by Jason Carlson
My father, Dr. Ron Carlson, used to remind people every chance that he could that the cults are literally a mission field at our front door step. Unfortunately, many Christians miss this tremendous opportunity to share our faith when the cultists, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, come calling. For some people, taking the time to engage the cultist in a conversation is just too great an inconvenience. For others, the fear of not knowing what to say to the cultist at the door is justification enough for the common Christian response of, “No thank you, I’m a Baptist (or insert your particular denomination)”.
The sad reality, however, is that when we fail to engage the cultist in a conversation about spiritual truths, or at the very least share our personal testimony with them, we are neglecting a ready-made opportunity to minister to a lost soul who desperately needs to know the Lord. And the fact of the matter is this; you may be that cultist’s last, best opportunity to hear the truth of the Gospel. And while that may sound sensational, this is a lesson I learned in a profound way just recently.
For the past six months I’ve been in an ongoing conversation with a couple of men who are Jehovah’s Witnesses- one a middle-aged man and the other in his late twenties. I first met them when they were going door to door around my neighborhood. And I must admit, I too was a bit agitated when I saw them coming to my front door; the cultists never seem to come at a convenient time. However, I opened the door to them and we had a very good conversation for about 5-10 minutes before I politely told them that I needed to be going, but I’d love to talk to them again sometime. Well, this was the beginning of an ongoing relationship with these guys where they would stop by about once every 4-6 weeks and we’d talk theology. Sometimes these conversations were short, sometimes they were longer, but in each of them I made the conscious effort to clearly articulate the biblical revelation of God’s triune nature, the full deity of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith.
Now, from everything I can tell, my proclamation of the truth to these guys hasn’t made a dent in their cultic worldview. However, I’m not responsible for how they respond to the message of the Gospel, I’m simply responsible for being faithful in the opportunity that God has given me with these guys. So, I continue to proclaim the truth to them and I pray that the Holy Spirit is working on their hearts in ways that I do not see.
This past week, though, my regular visit with my JW friends was very different, and very sad. You see, on this most recent visit only one of my new friends came calling; and he informed me that the young man in his twenties who was his regular witnessing partner had died two weeks earlier of an unexpected, massive heart-attack. I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear this news. Just a month earlier I had sat face to face with this young man discussing the claims of his religion and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and now he was gone. What makes this situation even more tragic is that as far as I’m aware, this young man went to his grave clinging to his faith in a false religion, a false Jesus, and a false salvation; and now he’ll spend eternity separated from God in Hell.
This is why we must answer the door when the cultists come knocking. The eternal destinies of lost people are at stake. These are people God loves and whom He deeply desires to see come to repentance. And as I said earlier, we must never discount the possibility that we may be that cultist’s last, best opportunity to hear the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know, because I was.
Remember, as Christians we are not responsible for how a person responds to our proclamation of the Gospel. We’re simply responsible for being faithful with the opportunities we have to proclaim it. The next time the cultists come to your front door, please take a few minutes to share the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. They are literally a mission field at our front door step.