Yes, the defense does change in different cultures and locations. Consider the Apostle Paul’s example as recorded in Acts 17:1-12 (NIV):
“When Paul and his companions…came to Thessalonica…Paul went into the synagogue, and …he reasoned with them from the Scriptures…Some believed… and joined Paul and Silas…But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city…they dragged …believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here…They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”…the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
When the Apostle Paul arrived in Thessalonica, he used the Scriptures to teach the people that Jesus was the Messiah. Some accepted the Gospel message, but others became hostile, stirred up a riot, and brought believers before the government authorities. The believers immediately sent away Paul and Silas to protect them. This story instructs us that if our Christian message is hostile to the culture or government, get out of that city! Jesus told His disciples the same thing in Matthew 10:14, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
However, when Paul witnessed to the Jews in Berea, they welcomed the Gospel! Those brethren continued to study the Scriptures daily to prove their new Christian beliefs. They could live in peace and safety and grow in Christ.
We witness through our words and our characters. In the early church, some believers were slaves, living in hostile situations. The New Testament taught slaves to submit, honor and serve their masters. 1 Peter 2:18, “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” When a believer develops a good character, his behavior is a witness to those who observe him. People may wonder how that Christian can be obedient and kind to mean people. This type of witness can open the door to witnessing with words.