BITB - How to Gain a Personal Testimony?


#1

Peter was asked by the Savior, “But whom say ye that I am?” And Peter, speaking for his brethren, the other Apostles, said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Savior’s next remark is a most significant one. He said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:13–17).

Who revealed this startling truth to him? Our Father in Heaven. How did he do it? By revelation. This basic knowledge that Jesus was the Christ, the Redeemer, the Savior, came not from any man or from any book or from any college. Peter received it directly from our Heavenly Father through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost. …

… Every soul in this world may have a revelation, the same one that Peter had. That revelation will be a testimony, a knowledge that Christ lives, that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of this world. Every soul may have this assurance, and when he gets this testimony, it will have come from God and not from study alone. Study is an important element, of course, but there must be associated with study much prayer and reaching, and then this revelation comes.

So what can we (or a Muslim or a Jew or anybody) do to get this personal revelation?


#2

While I agree with you about God witnessing himself to the hearts of earnest believers, I don’t think that that is the entire story with regard to the verses you cite. By this time, the Apostles had witnessed many miraculous things at the hands of Jesus. Peter, himself, had walked on water, and after Jesus lifted Peter out of the water when he began to sink for lack of faith, "Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” Mt 14:33 I believe that, if I had observed the sayings and the miracles of Jesus, and had myself walked on water at his invitation, or had witnessed another doing so, I would be strongly inclined to believe in Jesus’ claims about himself even with no Holy Ghost witness to the heart at all. In fact, I’d go so far as to point out that these events were BEFORE Pentecost, which was the moment of the birth of the Church, the infilling of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. This gift of the Holy Ghost was given for those of us who did not see, yet believe. So, yes, there is a BITB, I have experienced it hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. I have heard and felt God’s Holy Spirit speaking to me almost audibly, convicting me of sin I was about to commit, or had already committed, or rejoicing with me at those precious few times when I was thoroughly obedient. The Holy Ghost is very real, and makes hearts burn, and frankly I don’t think this has a heckuva lot directly to do with a religion. Mormons get it, and so do people in every other religion.

As for what do we do to get this gift, I reckon it is different for different people. For me, it came when I was broken. I think it is that way for most modern converts. We spend years being hard headed and doing things wrong, our own way, until we are smashed, softened up, ready to hear that still small voice. I called out in the dark of night, actually one night while I was running, and felt God flood my heart with peace and a conviction of a need to get right with Him by going to church and learning about Him. At that time I knew almost nothing about God, so I can’t say I’d done a lot of studying. I wanted to believe that I wasn’t myself God, I needed something to rely on that is bigger than me, and as soon as I admitted to myself that I am not God, He came in and started to fill the holes up.


#3

Well i am a terrible and horrible Christian, therefore i never being able to hear God’s voice or to feel his strong presence when i pray. But nonetheless, he still love me no matter what , as each time i pray for something i shall be given what i asked in return. I guess God is patiently waiting for me to be obedient to him and get more closer to him. Getting revelation is all about how close you are to God, the more you get closer to him the more visble the revelation comes to you.


#4

That’s a pretty good story, Allweather. This forum in particular has a lot of people from different religions posting and they’re all from various points of view. But I like to think that despite our differences, we share an important common thread.

There’s lots of Mormon scriptures about the fallen, carnal state of man and that the natural man is an enemy to God. Not too controversial I guess. Everyone struggles with temptation and pride and whatever and we all fall short. But the opposite of that is we do have a Godly nature too and are His children. So how to appeal to the Godly nature?

The BITB/personal revelation is an appeal to the godly nature within. That’s why the missionaries always ask people to pray about the Book of Mormon and to receive their own witness. It’s an appeal to their Godly nature. Sure, their intellect and the social experiences will all affect their final decision. But spiritual appeals should utlimately be handled by our Godly nature.


#5

#6

Maybe, but it looks like you got that humility thing nailed!


#7

Thanks, and I agree. BTW what do you think of my thumbnail “analysis” of what had witnessed the reality of Jesus as Son of God to Peter? I say it was the witness of Jesus performing miracles and teaching Peter and the Apostles, which is certainly coming from the Father. I get the feeling that Mormons teach that Peter received some sort of special revelation apart from this day-to-day observation. Keeping in mind that the Holy Ghost wasn’t given until AFTER Jesus’ ascension, on Pentecost, does this make any sense to you? I’m not a Biblical expert by any stretch, though I do sometimes have my own personal, fallible interpretations.


