The other evening I shared my testimony of unbelief to a group of Christians.
As a Christian, I was taught that the personal testimony was a powerful thing. Sharing your own story of salvation with others had power that could persuade the unbeliever or provide hope for the struggling convert.
I must have shared my testimony many times as a Christian. After high school, I was accepted to join a Baptist drama and music team, called the WOW team. I spent 1995 travelling around the country with 18 other Christians, spreading the gospel. I must have shared my testimony many times during that year – in old age homes, schools, prisons, and to people in the street. To be honest, I don’t think anyone was saved as a direct result of my personal testimony; it was pretty standard, after all.
My wife is a Christian, and I sometimes support her by going with her to Bible study or church. The local Baptist church is running a new members course, and Cori (my wife) was really keen to get involved. I went along the other evening, and the moderator asked us to share our testimonies. When it was my turn, I said that I was a born and bred Baptist, but due to a major faith struggle a few years before, I did not – philosophically – consider myself a Christian anymore. However, I also added that I was there to learn as a humble observer.
I’ve gotten to know the group over the last year. Although they’ve guessed my position with regards to religion, this is this first time that I’ve openly shared my unbelief. How did they react? Well, the group totally accepted what I said. There was no evangelising, no threats of hell. Maybe some curiosity, a lot of acceptance, but nothing confrontational. It confirmed for me the fact that, as unbelievers, we can’t pigeonhole all Christians as frothing-at-the-mouth fundamentalists. There are a lot of good Christians out there, and I’m privileged to know some of them.
Why did I share my testimony of unbelief? I did not share it to evangelise – I’m strongly against proselytising, in whatever form. But I've come to realise that a testimony can be a communal declaration of belief that you share with other believers. By sharing my unbelief with this group, I was symbolically sharing with all the Christians I had known the following, simple message:
“Hi all. It’s Kevin here. Remember me? Well, I just want to share the fact that I’m no longer a Christian. I’m leaving the flock, and I’m off on the long road to self discovery. . . ”