I thought since we were starting today, I’d begin with the basics of what I believe and how I’ve come to believe these things. Then, probably next week, go into how we can look at the Bible and how to properly interpret it in a culture where the tenets of Christianity can get blurred.
Today, my testimony. It seems almost shameful in Christian circles to have a testimony as bland as mine—no gripping “hitting rock bottom” story. I was the good kid; the church kid. I accepted Christ from the very beginning and did not stray. But a friend of mine, who had lived as a Prodigal Son, told me that he thought my testimony was more impressive than his own.
I grew up in a Christian home, going to church every Sunday and being reinforced with the goodness of Christ as my parents and older siblings exemplified what it meant to be a Christian. If ever there was a heaven on earth, my parent’s home—still to this day—is just that. Though I did not stray from my belief in Christ, I came to a conclusion in my tween years that, however mildly, I was a sinner and in need of knowing Christ’s love and salvation. I did not have the assurance of heaven or the Holy Spirit, and wanted the close relationship with Christ that I saw in my surrounding family as well as in some of my Christian heroes at the time—notably the Christian rock artists of the 1980s.
It was through those artists that I gained a greater knowledge of Christ in a manner that was more than just the Biblical stories told in Sunday school. I learned there was a greater depth to what it meant to be a Christian, and there was a fulfillment to life through the Holy Spirit that I wanted. I decided to get serious about it. So, as those Christian rock artists presented invitations during their concerts to know Christ and to receive salvation, I accepted.
Which specific concert was it that I accepted Christ? Don’t know. It was in the year 1987; but was it during the Creation festival or the slew of fall concerts later that year—Mylon Lefevre, Whiteheart or Petra? It was all of the above. Every time there was an invitation, I said the prayer of salvation. I must have said it a hundred times during my teen years.
It should be said that I prayed “the sinner’s prayer” at least twice before then. Each time at a Vacation Bible School, but at that time, I didn’t exactly know what I was doing. It was more out of an obligation. I hung my head and repeated the prayer, I didn’t know exactly why. It seemed like the right thing to do.
During those teen and young adult years, my faith grew; thanks to the music ministry that infiltrated my head and heart. I began reading the Bible—at least The New Testament, and listening to the preaching and teaching in church and via television and radio. I spiritually outgrew the music that I thought would be the main source of guidance throughout my life (though I still enjoy it, and gain inspiration and encouragement from it). I hungered for more.
As time went on, I got married, began to raise children and go through my 20s and 30s, I found churches that fed that hunger and added reading Christian authors to my spiritual diet. I wanted to know Christ more, and that is still my desire today.
So, just how did my friend find my testimony so much more compelling than his own? He had grown up in church—not in a Christian home, but going to church. He believed in God from the beginning, but he let the ways of the world lead him astray. He had deep insecurities from his childhood; he found acceptance in those who lived the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll lifestyle. As an adult, he came to grips with his hopelessness and cried out to God to save him. He said that he knew full well the temptations of the world, and that he found it deeply admirable that there were people out there that could actually follow Christ from the very beginning and not stray.
I suppose any testimony—even a “bland” one—can speak to someone. I hope that it can be of encouragement and as an example to our youth, especially my own children.