This week I’m over at the Lifeway Church Leader’s blog opining on three essential traits for countercultural Christian leaders: courage, clarity, and civility (how’s that for some serious alliteration?). This comes from 1 Peter 3:15. Here is what I said about that second point:
The second thing Peter urges for counter-cultural leaders is clarity. “Have an answer for every man” doesn’t just mean “speak up whenever you feel like it.” Instead it implies a seriousness, a soberness, a thorough grasp of theology and an ability to speak well into whatever culture you are serving.
Sometimes well-meaning, but uninformed speech actually hurts the cause. I think we saw this clearly in the latest firestorm over religious liberty. Some of the politicians called on to defend good legislation were overmatched by the questions they faced. They were not adequately prepared to give answers and defend the rights of conscience. This resulted not only in defeat, but actually retreat on the issue of religious liberty.
This is sadly the case in many areas of gospel proclamation and cultural engagement. It’s not enough for us to have the courage to stand up for what we believe. We also must work hard, study, and understand what it is we are trying to communicate. What’s more, we should continually work on honing our message in such a way that it is communicated in a way that people can understand. Frankly, we shouldn’t speak into areas where we are poorly informed. It doesn’t help the cause if we don’t know what we are talking about. Clarity matters, even more so in an increasingly hostile culture.
Consider that Paul asked the Church at Ephesus to pray for him to have clarity in his gospel presentations. If Paul was concerned about clarity, shouldn’t we care about it and pray for it? I think this should be a primary focus for the Church in the 21stcentury: praying that God would raise up courageous leaders with courage and clarity. This is what we need in an age of confusion.
You can read the whole thing here: