Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: testimony

A faith worth dying for

Many of the Old Testament prophets died for the things they said. They were speaking the truth that God had revealed to them by His Spirit and the leaders of the people could not stand to hear that truth. So they killed the messengers of God thinking that would bring them peace.

The Jewish leaders in Jesus day did the same. Jesus was a threat to their positions and the respect the people had for them, so they killed the messenger. We should not be too harsh in blaming Pilate, he seems to have understood better what Jesus was up to than did the Jewish leaders.

Most of the apostles died as martyrs; people could not accept their message, so they killed the messengers. That has continued through history. The Roman Catholic church probably killed more Christians than pagan empires ever did. After the Reformation the Protestant churches continued the slaughter of Christians who would not accept their compromises.

Worth killing for

The reason for the killing of peaceful Christians has always been that other people saw them as a threat to their authority and position. Not that peace-loving Christians were ever a physical threat. Their offence was that they refused to mix the values of the world with the teachings of Jesus Christ; this was a stinging reproof to those who did. So they have tried to silence and eliminate the messengers.

Worth keeping quiet about

The German pietists thought they had found the solution. They would be outwardly members of the Lutheran church and inwardly born again believers in Jesus Christ. They would attend the Lutheran services, take communion, baptize their babies, get married in the church, then meet privately to share their faith. They called themselves “the quiet in the land.” Some Mennonite groups have also thought this was a good idea. Since they were no longer messengers, they were not in danger of persecution, or even ridicule, for the cause of Christ.

Light and salt

Light is what reveals both truth and error. To be quiet about our faith is to put our candle under a bushel and rob those around us of light.

Salt is what preserves from spoiling. In Old Testament times all sacrifices were salted in order not to offer to God something that was beginning to putrefy. If we feel free to indulge in the unfruitful practices of the world, where is the salt the world needs?

Be always ready

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

People wonder about us, form conclusions from our silence that impute the things that we do to factors other than a faith in Jesus Christ. When they ask questions, they often don’t know quite what to ask. Let’s not leave them in confusion. We don’t have to be pushy or difficult, but let’s be willing to talk about our faith, nor our culture or our lifestyle.

Perhaps some day that will put our lives at risk. If so, we are in the company of the prophets, apostles and saints of past generations.

© Bob Goodnough

Really Simple Testimony

“Tell what He’s done for you” should be a key part of sharing the gospel with others. It’s more powerful than any canned approach. Our testimony should sound natural and conversational, not scripted like a telemarketer. Nevertheless, there is value in writing out a significant experience to think through which details to include and what to leave out.

If you are telling your conversion, remember that the experience was between you and God and the same kind of experience is available to anyone, of any background or circumstances. If your testimony gives a lot of credit to your parents and your church, you may be missing the reality of what took place. This could lead the person you are talking to believe that the door is closed to her because she does not have those advantages.

Keep it simple, keep it short, but make sure it is complete. In some way, every experience includes a call from God, your response and the peace and assurance that God gave when you yielded to Him.

Here is mine:

Things were coming together for me; a secure job, a place to live and a wedding coming up in the summer. I believed I was doing the best I could in the circumstances. Then things started to unravel. Irregularities came to light at work and I seemed to be a suspect. My fiancee was having second thoughts.

One day, after troubled thoughts that led nowhere, I picked up a Bible and opened it. Revelation 3:16 stood out before me: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” The image shocked me. Was I that distasteful to God? I knelt down and confessed that my troubles were my own doing, and prayed that if God would help me now, I would do whatever He asked of me for the rest of my life.

No bells rang, but I was calm and knew what I had to do. The situation at work soon blew over, my fiancee made her decision (and has stuck with me for over 44 years). And God still asks things of me and reminds me: “this is part of what you promised back there.”

That’s 197 words, about the right size to convey the essential information. I won’t be able to tell it in exactly the same words every time, which is good – I don’t want to sound like I’m reading.

There are other experiences that have helped shape our lives and they can be dropped into a conversation if there seems to be an opening. Above all, it is important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not to run ahead and try to push open a door that seems stuck, nor to hold back for fear of what someone might think or say.

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