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The Testimony

January 1, 2015

If there is one thing we evangelicals like it is a testimony.  We all love a great story about how coming to the Lord has changed someone’s life.  When my wife and I were raising support to go to the mission field we had to give our testimonies so many times that we lost count.  We used to joke about possibly sticking in some crazy comment that made no sense just to be different.  OK, I used to joke about that, Peggy took the whole matter with a little more gravitas.

But if there is one thing that raises our interest more than a testimony it is a celebrity testimony.  When some actor or sports figure makes a public statement of faith it really catches our attention.  This is true for two conflicting reasons.  Namely:

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if we could tell the world that _____ was now a Christian? We could show the world how cool it is to be a Christian!
  2. Our awareness that too many times such testimonies are followed up with celebrity actions that embarrass us.

Nevertheless, last month another celebrity, actor Shia LaBeouf, announced to the world that he was now a Christian.  In short order his testimony came out and I am sure that many Christians looked forward to hearing it with a mixture of excitement and dread.  Here is an excerpt of it:

“I became a Christian man, and not in a f***ing, bulls**t way — in a very real way …I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me. And you can’t identify unless you’re really going through it.”

I’ve been amused by Christian reaction to this testimony.  Some were disapproving; sure that, since he used such language, he could not possibly be a Christian.  Some others were cautiously accepting; saying that, as a new Christian, he might still use the wrong language but hopeful as he “grows in the faith” he will stop.  And yes, some thought it was way cool that you could be a Christian and still use profanity.

I have no idea whether LaBeouf’s conversion is real.  I’m not even convinced I am called upon to be a “salvation inspector.”   I know that there are a number of Christians out there who feel that it is their godly duty to guard the barriers of our faith and warn us who is, and who is not, one of “us” but I am not in their number.

I also don’t quite know what language is OK for Christians.  I’ve always seen language as more cultural than religious.  I do know, having traveled a lot, that even within English words that are considered bad in one culture are accepted in others.

I was brought up in an age where what LaBeouf said was considered shockingly bad and the church uniformly opposed such language.  So, while I will never say this out loud, and I don’t even know exactly what LaBeouf meant, I have to agree that I do not want to be a Christian in a f***ing bulls***t way either.


From → Christianity

One Comment
  1. Hahaha! I’m with you there, brother! I had not heard about LeBeouf’s conversion until I read this. I agree that I’m not called upon to be a “salvation inspector,” either. Language is a funny thing, isn’t it? I remember seeing U2, once upon a time. During the concert setting, Bono, a professing Christian, said, “F*** the revolution!!” Okay, then. As I get older, and, hopefully, closer to Christ, I realize that there is only one thing that determines whether we are “Christian” or not, and the usage of such language (or lack, thereof) is most certainly not that one thing.

    As always, a great blog post!

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