Posts Tagged ‘Evangelism

23
Sep
11

Winning the person or winning the battle?

That is a question I often have to ask myself when talking with a Mormon.  That is a question I often ask other Christians who are dialoguing with Mormons.

It’s an important question because it deals with attitudes.  And the answer will often be seen in how I talk, won’t it?  Not so much in what I say, but especially in how I say it.  Won’t my tone be dramatically different when I’m focusing on winning the person?

That was the case with the prophet Isaiah.  The 15th and 16th chapters of his book record the Lord’s judgment on the country of Moab, one of Israel’s long-standing enemies.  Therefore you would expect to hear Isaiah speaking with a little glee.  After so long, Moab is finally going to be punished!  But that is not what you see.  Instead of glee, we see sadness. Just a couple of examples:  “My heart shall cry out for Moab” (15:5).   “Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer.” (16:9). Isaiah announced the Lord’s judgment with a tear in his eye and with agony in his voice.  It is obvious that he was concerned for them – even though they were enemies.

Whenever I talk with a Mormon I pray that the Lord allows me to do two things.  The first is to speak his truth to them.  Never do I want to compromise that truth or even soft pedal it.  It’s way too important.  Especially do I want to unceasingly proclaim the amazing truth that it was entirely Jesus’ work, and not one ounce of my work, that has brought me into a wonderful relationship with Heavenly Father now and gives me the unshakeable confidence that I will live with him for all eternity.  Jesus didn’t just open the door for me and now it’s up to me to enter and proceed to the Father, as one Mormon told me last week.  No, he did it all.  It’s especially that truth that I want to always proclaim.

But I also pray that I do that in love.  That my goal is not to win the battle, but to win the person.  That I do that, not with a sense of satisfaction that I’m right and they are wrong; but rather with sadness when the person doesn’t accept that and great joy when they do.  Especially do I pray that I reflect that in how I talk – in my tone, even when that tone is misunderstood.

I decided to share this today for two reasons.  One is because I think it’s an important reminder for us all.  But the other reason is because I just received an email from a concerned reader of this blog.  He was concerned about the tone of many of the comments.  He was wondering how all this could be God-pleasing.

Therefore it is my plea that all who comment do so respectfully.  There is nothing wrong with taking strong stands on an issue.  But let’s try to do this respectfully – always working on really understanding what the other person meant before commenting ourselves – always addressing the issue rather than the person.  I thank you in advance for doing that.

 

17
Jul
08

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.

14
Jul
08

A Brief Mormon Definition of Salvation

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Have you ever told your Mormon friends that you believe that Jesus saved you and they readily agreed with you? Numerous Christians have shared with me their experience in this — and have been frustrated to no end. They know their Mormon friends believe differently about salvation, but it sure sounds Christian at the surface.

 

The reason for your frustration is that when you do dig deeper you find that Mormonism defines salvation much differently than Christianity does. When Christians talk about salvation, we are talking about how we can go to heaven because Jesus saved us from the punishment of sin by paying for our sins with his death. On the other hand, most Mormons equate salvation with being resurrected, not going to heaven. When Mormons talk to you about salvation, they think of Jesus saving them from the grave. Jesus has provided a way to save them from physical death. That’s why they can agree with us when we talk about Jesus saving us.

 

In sharing their belief about salvation, I don’t think that most Mormons are not trying to be deceptive. This is simply the definition that they were taught and raised up with in the church. Consider this quote from a book for small children. “Jesus was the first to be resurrected and because of him, all the people on the earth will someday be resurrected. That is why we call him ‘Savior’. He saved the world from death. He is the resurrection and the life.” (Talks for Tots, p. 113)

 

The word, “salvation”, is just one of numerous words that are defined differently by Mormons and Christians. Therefore, it is essential, when talking with your Mormon friends, to carefully define key Christian terms and right them down as a reference. That would be the loving and respectful thing to do.

 

My name is Mark Cares and I encourage you to speak the truth in love to your Mormon friends, neighbors and family members.

 

 

 

10
Jul
08

MORMONS AND FORGIVENESS

We Christians receive tremendous comfort and peace of mind knowing that God forgives us on the basis of Jesus’ death for us.  But do you realize that Mormons do not receive that same comfort?  In one of their most popular books of Mormonism, it reads;  “It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when.  It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you.  That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.”  (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 325)

 

Did you catch how all the stress is on what they have to do?  There’s no mention of what Jesus has done.  How would you like to hear that regularly?  How would you feel if you heard that regularly?  Ironically, that quote is from a book entitled, The Miracle of Forgiveness.  As that quote demonstrates, there’s not much miraculous in the forgiveness taught by the Mormon Church.

 

Remember that the next time you are with a Mormon friend.  Remember that Mormons aren’t familiar with the free and full forgiveness we have in Jesus.  Share with them how you are forgiven – that you are forgiven not because of what you have done, but because of what Jesus did for you.  Also share with them the wonderful peace you have because of that.  And finally tell them that they too can have that – through Jesus.

 

I’m Mark Cares, encouraging you to speak the truth in love to Mormons

 

 

 




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