The Personal Testimony Of The Holy Spirit To The Believer And Christian Apologetics -- By: Gary R. Habermas

Journal: Journal of Christian Apologetics
Volume: JCA 01:1 (Summer 1997)
Article: The Personal Testimony Of The Holy Spirit To The Believer And Christian Apologetics
Author: Gary R. Habermas

The Personal Testimony Of The Holy Spirit To The Believer And Christian Apologetics1

Gary R. Habermas*

To undertake a study of the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to the believer (sometimes called the testimonium), especially when such is defined in the narrow sense as I will do in this article, is to realize that this is a much neglected subject. Comparatively little appears to be available, especially in recent decades. When this topic is then related to the study of Christian apologetics, one narrows the field even further.

A Personal Odyssey

Permit me to begin this discussion on a less than philosophical note by sharing some personal reflections. My hope here is that some readers may find that their own study of the subject is helped rather than hindered by an existential sojourn. But I must also say that this section can safely be ignored by anyone who dislikes such excursions!

Early in my Christian life I went through a long period of intense doubting. It dominated almost ten consecutive years of my research, only to continue a bit more intermittently throughout the following five years.

Viewed from an orthodox standpoint, I waded through some deep waters during these troubled days. I despised religious belief that was not grounded in data and said so on numerous occasions. Sometimes I went out of my way to debate Christians and understandably made some enemies along the way. But I also argued with unbelievers. My guns were simply leveled wherever there were beliefs that were not in accord with clear reasoning methods and the existing evidence. I was on a philosophical journey in search of truth.

More than once my studies took me to a point where I thought I could no longer believe orthodox Christian dogma. There were also occasions when I considered giving up my Christian beliefs in favor of some other philosophy. I dis-

* Gary Habermas is Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy at Liberty University.

tinctly remember many times when I contemplated a world where, in a fashion that seemed to me to be consistent with Edgar Allan Poe’s writings, there was no ultimate meaning in life; and people went to their graves to be remembered no more. The fall leaves blew over the ground and one’s consciousness just ended!

Long before I had ever studied the work of the Holy Spirit, and precisely during these times of doubt, I had often experienced what I could best describe alternately as an unusually potent restraint or a personal conviction concerning the truth of Christianity. Especially during the times of my most ...

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