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the following post was written by Joshua from Taiwan:


Recently, while encountering Buddhists and Mormons, I’ve concluded that I must know something about their religious beliefs in order to be effective (in my opinion). Both are heavy on the “afterlife” (an unscriptural term) and both stress works for increased positions.

What is a good way of sharing the good news of Christ and His Kingdom with people of other religions?

Should we spend time reading their “sacred” books?

Is reading their “sacred” books prohibited for us Christians?

(NOTE: When dealing with Mormons, I found the Book of Mormon works well in showcasing the deception of the Mormon religion. [reference: Solomon Spalding; Manuscript Found])

Does discussing and arguing points just make them more against Christianity?

Should we just shut up and let them be? Why or why not?

–Joshua

13 Responses to “Speaking to People of Other Faiths”

  1. on 17 Aug 2009 at 11:41 amWolfgang

    Joshua,

    a few thoughts as I was reading your post

    Both are heavy on the “afterlife” (an unscriptural term) and both stress works for increased positions.

    perhaps one could use this emphasis to point the conversation to the “Christian afterlife” => resurrection / change based eternal life received by those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?

    What is a good way of sharing the good news of Christ and His Kingdom with people of other religions?

    “walking the talk” … displaying love for one another, as by it other shall recognize who are the true disciples of Christ. Then, as opportunity rises and questions are asked, it may be possible to effectively share the good news concerning Christ.

    Should we spend time reading their “sacred” books?

    It may be more effective to know one’s own book (Bible) better …. and to be a good listener when having a conversation with someone of another faith, asking them to share their knowledge of their faith.

    Is reading their “sacred” books prohibited for us Christians?

    I don’t think so …. but then, it may not be necessary to be an expert on the many sacred books of the various religions, and it may be far more effective to be a good listener and allowing the other person to share their knowledge of their sacred scriptures

    Does discussing and arguing points just make them more against Christianity?

    how about applying Jesus’ teaching of “do to others what you would that they do to do” to such situations?

    Should we just shut up and let them be? Why or why not?

    To shut up may actually be a good advice for starters … recognizing that each man is responsible for their own life and their own destiny before God is rather important. Some Christians are rather quick and forceful to hit others over the head with their Christianity (calling that “missionary work” etc), achieving quite often the opposite of what they had intended to achieve.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  2. on 18 Aug 2009 at 12:25 amRay

    I’ve been wondering if I should find information about the J.W.
    doctrines before I spend time with a friend who lately seems more
    than ever convinced that it’s what’s right and wants to try to convert me, but I really don’t want to have to spend the time trying
    to learn about what they believe.

    I would rather simply tell him the truth from what I know and ask him why he believes what he does about certain things. In the past
    he’s told me to come to one of their meetings because what they teach is “all in the Bible”. I think in the future he will have to do better than that. I want him to explain why it is that he believes that only his denomination is of the 144 thousand in the book of
    Revelation, if that’s what he believes, or why it is that he says that
    Jesus is Michael.

    It seems to me there may be some allegory about Michael being put forth in place of the Messiah to communicate some aspect of
    the Lord of hosts which came to be born in the flesh on this earth,
    but it’s allegory, a setting forth of one under another thing or person for the purposes of God.

    If anyone says, “See these 144 thousand Jews in the book of Revelation? These are the people in our denomination only.” , then
    common sense should suggest that someone is out to deceive and
    manipulate us for their carnal purpose, for why should it be that only people of their denomination should be of such a number of Jews. That should be a red flag, just as much as if someone said,
    “See this red apple? If you eat it you will be like God.”

  3. on 18 Aug 2009 at 12:57 amJoshua

    Wolfgang,

    Thank you. I actually got a lot from your responses. I have put aside every other “sacred” text and focused solely on the Scriptures in order to know more about them.

    I have found that asking them to explain what they believe / know about their “faith” is very effective because sometimes people don’t connect the logical / illogical dots of their religion.

    Continual (frequent, not unending) prayer is helpful, too.

    But, again, thank you for a great reply.

  4. on 19 Aug 2009 at 7:03 amJaco

    Joshua,

    From personal experience in the past, I have noticed that people of other faiths respond much better to one’s approaches if one has some idea of their belief system. Acts 17 with Paul on the Areopagus superbly confirms this. Use a matter in their belief system as a bridge to show the superiority of the Christian Way.

