Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Reminder to be "Always Ready."

On Saturday, I took my two oldest boys with me to do some shopping for my wife at our new Wal-Mart Supercenter. By the way, this is the same Wal-Mart I wrote about on a previous occasion.

Recently, the Supercenter has become the staging area for a hodge-podge of solicitors hassling customers coming in and out of the store. They range from the typical Girl Scouts selling cookies, to fitness clubs signing up memberships, and volunteers from an assortment of political activist groups gathering signatures for their particular pet issue. The solicitors plant themselves at every entrance so that no matter where you enter or exit, you are required to run a gauntlet of clip board wielding people demanding that you stop to buy their product, give to their cause, or sign some petition. I am slowly learning to utilize the pretending the solicitors don't exist stare ahead maneuver.

My boys and I managed to get into the store with out being stopped. Upon existing, however, I was approached by a nicely dressed woman who says to me, "Would you like some literature that can tell you how to have a joyous life?" or something along those lines as she thrust a comic book looking booklet in my hands. The booklet had no title on it and pictured some grassy lakeside park similar to the illustration I posted above. I immediately recognized it to be something from the Jehovah's Witnesses, and as I looked at it, a second lady who had the classic "looking into the eye of a chicken brain slugs are controlling my mind" appearance to her, came in from behind and began to hand me an Awake! magazine, another Watchtower publication.

[Now, if you will excuse my brief aside, let me digress just a moment. I have always wondered why cult groups like JWs and 7th Day Adventists picture eternal life as a grassy park filled with well dressed picnickers. Who gets dressed up to go on a picnic? Yet here we have little girls in dresses feeding ducks. Why is that? All the fathers are wearing dress pants, maybe sometimes even a suit, and the moms fancy sundresses. Personally, I was hoping for the eternal paradise with the big, loose fitting robes so my tummy can move around.]

At any rate...

Now as soon as the lady handed me the comic book and I realized who it was talking with me, I drew a blank. Perhaps it was my reviewing the shopping list to make sure I had bought everything I needed, or maybe it was me telling my two year old to sit down in the shopping cart, but what ever it was, I was totally taken off guard and stood there stammering to this lady.
You see, I think all Christians should be prepared to at least provide something of a nominal response in encounters like that. Even if it is a simple, "you are wrong about the person of Christ," or what ever. I have made it my practice to think through what I could say in 30 seconds or less when faced with potential encounters with religious solicitors. What could I say to Mormon missionaries who may stop me on the street, or perhaps Muslims manning a booth at the county fair, or atheists from the secular club at the local community club.

In the case with JWs, I have always thought that if I was approached by them in public, I can quickly say, "You know, I am a Bible believing Christian and Jehovah's Witnesses depart drastically from orthodox biblical Christianity when it comes to the person of Christ." If the JW is interested in pursuing a conversation with me, then we could talk specifics, but generally, they don't want to argue or talk, so at least I have given them something to think about if God is doing a spiritual work in the heart.

Here was my encounter and I stood speechless. I was trying to run a search in my mind as to the main theological talking points of JWs and was coming up with nothing. After what seemed to be an eternity, I sort of blurted out, "Are you JWs?" to which the first lady (who did all the talking) responded they were. Then I slurred something like, "I'm a Bible believing Christian, so I am not interested." To which the lady says, "So are we. I believe the Bible just like you." Thankfully, the Spirit of God must have empowered me at that point, because I became a tad more confident and responded, "No, Jehovah's Witnesses believe many unorthodox things about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit." Before she could get her next words out, I continued by asking, "Don't you believe Michael the Archangel is Jesus?" They both acknowledged that is what they did believe. I then finished up my thought by saying, "Well, if you truly believed the Bible, you would know that it does not teach Jesus was Michael the Archangel. That is a false teaching from Charles Russell." When I said that, she excused herself and her friend from our conversation and told me to have a wonderful day. I prayed for them both when I got into the car to go home.

Reviewing the encounter in my mind, I just exhort all you readers out there to be prepared for situations like that. Yeah, perhaps you may be thrown off guard because you have something else on your mind at the time, but those are providentially divine opportunities. Don't just throw them away with a dismissive wave of the hand and a blunt "not interested." Even if you stammer and stumble through out the conversation, God can use it. May we take Peter's words to heart from 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready to give reason for the hope.


Blogger Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

I do not recall the professor's name, but years ago the Master's Seminary had a professor with a ready made answer for JWs. He simply would look at her and say, "Madam, you need to get out of that cult and get saved."

2:46 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger Highland Host said...

Right, first the gag: Is the bloke Cesar Romero?

Then the serious bit: It is NOT easy to deal with the JW who approaches you in the street. In your house, it's your space. I have the HUGE Bible there to intimidate them. I still have a Bible in the street (I always carry one), but the surroundings are less friendly. I tend to clam up, but I try to use the JW question as a springboard.

11:53 AM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Danny Haszard said...

Think about this-When the devil comes knocking on your door he may not have the 'dark goth look'.They could be smartly dressed and wielding the Christian Bible.

I have Jehovah's Witnesses family in the usa who practice the Watchtower JW enforced ritual shunning that i have not seen or heard from in 15 years.

The central CORE dogma of the Watchtower is Jesus second coming (invisibly) in 1914 and is a lie.Jehovah's Witnesses are a spin-off of the man made Millerite movement of 1840.

A destructive cult of false teachings, that frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths (bogus blood transfusion ban).

Yes,you can 'check out anytime you want but you can never leave',because they can and will hold your family hostage.

The world has the Internet now,and there are tens of thousands of pages up from disgruntled ex-Jehovah's Witnesses like myself who have been abused by the Watchtower cult.

Jehovah's Witnesses are often a mouth that prays a hand that kills.The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
Danny Haszard former Jehovah's Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation www.dannyhaszard.com

2:30 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Gummby said...

Fred: thanks for this post; the reminder is good, but it is also nice to know that others out there aren't always prepared; not that it's good, but it's good not to be alone.

7:13 PM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey matt,
I noticed you are from Arkansas. Where exactly do you live?

I am from Batesville.


12:27 PM, April 28, 2006  

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