(photo credit: reddit)
We don’t let our women wear pants, attend our neighbor’s Super Bowl Sunday party, or go to the movie theater in the name of “testimony.”
Settling accusations of non-payment with a guy driving a sign all over town? Hey, lets not get too crazy with things that cost actual money!
And when it shall come to pass that you shall be at a gathering of the wicked and someone shall offer unto thee a beer, or wine, or any strong drink thou shalt in no wise simply say “No, thank you.” For this shall be a unto thee a perfect time to let thy fundy flag fly and to smite those sinners in the ear with thy rantings of how thou dost not imbibe yea verily because it is wicked and thou knowest it well for thy pastor hath told thee that the Bible tells him so. Thou shalt in any wise lift up thy voice in testimony to thy standards.
And when it shall come to pass that thy children are out with thee at the supermarket and the cashier shall inquire if the fruit of thy loins have seen the most recent animated feature in the theater (which her godless children dearly loved) that thou shalt instruct this vile temptress that the theater is a place of pure evil such that no true believer must darken its already dark halls. Then thou shalt enquire if she knowest if it is coming out on DVD so that thou mightest buy it and watch it in thy home instead. And in so doing that shalt show her that there are true Christians left in the world who have not bowed their knee to Baal.
And when it shall come to pass that they coworkers shall say a word that is crude, or profane, or obscene or in a foreign tongue that thou shalt in anywise rebuke them soundly and tell them that thine ears cannot stand to ever heard such language because the stain of it shall be in thy heart and in thy soul and be muttered under thy breath when thou growest old. Yea, verily thou shalt make a right prat of thyself at every available opportunity and and also condemn them for whatever sins thou hearest discussed and in so doing thou shalt be light in their eyes and salt in their wounds.
For when thou hast done all these things then shall the heathen know that thou art a Christian and that thou hast standards that are lofty above their own and they shall be without excuse in the great day of judgment. Also, thou shalt probably end up eating all your lunches alone in the company cafeteria.
Independent Baptist Book of Everlasting Rules and Requirements, p 94
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.)