Knock, knock…..

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.

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13 thoughts on “Knock, knock…..

  1. Thank you for the comment! “What if they are right and correct in their faith?” A fair question indeed. That is definitely a possibility on the surface isn’t it? I would then in fairness ask if it is a possibility that they could be wrong? As someone who devotes much of his time going door to door to tell others about his faith I would assume has strong convictions about his doctrine and has to better make sure that what he is believing in is correct. Therefore I prayed as someone who holds differing views and just as strong convictions that a curiousity would be brought about in these gentlemen. One reason I prayed this is that as someone who holds so strongly a different worldview it would and should be natural that I would want others to share my beliefs. Another reason is that curiosity is a good starting point for genuine belief and doubt. In other words in order to rightly doubt (evangelical) Christianity in a fair way is to, as one author put it, “discern the alternate belief under each of our doubts and then to ask yourself what reasons you have for believing it?” There is an inconsistency and contradiction that one should demand more justification of anothers belief than your own. Notice my prayer was not for their “conversion” to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as protestant Christians hold such as myself although I have prayed this and hope that this would come about but in the post I simply put curiousity as a starting point to not even necessarily consider (I would hope it would lead to this) my beliefs but to fairly question my beliefs as opposed to denouncing them outright. I would not think considering and questioning to be synonymous to each other. After questioning their faith with the same intensity as my beliefs and they still do not believe at least there would be a genuine and I might add an intellectual and fair disagreement among us. This I would say would be the grounds of disagreement. As far as “seeds of curiosity in my heart”. Well, based on my approach there are seeds of curiosity that is why I asked them the questions that I did during our conversation and thought about them while at the same time thinking through the core of my beliefs rather than utterly disregarding what they were saying. Ultimately it is God who changes hearts so I’m still praying for them and for their hearts to change. Thanks again for the comment!

  2. I am always Curious. What I was attempting was to allow someone who seems genunally honest to allow that which he wishes on others be a part of his own life.
    Do not ask for that which you do not want and do not ask for it on others if you cannot take it.
    In due respect, jbignacio seems likely to understand my question and allow his curiosity to lead him to more investigation on the issue.
    Thank you Brad for allowing me to answer my own question.
    How about you?

  3. I understood your question, Ditchu, and know where you are (and were) going with it. I’m glad you were able to answer your own question, though.

    I HAVE investigated the claims of Mormonism thoroughly, and found them lacking, both in logic and in evidence. As a Christian, I am called to have a faith, but not a blind faith, but an intelligent faith. It’s not my faith that makes something true – on the contrary, it’s true, so I have faith in it. Faith is the finisher that takes us where evidence cannot go.

    As a Mormon (which I assume you are), what are YOUR top 2 evidences for the fact that Mormonism is absolutely true?

  4. “…absolutely true?”

    Absolute Truth is hard to come by. First if you can I would like to eliminate the question of Christianity. So I do not waste my 2 peices of evidance on attempting to prove Christianity as True Please answer your question in these regards:
    What are YOUR top 2 evidences for the fact that Christianity is absolutely true?

  5. jbignacio,

    I really appreciate your tone in this piece. You were not hostile toward the missionaries, which (as you mention) is a typical defensive response for many evangelical Christians. Neither were you condescending or patronizing towards them. And even though you have a firm foundation in your faith, you are willing to have an honest dialog with others. Honesty is key. My experience is that the real religious antagonists are the ones that secretly have serious misgivings about their belief system that they mask with over-the-top zeal. They don’t see it, because they are dishonest with themselves.

    As you implied, the only reliable way to come to Truth is through God’s guiding influence. Mere ‘curiosity’ can be turned into intense desire if we pray for his help. I know there are many things I don’t yet know about God’s plan (none of us can pretend to have all the details figured out), but He will grant wisdom and knowledge to those who ask, knock, and seek.

    Best of luck to you in your journey toward Truth,
    Thaddeus

  6. Thaddeus,
    Thank you for the kind comment! Well, I definitely wouldn’t want to turn anyone off of the Gospel of Jesus Christ due to personal hostility nor through patronization. Throughout the years of sharing my faith and testimony I have noticed that when the Gospel is shared clearly that it evokes one of two responses. It either ultimately offends the individual usually ending up in a rejection due to the message or it draws men to Christ. I would refer to “Two Ways to Live” on my side bar underneath the calendar for the Gospel message that I am referring to. In the case of these two men I hope and pray that it draws them to Christ. Of course as someone who believes in objective truth I do believe in the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus Christ by grace alone through faith and not by works (Eph 2:8-9) it’s my desire that those who do not hold to my beliefs come to experience and embrace Christ teachings as found in scripture alone. Thanks again! Hope you are doing great!
    -Jonathan

  7. Johathan,
    Are you well? I did not see a post in a while and wonder if all is ok?
    I do not know you, but you seem like a friendly intelligent person so I thought you might leave another post sooner. Are you good?
    -D

  8. I’m doing great Ditchu. Been busy with wedding plans and all. God has been exceedingly kind to us though. Plans have been going extremely smooth. Thanks for asking! If you are referring to adding another comment to this post I wasn’t planning on it unless I needed to respond to someone as I am to you now. Thank you for the kind comments! I hope you are doing well yourself. Have you checked out “Two Ways to Live” on my side bar. It is a great summary of the of how Christ came to die for sinful men such as myself. In response to Thaddeus I do want to mention that the Gospel offends everyone in the sense that as we are innately sinful God cannot tolerate sin unless through Christ. Again “Two Ways to Live” will elaborate on this more. 🙂 I hope you take the time to go through it. Take care!

  9. Johathan,
    Thank you. I don’t know why I was worried about you but something was just nagging me. Glad to hear you are well and… A wedding? Great! I hope you have a wonderful Wedding and better a Happy marriage. I remember when I was getting married, me and my wife put more effort into planning the marriage than the wedding. That is we looked more at how we wanted to live and what choices we would make than any of our wedding plans. But when our parrents started taking over the wedding plans we did not like the direction they were going, so we eloped. I don’t suggest it unless you are prepaired for everyone bringing it up over the next few years.

    Good Luck. (Pray for sun but prepair for rain)
    -D

  10. Ditchu,
    Thank you for the concern! Eloping has been a temptation for us (j/k). I didn’t realize how much went into a wedding. We are very excited though. We want this to be a celebration that exemplifies Christ and the taking of His bride (the church) so we have been very detailed about everything from the songs to the order of ceremony. It will surely be a joyous time for all. Thanks for the advice!
    -Jonathan

  11. jbignacio,

    I tried the link you mentioned, but it isn’t working. Thought I’d make you aware of that.

    I can understand your hesitance to investigate Mormonism, since we do talk a lot about works, but I don’t think our beliefs are really that different. We just have trouble with our vocabulary. I wrote a couple of pieces about this topic on my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have some time to read them.

    Cheers,
    Thaddeus

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