“But set apart [marginal reading] the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…”
1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV UK)
We live in an age of information. News twenty-four hours, radio and television wall to wall. IPad updates on the hour, and even Junk mail ever present. Are we suffering, I seriously wonder, from information overload?
I find myself turning off the sound when some trial comes on the news yet again. It’s there, of course, because it’s being televised. It’s available, juicy, and the media will use it. Either way, ultimately declared innocent or guilty, the accused’s life is over, and I don’t need to know all about the salacious bits.
And then again I find myself stabbing the mute button when yet another predatory sex celebrity (alleged) is arrested and put on trial. Whether proved innocent or guilty, the whiff of implication, even if ultimately proven innocent, will cling to them all and their lives will never be the same. And do we all really need to know all the sordid bits and pieces? Is this justice in the end, we have to ask? I’m sure the victims think so, but I remain unconvinced. Certainly the guilty should be tarnished, even given appropriate prison sentences, but the innocent should be acquitted without a stain on their character, as the phrase goes.
But when it comes to Christianity, our religion is actually very simple. No overload here. We don’t need to be theologians to be Christians; we don’t even need to be scholars. We need to be believers. Because that’s the bottom line in Christianity: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your personal saviour from all your sins?” And the answer is yes or no. Simple. Uncomplicated. Without information overload.
There is a place, of course, for theologians and scholars, as well as the so-called ‘divines’ of previous centuries. But despite the simplicity, many Christians are not ready to answer for their faith, as scripture tells them they should be. They feel unqualified, inadequate, even embarrassed. But on all three counts these are excuses dismissed by God, by Christ himself, and not worthy to be entertained for a minute by the Christian. We all know enough, more than enough in many cases, and certainly more than anyone out there who might ask us of our faith.
If there is such a thing as information underload, then unfortunately many of today’s Christians have fallen fair and square into that trap. You see, if we are asked about our faith, we will be given the answer, not that we need to give, but that the listener needs to hear. That too, is part of our faith.
Holy Father, our duty is to be ready, and then you will bring to us those you want to know about your Son and his saving work for all. Help us not to shirk that responsibility, but to be ready, always. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
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