But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1Pet 3:15 NIV)
Knowing what we as Christians believe and why we believe it is important. The life of the mind and its surrender to the transformation brought about by new life in Christ should be of central concern in our local congregations. Paul’s words are clear in this regard when he writes, “..be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2) Simply put, Christians, because of Christ, are to be a thinking people who are prepared to give the reason for the faith that they have.
Peter’s exhortation in chapter 3 is culturally situated in such a way that we are wise to take note of its parallels to us and our contemporary context. We as Christians are scattered all over the world as resident aliens. We find ourselves in all sorts of cultural contexts that are often opposed to the gospel of Christ. Many of us may also find ourselves in places that are overtly oppressive and violently opposed to those who hold our faith. In this regard, things haven’t changed.
I think Peter would write the same words today…”Always be prepared to give a reason…”
When I read the words of Peter I first ask, “Am I always prepared to give a reason for the hope I have?” Then I ask, “Am I living in such away that prepares others to give a reason?”
As I have previously described in others posts, my concern for the intellectual well-being of the local congregations continues to grow. Many of my generation, even though they may have “grown up in church”, can scarcely talk about their faith beyond how it makes them feel. What they often fail to realize is that we all think about things before we feel a certain way about them. Their thoughts about faith are unexamined and so they are left unprepared.
In coming posts I’ll examine the key points of Peter’s exhortation and consider how the Church might faithfully respond. As always, I encourage feedback!