It is easy to witness to a Mormon when he comes knocking at your door. You can show him the folly of his religion and extend the invitation to the true gospel in just a few simple steps. Here's how:
1. Ask the Mormon, "Where is your god?"
The Mormons believe that their god, whom they call Heavenly Father, has a body. He is not a Spirit and not omnipresent. Therefore the Mormon god is limited to a single locale.
Your Mormon friend will likely answer the question in one of two ways. I have found that they typically admit that they don't know. If this is his answer, you have already backed him into a corner: If you don't know where your god is, then he is a rather unreliable god.
The Mormon may say that his god is in heaven. This is basically a way of avoiding the question. He will not likely give you the right answer (Mormons believe that their god lives on the planet Kolob. They know that this is ridiculous and will probably not want to "go there.")
Whatever his answer may be to this first question, the point is that his god is not here.
2. Now ask the Mormon, "Did your god promise to never to leave us nor forsake us?"
The Mormon will respond with and enthusiastic "yes." When he does, point out his inconsistency: The Mormon's god promised he would never to leave us nor forsake us, but he is not here.
Your Mormon friend will try to dodge this dilemma by referring to the Holy Spirit. Don't let this scare you or throw you off track. Simply point out that we are not talking about the Holy Spirit. In Mormon belief the Holy Spirit is a different god; distinct from the one we are supposed to worship. Remind him that we are talking about Heavenly Father, the god they say we are to worship.
Reinforce the folly of their religion: Heavenly Father supposedly made a promise to never leave us nor forsake us, but he is not here. Either Heavenly Father is a liar, or he is a false god that doesn't truly exist. Either way, Heavenly Father is not worthy of our devotion.
3. After pressing the inconsistency of their religion, be sure to explain how the Christian God fulfills is superior.
Our God exists in all places. He fills the universe and is even outside of it because He is the creator of time and space. Most of all, He is right here with us at all times, fulfilling His promise never to leave us nor forsake us.
4. Call your Mormon friend to repent of his idolatry and turn to the only true and living God.
If you would like, you can use these same steps to talk about Jesus. Colossians 1:17 says, "In him (i.e. Jesus) all things hold together." This is a reference to Jesus' divinity, which also has the attribute of omnipresence. All things throughout the universe retain their natural form because Jesus himself holds them together. If Christ would remove his presence, everything would completely fall apart like marbles without a container. Because Jesus is both God and man, he can fulfill his promise: Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
The Mormon religion, just like any other false religion, contradicts itself and shows itself to be false. It impales itself and reduces to absolute absurdity.
But this gaping hole in their religion is also a perfect door for the presentation of the gospel. Where their god falls on his face, ours shows Himself to be true.
We asked Jake* if he had ever lied, stolen, or taken God's name in vain. He began to accuse us of condemning him. He didn't understand that it was God's law that condemned him, not us.
We were there to help him. We wanted him to know that Christ was condemned on our behalf on the cross.
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
*Not his real name.
Today I started my first book. I've often been stimulated by the line in 2 Timothy 4 where Paul says, "Do the work of an evangelist." I'd like to unpack that statement and give a sound exposition on an evangelist's office, powers, and duties.
I don't want it to be a bunch of esoteric stuff (like debating whether or not the office of evangelist was to be perpetual or not). My intent is to provide something practical, perhaps aiming at the college age guy who might be interested in evangelistic work.
This is by no means something that will be hitting bookstores in the near future. I'm sure it will be a life work. The prospects are fun, nonetheless.
Oh, why do I say, "My first book"? Because I've had other topics tickle my fancy. For instance, I've always wanted to write a study guide for women on Proverbs 31. I might start on that one when my wife finally lets me lead the women's study.
My friend Joe and I have been doing some street evangelism through the summer here in Ashland and over in Mansfield. We've had so many opportunities to share the gospel and are praying that fruit may come of it. Here are a few pics of some of our outings:
Providence's evangelism team recently purchased this prayer stand to assist in our outreach to the area. Joe and I gave it a "test drive" yesterday and we were blessed in our time out on the town.
Joe picked a perfect spot to set it up: just outside the municipal building in Mansfield, a place where people were definitely interested in having prayers offered for them! We were there from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm and enjoyed a steady flow of people passing by.
We got to pass out a goodly number of tracts, and many of them were read as people walked away or sat around waiting for their court hearing. More significantly, we had opportunity to talk to a couple people who wanted prayer.
One such person was Dora. Dora was 8 months pregnant and going in to court because her boyfriend had beaten her. She requested prayer for the case and her pregnancy. We talked with her, prayed for her, and gave her a gospel tract.
Ben was our most intriguing contact. He was on his way to an AA meeting up the street and, as he sped past, he asked that we pray for his sobriety. He came back after his meeting and we talked for about 1/2 hour about the gospel and how it applies to addictions. Ben expressed that he had recently made a profession of faith. So we encouraged him to continue trusting Christ for the power to overcome these addictions. Then we concluded our time with prayer.
All in all, we loved the addition of the prayer stand. For one, it is a good "marker." It helps people know what we are out to do. It also makes others more inclined to approach us as most people are willing to have prayers offered for them and would avoid someone who is out doing straight up evangelism.
As mentioned above, Joe and I had a great time out on our trial run. We are looking forward to doing this on a more regular basis. It is our plan to be in both Ashland and Mansfield on a weekly basis through the spring and summer months.
