FIRST-PERSON: Is there a Tertullian among us today?

“And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed” (1 Peter 3:13-14a) With respect to this passage, we miss an important point simply because many of us have settled it in our minds that its focus is essentially apologetic. For the record, I do not doubt that this text has great apologetic value, but that, in fact, may be secondary to something more visceral. Note the preponderance of words and terms in the broader context (vv. 13-17) that suggest something perilous is happening. Peter writes with the sure expectation, or perhaps knowledge, that his readers are or will be harmed (v. 13); suffer (vv. 14, 17); be intimidated (v. 14), slandered and reviled (v. 16). All this for no reason other than that they are Christians. Sound familiar?

These believers were not arm chair apologists pondering logical arguments for the existence of God, or the reliability of the Scriptures, or the truthfulness of the resurrection from behind the comfort of a desk or a university lectern. They were being challenged to stand for Christ at great personal peril. And it is precisely in such a vexing context that Peter offers a radical outlook for these believers in harm’s way. He does so by asking a rhetorical question that screams for the only possible response — NO ONE! That’s right; no one can harm us if we prove zealous for what is good (v. 13). And the radicalness continues, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.” Thus, Peter posits a “win-win” scenario for doing evangelism in trying times. Dear reader, we are living in just such a moment! For complete article here

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