Monday, October 02, 2006

Is Jesus "near and dear" to your heart?

Let me begin my making one qualifying statement. I am NOT against personal testimonies. Having said that, I am noticing a troubling trend that involves the notion of sharing your story as the most effective means of evangelism. However, in listening to testimonies over the last several years I have noticed a very important deletion. Where has the substitutionary atonement gone? People say things like "I was saved" or "I accepted Jesus into my heart" or worse "Jesus became near and dear to my heart." Many testimonies I hear, however, make no mention of Jesus' death as our substitute. They make no reference to God's wrath being turned away from us and placed on Jesus. It doesn't matter what your experience of Jesus happens to be, as long as you have some experience of Jesus. This seems to be the proof of salvation in today's evangelicalism. In our personal testimonies, where has Romans 1-8 gone? As John Piper has said, Paul records for us our testimony in these chapters. God tells us what has happened to us. Why isn't that good enough? I argue that it is because we have abandoned the Word of God as our authority and as our source of gospel truth. In 2 Chronicles 34-35 we see that Judah rediscovered the Book of the Law under the leadership of Josiah. This led to a revival that reestablished the observance of the Passover. What? You mean to tell me that the Jews had stopped keeping Passover? That's exactly right. Why did this happen? Simply put, they abandoned God's Word. If Passover was a foreshadow of Christ's substitutionary atonement, then one might expect in the church age for it to be tossed out when God's Word is ignored. Instead of trying to find our own "unique" personal story, let us return to God's word and let Him tell us what happened when he saved us!

For a great resource on writing a personal testimony, I recommend Will Metzger's Tell the Truth.

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