I would only add that oftentimes "giving an answer for the hope that you have" can serve to encourage other Christians who might not have a clue how to respond to these self-refuting attacks. Apologetics may not convince the unbeliever but it may serve to support and encourage the believer. This, in my view, is an important role.
Where does defensiveness fit into this paradigm? As followers of Jesus, we are called to suffer, to be reviled, and to do so with rejoicing. We were promised with great clarity that suffering would come and that the world would see the gospel of Jesus as drivel. So why do we get so up in arms when it actually happens?Read the rest.
Defending the truth is right and biblical. But defending the truth is different than public displays of defensiveness. What Christians are doing by firing back at Savage or Reilly is, as Jesus says, throwing “pearls before pigs.” In that same verse He says that those pearls will be trampled and the pigs will turn on us to attack. Jesus is saying that response, defense, and judgment are not always wise and will often be harmful.
It is not our strong defenses against blow-hard anti-Christians that will lead people to Jesus. It is the exemplification of a Christ-like life and the firm proclamation of His gospel. Our spar-and-parry articles will not overcome the influence of Dan Savage, Rick Reilly, or those like them. We cannot win this cultural war of words. But, through our lives and testimony, the Spirit can win the war for souls.