Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The power of one willing witness: the testimony of Dr. Rosario Champagne Butterfield

Carmen’s blog

I was introduced lately (via online video) to a sister-in-Christ whose testimony serves as a winsome confirmation of God’s transforming power at work by the power of His Holy Spirit in the world today.

The transformation of the individual is the heart of the Christian Gospel. The restoration of the relationship between the person and God through the saving act of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for sin and subsequently the restoration of the self, moment by moment over time through the process of sanctification is the fullness of the Truth we declare.  I admit that rarely have I heard one of my own contemporaries so faithfully express their personal testimony as Dr. Rosario Champagne Butterfield does here (embedded via YouTube):

Following her testimony, she answers deeply personal and highly practical questions from the audience:

This is a woman from whom we can learn. She not only has a personal experience of Christian transformation but she challenges the Church to stand up for the truth in a way that invites people into a saving relationship with Jesus. Salvation that is as much about the here-and-now realities of a life lived that is worthy of the Gospel as salvation unto eternal life forevermore. This is not a pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by witness. This is a the-rubber-meets-the-road-right-here-in-my-life witness.

Marvin Olasky interviewed Dr. Butterfield recently in his “newsmakers” series.  I expect we will be hearing more from her as God opens up opportunities for His transforming power to be made known through the totally given-over life of this one woman.

Dr. Butterfield writes about herself on the Amazon page featuring her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,

“Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. There, her partner rehabilitated abandoned and abused dogs. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department’s curriculum. And then, in her late 30s, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down-the idea that Christianity, a religion that she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was, an idea that flew in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a “train wreck” at the hand of the supernatural.These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could.

Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the “lost,” if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers. Often, people asked me to describe the “lessons” that I learned from this experience. I can’t. It was too traumatic. Sometimes in crisis, we don’t really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed.”

Order the book here (Amazon).

About the author: Carmen Fowler LaBerge

Carmen Fowler LaBerge heads the ministry of the Presbyterian Lay Committee as its President and Executive Editor of its publications, including The Layman.

4 comments

  1. William Condrey says:

    How can I learn the difference between staying in the PCUSA by joining the Fellowship of Presbyterians and joining the EOC?. What does it mean to be under the PCUSA flag if our church joins the FOP, theologically, monetarily, and ecclestiatically? Since I don’t agree with the new tenants of the PCUSA, what do we accomplish by staying in the FOP rather than joining the EOC? thank you. Vic Condrey

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