Resources to Reach Those Caught Up in Error

September 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM 2 comments

I’ve dealt – to some extent – with what I perceive to be doctrinal errors of those within Seventh-day Adventism.  It would be impossible to cover all of the sacred cows of this group and many others have taken the time to catalog these errors, in either book form or their websites.

As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, debating does little to nothing to convert a person.  It is God the Father who draws a person and if He does not draw them, they will not come to Him.  Granted, presenting truth is a good way to start, but that of course is no guarantee that the truth will be embraced.  All one has to do is read through the Gospels and the book of Acts to learn of the many times that multitudes of people heard the truth from Jesus (or Paul, etc.), and simply rejected that truth out of hand.

It is important to remember this as we endeavor to enter into discussions with people that will inevitably lead to disagreements over biblical doctrine and truth.  I recall years ago – while in religious graduate school – my beliefs were still forming and when someone said something I disagreed with, quite frankly, I could get nasty about it.  That is tragic and it simply points to my lack of compassion and immaturity.

I’ve grown some since then and while I do not have all the answers today (and never will in this life), I at least have arrived to the point where I can allow another person to have a difference of opinion.  Unfortunately, in matters of religious dialogue, it too often derails into personal attacks and that is the most tragic part.

I need to constantly remind myself that the most I can do is present the truth.  I cannot force anyone to embrace it and they will not embrace it if they do not realize it’s the truth.  In fact, though some will come to understand the truth as truth, they may still reject it.

Recall on the night Jesus was betrayed.  Here He stood – God of the universe – put on display and expected to answer to those He created.  At one point, He had to put up with being physically slapped in the face because He spoke the truth.

Jesus responds to the High Priest by stating, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said,” (John 18:20-21).

For the above statement, one of the officers standing near Jesus hauled off and slapped Him in the face!  I shudder to consider how that same officer must have felt going into eternity.  Did he receive salvation before he did so?  If not, imagine the utter horror of realizing that he had slapped God and moreover, he slapped Him because he thought Jesus was being insolent.

Jesus’ response was pure and simple.  “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” (v. 23).  Jesus.  Lover of my soul and lover of the man’s soul who struck Him did not respond in wrath, but in purity.  There was no answer that the officer could have given that would have been satisfactory.

Throughout the Gospels and Acts, we read of situations where individuals and groups rose up against the truth of the gospel.  They wanted no part of it, doing whatever they could to eliminate it.

Yet, we also see a glimpse at times of those who are thoroughly caught up in error and begin to see through the darkness to the light of truth.  Look what happened with the first martyr – Stephen.  He was killed by a group of jealous religious leaders who wanted no part of the truth because it condemned their attitudes and lack of truth.  They were religious leaders for selfish gain and wanted no part of having to embrace the truth; truth that would have forced them to forsake their careers.  So Stephen was stoned to death as Saul watched.  Obviously, this tremendously impacted Saul because God began to open his eyes to the truth.  Saul saw a man going to death for what he believed and it just so happened that what he believed was the truth.  Originally giving his approval, Saul was obviously impacted enough to eventually change his mind about this Jesus.  By the time we get to Acts 9, Jesus had taken hold of this Saul and He changed his life forever.  Henceforth, he became Paul and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote a good portion of the New Testament canon.

It is easy to take things personally in the realm of religious discussion and that shouldn’t be.  Unfortunately, it is and it is because of our own insecurities.  An attack on our beliefs is an attack on, us we think.  Is this why Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons go door to door?  I’m hopeful that they do so because they believe they have the truth and they want to share that truth with those they believe do not have it.  Certainly, they cannot be blamed for that.  They can only be held responsible for what they believe – whether or not they believe the truth.

Most of us have had the experience of opening the door to one or both of these groups.  Their words are normally scripted and they essentially try their best to direct the conversation to their intended conclusion.  They are unfortunately, like telemarketers, who follow a script, asking questions like, “Now, let me verify your mailing address so that I can send you our materials free of charge,” or something similar.

More times than not, when I have taken the time to actually enter into dialogue with Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, it becomes all too clear that they want no part of it.  When I have attempted to offer my own tracts or materials to Jehovah’s Witnesses, they haven’t been able to leave fast enough!  This is due to the fact that they believe that if they accept anything from a “pagan,” or if a “pagan” says he will pray for them, they are going to experience a curse, not a blessing.

To that end, maybe you have found yourself on the inside of the door, with members of some cult on the outside.  You want to know what to say and you certainly want to say something.  You want that something to be so beneficial and intelligent that their eyes will immediately open to the truth!

When we read through the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus did not have a prepared script.  He literally met people where they were at and He gave them answers to their unique situations.  The woman at the well received His words as truth because what Jesus said was truth.  The rich young ruler rejected Jesus’ words even though Jesus also spoke truth to him.

