A Rich Man’s Testimony

How often do we come across professing Christians in witnessing encounters who don’t have very much to say about their faith, much less explain what their faith is or means? Such is the symptom of a Christ-less Christianity in the American church.  The Christian faith is often defined by doing good works, going to church, a general belief in God, or professing a mere intellectual belief that Jesus died for sins.

Take for example the following exchange between an interview and professing Christian, which actually took place today on a popular Christian network. I have changed the names of the participants in order to show how familiar these responses are, and what they might mean for this interviewee. For the sake of brevity, I have edited portions of the interview, but you may find it in full below.

The Interview

Interviewer: “…talk to me a little bit about how you see God. How you see God in everything from what happened to your brother…to how your life is today.”

Professing Christian: “I believe in God. I am Christian. I think The Bible is certainly, it is THE book. It is the thing. I was raised and I gave you a picture just now and perhaps you’ll use that picture I found it from a long time ago. First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica queens is where I went to church. I’m a protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.”

Interviewer: “Do you actively go to church?”

Professing Christian: ”Well, I go as much as I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion. And during the Sundays. I’m a Sunday church person. I’ll go when I can.”

Sound familiar? Did you notice anything missing, or perhaps any Person missing from the conversation?  At least in this portion of the available interview, the name of Jesus Christ was not mentioned at all.  Instead, a Christian was defined as believing in God, believing religion is a wonderful thing, belonging to a church, having a good relationship with “the church”, and attending church when one is able, especially “Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion.”

I can’t help but think of the following words from Jesus in Luke 9:26,

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

The interviewee may or may not be ashamed of Christ or the Gospel, but the absence of the name of Jesus in this interview was striking, nonetheless.

It may or may not surprise you that this was a CBN interview with Donald Trump, who has been in the news lately concerning a potential 2012 presidential bid.  Admittedly, the entire interview will not be shown until Tuesday morning, April 12 but what CBN chose to display today is disheartening to say the least.  You can read this portion in full and view the video here:  Exclusive: Donald Trump to Brody File: “I believe in God. I am Christian.

I do not know Donald Trump and have only this brief testimony to go by, but if anyone on the street gave me this as their testimony, I would be concerned for them and hopefully have the opportunity to share the Gospel.  I would want to ensure they knew that God is holy, that we have all sinned and sin is breaking the Holy Law of God, that the wages of sin is death, that these wages come in the form of the eternal wrath of God in hell, that Jesus Christ is the only way we may escape God’s wrath, and that through repentance and faith alone in Christ alone we can receive eternal life.   One such way to do this would be to ask them to share the Gospel with me in such a way that if I were to have just a few minutes to live, what would they share with me that I might go to heaven?  Their answer to this question would give me a foundation from which I can share the Gospel with them.

Tony Miano provides an example of this in the following videos:

It is beneficial to know how to address professing Christians who do not seem to understand the Gospel in a manner that does not make them defensive, which may prevent us from sharing the truth with them at all.  Tony gives a play by play of sorts where these videos were originally posted, so I encourage you to follow through to his article at On the Box titled, Three Minutes to Live (In Three Steps).  I’d love to hear how they have helped with your next witnessing encounter.

As for Donald Trump, I sincerely hope he is not merely playing the “Christian card” to gain support from the evangelical right.  I will hope to hear of a more in-depth personal testimony from him revealing how the Lord Jesus Christ has saved him from his sins to give him eternal life through the Way, Truth, and Life.  If all we will have to go by is his church attendance and general profession in the belief in God, then I hope someone will have the opportunity to share the unadulterated Gospel with Mr. Trump so he might turn from his idolatry to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

If his NBC hit show, The Apprentice, is any indicator, it just might be more difficult for him to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:16-30). Let us pray for Donald Trump that he might be granted repentance if he has not already been given this gift, and that he might have a God-glorifying testimony to unashamedly make Christ known to the ends of the earth.

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Comments
13 Responses to “A Rich Man’s Testimony”
  1. Brother Justin,

    I run into this type of thing so much on campus that I can almost tell you what the false convert is going to say to me before they say it based upon the questions I ask. Their “religion” almost always some brand of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and when I confront them with the Biblical gospel, its as if I’m speaking Japanese. It is so refreshing when I actually come into contact with a true believer that I take some time to fellowship with them. Thanks for the article, it was profitable.

    • Thank you, brother, and your welcome. I just listened to a message from Michael Horton a couple days ago and he discussed this Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and American Christianity, or Christ-less Christianity. I think this article from Defending. Contending is useful to describe the epidemic: http://defendingcontending.com/2010/08/21/on-moralistic-therapeutic-deism/

      And I know what you mean about finding a true believer. We engaged one a few weeks ago and ended up fellowshiping for an hour or so. He was only about a month old in the faith, as a former atheist! It was a real blessing to encourage him and to hear what God had been doing in his life. These are cherished moments for sure.

  2. Mitch says:

    Amen. a lot of people are like that i notice in their conversation one thing If i have opportunity to ask them if they are Born again and explain what that means through Saving Faith in Jesus Christ .

