Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pushing the Envelope

I've been hesitant to tell this story, as I don't know how it will be received.

I'll tell you that I think it's a funny story, in a sense, although I think some will find I've finally lost it, (or have lost it further).

We have a rotating monthly fellowship in a church member's house on a Sunday night.
We reflect on a Bible theme, share concerns, pray, and like all good evangelicals we eat.

A couple Sundays ago we met at Holly's house.
As I arrived, I saw a couple young men talking to the neighbor.
They were dressed in black slacks, white shirts. I didn't notice bicycles.
I knew we were next.
I couldn't wait.

They came to the door and I explained to them what was going on and invited them to join us. They did.
It sure seemed awkward at first as nobody knew how it was going to go.
I actually felt like the Holy Spirit was leading me in this and had the confidence of that.

There were questions back and forth.
At first they said something that indicated that they were assured of their salvation because of Jesus' sacrifice and their following His commandments. That sounded like a combination of grace and works to me and we pressed them on that.
It turned out that they really put their hope only in Jesus sacrifice on the cross and that he was the Son of God.
To us, that's all it takes to be "born again".
Now remember, although they were missionaries and "elders" in the Mormon faith (and both were from out of town on mission work) this was a profession of faith on their part to us.
If it differs from Mormon theology, it was still their confession of faith to us.
There was some discussion of the Word of God and they told us that the New Testament was misinterpreted by churches and thus the Book of Mormon was needed to clarify.
When pressed, though, they admitted that there was nothing wrong with the New Testament as it stood and that it could be relied on.

So here's the summary.
They told us that they were saved by grace alone and faith in Jesus' sacrifice and nothing more.

We then announced that we were going to take prayer requests and asked if they wanted to join us.
They agreed and even asked for prayer for one of their members who was facing cancer.
We went around the room with each person taking up a request, even our guests.

We later retreated to the kitchen and dining table where the array of snacks, vegetables and desserts were arrayed,

After a bit they excused themselves and left.
Then we talked about them,

I'm sure my pastor wondered what I had been up to, but he was 100% on board.
It was different from anything we had done before and yet we all agreed that they had met the bare minimum for fellowship.

Like I told my pastor, we may disagree with their theology, we had done nothing wrong and if nothing else, we had kept them off the streets for a while :)

It reminded me of a George Barna survey I had read years ago.

In that report, it was stated:
"The study also showed that during the last five years there has been substantial growth in the percentage of born again adults in four of the twelve groups examined: Mormons (a 26% increase), Presbyterians (+26%), Protestant non-denominationals (+12%) and Methodists (+11%). The percentage of born again adults remained relatively unchanged in the other eight denominations.


This was an eye opener:

Born Again and Evangelical Christians, by Denomination

born again
evangelical
% of U.S. population
sample size
all adults
41%
8%
NA
6038
Adventist
37%
5%
1%
89
Assembly of God
81%
33%
2%
94
Baptist (any type)
67%
14%
17%
1035
Catholic
25%
1%
22%
1358
Church of Christ
56%
12%
2%
118
Episcopal
30%
1%
2%
112
Lutheran (any type)
48%
6%
5%
287
Methodist (any type)
49%
4%
6%
392
Mormon/Latter Day Saints
34%
1%
1%
86
Christian non-denominational
76%
29%
5%
321
Pentecostal/Foursquare
80%
27%
2%
124
Presbyterian (any type)
54%
8%
3%
192
So. 
Did I do good?
Or was I wrong?

11 comments:

  1. I believe you did the right thing. There is no shortage of Christians who misinterpret Scripture in one way or another, to one degree or another. I see no exception here.

    These men have accepted Christ as their Savior, believe Christ to be the son of God, and believe Christ is God the son. Isn't that what Christians believe?

    So, it's very likely that you planted a seed of sorts. I'd be interested to see if one or both men showed up again.

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  2. Similar to my story...my friend Gloria understood so clearly that God was leading her, something she has always had the confidence of...Nice stuff!

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  3. I cannot add anything of substance to what Mad Jack said. +1

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  4. Yeah, same as Mad Jack stated. Hopefully, they are saved although there are doubts because that is one strange religion. We've let them in on our church motorcycle ministry doings, which includes food, and I'm hoping that the kindness shown will plant seeds for their salvation. I can't do that alone because I know they're a cult. I've studied their beliefs. It's really, really wacky and demonic (their original leader was raised in the occult). I'm afraid I would be asking them if they brought the special glasses used by the 'angel moroni' which would only put them off. You did good.
    Hope your day is blessed. ~:)

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    Replies
    1. I asked about the sacred underwear (they do), but not why. Someday....
      :)

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  5. You done good. Talking like you did always helps to share ideas and beliefs... As a side note, I almost ended up with a pair of them as hood ornaments in Sacramento yesterday... They came bombing down the sidewalk as I was attempting to turn into a gas station... Thankfully, I stopped because they didn't.

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    Replies
    1. That would have tested their assurance of salvation...
      :)

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  6. Hi Ed,

    LDS missionaries have been converted through the loving Scriptural witness of people like yourself.

    What Sparky says is true though, too. Mormons seem to be trained to use Christian words and terminology in intentionally misleading ways.

    The biggest problem with members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (sic) is not their talismanic underwear. It's their belief that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three separate Gods. And that Satan and Jesus are brothers.

    It's complete blasphemy. And they do believe it.


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