So, today we headed to Ferentari once again to do some street evangelism. Although we spent about 3 hours out there, we only ended up talking to 5 different people.
The first was an older woman who was taking care of her young grandchildren. She told us how their parents were in jail or just plain gone. Although we shared the gospel with her, I think the biggest thing was simply sitting with her, hearing her story, and praying God’s blessing over her household.
The second group were two men outside a little corner store smoking cigarettes and drinking beers. We hadn’t even planned to talk with them, but they up and asked us, “What are you doing here?” So we told them how we were out there talking with people about Jesus. Although one of the men seemed unconcerned about spiritual things, the other (Ioan) seemed to share some concern. He was especially receptive after we shared what we sensed was a word for him from God. He knew he was running from God and needed to wake up to him; pray that he would do so.
The last group we talked with was a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Salmon (pronounced sal-mon, not like the fish) and Cris. From what I’ve heard, the JWs are quite active here in Romania, but these were the first I had run into. They were also the most respectable and easy to talk to JWs I’ve ever met in my life. We had quite a good discussion with them, but ended up leaving without any clear indication of conviction on their part.
Here are some of my thoughts after that encounter:
1. Major on issues of the conscience, not on doctrinal views. Although the JWs have some very clearly incorrect (heretical) views about Jesus, arguing or debating or even discussing doctrine didn’t seem to open any doors for us. What did make an impact was when we spoke about being freed from addictions and about having our sins washed away.
2. The nature of Jesus is vitally important, and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not preach the same gospel. Although I would not concentrate on matters of doctrine, it is important to know that JWs do not preach the same Jesus that the Bible teaches. (A quick google search will get you all sorts of information, but I personally really appreciated these sites: here, here, and here.) It seemed to make some impact when I mentioned Matthew 7:21-23 to them. This is where Jesus speaks of those who will stand before him saying, “Lord, Lord, did we not preach in your name? Did we not do many good deeds in your name? Did we not walk in supernatural power in your name?” And then he looks at them, says plainly, “I never knew you,” and kicks them out of his presence. It is of vital importance that the real Jesus really knows us.
3. Jehovah’s Witnesses are deceived and deceiving many by calling themselves Christians. Although JWs try to pass themselves off as Christians, they do not follow orthodox Christianity, denying the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the center of Christianity, and so to get his nature wrong is to get Christianity wrong. When JWs pass themselves off as Christians, they are deliberately being deceptive in order to gain converts. Today, as we were finishing our discussion with Kris and Salmon, we challenged them strongly concerning this. Surprisingly, the two expressed their appreciation for the honest words.
4. Rely on the Holy Spirit for divine wisdom, knowledge, and prophetic words. Although we spent most of our time discussing, I kept thinking how a clear prophetic word or word of knowledge is all it would take for Kris and Salmon to re-think their beliefs. We tried to pray with them at the end, but they adamantly refused. (Probably thought we’d end up bewitching them or something. LOL) Where we so often rely on our intellects or our best arguments, when it comes to heavily deceived people, maybe we ought to more quickly trust the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 reads, “If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” I want to prophesy and so see people convicted of their sin, repent, and return to the real Jesus.