The following article is actually an excerpt from the book “Reason.” This excerpt is posted here with permission.
The standard method of witnessing to a skeptic is to present various types of evidence (philosophical, scientific, historical, legal) and ask the skeptic to see if he or she can deny the existence of God while interpreting the evidence based on his or her worldview. A worldview is a powerful filter. The skeptic is easily able to interpret the evidence in a way that eliminates God by using the skeptic’s own worldview as a filter.
Because of the fact that, without Divine revelation, it’s impossible to prove any premise true, those who don’t receive Christ are never able to use a true premise in logic. Yet, they have to live life. They come to depend on assumptions, and making stuff up seems normal. Those who bother to give this thought either turn to Christ or develop a philosophy to deal with this. Since those philosophers can’t find a rational philosophy, they settle for an irrational philosophy and that begins to seem to be OK. It becomes part of the worldview that seems like reality and seems to be true. The skeptic is conditioned to base his or her reasoning on assumptions and stories, so the skeptic merely has to fabricate something to make the evidence fit the skeptics worldview. Most of the fabrications are already created, so the Secularist just needs a search engine. The Secularist doesn’t even need to think. Someone else has already made stuff up, and the Secularist uses that made-up stuff.
1 Corinthians 1:17-25 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
I’ve quoted 1 Corinthians 1:17-25 because it doesn’t agree with most of what is called evangelism. In the first part of this passage, “wisdom” and “understanding” are referring to human-generated wisdom and understanding. “. . . hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” In the second-last sentence of the passage God is speaking about the wisdom and understanding that comes from God when He says, “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” This wisdom is the Person of Christ.
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” The wisdom mentioned here is human-generated wisdom—which isn’t the wisdom of God. In the 30th verse of this same chapter, God says, “But of him [God] are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” God has made Christ Jesus our wisdom. That wisdom consists of righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
The term, “foolishness of preaching” sometimes confuses people. This foolishness must be understood in context of, “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The word, “preaching” is translated from the Greek word, “kerungma,” which means “a proclamation.” This isn’t preaching theology, excitement, or entertainment, but “we preach Christ crucified.” We proclaim Christ crucified. In this context, it means a proclamation of Christ crucified, not a proclamation about Christ crucified. “For the preaching . . . is the power of God.” “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;” (1 Peter 4:11a) You are speaking the Christ Who was Crucified. Your words are infused with His Spirit. For every word you say, God commands you to allow His Holy Spirit to speak His Words through you by His Power. This kind of proclamation can only be made by yielding to the Holy Spirit. Anyone who hears this proclamation isn’t hearing you but is hearing God speak through you. Faith comes by this kind of hearing.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
This verse is often taken out of context. The command begins with sanctification. Righteousness leads to holiness or sanctification. Righteousness is a free gift from God that comes by grace through faith, but you must yield the members of your physical body to it. It’s part of the “wisdom of God” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:30. You must allow God to do His works through you moment by moment. That means you must be in His presence yielded to His will. This is the first step in giving an answer to everyone who asks you for a reason of the hope that‘s in you.
You are to give “an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” The word that’s translated as “answer” is the Greek word, “apologia,” which means, “a reasoned response” or “a verbal defense.” Watch the context, though. The word that’s translated as “reason” is the Greek word, “logos,” again, which means “utterance.” “In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God.” John 1:1 This refers to Christ. Logos is also the Greek word from which we get the word, “logic.” When you speak, speak the Living Word, the Logos, the Christ.
“Hope,” in this sense, doesn’t have the same meaning as when Secularists use the word, “hope.” It’s not, “I hope so.” Real hope is a vision of coming reality from God. It’s the certain vision of your identity in Christ—in the Body of Christ—and how you’ll fulfill that vision if you’re faithful. To think of “hope” as “a concept” is the fallacy of anti-concreteness, since you are treating something that’s real as if it were a concept. In the context of this statement, the hope that’s in you is the Christ in you formed in your innermost mind. Christ isn’t concept. He is reality. He is truth.
The Scripture is literally as follows:
1 Peter 3:15 (literally translated) But be holy in the Lord God in your innermost minds, and be ready always to give a reasoned response, with a gentle spirit and deep respect, to every person who asks you for an utterance from God concerning the firm vision that’s in you of what God is going to do:
Understanding 1 Peter 3:15 in context, it confirms and elaborates on 1 Corinthians 1:17-25. The response is to be reasonable, but not based on human reason without Divine revelation. In fact, the reasoned response comes out of the Lord God in your innermost mind and it’s an Utterance from God. This is a response to a question someone asks you because of your holy walk with God. “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” Holiness is noticed. People want to know what makes you tick. They notice when you’re keeping pace with the Holy Spirit. They can sense it by your very presence, since the Holy One of Israel abides in your being. You can sense His Presence and hear His Voice. They can sense a difference they don’t understand.