimes it’s hard for people to give their life to Christ when they don’t fully understand him. As you help someone understand Jesus, God can use you to help save them from hell.
5. Remember and always fall back on the two most important commandments
Jesus said the two most important things are loving God and loving people (Matthew 22:36-40).
The blog I mentioned above had forgotten to “love your neighbour as yourself.” They became resentful and bitter towards non-believers, and often called then stupid or even swore at them. That will in no way improve their chances of turning to God. If anything, it will only confirm some of the stereotypes they have against Christianity.
But if we display God’s love in the way we respond to questions and criticisms of our faith, God can work powerfully through our words to bring people into relationship with him.
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