Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 4, 2013

Testing Christian Authenticity, by David Bower

The Acid Test and Authentication

As a young boy I was fascinated by chemistry; I had been given a chemistry set and carefully followed the simple experiments in the instructions that came with the set. I earned money from a paper route and would look forward to going to a chemical supply house in town to buy various flasks and assorted equipment to add to my set.

At some point, during my chemistry years, I read or heard about “the acid test;” which was synonymous with the concept of testing for purity or determining the authenticity of some substance. I later learned the expression came from a test using nitric acid to determine the purity of gold. A dictionary definition would be something like, “A test that is conclusive of the value or success of something, derived from the original use of nitric acid as a test for gold.” I suspect many of you have used the expression in the context of a quality assessment of something or other; as the phrase has passed into common usage it might be thought of in this light, “a rigorous and conclusive test to establish worth or value such as the new car passed the driver’s acid test during the test drive.”

Acid Testing the Authenticity of Christianity

There are an increasing number of articles about the Muslim persecution of Christians in various areas around the world. The recent mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya made headlines all over the world. Several articles pointed out the Muslim attackers would distinguish between Muslims and Christians by asking the name of Mohammad’s mother; if the individual knew the name (Amina bint Wahb) they were permitted to live but if they did not they were killed. This became an acid test involving life or death to determine the authenticity of those seeking to avoid death by claiming to be Muslims.

The persecution of Christians is by no means limited to Muslims and can be found in other groups as well. We see discrimination against Christians increasing in the United States and all over Europe. The government of the United States is taking seriously discriminatory steps against Christians in virtually every area of life including the armed forces thereby subjecting the Christian community to an acid test to determine its authenticity.

The Bible’s Predictions

The Bible warned this time would come but most of us didn’t expect it to happen to us, perhaps some future generation but not to us, not to our generation. In Matthew 24:9-12 Jesus warned “9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” Although these verses are a specific reference to times in the Tribulation, we are seeing around us the beginning of those sorrows which will beset the Christian community during that terrible time of God’s judgment.

Authenticating Your Christianity

There are stories in the media of individuals who are given the choice of denying Christ or accepting the consequences. In an earlier blog I mentioned the example of Stephen, an early Christian martyr who died for his faith, and his amazing exhibition of faith as he faced death. Each of us wonders if we, under similar circumstances, could exhibit that kind of bravery if our lives were at risk or we were being threatened with serious loss.

I think it likely that none of us would seek out a personal authentication test similar to Stephen’s experience; such a thought is frightening and very unpleasant. It is, however, apparent that the world situation is deteriorating for Christians just as the Bible predicted it would.

Our Secret Weapon

My conclusion in that blog was we, just as Stephen, would be able to stand up to testing if we were utilizing the same divine resources Stephen did, God, the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note how Stephen is so often identified in the New Testament, “Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and again in Act 7:55, “55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit” The Bible makes no secret of Stephen’s not so secret weapon, the indwelling Spirit of God! When was the last time someone described you that way?

God’s Plan for Your Life

Only God knows the specific future He has planned for each of our lives and whether or not any authentication tests may be involved; we discover those plans one day at a time, moment by moment. What God has revealed is the manner in which we are to discover His plan for our lives; we are to simply trust Him and rejoice in Him at all times as our future plays itself out. We are not to fear because He is with us; we are not to be dismayed because He is our God; we are to live our lives with the confident knowledge that God will strengthen us and uphold us with His own righteous right hand.

Should we ever be called upon to face authentication we can know beyond any doubt that God has made available to us the same powerful resources He made available to Stephen. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”


  1. Wonderful blessed reminder of our Lord’s faithfulness as we face the future! Yes, these are troubled times..How comforting to know our God has never failed those who trust in Him and His Word!


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