Christian Research Institute: When Apologetics Was Evangelism
The next time you have an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ, think about this: There is no example in the New Testament of a “personal testimony” being used in an evangelistic setting. Does that seem surprising? The personal testimony has become such an integral part of evangelistic training that it is assumed to be explicitly described, even mandated, in the Bible; but it isn’t.
The spirit of our age admittedly makes our task more difficult. Personal testimonies appeal to our individualism and our feelings, and can be much more interesting than arguments based on ancient history. Appealing to the miracles of Jesus as evidence will not be as straightforward today as it was to those who themselves had seen, or heard eyewitness testimony to, the miracles. Modern arrogance dismisses ancient history (especially religious history and accounts of miracles) as the fabrication of primitive minds. Skeptics may assume that miracles are impossible. Our witness to them may therefore have to begin by addressing the philosophical premises of naturalism (i.e., that there is no supernatural God who can perform miracles). Those who believe miracles are possible may still reject the New Testament miracles as nothing more than copies of pagan miracles. They may say that Jesus was no more special than other holy men who performed miraculous feats. The wide circulation of information about other religions today has made an evidential appeal to the miracles of Jesus a much more complex task than the apostles could have ever imagined.
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