Abuse Of Testimony:
Abuse of testimony is an ongoing thing in the church. In church services and Christian gathering believers are asked to give testimonies. Sadly, what so many believers have come to know as testimony is just the abuse of testimony. The word or term abuse of testimony means the abnormal use of testimony. That is testimony said or used in the wrong way.
This implies that what many believed to be testimony is not really testimony when weighed through the prism of right doctrine. The abuse of testimony emanated from what the believers have been taught about testimony. They have been taught that testimony is all about declaration of some good things that have happened in someone’s life. In this, believers are encouraged to come out and face the congregation and make declaration of what God ‘has done’ for them. And afterward a resounding clapping offering is offered to God.
And in most cases, these good things happen to be some material achievements. Ranging from buying a car to building a house, also getting a new job with fat salary and entitlements attached. Again, it could be having a new baby, or conceiving a baby after many years of barrenness. And sometimes it involves how a believer prayed and his enemy died and many more like that. These kinds of testimonies set the church on ‘fire’ and the atmosphere goes agog. In the process, while declaring their testimonies, many believers spice them up to test sweet in the ears of people. This kind of manipulation is total abuse of testimony.
Abuse Of Testimony Attracts Sympathy:
However, abuse of testimony is also seen in the lies some believers imbued in their declaration. This is done in order to attract sympathy from other believers. And sometimes, church authorities are deceived in such gimmicks and they are duped. In the recent times, many churches have gone all out to publish names of people that have come to their church and swindle them of money through fake testimonies. Churches are victims of abuse of testimony because they somehow encourage it among themselves. The idea is that through testimony other believers are encourage and faith is built in them. And as a result of this, many who are not taught see abuse of testimony as a normal thing and should be encouraged in the church.
On the other hand, they are many church heads that understood that the so called testimony is not actually testimony but personal experiences. But they hide under the cloak of it to prey the mind of the innocent. The assumption and notion is that the more people give testimonies in a particular church, the more it looks like that particular church is a happening place. So the news of the events that takes place in this particular church goes around and people are attracted to the church. In a bid to make these testimonies marketable instruments, video and audio records of them are made. These are posted on TVs and Radios, also on the social media outlets of the church. These materials are used for crusade campaigns. These gimmicks from church authorities are abuse of testimony.
The True Testimony Not Valued:
Interesting, if there is testimony time in church and it happened that a believer just come up and said that he got born again the previous day; he will not receive ovation from the congregation. This is because actually in their mindset, what the believer said was not the really testimony. What they know and have been taught that is testimony is the abuse of testimony.
The abuse of testimony in the church therefore is those compendiums of personal or individual experiences. Most church leaders believe that these kinds of oratories build up faith in the heart of the hearers. Unfortunately, experiences don’t build faith because they are idiosyncratic in nature. The only source of faith is the word of God and by the word of God faith for salvation is received. And come to think of it, what these believers have been taught as testimonies are the same things unbelievers can achieve as well. Talking about jobs, unbelievers have them and even boss some believers in offices.
Talk about houses and cars, unbelievers have them as well, and even have good ones. Again talk about breakthroughs in careers, unbelievers also have them and they never made noise about achieving them. Therefore, declaring the achievement of all the aforementioned as testimonies is an abuse of testimony. Apostle Paul in his epistles to the Philippians said thus;
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
Achievements Are Dung:
In the quotation above, Apostle says that he counted every achievements and breakthroughs in as dung. Now, for what reason, he said it is for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. The implication of this statement is that any testimony outside the knowledge of Christ is an abuse of testimony. However, someone may say, but the believers achieved whatever based on the knowledge of Christ in them. Well, the knowledge of Christ in the believer is based on faith in the finished work of Christ. And the outcome of this knowledge is salvation.
This is why the believer that comes up and testify that he was born again is the person that has the really testimony. The only testimony a believer has is that he is born again. This is because being born again is what guarantees him a place in Christ. Therefore, his personal achievements no matter how bravura they appear doesn’t count. The only testimony that should move a congregation and set them on ‘fire’ is the testimony that someone is born again. It means that the eternal destiny of someone has been changed. And that such a person has left the kingdom of darkness.
Remember, Jesus speaking in the gospel said thus;
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Abuse Of Testimony In Conclusion:
No wonder Apostle Paul declared the statement aforementioned. Let every believer be quickened by the reality of eternal life in him or her. And let their minds be not fixated on the earthly achievements that will not be counted on the last day!
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