Even before I was “born-again”, I had seen enough examples of the “born-again” transformation to understand the “born-again” script. The basic schema is generally the same for fundamentalists & evangelicals. Think Bill Bright’s “Four Spiritual Laws.” Briefly, recognize you are a Sinner, repent (change direction and start going God’s way), believe in and decide to follow Jesus the Son of God and you will be saved from Hell. (Alternatively, some milder versions instruct you to “ask Jesus into your heart and life” enabling you to have a “relationship” with God through Christ, etc., which also leads to salvation).
Being born-again is/ or is expected to be a life transformation. In many church cultures, this transformation is followed by the command to “Go NOW and tell others.” One of the most common ways to share the gospel is by sharing one’s “testimony” (an account about what God has done in your life).
***In the church that I joined, every aspect of Christian life was more “radical,” public and expressive than most other churches so my experience might not be the average Evangelical experience if there is one.***
In my church, the testimonies were larger than life! Often they contained more personal information than the average person on the street would share with a stranger! People would become highly convicted of their sin from their pre-born-again days (convicted= strong feeling from Holy Spirit instructing person of rightness or wrongness of her actions). To evangelize, they “testified” about how the Lord had changed them. In witnessing, they would explain to perfect strangers:
“Hi! My name is Jimmy, and I used to be a compulsive fornicator, adulterer and drunkard, and the Lord saved me from being an immoral heathen and has turned me into a man of God!”
Ok, someone can see the humor in that, right? Folks publicly labeled themselves, using colorful hyperbole, in terms of some of their most egregious sins.
Humorous? Or perhaps rather sad.