I am abandoned! It is the school half-term holiday and Susan and Kate have gone up north to the holy land of Scotland to see relatives and recharge their accents.
So, anyone want to offer me dinner? I’ll practice some jokes specially…
While you think about that, I’ll tell you about the day I had. Main events of the day:
- Helped S & K get out the door this morning.
- Installed OS 10.4 on both my Macs
- Did some door-to-door work with David in Belper.
- Derwent Bible Study (led by Gareth Crossley) and Prayer meeting.
During the d-to-d I had a particularly long conversation with a JW. The funny thing was, I recognised her from a visit she made to me while “doing ministry” with her husband last year in Little Eaton! She claimed not to remember me, though. In all the debates we had over various passages and bits of theology, I realised how rusty I was in dealing with JWs. Note to self: memorise some Bible references for future use!
The sad thing was, this woman used to be a member of the CofE some years ago. Her testimony was that at a time in her life when she was searching for answers to big questions, no-one was able or willing to give her answers. The tragedy is that she never heard the gospel in all her time in the CofE.
It just happened to be the CofE in this case, but it could have been any of many other denominations. Liberals in the churches have a lot to answer for in this kind of situation since they have effectively disarmed the church of their greatest weapon: the sword of truth, the Bible.
Evangelicals like me are not without blame either. We are simply lazy. We have lost the Berean spirit where we are willing to make a priority the diligent searching of the Scriptures. And even if we do, we seem to have no desire to think carefully how to clearly and simply explain it should the need arise. We are too busy sloganeering, or trying to be ‘relevent’ (IMHO, the best way to become eternally irrelevent), or trying to sound clever and knowledgeable without really knowing much at all. To the people who need to know something of eternal worth, we seem to be all “sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
This woman, humanly speaking, is now almost impossible to reach. She has well constructed fortifications behind which she hides. It could have been so different if a Christian could have been able at the appropriate moment simply to open the Bible with her. It’s a sobering reminder to me.
3 thoughts on “Must Get Some of That Berean Spirit”
Odd. I blogged on a similar “Berean” topic as well. Sometimes I am convinced that laziness is the backbreaker of the Christian Church.
When I went to town the other day I bumped into a JW witnessing in the street. He was either ex-catholic or ex-CofE. Strangely though he was on his own. He quoted me some things off his head etc and i thought ok then, so went to play at church and checked out his quotes in a Bible.
Firstly what he quoted was incorrect. So I went back and showed him and we got into a little discussion about things.
To be honest I think this was the first time he had come across anyone who knew anything about the Bible and found me altogether more work than he could handle. So fobbed off everything I said as ‘pagan’. He said I went to a ‘pagan’ church, he never reads or had even heard of the NIV, Jesus was crucified on a stake and so all symbolism of a cross is all pagan and there was no chance that Jesus and God the Father could be connected ie. no belief in the trinity.
I can’t decide if he was just out as a prank or if he was just seriously unpreped, which is unusual for a JW.
Either way, it went a long way to showing me how unprepared I was. I think really I should have a small Bible in my bag and actually be able to remember some quotes.
It is very easy for Christians, including myself, to sit in the comfort of church and think they don’t really need to know anything else but the fact that they have been saved by grace. It’s easy to forget that there are other’s around us who aren’t saved and need more information than ‘you’re a sinner who needs to turn to God’.
I for example have no idea how to witness to my mostly muslim neighbours. They are more generous than I am. They are lovely people. And about the only real difference I know about between Christians and Muslims is the fact that they have to do may good works in order to earn a place in heaven. But O know nothing of what the Koran says and I wouldn’t even know where to start with Bible verses for them.
So Stephen, I don’t think you are the only one who needs to seriously remember some sound scriptures.
Thanks for this very honest account. The cry of “Pagan!” is a common one – trinity (false comparisons with of other triadic religions of the ancient times), Christmas (based on a pagan ritual) etc. But they are misled about history, biblical teaching. Of course, they are simply not allowed to read any Christian writings openly for fear of being cut off.
On Muslims, I understand your problem. The moral out-workings of Islam are often good and are shared by Christians. This I see as a consequence of the image of God vested in man, though corrupted. Satan will allow such things to flourish as long as the people themselves are kept in subjection to a false religion.
I bought a little book a few weeks ago called “A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Islam” by Patrick Sookhdeo, recently published by Christian Focus. It is only 90 pages long and well worth the investment. One little quote:
“Most Muslims who come to Christ are not won over by intellectual arguments which disprove the validity of Islam. Rather they have a personal encounter with Christ. Often this happens by reading the New Testament. Others have testified to the power of the love of Christ working through their Christian friends. Sometimes the Lord will call a Muslim to Himself through dreams and visions.” (p.73)
(I’m not sure what to make of the last sentence, since biblically conversion does seem to require someone to hear the gospel through human agency (Rom 10:14). However, I am willing to admit that such experiences can lead an individual to seek out someone who can explain the gospel to them.)
So keep getting to know them, offer hospitality. Maybe then you can open up the Bible to them!
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