A SILENT WITNESS
By Coach Dave Daubenmire
November 18, 2010
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
“So, what does a witness do?” I asked the pudgy man standing before me. I could tell he was uncomfortable by the way he shuffled his feet and dropped his eyes.
But the old coach in me can smell cowardice. Over the years I have witnessed many young men wilt in the face of adversity on the football field. It is impossible to disguise; the dropping of the headgear just before contact, the sudden halt in the movement of the feet, the undeniable silence that accompanies the loss of courage. I can smell it, and this pudgy pastor was stinking.
“Come on, Pastor,” I bore in. “What does a witness do?”
He still did not want to answer. You have seen it a thousand times; the look that a man gets when he knows that to answer the question is to convict oneself.
“Well, Coach,” he nervously answered as he licks his puffy lips. “A witness is usually called on to give testimony about something he has seen, or heard.”
“Right, Pastor. And what does a witness bear witness about? What is the purpose of testimony in a court of law?”
“Well, I guess that his main purpose would be to produce evidence to help determine the guilt or innocence of a particular case.”
“OK. And before the witness testifies in the court room he has to take a vow to do what?” I can sense how much he wishes he had just kept his mouth shut when I had asked the group the question. Even he knew I was boring in for the kill.
“Well, to tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.”
“So help me God? I probed, glancing at the 10 Commandments pin on his label.
“Yes. So help me God.”
“Sounds pretty serious, wouldn’t you agree Pastor?”
He nodded in the affirmative resembling a bass trying to spit out a hook. His discomfort was made worse by the spectators watching the filleting of this spineless fish.
Let me set the scene. I had just finished speaking at a men’s breakfast when one of the men approached me and commented on my bold testimony. In a matter of minutes a large group had surrounded me as I carried on about our need to be “salt and light” to the culture.
I have done this dozens of times in my life, and am always encouraged that real men want to stand up for Jesus. They just don’t know how. As the questioning continued I explained that it was the job of the church to stand up for Truth.
A young man in his thirties, clearly motivated and convicted by my presentation, inquired about how one might go about getting more involved in defending the Faith.
Before I could answer, as is often the case, Pastor Sellout had to hoist his leg and douse any wild-fire that might spark up amongst his flock. From the outside of the circle he tried to swing the gate shut before the sheep ran out into the field.
“Well guys. I believe that often a silent witness is the most effective. Forcing the Gospel on others often turns them off. I find it more effective to let my silent witness speak for itself.”
That is when I lowered the barrel and took aim at this hireling.
“So tell me Pastor, what do you think Jesus meant when He told us in John 18:37 that He came to bear witness to the Truth? Did Jesus use the silent witness scheme? Did He spend the last three years of His ministry preaching in the Synagogue or did he not take His Gospel to the streets? What about Peter…and Paul…or Martin Luther. I am sure there is a time when a silent witness might be effective, even necessary, but to claim that silence is testifying is a bunch of bunk. To permit is to participate. A silent witness is usually the safe haven of cowards.”