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So Called Testimony


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I was given the testimony of our pastor's life changing experience that led him to become a Christian and a pastor later. I was told that our pastor, before he was a Christian, was holding barely on his life to a disease that probably would take away his life, when he received a good message from a Chrsitian who was his coworker at that time; he was saved miraculously when he called out the name of Jesus while his suffering was enormous, and so he became a Christian and not long after became a pastor too. He then continued on his journey as a pastor for more than 50 years.

 

He would then never gave up his belief and never short-changed what was said in the bible (yes, he has been the fundamentalist) and he has overcome all the obstacles small and big. I was then told that one of his friend, also a pastor, changed his conviction and became a Buddhist, and had criticised Christianity every now and then.

 

I was told, in conclusion of this informal testimony, that we should hold on to the teaching of the bible and believe in it 100% because that was what revealed on our pastor's life. I was speechless.

 

What can I say to this testimony? I don't want to rebuke and question it. Firstly I don't know exactly what happened in those events and what were the causes and factors, especially the first one that our pastor survived with? Then I also didn't want to negate his family's belief which must be the persuation of the meaning of his holding on to the bible literally.

 

To be objective we don't know what have been through in those so called events for testimony, and we don't know all the elements of them. We also don't know if any exaggeration, pretending, self-persuation, limit of capacity, or even real miracles could play in a role in resulting that event. For me to try to be as open-minded as possible, or equivalently to be as critical as possible, I do not shut down any possible explanation. It is however a difficult task that I gave up not long ago that I could have a open-minded discussion with my fellow Christian friends who attended our church led by our pastor.

 

 

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It's what works for your pastor and has meaning for him, but that doesn't mean it must be the same for everybody else. I accept that some Christians feel they have been saved by Jesus and I am happy for them that they have found some meaning to their lives. Usually because of their cultural context and influences they then adopt dogma and other people's explanations and interpretations of the various works lumped together and regarded as God's final word. The two don't have to go hand in hand - I think Jesus can provide meaning to lives without all the biblical baggage often associated.

Edited by PaulS
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Mike said,

"What can I say to this testimony? I don't want to rebuke and question it."

Mike,

It is in my view not necessary to debunk or even reinforce another's testimony. We neither are compelled to disagree or agree. One can just wish them the best in their faith knowing that it is a progressive journey. You can find such testimonies within many different religions. I have had numerous so called 'miracles' in my life also. The conclusions we draw from them are in my experience not always correct as i later found out. I have found we often assume as facts extraneous information that which is not part of the lifes teaching lesson. As the blind man once said ... " all i know is once i was blind and now i see" .

 

Joseph

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People are really different. Being married for more than 20 years our family have grown into elder ages and young adults. It has been a few difficult years in our journey financially. My wife would hold on to our pastor's teaching and has told me that it is the faith that she draws from him that supports her through these difficulties. I am on the contrary. The more I am in a hardship the firmer I would not force myself to something that I don't believe.

 

I tend to let people decide what they want to believe, as long as they feel better from their beliefs and those do not harm others. Practically I consider trying to prove something that is beyond normal human experience is impossible, but if that something/belief can help someone to cast a meaning on that person's journey and help his/her deal with daily life, it is good enough.

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Yes , sometimes Faith and Hope can carry people through difficult times. I know what you mean about not forcing yourself to believe. I try to remain open so that Faith can speak to me and Hope can carry me through. When Faith speaks, belief is not necessary, there is just a silent knowing. In my experience, it cannot be forced nor can we make it happen. It happens by itself when we are open-minded and conditions within are ripe.

 

Joseph

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I believe for religion to become authentic and real it is up to the individuals to include love and an inner awareness. Inner wakefulness deals directly with God reuniting His Divinity with men and women in the soul, body, and physical world. The responsibility of the church is to prevent insincere prayer from becoming egotistical, selfish and so excessive that it detracts from the intense inner devotion that transforms the individual. The continuous rush to keep people busy with music, conventions, rules, and formal procedures should not take away from the personal reunion with the living God. It needs to be governed by the genuine spirit of prayer in an intelligent expression of the whole person engaged in the activity of introspection. Organized religion can prepare and lead individuals if they set up a way for Christ to speak directly to the believers in contemplation. Vigorous interactions with mental discourse are also a healthy way to encourage, deepen and strengthen the communion of God and humans. Everyone who lives a deep-rooted spiritual existence is a Christian mystic who prays with a heart more than words, which is better than praying with words more than with a heart. Jesus taught the same thing about prayer, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Mathew 6:5-8) The intention and importance of Christian mysticism is to make Our Lord a dwelling in our heart so he is always with us living in this world. This is not repeating words or prayers that we memorized, but an actual reality and experience of God in the soul. Unless a person sits in silence and gets to know one’s true self one will not be able to know God or others. Awareness of one’s own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies allows a person to know others and their effect on you.

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