Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Evangelism & Personal Testimonies

There is no denying that a personal testimony of salvation in Christ Jesus is powerful.  Three times in the book of Acts we read of the powerful conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-22; 22:1-21; 26:1-23).  Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) reads: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

So a testimony can be powerful.  I have listened to many people share how they came to faith in Christ.  It always blesses me to see the hand of God leading these sinners to faith in Christ.  It amazes me that people come to faith in Christ in so many different ways (by that I don’t mean different in the sense of the gospel but from many sins and many different places in life).  The Lord continues to save lost sinners from rich people to poor people from people here in the United States to people in China, the gospel is moving!  I rejoice in sinners being saved!

However, I do want to warn us that we must guard against the temptation to make evangelism all about our testimony.  Evangelism must include the gospel and the gospel is found in the Word of God.  The Word of God is the supernatural means by which God converts sinners.  The Word of God cuts sinners (Hebrews 4:12-13) and the Word of God brings about faith (Romans 10:17).  The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and He opens the sinners heart to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  As the gospel is preached from the Word of God, the Lord, by His grace, opens sinners hearts and frees the bound will of the sinner so that the sinner can either repent or reject the gospel (John 1:12-13).  The sinner who repents is saved by grace through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God (1 Peter 1:20-25).  The Lord calls sinners to Himself through the preaching of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  The gospel found in the Word of God is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and God saves those who believe the gospel that is preached (1 Corinthians 1:21).  This salvation is His work (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) that God may be glorified!

We must then preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  A testimony should never replace the Word of God.  The reason why is simple.  A sinner can hear a testimony from a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Catholic, a Muslim, etc. and each of them can describe how they were “saved.”  They will each talk of the virtue of their religion and how faith in their religion will bring peace, forgiveness, wholeness, healing, peace, etc.  And the sinner is wondering, “They all have powerful testimonies of their religion but who is right and yet who is to say that the others are wrong?”  The Christian, without the Word of God, has nothing to stand on but their subjective experience and each of us has a different experience with life.

The foundation then for the disciple preaching the gospel must not be our testimony.  It must the truthfulness of God’s Word.  The Bible alone is the truth of God (John 17:17).  The problem with the testimony of the above religions (or even atheists for that matter) is that they must borrow from the Bible to make sense of their own experiences.  The foundation for the disciple is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It is not our testimony.  Apart from the Bible, the disciple is nothing but a subjective story among others.  With the Bible, the disciple is full of the truth of God and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).  We must be faithful to quote and preach the Word of God to sinners.  When sharing the gospel with a sinner, don’t just share your personal testimony (that is okay by the way) but make sure you quote the Word of God over and over again to show that your testimony is based not on your subjective view of reality but upon the Word of God.  I even encourage you to begin witnessing to sinners with the Word of God before sharing your testimony.  Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, repentance, justification, sanctification, etc. are all based not on our testimonies but upon the Word of God.

Again, I rejoice that people are being saved by grace.  I rejoice that sinners are turning from sin to the Lord Jesus and finding that He is indeed a wonderful Savior but I warn us all to preach the Word of God.  Sinners must hear the gospel to be saved (Romans 10:14-17) and we must preach the Word of God faithfully as God has called us to (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Word of God is the seed to salvation (Matthew 13:18-23).  I pray that our gospel would be full of the Word of God.

2 Responses

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  1. Excellent prospective! We must remember, it’s not “all about us”, it’s “All about Jesus”, and His sacrifice for us, His Saving Grace.

    Steve Orwig

    01/09/2015 at 11:14 AM

  2. My comment is on a short post entitled “Why did God choose me?” It seems that I’m a rare duck. A Baptist that is mainly in agreement with the Arminian perspective. However as an exegete I do not understand why writers insist on claiming that God has predestined us in the sense that He is the one choosing us out of a life of sin. There are only two good New Testament passages that speak of predestination. The first is (Romans 8:29-30) It states that those “whom [God} foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son. What is being said here? God foreknew {STRONGS 4267- “proginosko”- literally- to know beforehand.} I.e., God knew us before we were born and He Knew how we would choose. Remember God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He has all power, all knowledge, and He exists in the past, present and in the future continuously. Therefore He foreknew us. Because he foreknew us He predestined us. The english word predestined here is a very poor translation of the greek word {“proorizo” STRONGS-4309-which simply means to single out or mark out beforehand}. Notice here that neither one of the two verbs here describe or imply any direct action in the lives of men with respect to their salvation. The rest of verse 29 says “that He [Christ] might be the first born among many brethren; (Verse 30) “and whom he predestined (marked out beforehand) He also called {STRONGS 2564 “kaleo” which means to invite} and whom He called He also justified {STRONGS 1344 dikaioo – to render or regard as just or innocent} and whom He justified, these also He Glorified {STRONGS 1392 I.e., honor or magnify} The only other reasonable referance to predestination is in Ephesians chapter 1:5. There it says “He predestined (marked us out beforehand) us to adoption as sons. So based on the foreknowledge of God we we were listed or placed as sons – remember here that the previous verse is talking about how we were considered By God before the foundation of the world – that we should be holy and blameless before Him. Being as this is how God purposed that we should appear before Him, It stands to reason and follows textually correct that God had all this acomplished before mankind ever entered the picture.
    The scriptures make it VERY clear that faith comes through hearing the word. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinful state and of the efficacy of Christ’s work on the cross. WE in response to the message CHOOSE to ask Christ to forgive us of our sins and to be our savior. This is immediately done, and we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promiseEph 1;13

    Tim Marlene Hover

    01/11/2015 at 6:22 PM

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