Do Our “Testimonies” Give Glory to Jesus Christ?

Here is something to ponder: “Testimonies” as witnessing. Is this even Biblical? Perhaps testimonies are meant to encourage the saints, rather than witness to the lost. Someone help me out here? Right off, I can only think of this example from the Bible: the woman at the well who went and told everyone in her town what happened when she met the Lord. After a quick review of the words “testify” and “testimony” in the New Testament, it looks like the context is almost always exalting Christ and telling the content of the Gospel! The Samaritan woman was being an evangelist; a true witness of the Lord, telling the Gospel to everyone she knew.

Last week my daughter and I attended a midweek worship service at a huge mega church. A woman told her testimony. She described what sounded like her “false conversion” : church kid, “accepted Christ” at 8, then lived backslidden for the next 20 years. She only praised and gave glory to these things: 1. a relative, 2. the doctors, 3. the psychologists and, 4. the psych drugs they put her on. Now this subject she was speaking on is another topic altogether. But regardless, it was only about her. Jesus was not even mentioned; only a phrase in Psalms that she repeated to herself mantra style that helped her cope. She preached the gospel of “hope in psychologists and drugs”- only.

This is not the first time I have heard this exact testimony from a woman in a mega church. This is the fourth time. Once I also heard a man give his testimony in which he went on about how, being down and out on skid row, some men invited him to church and now he has friends, community and a place to belong (and support to get sober, etc).

We can only give “testimony” if we are actually born again. And if we are, let us not only tell what the Lord has done in our lives to help us, but let us exalt Jesus Christ, (the true encouragement for believers) and represent Him to the lost by testifying of faith in Him and the content of the gospel (the only true witnessing and hope for the lost).

He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:7

And this is the testimony (witness!), that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11.

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14

who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ.. Rev.1:2


Winter Booklist

Brrr, it was 30 degrees outside this morning. Winter has arrived in the Bay Area! Time to crank up the heater and make cocoa. I love giving books for gifts, maybe because I am also a bibliophile. In January we will (God willing) get cozy on the couch with Ellie the puppy and read The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul, Monks and Mystics (The Medieval Church) and Courage and Conviction (The Reformation Church) by the Withrow’s. We’ll also listen to The Story of the World, volume 2, The Middle Ages, by Susan Wise Bauer, on CD. The kids can also read Do Hard Things if they are done with their historical fiction novels.

I’m looking forward to reading Jesus the Evangelist, by Richard Phillips, that Michelle so graciously sent. On my “wish” list is Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, by Michael Horton. Although I am currently weary of apostacy and heresy, (Lord give me strength to keep contending and defending!) my husband says I should read The Shack in order to answer Evangelical friends who think it is a great Christian allegory.

Encouragement for Evangelism

“We wouldn’t want to go out on the streets or knock on doors or anything! Nooooooo! Hahaha!”

Hundreds of people laughed nervously back in response to this, and in apparent agreement to what was just said. The announcement man continued, “We want to grow to 5000, as part of our ‘Vision 2010’. We want you bring in as many people as possible. Even through the back door if necessary.”

Sitting there, with everyone laughing at the unacceptable behavior witnessing “out on the street”, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. I felt like a freak. Witnessing publicly to family, neighbors, and people I met in the community was a normal part of my life. Not just a habit. A longing, a desire, a burden. Now this church leader was shaming such “embarrassing” behavior, in favor of the marketing formula for church growth success.

Going out into all the world with the gospel is how the church has grown for 2000 years. That’s what Jesus had His disciples do. That’s what the church did in the book of Acts. And that’s what missions is all about.

When the announcement for Vision 2010 was first given, it was declared that part of the plan would be that by 2010, our church would start a new church somewhere on the Peninsula. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to participate! That meant that the people would be trained in evangelism, we would pray to the Lord of the Harvest to fill us with His Spirit and give us boldness and compassion for the lost, and we would all be sent out into our community to bring the gospel to those who have not heard it….. right? And then we would gather the new believers into a new body, appoint pastor and elders, then disciple and teach the new believers everything that God has commanded in His Word….. right? Wrong.

When it came time to start the new church, the church leaders would go to a “how to start a church” seminar where they would learn how to start a church via experts in the church growth movement. They would be implementing corporate/business marketing and management methods. So the plan was to build the church themselves, by the wisdom and power of man. I kept thinking, “But Jesus said, ‘I will build My church.'”

This ordinary laborer was very discouraged by all this. Was I a freak? Was I alone? Was I completely un-hip to modern Evangelical trends? (No, no, and yes.) What about all those Bible verses about us going with the gospel to the lost and dying world? The Lord kindly provided a handful of dear saints for encouragement. Over time, I’ve met many evangelists and gospel laborers in who have a biblical view of the command to go out into the world with the gospel.

I’d like to feature here a few other evangelism sites which have witnessing stories, biblical training, encouragement and fellowship. This is just a sampling of the many brothers and sisters who want to encourage you in witnessing out in your world. Know that you are not a freak, you are not alone, and that biblical evangelism is nothing to be ashamed of.

SOS Ministries. Larry, Eric, Loi, May and Big Larry, along with other Christians from around the Bay, go out almost every Friday night and Saturday to San Francisco and Berkeley to openly share the gospel using literature distribution, music, one on one conversations, testimonies, and open air preaching. Each summer they host a week long outreach to the people of San Francisco, especially tourists. You are invited to join them!

Way of the Master Radio. Ray, Todd and Kirk, along with many friends and staff members, go out on the streets of SoCal to open air and have one on one conversations. Many of these conversations are live on the air via phone and broadcast on the WOTM Radio show program. Learn by listening. Check them out!

The Word on the Streets. Richard teaches about evangelism and posts his witnessing stories where he brings the gospel to people out on the streets in Oregon. Read his accounts for encouragement!

Street Fishing. Robert lives in Arizona and wants to equip and encourage you for reaching those around you, effectively and biblically. He’s got witnessing stories, photos, video, and audios. “Adventures in urban evangelism”. Check him out!

Lighting the Way. Dwayna and friends are full time ministering down in SoCal (and New York) focusing on reaching everyone possible, especially those involved in the New Age/occult. They provide the gospel and apologetic answers through books and conversations. Get ideas!

Evangelism Action. Daniel in Australia wants to train and inspire you to be a laborer in the harvest, sharing the biblical gospel. Get it out there!

Fish with Trish. I just found this one recently. Trish works with Way of the Master and spends time out on the streets, presenting the gospel to just about anyone!

The Reformed Evangelist. Paul and Jeff have a fantastic site where they post theological articles, witnessing encounters, and matters of practical evangelism. They blog to attest that those with the Reformed view of salvation not only do evangelism, but make good evangelists. They have a new BlogTalkRadio podcast, with seven episodes so far. Highly recommended! Great stuff, check them out!