Providing A Defense For Our Faith
- By Ashish Joy
- Published 06/19/2008
Ashish Joy is a 22 years old Malayalee Christian. He is a Theology Major at Portland Bible College in Oregon State, USA. Ashish Joy is a musician, a writer and enjoys computers. Above all, he loves God with devoted passion and desires to see Christians rise up to become world-changers and trend-setters in the ministry and in the marketplace.
I came across an online forum that was discussing the evidence of God and one’s adherence to faith and such. Someone posted an article I wrote 1 on said forum.
Let me just say that when you write something, you never expect it to be used for any other purpose than for what it was written for. It was a pleasant surprise to see my article used as a resource in this online discussion. Looking back on the article, I realize I hadn’t written it as a defense for the Christian faith, but rather an invitation to the Christian faith.2 Therein lies a fundamental difference in my approach.
I believe it is necessary for the Christ-follower 3 to provide a defense for their faith. The apostle Paul had to give a defense before the Jewish and Roman authorities.4 What is most interesting is that Paul effectively weaved in his personal revelation of Christ as the foundation of his persuasive defense.
My premise in the article I had written was, a real and personal revelation of Christ is what makes this thing we call faith viable. It is that fundamental acceptance by faith of what God began and set in motion, in the advent of His Son Jesus Christ in incarnation, death, and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all mankind as is seen in Acts 2. We have never been the same ever since. The direction of humanity has been radically altered; and it all begins with that encounter one has with God. That was my premise.
The advent of church, where believers meet together in unified worship towards Christ and His continuing work, was another milestone in this direction. We are called to be Christ’s agents of change in this world.
In Christ we find our example. We must engage with humanity. There are examples all around us. We must engage with the homeless man on the corner of a downtown street, who is looking for meaning in his life. We must engage with the over-stretched mother on the verge of nervous breakdown, as she juggles raising kids and the office job. We must engage with the runaway girl now selling her body in the big city to make ends meet. There is world all around us that demands our attention, but more importantly demands our action.5
Sometimes I wonder whether the reason we give a defense of our faith, is for selfish motivations of intellectual superiority or social comeuppance. Is it I wonder, because our Christian impetus of being Christ-like has gone so far the other way, that those who do not follow Christ only know of our faith when we defend it? Have we lost the most valuable explanation for faith, a visible illustration of faith in the way we live our lives? If any of these be the case, we as Christians are not doing our job of being salt and light in a world that so desires Christian authenticity.
Long gone are the days of Christianity being preached aloud, but lived only quietly. The world needs Christians to live like their Christ. Though some may never understand the logic behind our faith, they can never argue with the results of lives radically transformed, people living in biblical community, and affecting change wherever they go. There can be no argument leveled against a faith that does those things. When Christians live aloud their faith in our daily lives, there is more than just a defense of our faith; it becomes an invitation to faith.6
We must infect change in the world around us.7 We must impart something in the lives of the people around us 8 as we consistently shine and bring flavor to the world.
The necessary point to consider is this: If logic and reason are our chief weapons in providing a defense for our Christian faith, then we have thrown off the higher call to be Christ-like through our actions and love.
1. Meeting God, which I wrote a year and a half back, was also posted on SAC (which the online forum referenced). ↩
2. I could also say re-invitation to the Christian faith, because there are also those who grew up in a Christian environment, yet failed to truly understand the God that was worshiped there. ↩
3. I like using this phrase a whole lot more than just Christian, because I think the word has lost some of its meaning. When you follow Christ it evokes a sense of discipleship. That’s why I use the word. Yes…some would say it’s trendy. ↩
4. This can be found in Luke’s account of Paul’s defense before King Agrippa and Governor Festus in Acts 26. ↩
5. A World Of Difference, April 3 2008. ↩
6. When the world sees the body of Christ living as its name implies, in all that Christ is, it changes how the world approaches us. Our defense becomes rather an invitation; this is what Paul did in Acts 26. ↩
7. I use the word infect because it has the connotation of something affecting a person unknowingly. ↩
8. It’s kind of like a pleasant smell you comes across. You’re left with a mental imprint of that smell for the rest of your life. ↩