By Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
To give a testimony is to provide a witness or evidence.¹ We often see the word testimony surrounding stories of peoples’ paths to Christ or the story of Christ’s impact on their lives. While testimony provides a wonderful opportunity to rejoice with fellow believers, it can also be an impactful tool for evangelism.
When we look at the most popular subjects surrounding evangelism and apologetics, we quickly find ourselves knee-deep in texts and speeches about the historicity of Christianity, philosophical debates about what theoretical argument can persuade and dissuade one from believing in any god and papers written by brilliant scholars discussing whether this discovery or that discovery could be evidence for or against theism. What is less prevalent is the very strategy that Christ himself asked of others and what the apostles employed: testimony.
This is not to say that any other method shouldn’t be used when discussing why we have good reason to believe in Christ, for there are many good reasons to do so! It is, rather, to point out that we should continue in the foundation of our belief in making Christianity a personal claim and not a theoretical statement. If you claim to follow Christ, but your life remains unchanged, then how do we know your claim is true? Or as one other put it, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, you will recognize them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20.²
In 1 Corinthians 15:5-6, Paul appeals to the testimony of himself and others to provide evidence that Christ truly rose from the dead, “and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.”² Paul’s case for Christ here does not rely on philosophy or science but rather asks the church of Corinth to rely on his word and those other believers who Christ appeared to.
In the same way, when we go about discussing the gospel and why someone should believe in it, we should turn to how it has impacted us, how the gospel saved us from depravity, and how Christ’s sacrifice not only theologically united us with our creator, but how Christ has relationally transformed our life to be something new and glorious. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”²
In previous articles we have ended with scripture and calls to action but going forward we would like to end in prayer. It is my hope that you will pray with us and that, together, we can see the kingdom’s work done.
I pray that as we reflect on the change the gospel has had in our life that we can speak with grace and authority to those around us, unashamed of our previous state but bold in the Christ who gave His life for our eternity. For those who still question the gospel and our savior, I pray that God will reward their questions with answers, for fellow believers to surround them, carefully listen, and gracefully respond. May the Spirit meet us, guide us, and help us. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
1 Easton, M. (1893). Illustrated Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.
2 Crossway Bibles. (2001). The Holy Bible English Standard Version. Wheaton: Good News Publishers.