#8

Well I guess that’s the point. Jesus said it was a witness of the HG but that was after a lot of miracles. I still am going to stick with that because he performed a lot of miracles and few of them were in secret. But not every one believed.

There’a particular part of the Book of Mormon where just before Christ was born, there were many signs and miracles to the Nephi people. Most of the people were able to rationalize them away very effectively. I have heard many rationalization of the miracles in the Bible.

There’s another Mormon teaching that miracles do not lead to faith but that faith preceeds the miracle. You know Christ said it was a wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh after a sign. I think he meant the sort of things you see on Sunday morning tv. All the healings and Hallelujias (sp?), all the sexy excitement without any of the hard work, faith, struggle and prayer that oes into the daily walk of the believer.

Uh, now where was I? Oh yeah, so I think the miracles were persuasive (as is our study and pondering) but it’s the HG that’s the clincher.


#9

I’m not seeing where Jesus mentions the Holy Ghost there in that part of Matthew where Peter makes his confession of faith. He says, flesh and blood has not revealed this, but “my heavenly Father.” He then goes on to promise that he “will” establish his Church upon Peter and says that it will not perish.

My fallible contention is that this confession of faith flows from Peter not out of any special personal BITB type of revelation, but rather from the two years or so that he’d spent observing the signs and miracles that Jesus was performing, as well as hearing the parables and other teachings. He saw water turned to wine, the dead raised to life, and he even walked on water himself. Jesus did these things in order to demonstrate that he is who he says he is: The Son of God.

The Holy Ghost, while already active in certain ways, such as in the overshadowing of Mary for purposes of enfleshing Himself as a man, Jesus, was not yet given to the Church. This wouldn’t happen until Pentecost, quite a bit later. Therefore there wasn’t any Holy Ghost activity, so far as I can tell from these verses, that would account for any personal BITB type of revelation to Peter or the other Apostles. In fact, up until the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, the Apostles, in spite of all they’d observed, remained quite timid. Peter, as you know, denied Jesus on the morning of his arrest, and the other Apostles fled as well. It wasn’t until Pentecost, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, that they were imbued with power, and lost their fear.

So, it was the miracles and other demonstrations of God’s power by Jesus that witnessed Jesus Sonship to Peter. It wasn’t a BITB special private revelation. Peter knew more than other disciples did, as Jesus often taught the Apostles privately, but this was the extent of it. And don’t forget, we also see a similar confession of faith earlier, such as when Jesus pulled Peter out of the water.

Where am I wrong?


#10

Holy Smokes, Allweather, you are pretty brave, asking “Where am I wrong?” on the Catholic forums!:slight_smile:

If I remember my Catholic teachings, Pentecost was something special and kind of the start of the HG’s ministry, is that not so? If so, it seems I will be fairly ineffective in my BITB proposition.

I think of the HG as being that part of God that communicates directly with our godly nature. I don’t think of it as something that had a beginning or end. That the HG (or whatever you call it, Spirit of God) was with Adam and Elias and Noah and all the great prophets of the old testament as well as the Apostles. What do you call that? Didn’t they believe in a Savior?


#11

Not brave. Foolhardy, (LOL). I just want your impression of my childlike exegesis of the reference section of Matthew that you presented in the OP.

If I remember my Catholic teachings, Pentecost was something special and kind of the start of the HG’s ministry, is that not so? If so, it seems I will be fairly ineffective in my BITB proposition.

It isn’t JUST Catholic teaching. All orthodox Protestants also believe pretty much the same thing about Pentecost that Catholics do. It was the birth of the Church. Before he ascended, Jesus instructed the Apostles to tarry in Jerusalem until the Advocate, or Comforter (the Holy Ghost) should come to them. Some 50 days later, on Pentecost, the Holy Ghost found them, around 120 people altogether, gathered in the Upper Room, waiting. The Holy Ghost came upon them along with divine manifestations, the most important of which was the powerful sermon by Peter that resulted in 3,000 converts and baptisms that very day.

I’m not sure if you could call this the “start of the HG’s ministry” after all the HG had impregnated Mary with the enfleshment of Himself as the God-Man. So the Holy Ghost was already active in some ways. But apparently not in the manner in which we find Him active today, in and through the Church that Jesus established upon the Apostles. That particular activity didn’t begin until Pentecost.

