That being said ...I believe, as a Christ-follower, we are called to defend our faith. 1 Peter 3:15 says... "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,". (emphasis mine) I'm not so sure I'd go so far as to say that the "burden of proof" is on Believers ..as we think of this burden of proof in a modern judicial sense. But, we Believers do believe that the truth exists in that which we hold so dear. Conclusively, we are the "carriers" of His truth. I guess... if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck....?? But how often has this "defense" turned into an out-and-out "argument". And what exactly does it mean, anyway, to "make a defense..."?
I like what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans...
"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother." -Romans 14:13
A dictionary definition of the word "defense" indicates... "resistance against attack; protection:" It's the same defense utilized in football or basketball. We, as Christians, are not to instigate attacks ...yet we are called to "defend" the faith, and the Believer, against attacks ..no differently than a defensive line guards the line of scrimmage.
So what, exactly, is a practical difference between "defending" and "arguing"?? The non-believing world may often sense that we Chris-followers want to brow-beat them with the truth. Let me be the one to say.. I am sorry if you have ever felt "brow-beat". That is not the true Believer's intention. Sometimes our "passions" get involved. If you were driving down a highway, driving toward me, and I had already discovered that the road is out, or a bridge is out, up ahead ...I would be, indeed, "passionate" about warning you of this pending doom. It's no different with us as Christ-followers. I / we cannot force you to "believe" ...and if we could, it would be against God's will, according to Scripture, to do so. He gave all of us the choice. Regardless ...my belief in His truth SCREAMS to me to warn others of the truth.
Just as my God loves me enough to give me the "choice" of following Him ....I need to offer you the same choice; and the true freedom to choose it or decline it. If I "convinced" you... it would be short-lived. But if "He" convinces you ....I'll need not say a thing. So my goal is to just try and stay out of the way; to not be a stumbling block. I am passionate about my Lord, my God, my Savior. I'd LOVE to talk about Him with you (assuming you don't know Him). But I don't wanna' brow-beat. It wasn't brow-beating that persuaded me. It was "faith" ....simply trusting in what His word says about Him (Jesus). And He loves you just as much as He loves me. No reason you can't apply the same faith.
I think this is all best summarized in a note, written on a napkin, I was handed today at a restaraunt. A good friend and I were having this very discussion. Not surprisingly, a lady at the table behind us over-heard our conversation. Just as we were checking out to leave ...she handed me this "napkin truth". I think she stated, in one sentence, what took my friend and I an hour to discuss. It read.....
"Until someone knows Jesus truly loves them, they can't love Him. It's all in GOD's grace!"
For The Love of Christ,