Friday, December 26, 2014

What does it mean to defend Christianity

What does it mean to defend Christianity? In addition, whom are we defending it against?

There is a teaching within Christianity termed Apologetics. The name is misleading; there is an instant translation in the mind of the world surrounding this terminology. The metal image of the word translates to apologize, which means to ask for forgiveness or express regret. However, the word apology comes from the Greek word ‘apologia’ that is a term used for a formal, usually written, defense or justification of a belief, theory, or policy. Apologetics equip Christians to answer some of the hard questions often asked of Christians.

Whom do we defend Christianity against? This is a difficult question with a simple answer. We defend our faith against those who would undermine our beliefs and those who seek to disprove Christianity. In addition, in this, there is no one way to construct a defense.

Defending your Christianity means to protect it from harm, to represent Christianity to those who are accusers, to support your position, and to resist opponents. It is important to remember who the accuser is.

Ephesians 6:12-14 (ESV) says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
I choose to attest and assert that God is a living being, and Jesus is my Lord. I will not argue with people of other faiths. I have an acquaintance who is Muslim. She is very devout, and a very nice person. We find that there are many beliefs in God that we share. She accepts that Jesus was a prophet, but not the Son of God.

I have a friend who believes that we are all energy, and when we die, our energy goes back into the earth. (So we could be a tree.)  I have no reply, short of giggling. He wanted to debate this we me, and, after a few hours of exchanging beliefs, I told him that we would wait until we die, and see who is right. He stared at me and did not speak of it again.

I understand that as Christians, our mission is to share the message of Christ. However, I also believe that Christianity is a revelation of God, and no amount of my words can bring about that revelation. I will discuss and answer questions, but I do not offer a justification for my belief.  God needs no defense against those who refuse to believe.

My job as a Christian is to be one, everyday. This means to practice patience, to show respect to all people, and to bring the peace and the love of Christ wherever I go.  I share with others the truth that God loves them, and can meet them where they are. I encourage them to consider the word of God, and to accept Jesus as their Lord.

When they ask me about their lifestyles, wanting to know what they have to give up, I respond by asking them to seek God, and ask Him what they should do. I can offer what I would do, but I will not tell them to do what I do. I did not get to where I am in the Lord quickly, and God bore with me while I grew into Christianity. I bear with others.

As a Christian, my enemy is the darkness that permeates the earth. I was born into this darkness; I grew up with the conflicts of right and wrong, good and evil, and have to choose daily how I will proceed. I am tempted with anger, with judgment, with pride. However, I choose Christ. I consider what God would have me do in a situation. Sometimes I have to sit quietly on my proud self, repressing my urge to slap somebody. I pray, and I wait.

I think of Ephesians, where Paul writes, "there is neither Gentile nor Jew, and we are all in Christ". I ponder the plight of the church today. There are so many alcoves in the church. If Paul were writing today, he might say there is no longer Baptist or Catholic, Protestant or Pentecostal, but there is one body in Christ. This one body is the defense of Christianity. The basic truth has survived. There is one God, one Son, and one Holy Spirit. It is the attestation of the truth that God lives. God does not need defending. He did not send Jesus to defend, but to offend. The light offends the darkness. However, once the light is there, darkness cannot overcome it. 

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