In today’s Christian climate it is thought that one’s personal “testimony” is the pinnacle of Christian witness. Doctrine has its place maybe, but being able to tell a person what has happened to you is the ideal way to “convince” somebody to be a Christian. This sort of thinking has been shown to be true on the White Horse Inn program a number of times when the producer will ask Christian leaders questions like “What is better to win somebody to Christ, doctrine or your personal testimony?” Time and time again, the respondents answer back, “Oh, your personal testimony of course. I mean what else do you have? Telling people what actually happened to you personally in becoming a Christian is something people can believe.”

The Apostle Peter is an interesting test case here. Peter was the Apostle upon whom Christ said the church will be built. He was one of Christ’s closest friends and confidants. Peter even was on the Mount when Christ was transfigured and heard the very voice of God and saw the Glory-cloud of the Spirit. What a testimony!! Peter could have played that card throughout his ministry to the nations after Christ’s ascension. In fact in 2 Peter 1, Peter mentions this experience in verses 16-18:

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

Now if Peter was a 21st century Evangelical he would have continued with something like: “This is what I saw and experienced and you can’t take that away from me. You too should believe in Christ because of these things that I saw and heard. But more than that look at how my life has changed! I used to fish to scrape by a living, but now I fish for men!”

But that is not the path that Peter takes. Look at what he says in verses 19-21 remembering this is Peter talking and after he tells his readers of his wonderful experience on the holy mountain:

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Isn’t that amazing! Paul immediately points his readers to something more sure than his personal experience–the Holy Scriptures!! These are more sure because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit as the passage goes on to tell us. Peter, even in the first decades of the early church, was pointing people to the Scriptures to prove who Christ was. That is what Peter did in Acts 2 in that first Pentecost sermon, and was still doing for this audience as well.

When it comes to telling others about Christ we have “something more sure” and today we have something even better than Peter had because we have the completed canon containing all the revealed Word of God concerning our redemption in Jesus Christ. Our lives are totally fallible and we can never use ourselves as proof that Christ has secured redemption, but we have the infallible Word of God that through the working of the Holy Spirit people come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Let us use what we have been given and don’t make “cleverly devised myths” (1 Pet 1:16) of our own making.