AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
Here’s a common stream of logic that is used by Christian leaders when they are discussing the subject of evangelism.
- There are many people in the world who have never submitted to God, either out of ignorance or because they’re choosing to embrace an attitude of spiritual rebellion.
- As an individual Christian, it’s your spiritual duty to try and persuade unbelievers to convert to your religion so that God’s Kingdom will grow. Witnessing—the verbal sharing of your faith with others—is a critical way that you do this.
- There are many ways to approach witnessing. One of the most effective ways is to share your personal testimony. In other words, you should tell others about why you became a Christian, and what God has done for you. Since well-stated testimonies are the most convincing, take some time to work out what your testimony is. Practice saying it until you’ve got a nice, polished story. Then get out there and start pitching God to unbelievers and see how many new converts you can herd into His Kingdom.
This argument has been effectively used to coerce countless Christians into sharing their faith with others even when they really didn’t want to. It’s also resulted in many souls stressing and struggling to come up with some kind of speech that can serve as their five star customer review of a product that they call “God.” So what’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong with creating a website or writing a book in which you talk on and on about what Jesus means to you, what He’s done for you, and why you personally feel everyone ought to bow to Him as God Almighty? After all, you’re just trying to “shine the light,” right? You’re just trying to open people’s eyes to understand the truth. You’re trying to save people from Hell. But is that really something that you can accomplish by telling us all your testimony? No, it’s not. The truth is that your testimony is utterly useless when it comes to saving people. Let’s use a metaphor to explain why this is.
General Ben demands loyalty from all of his men. Whenever a new soldier joins Ben’s private army, Ben puts that soldier on a one month probation period. “You have 30 days to decide whether or not you’re going to commit yourself to me as your leader,” he says. “In one month, you and I will meet. If I decide that your personal devotion to me is insufficient, I will kill you.”
Now there are already fifty men under Ben’s command who all think he’s the best. These men are always plugging Ben to other people that they meet, and trying to talk those civilians into joining Ben’s army. Because Ben’s soldiers speak so highly of him, a lot of guys sign up. Ben’s enlistment rate is very high—the problem is that most of the newcomers never make it past the 30 day probation period. Over and over when judgment day comes, Ben is heard saying: “You aren’t here because you’re devoted to me. You’re just here because you’re following one of my soldiers. It’s their loyalty that you’re imitating, and their discernment that you’re trusting in. In thirty days, you’ve barely talked to me. You believe whatever my soldiers tell you about me, but you’ve never bothered to get to know me yourself. Because your faith is in them, not me, you’re devotion to me will only last as long as they remain devoted to me. But should they turn on me, you will follow them because they are the ones who you are really loyal to. I will not allow men to stay with me who have not truly committed themselves to me.”
As Ben piles up corpses of the new converts who didn’t make it past probation, we can see many parallels between his situation and what happens with humans and God. Like General Ben, God refuses to accept anyone who does not personally commit to Him. While Ben wants loyalty from his soldiers, God demands that humans submit to Him as the Supreme Authority over all that exists. Like Ben, God only gives humans a very limited period of time to decide whether or not they are going to meet His requirements. While Ben kills those who refuse to meet his requirements, God throws His rejects into Hell where they will suffer eternally.
Now once you personally meet God’s requirements and He grants you eternal salvation, you become like one of the soldiers that Ben has accepted into his army. Ben isn’t the one telling his guys to go around promoting him to civilians. Ben isn’t interested in cluttering up his army with a bunch of posers who he’ll just have to shoot and bury in 30 days. Ben’s soldiers are the ones who have decided to put so much effort into trying to get civilians to enlist. In the same way, God isn’t the One telling you to go around acting like His personal promoter. It’s only misguided Christians who are pressuring you into trying to get others to declare their faith in a Jesus who you personally find to be fabulous. But what happens when souls decide to repeat some prayer that you’re dictating for them just because they are moved by your personal testimony? What is your testimony worth, anyway? To a thinking person, it’s not worth anything.
One man can testify that he hates apples, another can testify that he loves them. What does that prove? If you’ve never personally tasted an apple, should you assess the fruit based on what someone else says about it? No, you should taste it for yourself before you declare an assessment of it. Until you sample the fruit for yourself, all you’re doing is parroting someone else’s opinions. Why aren’t you forming your own opinion instead of just copycatting someone else? Because you’re just not invested. You don’t care enough about the whole subject of apples to go to the trouble of gathering your own data. Since apples are not alive, they don’t take offense at the fact that you’ve decided they aren’t even worth bothering with. But with God, it’s a different story. When you blow God off and settle for just imitating some other Christian’s actions, God responds by chucking your soul into Hell once your probationary period comes to an end. Complicating things further is the fact that God doesn’t give us all the same amount of time to respond to Him with sufficient submission. Some of us only have a few years, others of us are given many decades. Since you have no way of knowing how much time God is personally giving you to get serious about pleasing Him, it’s in your own best interest to stop listening to pretty stories other Christians are telling and start talking to God for yourself.
Other people’s testimonies about God are as useless as the gossip rags you can pick up in the checkout lanes of American grocery stores. So what if your friend Amy has some fabulous story about how Jesus changed her life? Even if Jesus is as wonderful as Amy makes Him out to be, He certainly isn’t going to be wonderful to you if you don’t get serious about submitting to Him. You see, it really doesn’t matter that Ed experienced God instantly freeing him from all of his addictions. It doesn’t matter that Rob was reading the Bible one day and suddenly had his eyes opened to the truth. For all you know, what Rob is calling “truth” is a heap of lies. Look around you: the world is full of religions which totally contradict each other, and in every case, we can find people who swear that their religion is right. So what if Hannah is sobbing as she chokes out what a wonderful, kind, and gracious Savior her Jesus is? You can find plenty of Muslims who feel the same way about their Allah. You can find scores of New Agers who will sob a good story about some warm, bright light named “Spirit” who gives them a daily dose of good feelings. Listening to people blubber about their favorite supernatural entity means nothing. Humans are notorious for being easy to deceive and for putting their faith in delusions. Since it’s your soul that’s on the line, you need to forget about the testimonies and seek God for yourself.
