Vol.X No.V Pg.5
July 1973

I Believe Testimony

Robert F. Turner

Do you sing, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart."? Well, place that beside the statement of John, "Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (JOH.20:30-31, emph. mine.)

Yes, Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (GAL.2:20). Isn't it obvious that here Paul is not testifying of the bodily resurrection of the Lord, but of his own spiritual life in Christ? But the song has to do with Christ's bodily resurrection.

What was Paul's testimony re. the bodily resurrection? "He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." (1CO.15:5-8). The bodily resurrection is an historic event, occupying a point in time and space. The resurrected Lord was seen, talked and ate with people, and even made a special point of showing his wounded body to one who had doubted (JOH.20:26-29). The proof here is not a subjective "in my heart".

When Peter and the rest of the apostles testified of the risen Lord they first spoke of "a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know" (ACT.2:22). Note, the miracles were actual events, subject to witnesses and testimony. Then, when Peter added, "This Jesus bath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (v.32), he put the bodily resurrection on exactly the same basis as other events in Jesus' life. It is not a mystical "resurrection" of spiritual principles in the lives of His disciples, it is not a subjective experience of faith, it is not a blind "leap of faith" by desperate misguided souls. An empty tomb and many reliable witnesses make it an historic event, which I accept in the same way I accept other such events.

The whole subject of "faith" is under serious attack today by modern theologians, who accept subjective "feeling" or "experience" as evidence for their brand of "faith"; and by a revival of Calvinism, whereby "faith" is considered a gift from God. When these later say "faith is the work of the Holy Spirit" they do not mean via the written word. Calvin wrote, "We have said that perfect salvation is found in the person of Christ. Accordingly, that we may become partakers of it, "He baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and fire" (LUK.3:16), bringing us into the light of faith in His gospel…." (Institutes; Bk. 3, p.542)

The modernist accepts the testimony of the written word only as it accords with his "experience;" while Calvinism makes some direct operation of the Spirit necessary before we can truly believe. But faith comes by hearing the word of God. (ROM.10:17)