“…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…” (1st Peter 3:15)
Contemporary objections to the Christian faith and challenges to the American church are numerous. While these trends impact all of us, the toll it takes on our young people is particularly troubling. Here at ReThink315 we believe Peter’s words are as important now as they were in the first century and we’re excited about the growing interest in Christian apologetics, particularly in youth and young adult ministry. However, understanding and applying Peter’s call requires us to take seriously 1st Peter 3:15 in its entirety.
Peter instructs believers of all ages to prepare themselves for the task of defending and explaining the faith as follows:
- First, the believer is to “sanctify Christ as Lord” in their hearts, meaning, as the old Harvard mission statement put it, “to lay Christ in the bottom” as the only foundation for learning and engagement.
- Second, the believer is to be prepared with a verbal “defense (apologia) to everyone who asks…” We are to offer a word of explanation or rebuttal back to the objections leveled against the Christian faith.
- Third, the believer must also exhibit and maintain a gracious tone and attitude. While we must have something to say in reply or defense, we must say it with “gentleness and respect”.
If believers are to be prepared for and effectively engaged in conversations about Christianity, then each of these areas raised by Peter must mutually reinforce each other. Tragically, as too many examples testify, defending the faith intellectually yet without a Christ centered foundation or a respectful tone undermines and contradicts our claims to possess the truth and to speak for Christ.
While there are many specific topics for Christian apologetics to address, nonetheless, the purpose of ReThink3:15 is to help pastors, parents, and individual Christians to “rethink” Peter’s exhortation and to take seriously the importance of carrying out Christian apologetics, evangelism, and outreach in a way that honors Christ the Lord as holy and is, above all else, gentle and respectful.
To increase the number of Christians clearly and confidently sharing their faith and to reduce the number of professing Christians, particularly our young people, leaving the church due to unanswered questions.
We envision a world where more churches and individual believers are creating space for evangelistic conversations, offering better answers to difficult questions, and are engaging non-Christians and struggling Christians with gentleness and respect.
We value live and in person apologetics, evangelism, and outreach focused efforts that take seriously Peter’s call in its entirety and we value pastors, parents, and educators who lead the charge. As a denominationally diverse group of leaders, speakers, teachers, and consultants, we also value unity in essentials, liberty in nonessentials, and charity in everything.