Thursday, March 23, 2006
Witnessing to Mormons
For those of you keeping up with my blog, you know that I have been enjoying the Way of the Master Radio. It is not because I always agree with them--I definitely don't. But they have a heart for proclaiming the gospel, and I appreciate their sincere zeal to convert people to Christ.

While I do not plan on regularly blogging on this radio show, a recent episode was particularly relevant to my interests and ministry. On the first hour of the March 22, 2006 show, Todd Friel and Ray Comfort witness to a couple of inactive Mormons.

I have a couple of quick thoughts about their encounters. First, I welcome their striving to challenge these Mormons with the gospel. If only more evangelicals were so eager! However, I still finished listening and wondering: how effective were they? Don't get me wrong, they made some good points. I also know that the Holy Spirit can work through any presentation of the good news of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, they didn't seem to properly contextualize their message to Mormons, nor did they provide the necessary differentiation between their message and LDS beliefs.

I could easily see these Mormons "responding" to what they had heard and yet returning to the LDS church. In a matter of fact, I think Friel and Comfort may have realized this as well when Comfort said, "Hey Todd. I was just going to say to Chris and Eric that our aim isn't to drive them back to the Mormon church. God forbid." I'm glad for this thought, but also believe that a properly contextualized gospel would automatically show them that they cannot stay in Mormonism as true disciples of Christ.

I just don't believe that a canned, one-size-fits-all approach to witnessing is the right way to witness, even if it is rooted in the biblical law/gospel contrast. We need to understand what the one we are witnessing to believes and then relay the gospel message to them in an understandable and relevant way.
 
posted at 5:00 PM  
Comments (4)


4 Comments:
At 8:22 PM, Blogger Aaron Shafovaloff said...

How would you suggest someone give a "properly contextualized gospel" to a Mormon?

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Justin said...

I would love to hear some particulars that you don't agree with them about.

 
At 8:41 AM, Anonymous PastorMike said...

John,

Your comments about the appropriateness of a canned approach to evangelism hit the nail on its proverbial head. This is especially true when witnessing to someone caught up in a belief system such as Mormonism or Jehovah's Witnesses where the adherants to those systems use the same terms and language that evangelical Christians use but pour entirely different meanings into those terms.

Your fellow brother and seminarian (at Southern no less).

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger John said...

Aarron, thank you for your question. But I do not believe that I could provide an appropriate answer to your question in a blog comment. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Mark J. Cares' book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons. It would really help answer your question (and keeps the biblical law/gospel distinction that the Way of the Master folks love to use).

Justin, it is not so much that I disagreed with anything they said as it was that I do not think that they crossed the communication divide. As I have often heard (and said), "Mormons have the same vocabulary, but use a different dictionary." The Cares' book I mentioned above includes a dictionary of "Mormonese." It also deals with other important contextual issues needed to witness to Mormons well.

Pastor Mike, Thank you for your encouragement! Maybe we should get together sometime. Just e-mail me.

 

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Name:
John

I am a former Mormon who has been saved by Jesus Christ. Now I am a missionary involved with the Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR). I seek to live in light of Paul's words: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

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