We’ve been digging into 1 Peter 3:15. My blogs have been focused on what it means to have a defense for our faith. First, we are to present positive evidence for our beliefs. Also we are to defend those beliefs when anyone attacks them. And finally, we are to know something about how other beliefs fail and to find a way express those with a Christ like attitude.
Today I want to talk about an implied YOU in the this passage. You are expected to make a defense but that means you have to make a claim first. A claim is any statement that you think is true about reality but typically something that can be disagreed with.
There are a few things I want to highlight about claims.
Everyone makes claims about reality.
First, everyone makes claims about reality, even if that claim is “no one can know.” For example, Christians see Jesus Christ as the basis reality. Some scientists see science as the only way to see reality (this is actually a philosophy called Scientism). Christian cult’s think that reality is whatever their charismatic leader says it is. The bottom line is that everyone has an opinion.
No one is neutral about anything.
Second, no one is neutral about anything. We instantly form opinions about worldviews after hearing them. Some people may judge before hearing all the facts. Some may want to ignore any evidence that is contrary to their view. And some will want to claim neutrality because neutrality sounds fair. However, thinking that anyone can be completely neutral is a myth.
The one who makes the claim bears the burden.
My third point is the one who makes the claim bears the burden for that claim. If you believe something, it is your responsibility to support your claim. Peter said that as a Christian we are to have “a reason for the hope that is in you.” For Christians we are to be case makers for Jesus Christ.
J. Werner Wallace, a cold case homicide detective and apologist said, “While we are often willing to spend time reading the Bible, praying, or participating in church program and services, few of us recognize the importance of becoming Christian case makers.
You are not responsible to prove anyone’s claim false.
Finally, you are not responsible to prove anyone else’s claims false. If anyone says, “this is so, prove me wrong” do not do it! It’s their responsibility to show their claim is true. As I was preparing this blog, I realized that there is a tension between this point and my post on criticism. If it is not our job to prove anyone else’s claim false, then why do we need to know how their view fails?
To that point I have a few thoughts. First, criticism apologetics cannot stand on it’s own. It must be combined with providing a positive case for your view. Second, any worldview that contradicts Christianity will have a flaw. Knowing how it fails provides you with a way to place doubt in false teacher’s mind that are preventing them from considering the claims of Jesus Christ. Third, as I said in my previous blog, criticism can be dangerous. We can get arrogant and hurt others in our quest for them to know the truth.
Know what you believe and share it with others (make claims!).
Your Friendly Neighborhood Apologist,
Question: Have you ever made a claim that someone disagreed with?