I opened the door and standing before me was an elderly woman and a man named Clay. These two were dressed very properly, smiling politely and introduced themselves. They were Jehovah’s witnesses. They came bearing the “good news” of the Bible and God’s coming kingdom.
I was stunned. Here before me were two lost souls, and beyond the “Are you a good person test” that I had learned from Ray Comfort, I had no idea how to share the gospel with them. I kindly listened to them and the whole time felt frustrated and disgusted at my own ignorance. How could I say that I loved these people, yet I had never really tried to learn what they believe so that I can more effectively share the gospel with them?
I had a new mission. My desire to pursue a career in financial planning almost immediately vanished and I began furiously inhaling any information about Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. My best friend from 5th grade on, was and is a member of the Community of Christ (RLDS) church which also lead me to want to understand their faith better. I would sit down with Clay three times over the course of the next year or so and discuss the diety of Christ with him. Hebrews 1 became a common scripture for us to review and he admitted that he was at a loss when approaching Hebrews 1 in relation with Psalm 102. I have not met with him in over a year. I will be moving to Yakima, WA in June and plan to have one final discussion with him, where I will be sharing this document with him: http://4witness.org/wfj/jw-bookstore.php#pj_fact, along with this challenging quote:
“We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with Gods Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination. It should be the sincere desire of every one of us to learn what Gods will is for us, and then to do it." John 8:32 (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, 1968, p. 13)
My engagement with Mormons has been more consistent, and more consistently frustrating. While Clay, the Jehovah’s Witness, was willing to go to the scriptures with me, I felt that the Mormon missionaries would use the bible disingenuously and, when pressed for reasons why I should believe them, would constantly resort to the “I know it in my heart to be true” to which I would always reply, “But a Muslim, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness can say the same thing. Why should I believe your feelings over theirs?”. I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer to this question, and I sincerely doubt that I ever will.
My heart aches for anyone who is lost, but there is a special place in my heart for Mormon’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Catholics, as I grew up with them and know so many. I now have an unquenchable thirst in my life to reach the lost and to engage not only their hearts but to force them to THINK about the issues as well. I think many churches, heretical and orthodox alike, do not do effectively equip their congregations to approach faith with our minds turned on, as society moves farther away from logic oriented decision making, and leans more and more on emotional, self-centered pragmatism and hedonism.
Lord, save us from our wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), help us to repent and to make sacrifices to share the gospel boldly, with those whom we love.
-Neil (Neil is the founder of Soul-Winning Students which can be found at http://soulwinningstudents.com)