I recently came across a good article on "Why the Missional Movement Will Fail." It is good in that it focuses the real intent of the church's mission. The church was commissioned to "make disciples" and the missional movement, while very zealous & full of "missional" hullabaloo fails without real cultivation of Bible study.
I admit that I am rather adverse from calling myself "Misisonal" and refrain from using the word missional at all. Part of that is my personality (I don't jump on bandwagons very easily and am something of a fad curmudgeon).
Another reason is because I think the word is rather postmodern. It was coined not too many years ago and many people seem to make it mean whatever they want. Some are just using it because it sounds so cool ("I'm missional" sounds so much better than "I like to do evangelism.") But some seem to use it in almost completely contradictory ways! For instance, you have your die hard evangelical using it as well as your flaked out emergent church guys throwing around the term.
But part of the reason I don't use it is because I fail to see a lot of those who call themselves missional doing any really having to do with the mission of the church. It often appears to be just a nice title for a guy who is planting a church or writing a blog somewhere.
[If that is the case, I guess I am missional! (Although, playing Twitter seems to be a real missional thing too. Us fuddy duddies seem to prefer Facebook.)]
What I mean is this: I don't see a lot of the old school forms of evangelism being promoted or implemented by missional guys. It doesn't seem to be hip to pass out tracts or preach in the open air. I do not want to presume to say that this does not happen at all. But it seems that sitting in a coffee shop or having a home group is the focus of most missional guys.
For instance, the article that I mentioned at the very beginning of this post offered a free ebook on practical ways to be missional. Here are a few of the practical suggestions they gave for getting the gospel out:
Um, okay. I get it. You are trying to be available and friendly. But this is not as practical as, "Pass out tracts at a fair booth. Make CD's of your pastor's best evangelistic sermon and distribute them after a college football game."
Not downplaying walking the dog, by any means. But my wife and I have been walking the dog for 15 years now, and there hasn't been any missional activity occur (or, maybe I was being missional and didn't know it because I really don't know what it means to be missional--see discussion above). The only godly thing that happened as a result of the 2-5 miles a day we put in is that we've gotten one happy dog and kept that snickers bar from catching up with us.
I understand that we want to develop relationships and seek to facilitate gospel conversations in our communities. I also have the goal of getting people into my home for dinner and discipleship. But it seems that the old school means of accomplishing the church's mission (dare I use an outdated word like "evangelism"?) have fallen by the wayside.
If this is the case, then I am happy to say that I am not missional. I'm just a guy who believes in preaching, old school evangelism, and doing some old fashioned Bible study.
The people over at American Vision have written a little piece criitcing some of the "transformational" hype that is common in Reformed circles. I didn't appreciate the amillennial slap or the post-mill jibber-jabber. Nevertheless, it was a good article overall.
I've often found that being "transformational" means being artsy and all gung-ho about engaging the beat nick scene. But it doesn't ever seem to go much farther--as if the arts were the whole extent of culture.
I'm all for taking a Francis Schaeffer attitude towards the arts. Let's engage it, but let's also have a balanced view. I mean, what kind of impact are we going to have on culture if all we do is stare at some paintings, pretty up our churches with nicer decorations, and say, "Dude, Jesus would have Bob Dylan on his iPod."
True transformation means attacking the gods of the age, and the biggest god of our era. That means that the most necessary place of cultural transformation today is the life sucking monster we call the state.
But most don't go there. To do so would violate some "spiritual" duty of the church and would be to "forget the real calling of the church."
This overlaps a lot with the erroneous view of "preaching the gospel." I find that many want to talk about "the gospel" but neglect the rest of God's word (i.e. law). Or, they will say things like, "We need to bring the gospel to bear on the arts." That would be ok if they would also seek to bring the gospel to bear on the realm of economics or civil magistrate.
I recently gave a series of lectures on apologetics, particularly in regards to Islam. I have debated whether or not I should post them because much of the material has been borrowed (and is lacking a great deal of the necessary citations). I have decided though, to make the material available as it has been in some demand.
Please note though that much of what is here is simply a conglomeration of other people's thoughts.
Lecture 1: The Dilemma of Islam
Lecture 2: Allah: Uncovered and Exposed
Lecture 3: More Examples of How Isalm Impales Itself
Lecture 4: The Sure Way of Salvation
Here is the corresponding study guide.
This weekend I will be presenting several talks for a seminar on Islam at Richland Correctional. My prison students asked me to do the seminar because they wanted to have the men equipped to do some apologetics with the Muslims they frequently rub shoulders with.
I will also be presenting a summary of the talks at our Sunday night Bible study (August 4th, 6:30 pm). If you are interested in learning how to refute Islam, you are more than welcome to join us for the evening. Email me for directions if you need them.
The talks include: The Dilemma of Islam; Allah: Uncovered and Exposed; The Sure Way of Salvation
I just got done printing and folding the materials that we at Providence Church are going to distribute next week at the Ashland Balloonfest. There are a total of 400 gospel tracts and sermon CD's. It isn't much in comparison to the thousands who will be in attendance for the event, but it is enough for the Lord to use mightily.
The tracts include "Is God that Picky?" and "Are you a good person?"
Pray that the Lord will cause many to read/listen to these and turn to Christ. Ask too, that the Lord will give wing to His Word and do far more than we can ask or imagine!
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.