Debating Mormons: Winning the battle or winning the person

When you are witnessing to Mormons, are you more concerned about winning the person for Christ or winning every battle? That’s a question every Christian who is intent on witnessing needs to struggle with.

Too often, I fear, we fight meaningless battles over Mormon history or antiquated Mormon doctrines and in the process lose the person because we never focused on witnessing Jesus to them. Too often, we debate Mormonism with Mormons rather than witnessing Christ to them.

We can learn a lot from studying St. Paul’s witnessing approaches. Take, for example, his witness in Athens as recorded in Acts 17. He didn’t argue Greek philosophy with those Greeks. Neither did he pounce on them for having many altars to many gods. In short, he didn’t major on minors. Instead he majored on the major issue — Jesus Christ and the free forgiveness we have through him.

This takes self-discipline. It’s difficult not getting side-tracked. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, said that when he first came to them he had to resolve to preach nothing but Christ and him crucified. The most important thing our Mormon friends need to hear is that they don’t have to do anything to live eternally with Heavenly Father. They don’t have to do anything because Jesus has already done everything. Like Paul, be resolved to focus on Jesus. Witness Christ to Mormons. Don’t debate Mormonism with them. That’s the loving thing to do.

My name is Mark Cares, encouraging you to speak the truth in love to Mormons.

6 Responses to “Debating Mormons: Winning the battle or winning the person”

  1. February 21, 2009 at 2:05 am

    Mark, I really like the spirit of this post. I’ve witnesses several times over debates between Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals that were more focused on winning or vanquishing the “opponent.” I appreciate that in this post you are making a distinction between “meaningless battles” and and more meaningful “witnessing approaches” that focus on preaching Christ and him crucified.

    I think it is very important for individuals to consistently evaluate their approaches with people of other faiths and monitor the results of those communications. I wish more individuals would reflect more on the nature of their actual goal, contemplate on the merits and demerits of particular approaches, and evaluate whether the approach or method actually achieves the intended goal.

  2. 2 GERMIT
    February 21, 2009 at 2:58 am

    I think it is very important for individuals to consistently evaluate their approaches with people of other faiths and monitor the results of those communications.

    very well put…..I also liked:

    contemplate on the merits and demerits of particular approaches, and evaluate whether the approach or method actually achieves the intended goal.

    Spot on, sir….know yourself…know your audience (as best you can)….know what is (and isn’t) happening.

    take your gifts, work, and calling seriously, do NOT take yourself too seriously.


  3. 3 JesusLover
    February 22, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Mark – I think this is the most important post that you could ever put on your blog and one that we need to constantly keep before our eyes when we are talking to mormons.
    I have read your book a couple of times and now subscribe to your blogs from your site. I find them the best to read not only to hear what mormons think or their responses to what we say but to find out the best way to lovingly respond to them.
    My best friend is a mormon – I love him very much and desire for him to have that “peace that passes all understanding” and a true life in Christ. Right now he is tormented by his sins and knows that he is not worthy to live with Heavenly Father. He is genuine and has a better grasp of his sinful nature than many people I have known. I made alot of mistakes in the past while debating about our beliefs. I realize too that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts, not what I write to him about.

    I have started speaking to him about my own spiritual life. The peace I feel – the love that the Father has for me and my own sins and my response to them. If God can work best with us when we are honest with Him – I think that honesty with others and a genuine caring must be the right way too.

    I intend to read your entire blog and the other two on your site also. I find it very useful to read the responses from commited mormons because it helps me to see how much language and the different way that we use it impacts on what we say. I love my friend so much and want him to find the real Jesus. I don’t care about winning debates or discussing endless points – you are so right about focusing on Jesus and what you wrote about Paul determining to preach only Christ crucified…………I am going to pray this also for myself.

    Thankyou so much for your ministry!!! I’ve never commented here before but I am reading daily.

  4. 4 JesusLover
    February 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I meant to check that I want to be notified of follow-up comments so that is why I am sending this little email – I didn’t see the box to check. TQ.

  5. 5 markcares
    February 23, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. To get notices of follow-up comments all you have to do is click on the RSS feed icon for comments.

  6. 6 germit
    February 23, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Mark: I like your post….mostly. I hedge because I am very hesitant to get locked in on one particular approach to talking to people about Jesus and the gospel. I’m admittedly new to this arena, so I’m open to hearing what has worked and what has not. I do not want to reinvent the wheel, unless a re-invented wheel is a better wheel.

    I’ve noticed, though , that sometimes people have some success using “style z”, and they get so jazzed about it, that this becomes the “way it’s done”. and of course we ALL think we are biblical, and can cite a verse or verses to show that. I’m not minimizing using the WORD or studying the life of Paul, if anything, I see a lot of diversity in the NT regarding how people are reached and what worked for whom. Maybe call that “Godly flexibility”

    some things that I have seen that really do NOT work

    1)personal attacks, esp. on a person’s honesty, sincerity, or intelligence (I’m sure there is more that could be added to the list)

    2)lurid descriptions of both JS or BY ; this is tempting because they are easy targets (in my opinion) but such descriptions seem to be conversation stoppers. I think there’s ways of getting the same information across without the National Enquirer headline.

    3) using the “c” word indescriminately….there may be a time and place, but leaning on this description usually ends POLITE conversation….and I think that’s the goal.

    4)Sarcasm….unless directed towards yourself is usually a dud, but if used sparingly, maybe….for some, it’s like the only spice they cook with, and the dish served is “YECHHHH”

    thanks for indulging some GERMIT-opinionoids.

    peace and rest on you and yours

Comments are currently closed.

July 2008

Blog Stats

  • 182,897 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 997 other followers

%d bloggers like this: