A popular way is to act as though being a Christian is a covert operation. Christians often fly under the radar, wear camo, and never talk to unbelievers about matters of faith. The farthest many Christians go is to give a religious card or tract, or perhaps assure someone that they are praying for them. They never explain the faith or answer people’s questions. Don’t want to seem too extreme!

I once heard a Sunday School teacher recommend a certain way of handling cultists who come to your door. He said that it is very powerful to listen to them and just tell them that you are praying for them.

Not to disparage cards, tracts or prayers, but I’ve never been a fan of the “easy (broad?) way.” God tells us how we’re supposed to live in a world full of skeptics: “Be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks you for a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Question: is God telling us to be covert? Is He telling us “just give a tract”? Or “don’t engage in discussion with people but just assure them that you’re praying”? Rather, isn’t He telling us to “be prepared to give answers to anyone who asks”? Isn’t God commanding us to learn the answers to the skeptics’ tough questions? Isn’t He commanding us to actually talk, discuss, and answer objections? Could it be that many, many Christians have simply disobeyed God by being undercover about faith?

Today, skeptics have more objections than ever. Secularists, liberals, cultists, and the average fellow are simply bristling with reasons why Christianity should be thought ridiculous. And all along God has been saying to Christians “Always be ready to give an answer.”

Always be Ready: Constantly prepared. Never slack. Never unsuited to the task. Never in an untrained state. To Give an Answer: Be ever-ready for the task of giving an answer, an “apologia,” or a reasoned reply to a skeptic. God insists that you be trained so that you can know how to answer in a reasoned, rational way. To Any Who Ask You for a Reason of Your Hope: No matter who asks, you need to answer. Someone might say, “OK, I’ll be trained and ready to answer, but I’ll be sure to never get in a situation where anyone will ask me something.” Is that what God means, “Be trained and ready but live covertly anyway”? I don’t think so. God doesn’t want to train warriors so that they’ll go into the playground and fiddle on the teeter-totter. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ. Talk to people about the faith (Matt. 28:18-20).

Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, we should know what we believe, why we believe it, and we should be primed and ready to talk about it with anyone. It’s redemptive living. Anything less is disobedience, and Christians who live in disobedience aren’t true Christians (1 John 3:8-9). Be obedient. Get trained. Get answers. Believe that there are good answers to get. And then talk to people kindly and cogently. Always be ready.

Next time: How to get trained.