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Coptic Orthodox Church
Orthodox view on public testimony
edited December 1969
Greetings to everyone!
I was just wondering about the very evangelical and protestant practice of giving testimony in public. What is the Orthodox viewpoint with regard to this practice?
I think there is a lot to be said for a lot of evangelical missionary methods, though we should not thoughtlessly follow any, nor expect that a particular method will guarantee particular results.
In the UK context I am less sure that traditional street preaching works very well. People are too busy, and is it not possible to communicate very much in a moment. But I could imagine a small choir singing Christian songs might draw interest, and then with some good, high quality leaflets and booklets to hand, it might be possible to have some good conversations about Christ and the Church.
I do think that it is often easy for Orthodox Christians to neglect the preaching of Christ, since the Gospel is all about Christ. The Church is secondary in that it is the place where we grow into Christ, but Christ comes first.
1Co 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified: unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Now I am convinced that we should all be able to give a brief testimony, and should be prepared to do so whenever required.
I would recommend that all Orthodox Christians should be able to answer these sort of questions for themselves and should prepare an answer so that they are comfortable giving a testimony.
i. I am a Christian because ...
ii. Being a Christian has changed my life because ...
iii. The Church is the place where ...
iv. I enjoy reading the Bible because ...
v. I think that Jesus Christ is ...
vi. Christianity is not about ...
vii. Christianity is all about ...
And of course we should not be afraid of answering a question by simply saying, 'That is a good question. I don't know the answer but let me ask someone who will do and I'll get back to you'.
Evangelicalism tends to be weak on forming disciples, and leading people into the depths of the Christian spiritual life in Christ, but it is good at bringing people to the foot of the cross. We would do well to consider many of the historic methods which evangelicals have used, and continue to use, reject some, modify others, and use the best.