In other words, hearing and realizing the truth does not guarantee that an individual will embrace that truth.  Ultimately, it is up to God.  At the same time, it seems to be up to the individual.  Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2 that people perish because they have no love for the truth.  Another portion of Scripture tells us that unless the Father draws a person, they will not come to Him, (cf. John 6:44).  So which is it?  Well, it is obviously both.  I cannot marry the two in my mind.  Maybe you can.

Jesus never stopped telling people the truth.  Neither did Paul.  The people of the early church lived to share the truth with anyone who would listen.  We need to be doing the same.  That is a difficult thing though, isn’t it?  It’s not telling the truth that is difficult.  It is wanting that truth to open the eyes of the individual caught up in lies.  We want the truth to penetrate so that the person will embrace the truth and in so doing, embrace Jesus and His salvation.  Knowing the truth is only part of it.  Embracing it is the rest of it.

So, should we know some of the things that are wrong with groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism?  Absolutely.  God can certainly take our knowledge and use it to His glory by converting the lost.  Will we ever be able to learn everything about these groups?  Probably not.  Most of us don’t have the time and are not called to a ministry of apologetics.

What can we do in the meantime?  We can learn the basics and trust God for the rest.  To that end, here are some resources you might find beneficial as you endeavor to reach out to the lost in order that their eyes might first be opened to the truth and second, so that they will embrace the truth by God’s grace.

Here is an interesting resource to give you good information with respect to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.  It’s called “Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock” and it is produced by Michael Licona.  It is a downloadable and free PDF document.

Here’s another resource that is very valuable.  It is produced by David Cloud and called “Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible and Christianity.”  This is NOT free.  It covers a multitude of erroneous doctrine.  For instance, it goes into great depth covering Ellen G. White’s (Seventh-day Adventism) doctrine called The Great Disappointment as well as other areas.

Another book also produced by David Cloud deals specifically with Seventh-day Adventism called, “Avoiding the Snare of Seventh Day Adventism.”  It can be purchased at the following link:

Here is a website that comes from an Ex-Adventist perspective that you might find valuable:

Here are a number of websites created by ex-Mormons.  Exercise care with any of the links provided here because some of these – while having left Mormonism – advocate no religion at all.  I have not had the time to go through them with a fine tooth comb.

Resources to reach out to Jehovah’s Witnesses:

The links here are merely a few.  There are plenty of resources available in bookstores and on the ‘Net for those who are interested.

Of course, the best defense against errors of the above groups is the Bible itself.  Whether it’s Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventism or other groups, most have a book or set of writings they refer to and to them, those books or writings are often on par with Scripture.  In at least some cases, these writings are held in higher esteem than Scripture.

To me, this is also where Roman Catholicism falls flat on its face.  It is not impossible to be an authentic Christian as a Catholic, but the reality is that with everything they throw at a person, it is extremely difficult to wade through the error to get to the truth.

I have discussed this with many Catholics who firmly believe that whatever the Pope says and whatever is taught within the tradition of the church is equal to Scripture.  This is patently false and it is the quickest way to grow error in an organization.

No Pope is perfect.  All have been and continue to be fallen individuals with sin natures who are in dire need of salvation.  Salvation does not come through works, but by grace and the Roman Catholic Church does a terrible thing by emphasizing that salvation is part grace and part works.  Who knows how many people have been kept out of heaven because of the terrible lies taught within Catholicism?  My wife saw the lies a year or two before we met and by the time we had met and were dating, she had left the RCC in a cloud of dust.  The Lord opened her eyes to the truth of His Word.

One thing we must all remember is this:  we are fighting for souls.  If you are fighting to win a debate, you’ve already lost.  In fact, if the debate is all you care about, then you obviously have no concern for the truth or for the spiritual condition of those with whom you disagree.

I want people to come to know the Lord.  I want them to see the truth and I want them to embrace that truth, which means embracing Jesus as God and His salvation as the only means of gaining eternal security, period.

I hope I’ve given you a few resources that will simply whet your appetite.  The greatest resource we have in winning souls to Christ is His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us.  May we look to God daily to bring His love and truth to bear on the lives of those who are perishing.

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  • 1. Danny Haszard  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are decent folk who are trapped in an oppressive cult-like organization, the Watchtower Society.
    The Watchtower core dogma is Jesus’ ‘invisible’ return or second coming October 1914, this is a false doctrine.

    Matthew 7:15-16 “Be on the watch for the false prophets,who come to you in sheep’s clothing…..”

    God bless-Danny Haszard

    • 2. modres  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      I agree and that is the main motivation for presenting evidence and resources to help those who are still caught in that terrible web of deceit.

      The Watchtower “core dogma” as you say, seems to be part of numerous cults.

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