Today was an interesting day for me. It was about 6pm and I was just waking up from a two hour nap when I heard a knock on my door. It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to get myself out of bed and I was actually thinking about leaving the door unanswered. I then heard the door bell ring and finally decided to get myself up to find out who it was at the door. Opening the door I was met by a couple of well dressed, tie rocking, gentlemen. They were a couple of Mormon missionaries hitting up the local apartment complex that I lived in.
I was a little groggy but decided to invite them in anyway and asked them to have a seat. I then went into the restroom to pray for my time with these guys as well as splash my face with some water to wake myself up. It started off great as we discussed a little about where we were from and why I was in Virginia. I told them about Jessica and where I worked. They were three weeks new to Lynchburg just coming from Bluefield, VA. One guy was from Utah and the other was from Arizona.
After getting to know each other one of the guys began to talk about the love of God and asked me what I thought about God’s love. I talked about my spiritual pilgrimage and my background and conversion to Protestant Christianity. I then began to talk about my thoughts on God’s love and briefly discussed some of his other attributes such as his kindness, mercy, grace, justice, and wrath. I began to unravel the Gospel of Jesus Christ and noted that no one seeks God and that no one is righteousness due to our innate sin in our hearts. I then talked about the justice of God and how the love of God has to meet the demands of His justice by sending His one and only son to die for undeserving sinners. I won’t go into detail about everything we discussed but will mention that the Gospel and the doctrine of substitutionary atonement was explained to them from an evangelical protestant point of view. To my surprise they did not have anything to say but one of the guys started to talk about faith. He stated that faith was believing and trusting in Christ. In response to this I asked him how one is saved to which he said by believing in Jesus and his work and following him and his commandments. This sounded good on the surface when I first heard this after all it is partly true we are saved by trusting in Christ although I would have drawn out even further the nature of faith and emphasized that it is by grace alone through faith alone that we are truly saved and as a result there is a spilling forth of works in glad obedience. At the time it was a little difficult for me to see the difference between my view and theirs. Hopefully my presentation of the Gospel earlier was clear enough for them to see the distinction. Now that I think back some of the implications of what they stated supported a view of works righteousness.
For the most part it was a friendly and God glorifying dialogue. We talked about some other secondary issues. I did feel that I asked more questions then they did due to the fact that I wanted to know more about their faith considering how little I knew about Mormonism. I also asked more questions to better articulate their position. Hopefully I gave them equal room to express their paradigm of life and of God. At the end of our discussion he asked if he could leave The Book of Mormon with me to read. I told him yes that would be fine and thanked him for coming over. They gave me their phone number and they asked if we could end in prayer. To my surprise he actually asked me to pray of which I happily said yes. Much of my prayer was thanking God for His kindness and goodness in our lives. I also asked God that he would reveal himself to these individuals and to keep them safe during their travels.
I later talked to a couple of friends about the encounter and one friend mentioned Keller’s approach to those of differing views. From my encounter I would have to say that I have been somewhat influenced by Keller’s kind and sincere approach to others of different faiths. A simple, personable, sincere dialogue is typically the best platform to share your faith. As Christians we have the tendency to throw up barriers of defense any opportunity we have just to make sure we get the point across that we are in no way going to compromise our faith,which usually turns out to be a turn off to most. We may also have the tendency to think that if we did not give an apologetic treatise on the Christian faith that we have in some way failed to be an effective witness. This of course is not true.
Please pray for seeds of curiosity to be planted into these gentlemen as they go door to door. Pray that other believers in particular would take up the challenge to discuss their faith with them. What an honor it is that God would use broken vessels like myself to proclaim His Gospel. This encounter was an encouragement and a humbling time for me.