TT: Why Talk to Doorstep Theologians?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Last week's meeting with the Mormons went well, I think. They are coming back today - they asked if they could come back - so I guess that's a good sign that I didn't bludgeon them with angry heated words and treat them like dirt!
When I meet people who want to share Jesus with me, I always say "sure". My thoughts are this:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.God tells us to always be ready to defend and explain the hope of the Gospel that is within us.
1 Peter 3:15-16
These "missionaries", or Jehovah's Witnesses, or others may have never been exposed to actual Christian teaching. They may only have heard their church's take on what Christians believe, without actually asking a Christian. This gives me the chance to stand up, speak out, and expose them to some Truth.
Often, a persecution complex is drilled into them. Christians hate them, will stop at nothing to prevent them from telling the Truth; Christians are hypocrites, Christians don't love us. They may have never been greeted warmly, shown hospitality, or had true Christian charity demonstrated. I may be planting a little seed - the next time an elder in their church starts spouting off how evil Christians are because we walk in darkness, a little voice may speak up in the back of these visitor's head: "Well, that one lady with the cookies didn't seem evil. She wasn't mean". A tiny seed of doubt, to be sure, but it's all about baby steps!
Someone, somewhere has to sow, so there can be a harvest later. And in the tradition of Mamas everywhere, not to mention the Little Red Hen, I'll undertake the thankless, no glory, all sweat and tears work.
Also, this is one way I can "love my neighbor" in our world of strangers living next to each other.
If the Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, etc. is spending time with me, they are not evangelizing anyone else with a false gospel. I am taking their resources, and every handout they give me is one less they have to give someone else. I always take Watchtower tracts and magazines wherever I find them - doctor's office, restaurant newspaper stands - to protect those without discernment. (I'm just like that I guess - I turn the Cosmo magazines and such over at the grocery store lines too so they are not exposed.)
We are having a few difficulties, and I think maybe next time we'll have to agree on some definitions. For example, we obviously don't agree on what "prophet" means. They seem to think that all of the Patriarchs are prophets (and the prophets too, and also, strangely, some of the Protestant reformers), including Adam. I would define prophet as a man called by God to call His people to repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah - and often granted knowledge of the Messiah and future events which they had to pass on.
Another definition? "Only begotten". They define "First Born" and "Only Begotten" interchangeably - I just don't understand that, I think the meaning is pretty clear. So we'll need to work out exactly what one means when using certain words.
When I initially spoke to them, they encouraged me to go to their church's website, which is heavy on quick platitudes and short on in depth philosophy. It's what Rick Warren would write, if he was a Mormon. I think I blindsided them a bit when I mentioned that I had been to their website and had a few questions. I actually printed out materials from their website, underlining things and writing my questions and relevant scriptures in the margin. However, the main Mormon wasn't too interested - he just wanted to get into his speech.
Where to start? The prolife issue, of course! I don't think these guys have ever discussed their church's stand on abortion - or even thought of it. They didn't know if their church had decided that life begins at conception or birth, or quickening, or viability. Most people don't know, but Mormons are not sold out pro-lifers. They do the whole "rape, medical reasons, emotional trauma" exception. Actually, their stand seems to be, according to the missionaries, abortion is wrong, but if it's rape, etc., we won't tell the mother it's wrong or subject her to Church discipline. What the Heavenly Father does at judgement is between him, and her. Which leads then to the result that LDS church discipline is separate and independent from God... a topic I may bring up next week.
To me, the issue is clear. Either the baby is a human being, with life and all of the God-given rights, or it's not, it's just a blob of tissue until it hits the other side of the birth canal. If it is a human being from conception, than the circumstances of conception (rape, etc.) will not change that fact. It is not "less of a person" because the mother may experience a difficult pregnancy, or is ill. So you can't kill it, being an innocent bystander and all. Apparently, prolife apologetics are neglected in their training, because clearly, we were on ground they had not been
I've found the most fruitful discussions with Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, et. al., come from diverting them away from their canned speeches into subjects where they don't have a quick, memorized response that trips off the tongue.
So, I also asked them their opinion of the Great Flood (whole world, or whole world known to Noah? What about dolphins and other air breathing but sea dwelling animals?) not because it is a critical matter of faith and morals, but to get them into Bible territory that they may not have ever thought of before. Also because I have joined a "Read the Bible in 90 days" Bible study group and that's the chapter I was on the day they showed up, so I had everything fresh in my mind. When the discussion devolved into the topic of spiritual lettuce existing before it grows in the ground (they believe all souls have been created, and spirit babies are waiting to become people)... we called it a night.
The meeting was not as bizarre as the one I had with a sect I had never heard of, whose adherents in the Denver area come mainly from the Korean immigrant community, and whose main belief is that if you are not keeping the feasts set down in the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible), you are going straight to hell. I'd never seen a Korean to English KJV Bible before! But I hope these meetings will be more fruitful.
Tags: Thoughtful Thursday, Catholic, Prolife
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 1/18/2007 07:56:00 AM | Permalink |