    God Bless you,

    Mitch

  3. James says:

    Justin, this is so on point. I saw the same interview and I noticed that the name of Jesus was never mentioned in the interview. I like how you described it as a “Christ less” Christianity. How can you profess to be a Christian with out Christ? I agree that we should pray for Donald Trump, but also for the intervviewer who never asked Mr. Trump about Jesus. Sometimes we don’t want to offend someone by asking about Jesus, but like Paul said in Romans 1: 16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” This happened in the last election cycle when John McCain sought the endorsement of two evangelical pastors, but when he didn’t agree with something they said in the pulpit, he pulled his endorsement. That’s why I wish that the church would not get so heavily envolved in partisan politics.

    God Bless.

    James

    • Hi James, thanks so much for the comment. Yes, I thought about the CBN staff and whether or not they took opportunity to share the Gospel with Trump. I think we have a moral obligation to defend the sanctity of life and marriage, but beyond that, I agree – the church doesn’t need to be involved so much in politics.

      Take care, brother.

  4. Thanks for posting this Justin. I call this cultural christianity. It is a form of Godliness that is acceptable to our modern culture all the while denying the power of the cross.

  5. Natalie O'Keefe says:

    I was about to jump on the Trump bandwagon but two things jumped out at me. First was the “protestant, presbyterian, christian” comment. I’ve never heard anyone refer to themselves quite that way. Perhaps he wants to distance himself from that “kooky born again Palin character”. (I’m not on that bandwagon either.)

    Also, Mark Levine on his program today highlighted many things about the Donald. One being on the issue of Trump trying to use imminent domain to acquire property/home from an older woman
    and her having to take it to court. He wanted the property to build a garage for limousines.

    This may be another “way that seemth right”. He’s a negotiatior, by his own admission/description. I think we have enough of them already in D.C., they’re called Lobbyists. What we need is someone who will uphold and defend the constitution in regards to protecting the unborn, and someone who will remain a friend to Israel. God bless America? Why should He?

    Looking forward to the day when “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Is Lord, unto the glory of God.”

    Natalie

    • Thanks for commenting, Natalie. Yes, we must be careful who we endorse, all the more when they are using Christian language, at least trying to anyway. I think 1 John 4:1 is appropriate in this regard.

      “God bless America” is becoming futile as we turn our backs on Israel more and more. America is no exception to reaping what it sows. We have found times of prosperity when we have blessed Israel, and we will find destruction when we curse her. God is in control in any case, and I’m thankful we have an Enduring Hope for which we can place our trust, and not in any institution of man.

  6. Last week as I went out for tracting, I had the privilege of having a one-to-one conversation with a professing Christian. After I handed him a tract, he later told me that he was grateful for Christians that are ‘out there’ sharing their faith. I asked him what church he goes to and immediately I recognized the church for being a seeker-friendly evangelical church because my wife and I used to attend there when we were looking for a solid church. He added that a few moments ago, another Christian also handed him a Christian literature and invited him to attend their program. I got curious and ask him if I can have a look at the literature. Again I could easily recognize it was a literature from the Jehovah’s Witness. I then began to ask him if he have any idea what a person must do to go to Heaven. His answer was this: “Our pastor told us so and so…” It was not a lengthy answer but he never mentioned Jesus or the Gospel. Again I asked him who goes to Heaven. His answer was the typical ‘good people goes to Heaven’. And there I began witnessing to him by using the good person test and taking him through the Law. After establishing that he broke the 9th, 8th and 7th Commandment and what God requires of him when the judgment day comes, I asked him what did God did for you so you won’t have to end up in Hell. Again his answer was: “Our pastor told us so and so….” and never did I hear Jesus or the Gospel. My heart sunk for this person. Here is a person who is a victim of easy-believism and Christless Christianity. I shared to him the Grace of God and patiently took him through the civil court of someone paying for his fine and how God did the same for him by sending His Son to pay for his sins. Then I emphasize to him that what God requires of you is to repent and put your trust in Jesus. Through the whole conversation, I could see the look on his face that he was hearing all of these for the first time. I was grateful to God for leading me, or rather God leading him to me to have a one-to-one conversation with a professing Christian. Before we parted, I repeatedly encouraged him to read the Bible so that he may know the truth and not be carried away in other false religions.

    Sorry for taking up too much space Justin and thanks for your post. SDG!

    • Thanks for the comment, Gerry. Yes, this is a prime example for the condition of the visible church. The man-centered gospel is a cancer that has spread its tentacles of easy-believism and prosperity teaching far and wide. The result is a superficial, lukewarm, carnal “christianity” that believes in a gospel that is powerless to save. I know exactly what you mean when we have the opportunity to see the look on professing christians who seemingly have never heard the unadulterated Gospel, the one that does have the power to save. I usually point people to 1 John so they can examine themselves, and the Gospel of John so they can learn of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. God bless, brother.

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  1. […] American Christian testimony, please see the post yesterday at The Speak:Truth Project titled, A Rich Man’s Testimony.  When you come across a testimony from a professing Christian on the streets in witnessing […]



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