To a fundamentalist a person’s “testimony” is a combination of their street cred, brownie points, and fashion sense with their Sunday School attendance record thrown in for good measure. For a fundy, it is the ultimate measure of how well a Christian is keeping up his outward appearance towards the world.
This is no mere desire for a good reputation, for ‘losing your testimony’ is tantamount to condemning people to eternal torment. Consider this story…
Hephzibah is a lovely fundamentalist girl who is as sweet and kind as the day is long. But while hanging out with some unsavory (read: non-fundamentalist) friends, she is encouraged to try taking a sip of an alcoholic beverage. Her bad friendships and unguarded heart lead her down the slippery slope of unrighteousness and she succumbs to this horrible sin. She drinks the tiniest mouthful of the potent brew and all hell breaks lose.
For in that very instant she loses her testimony in front of the lost. Now when she attempts to witness to them all they will see is the word “HYPOCRITE” hanging above her head in burning letters and they will point and laugh derisively and refuse to repent. Ten minutes later she and all of her friend die in a horrible bus crash and she’s left to spend eternity knowing that her friends are all in hell because she took that single drink.
Testimony can be lost for so many different things. A radio preset, a wayward glance, a lock of hair that dangles down upon an ear. Beware, the beady eyes of the world are always upon you and they are keeping score. Be ye therefore perfect.
(All that is unless, of course, you are a fundamentalist preacher who is lucky enough to be granted unquestioning forgiveness no matter what his indiscretion all while condemning those of others.)
75 thoughts on “Testimony”
There’s a big time false dichotomy going on here…
“I tried not to be a serial killer, I really did. But I had these urges within me, and I could not contain them. I tried everything not to murder people, but I had a bloodlust that I had never chosen for myself. The Bible must be false, because why would God create me to be a serial killer if he did not want me to be one?”
I’m pretty sure we’re not going to resolve this particular discussion here so I’m going to invite everyone to go have a pleasant weekend and eat plenty of fiber.
ROFL! My boyfriend showed me that video! I nearly died.
@Trevor, yeah, thanks for that. It’s truly helpful…
“eat plenty of fiber”
Don’t we have enough hot air on this thread already?
Ok first of all – Mr. Trevor – equating gays with serial killers is totally bogus, and if that is what you believe then I guess you can just go back to being a Fundy, because you are really no better than one. Second – in the Romans passage referenced you once again are guilty of fundy-ism. This passage is so often taken at face value, without looking at the reason that Paul wrote it. And we all know that a text taken out of context is a pre-text. Paul was talking about idol worshiping Romans, who had sex with anyone and everyone, as part of the religion. (Usually temple prostitutes.) So really the Bible does not ANYWHERE condemn a couple in a loving relationship, whether it is gay or straight. And for you people to continually demonize the gay community is not helping people like Ben at all – in fact it drives many to suicide. How does that make you feel hotshot?
I know this is two years later, but I wanted to set something straight. If you read all of Romans 1, you see that Paul is not restricting his list of sins to idol worshipers, but is talking about ALL mankind.
As far as ‘loving relationship,’ we are to flee fornication, only having sex in marriage. Jesus pointed out that marriage has always been a man leaving his home and joining to a woman.
Alcohol is inherently evil. It is worldly<—– what a great word that can be used to condemn ANYTHING the Fundies want. Ultimately the reason Fundies preach alcohol as sin is because it causes you to forget to tithe.
What the heck happened here in the last few weeks? Some people need to get a life. Why someone would grind a theological axe on a website intended for some light fun is beyond me. I’m a seminarian/vicar, and even I don’t pick these fights. Actually, it’s even worse: I’m a Lutheran seminarian. Maybe Lutherans aren’t the grumpiest after all!
Great blog, Darrell. Love it! I’ve found it takes a little sense of humor to be a theologian.
I had to laugh at this one. In my family all females could not wear pants. That also meant no pajama bottoms. If someone saw that, that would be hypocritical and a double standard. I had two words for that, PEEPING TOM!!!!!
Thought I’d share this with anyone interested. From the Collegian this year
One moment can sacrifice testimony
Here is the full text in case that link disappears at the start of the semester or something.
“The countdown is on. As the end of the semester nears and the number of days standing between us and summer vacation begins to dwindle, many of us are beginning to finalize summer plans.
A lot of us have great plans for things we want to do for the Lord over break: mission trips, church ministries, working at camps and so on. While all of these things are glorifying to God, many of us may fail to realize that minute-by-minute decisions, and not just summer plans, affect our testimonies.
The founder of our school once said, â€œDonâ€™t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.â€ This can ring true for our testimonies. All it takes is one moment, one decision, one angry outburst to damage, or sometimes even reverse, a testimony.
Weâ€™ve all heard the stories of the public figures who had affairs and were disgraced from their positions, the leaders who misused funds and destroyed their organizations, the parents who decided to get a divorce and shattered a family.
While these stories are tragic and often make us stop and think, we also usually fail to see how easily this could be us, whether on the same scale or a smaller one.
It can happen when a cashier rings an item up for the wrong price and youâ€™re in a hurry. It can happen when your friends are all deciding what to do for the weekend and someone suggests something thatâ€™s against your convictions. It can happen when a co-worker says something off-color and you laugh along just to fit in. One second, one decision, one utterance can change everything.
So when you head into camp, an internship or a job this summer, donâ€™t forget to take into account your actions on a daily basis. Donâ€™t sacrifice your testimony in the heat of one moment.”
It can also happen when you attend a “bible college” that bans interracial dating, and you never say a word about it.
Like.. No, love… no, fall in love… no, marry… no, marry and have children… no, grow old together…
I remember how everything at BJU (from going to movies to the length of the grass on campus) used to be a matter of testimony.
I’ve never forgotten the brave speech teacher I had who actually dared to speak against of all those flippant “testimony” claims.
Unfortunately I can’t remember his name but he deserves kudos!
This brings back the image in a Chick book I had for Growing Christians. A guy borrows some paper clips from work, and destroys his testimony because his boss sees him do it. “It’ll be a warm day in @#%! before I ever become a Christian!” (thought bubble)
In the sociology of religion, this is called “creating your hagiography.” And this is not meant as a pejorative. We talk about it as one of the sacred arts with a history that goes back as long as religion has existed.
What is cool about studying hagiography is that each religion or sect values certain things in its hagiography. So, for example (and don’t shoot me for saying this) there was a period in history where the hagiography of great religious leaders and philosophers included a virgin birth. In other times and places, a good hagiography was of a person of noble birth who humbles himself in order to learn great wisdom.
What we might learn from “fundy” hagiography is that the group values extreme contrasts.
Oh, and what I meant to say also is that “losing your testimony” is tied to hagiography. It is sort of the other side of the coin to hagiography, and it tells us a lot about what a group values as well.
It seems to me that is easier to prove that some is NOT a Christian thab to prove you ARE. All you have to do is slip up once. I think I lost my testimony the day I got my first tattoo…
It seems to me that it is easier to prove that a person is NOT a Christian than to prove thay ARE. All they need to do is slip up once. Or maybe Chritianity works by Baseball Rules – Three strikes and your out. I think I lost my testimony the day I got my first tattoo…