I think of the HG as being that part of God that communicates directly with our godly nature. I don’t think of it as something that had a beginning or end. That the HG (or whatever you call it, Spirit of God) was with Adam and Elias and Noah and all the great prophets of the old testament as well as the Apostles. What do you call that? Didn’t they believe in a Savior?

I don’t know about those peoples’ particular beliefs in a Savior. Adam and Noah weren’t Jews. God’s covenant with the people that became the Hebrews didn’t come until much later, with Abraham, and in particular Moses.

I agree that the Holy Ghost did not have a beginning, and has no end. The Holy Ghost is the third person of the Blessed Trinity of God, three persons in One God. He, like God, has always existed, and will never not exist.


#12

I guess I don’t agree much with that Pentacost thing. I believe there was always one HG and he was always active, always bearing testimony of God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. The God of the Jews and Christians. And that the HG was just as busy as always to people who could recieve Him. I always though that the Pentacost was a more vivid and powerful manifestation but not the start of anything.


#13

I see your point, and to tell the truth, I’m pretty murky about the work of the Holy Spirit in times before Jesus. My understanding is that the pre-Jesus Hebrews (and post-Jesus for that matter) don’t think of God as being in three persons. The only reason Christians do is because of the things that Jesus said during his ministry.

My best understanding is that God has always existed in more than one person, whether that be three persons, or more that we don’t yet know about. But that wasn’t made explicit until Jesus came and started describing himself as the Son relative to the Father, and also describing the coming Advocate, Comforter, Paraclete, Helper, Holy Ghost. It seems abundantly clear to my reading of the gospels and of Acts, that Pentecost was an event prophesied by Jesus, and that it was an extremely important moment for the Church. At the moment of the coming of the Holy Ghost in the way He did at Pentecost, the Apostles lost their timidity. They were reminded of all that Jesus said and did, and more clearly understood the meanings of these things. Amazing things took place in the hearing and seeing of the residents and visitors in Jerusalem, such that they thought the disciples were drunk on wine. After Pentecost, Peter and the others began preaching Jesus boldly, and of course immediately encountering persecution from the Jews, who had them flogged and threatened with worse.

I’ve been trying to remember instances of the Holy Ghost in the NT prior to Pentecost. There is the incarnation by the Holy Ghost in Mary. There is the vision of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove at Jesus’ baptism. I can’t recall if the Holy Ghost is specifically mentioned at the Transfiguration, I don’t think so. I don’t have a Bible with me at the moment, and have not enough time to research this. Maybe you can recall more examples of Holy Ghost appearances and mentions in the NT.

When Jesus said that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church, he meant that the Church would be always guided and protected by the Holy Ghost. We know this has proven to be true, because the Church is still here 2k+ years later, and has weathered some pretty severe storms, eh?


#14

The Church’s teaching is that God is a Trinity of Persons; this is a revealed Truth that will not/can not change. IOW, there is not some other Person hidden from our present knowledge. We will, however, know the Three Persons far more intimately when we (by God’s grace!) have the Beatific Vision of Heaven.


#15

What exactly is BITB?


#16

“Burning in the bosom” - an LDS expression referring to an interior feeling that is seen as a confirmation of some teaching; for instance, that the Book of Mormon is true.


#17

I got a letter from my son (serving a Mormon mission in the US) which was very good actually on this subject. He was visiting a fellow who had lost his faith and felt as though almost any religion can make a convincing case for their teachings:

Sure. All Religions teach good things and there are similarities in every religion. Every religion teaches the truth and I’m sure that if you read all of their literature and do all of what they ask, you can trick yourself into believing it. Faith is a real power. In the scriptures you can read that in a certain area Christ could do no miracles because of the lack of belief there (I need to get the reference for that one still), but when you believe in Christ and do what he asks you will not be disappointed. I opened up to 1st Kings chapter 18 and read him the awesome words of Elijah (21) “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” and showed him all of the story and how sure, the Priests of Baal believed fervently in Baal but their faith was worthless because Baal is an idol and not a God of Miracles. Elijah calls upon the true God and he lights the altar and shows forth God’s miraculous power.

