Monday, October 26, 2009

Taking The Gospel To Mormons

A few days ago, Kristie and I were dropping off our children at Grandma’s house so that we could make some pastoral visits together. As we drove onto her street, we saw a couple of Mormon missionaries knocking on doors. My heart became immediately heavy. I knew I had to engage those young men and share the true Gospel with them.
I prayed and had Kristie drop me off at the corner with my Bible. She parked and began praying for me. As I approached the young men, they were at the door of an elderly lady who looked quit perplexed. The lady asked if the guys were with me. I responded, “No Mam.” She said, “Good! You guys go talk to him!”
I invited the guys to step out to the sidewalk and out of the lady’s yard. I asked them what they were doing and they began to explain to me the message they were sharing. I had spent some time investigating Mormon doctrine and am well aware of their false belief system, which includes a false view of Scripture, a false view of God, and a false view of the atonement of Jesus Christ, just to name a few. As with most false religions, their message is works based. In fact, those two missionaries have devoted themselves to two years of service as part of their journey to merit Divine favor. This made for an interesting discussion when they asked my motive for stopping to talk with them, since I am not working for my salvation. I simply explained that I love the Lord, who saved me by His grace, and because of that I have a love for them. Therefore, I stopped out of a genuine concern for them.
I began talking to them about the One True God of the Bible, explaining the fall of mankind and the reality of our sinfulness. I pointed them to the law of God (the Ten Commandments), which demonstrates our lostness. I then explained that God is a Good and Just God, Who must punish sin. This, of course, poses a dilemma. How can a Good and Just God remain Just, while forgiving guilty offenders? That is where I highlighted the greatest act of love ever known, the cross of Jesus Christ. I explained that on the cross, Christ paid our sin debt in full, declaring from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED!” I told them that He completely wipes away our debt when we repent of sin and put our trust in Him ALONE for salvation, thus His work on the cross is credited to our account as payment in full. Our works add nothing to that Great Work. In fact, the teaching of “good works” as a necessity for salvation cheapens the message of the cross. I explained that genuine believers, who have been forgiven by God, respond by following the Lord in obedience. Thus, our good works are not the cause of our salvation, but instead result from having been saved.
We had some interesting dialogue concerning theology. I answered the questions they posed to me, continually pointing them back to the cross and the Gospel. As much as I wanted to debate them over their various points of belief, I was aware that ultimately, unless they heard the Gospel and responded to it with humility, I could debate and answer thousands of questions, to no avail. Therefore, I sought to keep the discussion cross-centered. I was able to go through the Gospel multiple times, making sure they understood clearly.
In the end, we shook hands. I again expressed my love and concern for them. I offered them a Gospel tract, which they accepted (very rare for a Mormon). As I walked away, praying for them, they got into their car and left the area. I do not know what will become of those guys. But this I do know, God allowed me to share the Gospel with them clearly, while avoiding my temptation to chase rabbits and debate. I do pray they will see the Love and the Glory of God in the atoning sacrifice of His Son on the cross. I pray they will grasp the reality that salvation is a gracious work of God in the lives of undeserving sinners, and not by human effort. Paul told the Ephesians, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8-9, NIV).

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