We have begun a Sunday morning class at St Marks centered on Christian Apologetics – the ancient task of believers giving an answer for their faith within both the marketplace of ideas, as well as the marketplace of commerce and power. Our short course was put together by the Oxford Center for Apologetics in Oxford, England; there are some wonderful speakers. These speakers seek to give Christians a basis for giving an answer for their faith in the modern world.
I find the lives of early Christians almost impossible to imagine; especially those who lived in Rome and the larger cities. For over one hundred years their lives were haunted with the possibility of arrest and torture, and yet their numbers continued to grow and grow. During some air travel this past summer I found myself watching the recent movie about the Apostle Paul over and over.
Given what I know of early Christianity, and the Judaism of that era, I found the film very convincing. I was also struck with how well the early struggles of believers were portrayed; what it must have felt like to be a young man, or a young mother, or a grandfather, sister, or husband and wife, living through the dangers of being an early believer in Christ. Their courage and sense of certainty regarding the life of Christ must have been truly remarkable.
Perhaps this is an urban legend – I do not know. I was told the story of a Catholic Bishop living in South America who once said to his colleagues – “My good friends, our predecessors lived as princes in palaces, we live comfortably in the suburbs . . . those who follow us will live in the barrios, and those who follow them will live in the prisons, and those who follow even further will walk with Paul and Peter to the Cross.”
Whether or not this is true, the reality of the observation cannot be missed; and that is why I believe it is important that we help one another give an answer for the faith that we carry. It is important that we help one another in “Finding Our Answer.” We never know when another human being might be searching for the love and truth of God, and it might become our good fortune to share that message with them. We also cannot know when we might need to give an answer for the faith that is within us, so that we might honor and shower praise upon Christ with our own voice in our own day.
Join us in the Ministry Center at St Marks this Sunday at 9.30 – Room 101 – if you would like to join us.
1 Peter 3:14-15
14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear,* and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you;