A focus of the Reasons for Hope ministry is to encourage believers to stay bold. How is bold defined, and what are you to understand from the assertion to stay bold?
Merriam-Webster defines bold: fearless before danger; showing or requiring a fearless daring spirit. The word “bold/boldness” is mentioned 32 times in the Bible, so being bold has its obvious importance.
In Ephesians, one of the prison epistles of the apostle Paul, he instructs us that the “manifold wisdom of God might be made known…according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:10-12 NKJ
Theologian A.C. Gaebelein commented, “In Him we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. We can draw nigh to God and enter into His presence. The Greek word ‘parresia’ translated by ‘boldness,’ means really ‘free speech’ – that is, the speaking of all. It is the blessed privilege of prayer. How sad, that we made nigh by blood, sharers of the unsearchable riches of Christ, are so slow in making use of such a wonderful privilege!”
Being bold is a God-given privilege of prayer and to speak freely. How difficult it is now to speak freely, given such drastic changes in our culture, including moral relativism and the confusion over what is truth. While there is a reoccurring emphasis on diversity and inclusion, at the same time the principle of freedom of speech has been disregarded in the public dialogue. It seems such a difficult task to publicly share your beliefs, advocate for truth, and stay bold.
We should always remain aware of where we came from, what we believe, and why we believe it, and confidence in our beliefs should follow. At the same time, it is not constructive to be overly zealous and yell at people. Our instruction in 1 Peter 3:15 is to share the hope within us with gentleness and respect.
Boldness is more than simple confidence. Boldness is really a call to action, being courageous and fearless, as in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The Holy Spirit calls us to come confidently before the throne to seek mercy and grace.
We must speak boldly about Jesus. That means proudly proclaiming Him, and what the gospel message means for humanity.
In the 4th Chapter of Acts, Peter and John fearlessly preached the gospel to the Sanhedrin, the same men who condemned Jesus Christ. Peter and John’s boldness was not only for what they believed, but what they said in proclaiming Jesus. Despite seemingly poor odds against them, they spoke out in boldness, later telling the other disciples in verse 20, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Rather than running scared, the disciples who heard this were exhilarated, recognizing their sovereign God was in command of all events. In proudly proclaiming Jesus, they sought His direction.
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your Word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:29-31
Staying bold can be easier said than done. The enemy is always on the prowl to deceive, distort, and attack. Daily news events show us many examples of deception, such as fake news or incomplete reporting. There are so many times when we can be taken captive by false arguments.
A current controversy is reflected in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission was found to be discriminatory in ruling against the owner, Jack Phillips. After a six-year struggle, Phillips achieved an amazing victory. He had declined to create a wedding cake that was requested for celebrating a same-sex marriage. The bold position he took was definitely swimming against the cultural tsunami that we face.
The Supreme Court ruled that he did not have to make wedding cakes given his religious objections. The court held that the Colorado Commission made hostile comments about his religion, so there was found to be a perceived bias against religion. They also held that anti-discrimination laws must be applied in a way that is neutral toward religion.
Although supporters of traditional marriage initially celebrated the decision, the ruling turned out to be a very narrow in its scope, based upon the particular facts of the case. But it still was a huge victory.
However, on the very day the Supreme Court announced it would hear his case, an activist attorney called to order a cake with a pink interior and a blue exterior to represent and celebrate a gender transition.
Phillips politely declined to bake the cake, given a message that would conflict with his faith. The attorney promptly filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. While the Supreme Court case was pending, the Commission did not take a position on the subsequent complaint. Then, less than a month after the Supreme Court’s holding, the commission ruled (again) against Phillips. The Colorado Commission targeted him a second time, making known their anti-Christian hostility. There is another federal lawsuit pending.
Phillips faces government harassment once again from an agency that has failed repeatedly to be fair and impartial to him. Despite intense adversity and harassment, he continues to exemplify boldness, and honors God in his business.
Boldness indeed is freedom of speech, to trust in God and access Him with confidence through faith in Him. The enemy never relents, so we must never give up the battle, but stay bold, like Jack Phillips!
 God’s Masterpiece: An analytical Exposition of Ephesians 1-111, p.34
 Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et al., Petitioners v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al., 584 U.S. __ (2018)
 Alliance Defending Freedom, Case Update: The Colorado government is harassing Jack Phillips Again, August16, 2018
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Rawlings has been a practicing attorney for over 25 years. He served on Law Review at Salmon P. Chase School of Law, and is twice published. He is licensed in three state courts, the federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has represented both personal injury plaintiffs and defendants. His experience includes labor and employment issues, regulatory compliance, and healthcare related matters. He worked over 20 years for the industry recognized leader in healthcare recovery services. He enjoys teaching Biblical topics, with an emphasis on apologetics.