When I saw this woman’s testimony I was compelled to respond for a couple reasons:
- A. It represents so much about what is wrong with Christianity – i.e. so much of Christianity is grounded in emotions rather than scripture.
- B. My Christian testimony was marked with these kinds of “visceral” spiritual and providential experiences.
First, let me be clear, this article is not about questioning her experience. That is a very personal and subjective thing (which she has opted to make public).
But, do these subjective experiences serve as the plumb line for validating the nature and character of the God of the Bible? For the fact is that people throughout the world, religious and nonreligious, have these types of experiences.
I do not doubt that this woman seems to have had some kind of powerful, visceral experience, and that she is sincere in her belief of what they meant to her. What I do doubt is her interpretation of those subjective experiences… Why? Because subjective experience does not determine objective truth.
Her story begins while in an airport bookstore one day. She sees and purchases the book Rabbi Jesus by Bruce Chilton, takes it onto her flight and as she begins reading it a lady sitting near her strikes up a conversation asking her about the book.
Now, here’s where the story get’s very compelling. Because several providential experiences happen to her:
- The lady who strikes up a conversation with her is an author and a Christian
- In a dream she hears part of a Zeph passage “He will delight with you in song”
- She receives a book and note from the author she met on the plane
- The note references the same scripture, Zephaniah 3:17
- She calls her sister who just happen to be reading a review on same book
- She gets invited to church…has more feel good experiences
- She is shocked at how beautiful the service and music is
- She meets the pastors, who are both Jewish
- She has a strong emotional response to this encounter
- A woman asks if she can pray for her
- During the prayer she has a feeling of electricity running through her
- As a result she felt a strong sense of truth of who Jesus is
The speaker explains in her testimony that she is going through an especially emotionally painful period in her life and suddenly these things start happening to her. Could it be that with the attention that is directed towards her by the Christians, she feels and receives their compassion, concern and simple kindnesses colors her interpretation of her visceral and providential experiences.
Let us examine some of her statements from the video and in the light of common sense, objective reasoning and of course scripture:
“I felt goosebumps…it was like electricity…. I’m having this visceral feeling…”
What do goosebumps mean? Whenever a person feels goosebumps or electricity is this a sign that they are encountering truth?
The Hebrew scriptures tell us that God’s word is life and truth (Deuteronomy 4:1, Psalm 119:142).
“I’m Jewish. My family is Jewish. Everyone I know in the family is Jewish.”
Notice that she mentions being Jewish and also being a member of a synagogue, but never mentions any scripture, nothing about God, nothing about what she believed about God and His Messiah from the Hebrew Scriptures. The point here being that just because she and her family members are “Jewish” in no way suggests she know and understood the Hebrew scriptures. Thus, what is compelling about a Jew coming to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, if they cannot reason from the scripture in the first place about the biblical criteria for the Messiah.
Could it be that these emotionally charged experiences in a time of grief and emotional pain paved the way for her to “experience Jesus”. She explains that when the lady prayed for her
“I just felt this huge sense of truth of who Jesus is, I felt it, I could feel it”
and she was asked, “Will you accept Jesus as your messiah.”
Her position and reputation in her synagogue was compromised when she explained “I believe in Yeshua now” and she was asked “What happened to you?”
“The beauty of how this happened to me, is that I was so hit with the truth of it, at such a deep level, that all I could answer was, with great conviction, ‘I can’t explain why, but it is true. I know it is true. I know it is true in my heart. And I have the rest of my life to read scripture and understand the why – but I know it is – it is the truth.’ ”
She can’t explain why it’s true, she just knows it is true. Keep in mind, this is an attorney speaking — Read that statement again. Is that how you would want your attorney to defend you before the court of justice?
“Well your honor, I know my client is innocent, I can not explain why, I just feel it deep within my heart. I have no evidence, except for my feelings and what I know to be true, based on, well my feelings and you should believe me because, i know it is true…I’ll research it and tell you why it’s true later. But for now, I just know it’s true.”
How do you know Jesus is who you think he is? Is he God, messiah, son of God, torah teacher etc? Can you concisely explain why what you believe is actually true? Do you see a difference between what Jesus taught and what is taught about him? By addressing any of these questions, you will begin to scratch the surface of discovering for yourself what you believe and why. Also, consider whether you are you free to come to your own conclusion about who Jesus is without fear of hell fire and damnation?
Remember, test everything against the light and lens of Torah.