Friday, March 7, 2008

Buddhist Miracles

I read this story about a Chinese man who who was buried in a construction accident. He claims that Buddhist meditation saved his life. The doctors who examined him said that it was a miracle that he lived through the ordeal.

This brings up up an interesting issue related to evangelism. One of the most common methods of personal evangelism is sharing one's testimony. It is often thought that a person's testimony is something powerful that cannot be refuted because it is impossible to argue against someone's experience; something real that has happened to him or her. People love to tell how God changed their life and as they share, their hope is that the listener will also want his life to be changed and come to understand that it is only God who can do it. When I was church planting in Asia, we were taught that the first thing we needed to teach a new believer was how to share their testimony.

I do believe that sharing my testimony can be a powerful tool in evangelism. God has done an amazing work in my life and my conversion was a powerful, life changing experience. Nevertheless, my testimony is not authoritative. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu's, Atheists, and people from all other religions also have testimonies about how their lives have been changed by their belief.

Once, I was sharing the gospel with my tutor in Asia and she told me about how Buddha healed her grandmother of a sickness. Again, just last month I was talking to another Buddhist who shared his testimony with me about how Buddhism made him a better person. Some of the apologetics and evangelism methods we use won't have much effect when the person we are speaking to can claim the same things for their religion.

What is unique to Christianity is the gospel. No other religion has a holy and just God who is also loving and personal. No other religion has a Savior who is both God and man wholly at the same time. No other religion has a crucified Lord who was resurrected from the dead. No other religion has a God who himself atones for the sins of his people.

Other religions do have conversions, martyrs, miracles, paths to paradise and ideas of morality. But no other religion has a triune God who died for sinners. The gospel is unique to Christianity and when we are sharing our faith, we should make the gospel central, not experience.

The gospel is true whether I believe it or not. The gospel is true whether I have experienced it or not. When we are sharing our testimony, we MUST make the gospel the priority and use our experience as a means to direct the conversation in that direction. The Chinese man in the news story claims that in some way Buddhism helped save his earthly life. What he really needs to know is how Jesus can give him ETERNAL life!

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