Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What Testify (Giving A Testimony) Means In Church

Edited by Azizi Powell

Part I of this post provides definitions and comments about the religious meaning of "testifying" ("giving a testimony").

Part II of this post features a video of Dottie Peoples singing the Gospel song "Testify". My transcription of Dottie People's spoken words which introduce that rendition of "Testify", and a link to the song's lyrics are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, religious, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks to Dottie Peoples for her religious and musical legacy, thanks to all those who are featured on this video, and thanks to the publisher of this YouTube video.

"In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter.

In the law, testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. Testimony may be oral or written, and it is usually made by oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury

Christians in general use the term "testify" or "to give one's testimony" to mean "the story of how one became a Christian"; And commonly it may refer to a specific event in a Christian's life in which they believe God has done something deemed particularly worth sharing. Christians often give their testimony at their own baptism or at evangelistic events. In the current age of the Internet, many Christians have also placed their testimonies on the internet.
Many holiness churches devote a portion of their mid-week service to allow members to give a personal testimony about their faith and experiences in living the Christian life.

From "Testify". What does it mean?
"Testify means to tell the truth. This is the same as when a witness testifies in a court of law and such. Here the Pastor is asking if someone wants to tell the truth of something that has made God real in their lives."
Matthew P (SL) - 2009

"That sounds like some sort of public confession or something. In my church, it means you stand up and tell your "testimony". When and how God saved you. Or something that may have happened that week that you felt God was a part of.

Like testimony in court for somebody."
nancy jo- 2009

"Tell YOUR story........ Tell it like it is with YOU...... Tell how YOU became a believer..... well, that is what it means in that particular situation ... go in peace.... God bless"
-Annie - 2009

From Things I miss about the Black pentecostal church
..."Testimony Service: It doesn’t happen much anymore, but in years past, almost every Sunday service (or Sunday evening service) saw testimony service, which was the congregants chance to sing their own song or tell about some particular thing God had done for them that week, or even ask a prayer request. Oh of course many of the testimonies bordered on gossip, (pray for my daughter that she wouldn’t be so rebellious…) but there is something very ennobling and participatory about any person, no matter their status or position, being able to participate in the service in that way. Testimony service was often the most “explosive” part of the service, because a really good testimony could set off

Shouting"....[New section in that article]

From "I Got A Testimony!
"Who remember those "Testimony Sunday Service" where you get the chance to share with your fellow brother and sisters the things God has been doing in your life or the life of someone you loved? Have the saints of God stop giving "Personal Testimonies" on Sunday morning, if so why? Each day we wake up that's a testimony in itself.

I am from the (First Missionary Baptist) traditional baptist church and I don't recall many testimonies during my early years. But I do remember visiting the COGIC on many of Sundays and you're sure to here from some sister or brother who had a testimony. I believe testimonies are very important because they offers others hope when it may seems hopeless. Testimonies help others who might be on the verge of giving up. With the crisis we are facing now we need to start encouraging each other more."
This quote was reformatted to enhance its readability.

"Saints" = in the context of this quote means "members of the church; believers in Jesus Christ"

"COGIC" = Church of God In Christ, a predominately African American Pentecostal denomination


SHOWCASE VIDEO: Dottie Peoples - "Testify"

chj333 Uploaded on Jan 23, 2009

This is Dottie Peoples singing "Testify" in 1999

THE INTRODUCTION TO THAT SONG (from the video given above)

The video starts with Dottie Peoples saying:

Somebody in here.
God has been good to you.
You should be able to look at your neighbor and say “God’s been good.”
Somebody oughta have a testimony.
Somebody oughta stand on they feet and testify
'For God I live, and for God I’ll die'.
Somebody oughta testify.

[instruments begin]

Come on, put your hands together."

[begins song]

Click for the lyrics to this song.

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