If General Ben’s soldiers were really serious about helping civilians, they wouldn’t be encouraging people to join Ben’s army just on the basis of their testimonies about him. Instead, Ben’s soldiers would be urging all new enlistees to get to know the general personally—to seek out his company and take the time to talk with him before it was too late. In the same way, if you really want to help souls make wise spiritual choices, then you don’t flaunt your testimony in their faces. You don’t wax on and on about how you met God, how you relate to Him, and what He personally means to you. Such information is utterly irrelevant for another soul, because salvation cannot be acquired by people imitating each other. We each must make our own decision about how we’re going to respond to the Gods who created us. Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit certainly know the difference between souls who are sincerely seeking Them and souls who are just coasting along with some family tradition or fun social fad.
If you’re a real Christian, then you need to realize that the Church’s teaching on evangelism and witnessing is all wrong. She teaches you to try and persuade others to convert to Christianity by besting them at logical arguments and flaunting your confidence in their faces. She teaches you to downplay how many unresolved doubts about God you really have and to fake faith as much as possible. She comes up with really dumb mantras like “No one can argue with your story.” And while she’s busy talking like an imbecile, she never gets around to admitting that no one is going to be accepted by God just because they thought you were a spiritual know-it-all. It doesn’t matter how many verses you’ve memorized or how many eyes were misting with tears by the time you were done sharing your amazing testimony. God doesn’t grant salvation to people on the basis of them thinking you’re a moving speaker or a sold out believer. When it comes to someone’s personal relationship with God, you are an irrelevant factor, which is why you should be making an effort to stay out of someone’s else’s decision making process instead of butting in with a bunch of extraneous opinion. Going on and on about how you feel about God and why you believe what you believe does nothing but encourage others to focus on you instead of on God.
There is no salvation without submission to God, and you won’t ever get around to submitting to God as long as you’re focusing on what His followers are doing. Because we understand how salvation works, we refuse to talk about our testimonies with other people. We don’t clutter up the internet with stories about how we personally relate to God, because you’re not supposed to care about such things. One definition of a good spiritual leader is someone who encourages you to embrace God’s priorities for you in life, and it certainly isn’t God’s priority for you to waste a bunch of time thinking about the created specks who run The Pursuit of God website.
If you want to listen to Christians waxing on and on about their glorious relationships with God, there are plenty of folks out there who will be happy to add you to their fan clubs. If you’re looking for someone who you can get into a heated theological debate with, talk to the fans of Christian apologetics, and they’ll be glad to lock horns with you, since they have yet to learn how utterly useless verbal debate is. But since we understand that you’ll never get real answers by going fifty rounds with other humans, we won’t encourage you in such foolish behavior. If you want to know the truth, you need to talk to God directly. As long as you’re busy fawning over or fighting with the folks who claim to be followers of God, you’re just wasting valuable time. When it’s your turn to be judged by God, what other humans did or didn’t do with Him won’t have bumpkus to do with where He decides to put you for eternity. This is why human testimonies on the subject of God are so irrelevant. If everyone in the world declared that Jesus wasn’t God, that wouldn’t change the fact that He is. If everyone in the world declared that you were eternally saved, that wouldn’t make it so. Because humans are such egotistical creatures, they attach way too much import to their own words and experiences, frequently acting like their opinions are the final authority. And while you might benefit from reading product reviews when you’re shopping for shoes or toothpaste, God is not a product; He is the One who is controlling your quality of life. Considering other people’s reviews about God will get you nowhere. To end up on the gracious side of His complex Personality, you must deal with Him directly and ask Him to help you meet His requirements for salvation.
If you really care about helping people find truth, you tell them to go directly to the Source, and that Source is God. This is what we will always tell you to do. We teach you not to just trust what we say or blindly accept the things we teach as correct. We teach you not to put your trust in pastors or Bibles or any other created being or thing. Instead, we teach you to question everything and always ask God directly for His opinion any time you’re presented with teaching about Him. It’s only by seeking God for yourself that you will become certain of what truth is. And once you are personally sure that you have found the real Gods, you will cease to need anyone else to agree with you. It’s only when we’re insecure about what we believe that we feel an urgent need to get others to affirm that our views are correct. Once you know that you have found the truth, you will cease to be threatened by others disagreeing with you. The whole world could declare you to be a delusional fool and it simply wouldn’t matter, because you would know what you know, and you would know that you are right. Only the real Gods can lead you to that kind of calm confidence, and They will get you there if you put your trust in Them alone.
How to Avoid Witnessing Burnout
Agitated Atheists: Why We Won’t Debate With You
Interpreting God: Recognizing Errors in Your Method
Shady Shepherd Tactics: Gaining Rank
Trained Shills & Blind Trust: A Winning Combination for False Shepherds
God Told Me: The Only Valid Basis for Faith
It’s Biblical: God Talks to People Without Using the Bible
Biblical Backup: Why does it matter?
Debunking the Great Guilt Trip: It’s Not Your Job to Save the World
Improving Our Treatment of God: Why We Shouldn’t Pray for the Lost
Salvation: How do you know when you’ve met God’s requirements?
Understanding Salvation: How We Find the Real Gods & The Irrelevance of Titles