I knew it was coming. In fact, I've known for some weeks now that it was inevitable.
Now that we're having the kids Let's Act Up! class at the park, and since every week during the time that we're there the park is covered with Jehovah's Witnesses, I knew my day would come to have to deal with them.
Forgive me if I sound negative...truth is, I am. I don't want to be cornered in my own neighborhood park by someone from a cult. I just don't.
But, today was my day.
One other mom and I were approached, and although I tried several times to graciously shut the conversation down, the man wouldn't stop.
Yet, glory be to God, all the many things that I've spent the past 8.5 years studying from His Word just came flowing out.
I admit, I was shaking. That's a bit odd for me, but I think it comes from the fact that I am jealous for God's Word to be preserved in Spirit and in Truth, and having grown up in a cult myself, I hate the way that cults twist the Word of God.
We started off with the 144,000 thing. The JWs believe that only 144,000 are "true Christians", and all the others will only experience Heaven on Earth. The 144,000 is a reference from Revelation, but the truth is that the 144,000 are 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel who will be used of God during the tribulation to share the good news of Yeshua with the Jews. (Thank you, Precept Ministries, for the "LORD, I'm Torn Between Two Masters Study")
The man was surprised (greatly!) that I knew anything about that.
Then he asked me if I was a Christian. Once I said yes, he asked me how often I read my Bible. To which I told him everyday.
I could tell that this was an answer He wasn't used to hearing from people who profess to be Christians.
So, then he started in on the trinity. He said that Jesus wasn't God because when He hung on the cross, He prayed to God.
The years of study allowed me to take Him to John chapter one and we read together that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."....and then that later the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Thank you, Precept, for the "God, Are You There" study of the book of John...1st one I took, almost 9 years ago!)
I showed him that when you read that in context, it's clear that the Word is Jesus.
Then we went to Genesis where I explained to him that God said, "Let Us make man in Our own image"...and that the word used there is Elohim. I then explained to him that the "him" in Elohim shows plurality. It's NOT one person..and that Genesis also shows us that the Spirit was present at creation, and that the New Testament shows us that all things were made by and through and for Jesus. ( Thank you, Precept, for the
"Discover 4 Yourself " children's study "God's Amazing Creation").
It was amazing...the more he brought up, the more God brought back to mind all that He has spent this past decade (almost) teaching me from His Word.
One of the ones that really pushed my button was when he started asking me about the Jews. He told me it was the Jews that put Jesus to death. (OK, so this got me mad enough that I was shaking..but, I was still kind, I hope.)
I said, "NO THEY DIDN'T! OUR SIN killed Jesus! The Bible makes it clear that all have sinned, and that SIN is what cost Jesus His life." ( Thank you, Precept, for the 40-Minute study, "Having a Real Relationship With God".)
I forgot to add that you can't blame one people group for killing someone who CAME TO EARTH FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF LAYING HIS LIFE DOWN!
He went on to bash the Jews and say that they'd had their chance and they didn't accept Jesus then and won't now.
I explained to him that one of my best friends in the world is a Messianic Jew, all believer in Jesus, and all Jew...and that she and her husband pastor a congregation whose sole purpose is to share the JEWISH Messiah with the Jewish people in the North Valley...and that last month alone they saw 14 Jews accept Yeshua as Messiah.
Praise God for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then he went into this whole diatribe about God's name being Jehovah. I said, "Yes. That's ONE of His names...but there are many."
He didn't know, evidently, that God has many names found in the Hebrew, and that each one shows another area of His character. (Thank you, Precept, for the "LORD, I Want To Know You" study!)
I told him that there would be no salvation for me without the Jews. My Savior was a Jew. The New Testament makes it clear that the Olive Tree (Israel, the Jews) is who the promises were made to, and that I am but a branch grafted into Israel and her promises, through Yeshua.
So, he launched into covenants, and said, "None of God's covenants were conditional".
OOOOOHHHHHH! Yessiree Bob! We just finished the Covenant study a few months ago...I was ready for this one! (Thank you again, Precept Ministries, for the Covenant study!)
I said, "OH YES THEY WERE! Not all of His covenants were conditional. The Abrahamic covenant surely wasn't. But the Mosaic covenant was, without a doubt, conditional!"
I told the man, in love, that I didn't want anything from Watchtower...the magazines that they publish. I also told him that I know that he has been blinded by lies from the evil one, and that I will be praying for him to know the Truth.
When I got home and recalled it all for Shane, I realized...I'm going to start going to the park with a pile of 40-Minute Studies..most likely the one, "Having a Real Relationship With God", because it covers the basics of salvation perfectly.
The next time I see him, or the next time that I am approached in that way, I am going to tell them that I grew up in a cult, and that I understand the bondage associated with one. In a cult, there is no freedom in Christ..there is only legalism and bondage and fear.
I'm going to give them one of the books, and tell them that I have nothing to gain from giving it to them. (They are taught that they gain points toward eternity based upon how much time they spend handing out literature and going door to door...their "salvation" is based upon works, not upon the shed blood of Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection.)
I'm going to tell them that I had to pay for those books with my own money, and that no one will even know that I've given it out...but that their eternity rests upon seeking God and asking Him if they have believed a lie or not.
That's why I love Precept Ministries...they don't tell you what to believe, they teach you how to get into the Word of God for yourself, and let Him teach you the truth.
I've never been more thankful for all that I've learned through Precept study guides and God's Word, than I was today.
It impressed upon my heart in a very deep way, how VITAL it is that we KNOW God's Word!
If I hadn't known the Word, I might have been led to believe some of what the man had to say today.
It also solidified once again, how crucially important it is for my children to know the Word of God.
The day will come when what Mom and Dad think may not hold much water for them...but if they've learned to trust God and His Word, then they will always know where to go to find the truth.
By the way, new Precept studies will be starting soon!
We're going to be having a family study, akin to a home church, in our home starting in the next few weeks, and I think we may actually do the Covenant study again, because Shane really wants to do it, and because it's just so foundational.
Children and parents will all be invited. I'll keep you posted with the details, but if you think you'd like to join us, please leave a comment here to let me know to be sure to e-mail you with the details.
"You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free!"