“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us” (1 Jn. 1:3). With these words, John spells out the basis on which the Gospel was announced to the world: personal testimony. Peter proclaimed, “We are witnesses of everything he did …God raised him from the dead …and caused him to be seen … by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed …” (Acts 10:39-42).
God takes personal testimony seriously. It’s the way he has spread his word from the beginning. He intervenes in the lives of his people, and then he commands that those who have experienced his intervention tell others about it.
The Old Testament Patriarchs encountered God in a variety of surprising ways, and the advancement of salvation history depended upon their sharing that witness, starting with Abraham’s sharing of the encounter by which God told him to relocate his family and trust in a promise of fruitfulness that seemed impossible. The prophets likewise, through words and symbolic actions, told the people what God spoke to them. And the central event of the Old Testament, the Exodus, comes to us through generations of personal testimony to the mighty intervention of God.
Jesus Christ himself is the testimony of the Father. “I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence,” Jesus explained (John 8:38). “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37).
Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus is one of the most famous testimonies in Christianity. And it does not stop with the Bible. Whether it’s through the Confessions of St. Augustine, or the writings of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, or Ignatius of Loyola, this much is clear: personal testimony is an essential tool of evangelization.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that one of today’s most powerful pro-life developments is the movement by which women and men who have lost children to abortion are speaking out about their pain and healing. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life, gives these individuals opportunities to witness in churches, in the media, and in public rallies around the world. They reveal the hidden horror of abortion, and they proclaim that for those alienated by sin – whether abortion or not — there is a Savior.
It’s time for the Church and for each of us to hear and spread the testimonies of these men and women. Let’s match their courage with ours, by confronting the world with the word of their testimony, which can be found at www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org and on You Tube at www.youtube.com/silentnomorecampaign. Even the Supreme Court in 2007 acknowledged the significance of such testimony. And that’s only the beginning.