Is Your Transformational, Religious Experience Evidence Enough?
by J Warner Wallace
I just finished a wonderful weekend at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. This is a large, active church with an innovative and visionary leadership team. They invited me to speak to their members because they understand the growing skepticism in our culture; they’re eager to prepare younger members to defend what they believe and to equip older members to better share the truth. Our sessions were well attended and energetic. After one talk, a frustrated sister in Christ (I’ll call her Jan) told me about a recent exchange she had with a friend who believed in God but rejected Jesus. In past efforts to share her faith, Jan relied on her own relationship with Jesus and her testimony of transformation. But when she took this approach with her friend, she discovered she wasn’t the only person who had a transformational experience. Jan’s friend shared her own relational experience with God and her own testimony of transformation. Jan found herself at a stand-off: personal testimony vs. personal testimony. She discovered her transformational experience simply wasn’t evidence enough.
When two witnesses take the stand and provide conflicting testimony, prosecutors and defense attorneys look for some form of corroborative evidence to decide between the opposing sets of claims. There are times when personal testimony is simply insufficient. Two witnesses can be equally sincere, equally compelling and equally persuasive, so when witnesses disagree, additional corroborative evidence is needed to decide the case. That’s why it’s so important for us to rethink the way we typically share what we believe. When I ask Christians across the country why they are Christians, they usually say they were raised in the Church, had some experience they attributed to God, or experienced what they believed to be a supernatural transformation…
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