Then the spirit took over and told me what to share. I told him that the God of Miracles is God the father, Jesus Christ and the holy Ghost and that only through Jesus Christ can one work miracles. I told him of my experience with anti’s and how reading the Book of Mormon swept most of my concerns clean away. I shared Hel. 3:29-30 which has become another one of my favorite scriptures

“Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked— And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.”

I felt prompted to tell him that Moroni’s promise is no less valid now than when he first read the Book of Mormon and that if he read it and prayed the same testimony would come back that he once had. My voice was near cracking and I ended what I said in the name of Jesus Christ and he was crying as well. He just smiled and said “hey, thanks.” We talked a little more with him and then left.

While part of me feels glad that I could reason with him, I know that after reading Helaman, it was the spirit that bore witness to him that the message was true. The spirit is real and while I’m glad I was there I know that the logic would have been nothing without the spirit to confirm to him that God is a God of miracles.


#18

I don’t think I ever did anything to receive a personal testimony of Christ. I’ve just believed since I was a boy listening to Christmas and Easter stories on television. I never even went to church much before I was 19. I can’t remember ever not believing in Christ.


#19

I disagree that every religion teaches the truth. many teach things that are contradictory and therefore someone MUST be teaching errors.

I also disagree with this assertion and would like to see the scriptural basis for it. Christ was unlimited. he may have CHOSEN not bestow miracles on faithless people.

and the implication here is? do you claim that catholics are equivalent to baal worshipers? Our God (the one true God), the holy trinity which is one god, is NOT an idol, IS the God of miracles and is the ojnly god in existence anywhere ever.

"the spirit taking over appears to be covered in your opening : *I’m sure that if you read all of their literature and do all of what they ask, you can trick yourself into believing it. Faith is a real power. * then you see the trinitarian formula used to describe God, then you erroneously limit miracles to Christ ignoring the obvious miracles of the Holy Spirit and even God the Father that were worked on earth. perhaps in reading the BoM you should look into Abinadi speaking of one God and how jesus and the father are one.

once again you illustrate your own opening point about how emotion can convince anyone of anything. here we see that blatant emotional manipulation common to Lds missionaries that goes along nicely with your post about the talk in conference on how LDS missionaries are trained to show people that anything they feel is the “spirit” telling them that Mormonism is true. how is this any different than what rod parsley does?

what logic in this case? as to the “spirit” i think you got it dead right in the beginning:
*I’m sure that if you read all of their literature and do all of what they ask, you can trick yourself into believing it. Faith is a real power. *
:thumbsup:


#20

What stands out to me in this is a question about what constitutes the “word of God.” With Mormons, it seems to me, there is a certain fuzziness regarding what is and what is not the “word of God.” Mormons acknowledge the Holy Bible, but say it has been corrupted and is incomplete, yet are unable to describe what is missing or has been corrupted. Therefore, they don’t really believe in the Bible the way most orthodox Christians do. Then, they have the “standard works” the “modern scriptures” which, as we see from the major selection by rmcmullan’s son, is the real body of scripture Mormons are talking about when they say the word, “scripture.” Then, there are the various pronouncements of the Mormon Prophets, some of which contradict other pronouncements. There is the constant development of theology, doctrine, and practice, as we can see clearly even in the short lifetime of the founder Joseph Smith between 1830, and the King Follet Sermon two months before he died. There may be other sources of the Mormon “word of God” with which I, in my ignorance, am unfamiliar.

This is a problem in terms of conversation between Mormonism and Christianity. A Mormon says “scripture” to a Christian, and in the Christian mind springs thoughts of Bible; the Mormon is thinking of something else entirely.

When a Christian/Catholic thinks “Scripture” there is no question what is being thought. Scripture means the Holy Bible: inerrant, complete, authoritative. The pronouncements of the Catholic hierarchy are not Scripture, but they are authoritative and well defined. We know exactly what the difference is between Scripture and Tradition, and the role of each in the life of the Church.

The Mormon use of the word “scripture” to refer to its body of revealed and in-the-process-of-being-revealed word of god, is misleading, probably deliberately so. It is similar to Mormon claims to be Christian on the basis of a trinitarian baptismal formula, a type of belief in Jesus and the Atonement, and adherence to certain Biblical lifestyle behaviors. The word as used by Mormons means something different than it means to Christians, and Christians aren’t usually aware of this when they’re talking to Mormons, and Mormons don’t go out of their way to make that clear.


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