Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1 Peter 3:15 and Friendship Evangelism

Recently, I wrote an article for the CARM website titled: Does 1 Peter 3:15 Support Friendship Evangelism?

Here is an excerpt from the article:
In 1 Peter 3 :15, Peter is not describing a relational conversation ( i.e. friendship evangelism) between an unbeliever and a Christian. Rather, Peter is preparing his readers to stand firm in the faith, to be ready to valiantly testify that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior -- the very hope that was in them -- in the face of persecutory opposition and hatred. Peter’s has an eye upon his readers’ likely persecution and potential martyrdom. He does not have an eye upon his readers’ ability to make friends with unsaved people.

1 Peter 3:15, when viewed in its proper context, cannot be used to support the idea that Christians must be ready to share the gospel with friends when asked. Rather, the verse makes it clear that Christians must be ready to testify to their faith in Jesus Christ, in the face of death. They must be ready and willing to persevere for Christ’s sake, until the very end (see Matthew 10:22).

One of the reasons many Christians misinterpret 1 Peter 3:15 as a verse supportive of the practice of friendship evangelism is that they focus their attention entirely on the phrase “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” There are no commands for Peter’s readers in this phrase. The command is found in oft-forgotten first phrase of the verse.
I've been very blessed to assist the CARM team in beefing up the evangelism section of their amazing website. I will be writing additional articles regarding Scripture verses and passages that are commonly misused to support friendship evangelism.

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