    Whether one speaks to Buddhists, Mormons or Muslims for that matter, common ground is the key. But obviously one has to compare apples to apples. A person will only change if they see the superiority of the other option. A need to change has to be created.

    Logic is also important: Reincarnation, for instance is illogical if one highlights that it serves no purpose. Hindus, Buddhists and Tamils believe that the purpose for reincarnation is to improve on previous moral failures. But seeing that one has no memory of previous lives, and that the world in general deteriorates, instead of improving, morally, reincarnation suddenly loses purpose.

    The same goes with Mormon theology. Mormons usually try to offer something better. Wait for the offer. Then go over to point out the flaw of the offer and show the superiority of true Christianity. The book of Mormon, for instance, has many flaws. It’s a literary hoax. Joseph Smith copied whole chapters from the King James Bible, in archaic English and all, word for word, and claimed fresh inspiration. (Even the spurious addition to the Lord’s Prayer is included…so much for purity!) From the Book of Mormon alone one can see how confused J. Smith was over the Trinity. He mixed together all different versions of it. Remember to mention the German Mormons’ support of Hitler and his Third Reich! They supported the wholesale slaughter of a people they claim descendence from.

    Ray,

    Show your friend some clips from http://www.watchtowercomments.com. The bait-and-switch tactic of the Watchtower has been mastered over the years. Your friend is most probably unaware of their dirty laundry. A great book I recommend is Crisis of Conscience by former Governing Body member, Raymond Franz.

    As regards the 144 000, point out the following flawed reasoning: In Revelation 14, the Watchtower considers the Lamb, Mount Zion, the class’s virginity, their being the firstfruits and their Israelite origin to be wholly symbolic…but insist that the 144 000 be taken literal…Also, show your friend John 1:12, 16. They cognitively deny what I’m about to say, although in practice that is exactly what they believe: the explanations by the 9 elect Governing Body members take precedence over what the Bible teaches. Stress what the Bible teaches in stead of the WT interpretation. To them, the WT organization serves as co-mediator and co-Savior.

    To the webmaster(s) of this site: We need a discussion section on the Watchtower. The Internet is abuzz on the Watchtower flaws, but mostly from atheistic/Catholic/Evangelical perspectives. Speaking of proselytizing lost sheep for Gehenna…

    Jacob

  5. on 19 Aug 2009 at 7:38 amJoshua

    Thank, Jacob!

    I have put other “sacred” books on the side for now until I can get enough depth of the gift of the Bible that God gave us.

    Interestingly, I had a friendly debate in a local McDonald’s (right beside the trash can) with some Mormons and I continued to probe and let them bring up points.

    One point that was brought up, they asked me, “If you think Joseph Smith is such a dubious character, do you really think he could’ve written the book of Mormon?” (He was implying it took divine inspiration.) When I replied, “No, I don’t” his eyes lit up like I was going to convert right there. 🙂 When I mentioned that J. Smith or a friend who likely stole the book and that the book was actually a lost manuscript of Solomon Spalding, a retired. (Threw out 2 references: Solomon Spalding and Manuscript Found.)

    I continually point them to affidavits available in archives that attest to the depravity of J. Smith’s character (and his family). On affidavit was signed by 62 residents of Palmyra in 1833! I then compare and contrast the two stating that the veracity of the truth claims of Christianity rest on Jesus (the Son of God), while the veracity of the truth claims of Mormonism rest on J. Smith (which they agreed). And I told them there is no comparison. (!)

    I wanted him to give me a copy of the book of Mormon and when he pulled his out and opened it to the first page, it was a great opportunity to point out that all editions of the book of Mormon AFTER the first edition print “Translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.”. The first edition had, “Author and Proprietor Joseph Smith, Jr.” (NOTE: The so-called golden plates were not present nor used during the entire “translation” process, which is a fraud.)

    I haven’t studied Mormonism in-depth, but the little I do know does come in handy to do, as you say, prove the superiority of Christianity. I found that it did, indeed, help to have some idea of the beliefs that they held, if not just to exercise my own discernment.

    Sadly, every debate I’ve had with a Mormon ends up with an emotional appeal and a disregard for evidence and logic. (I’m not being rude, just stating a fact.) I did tell them that I like that Mormons believe that there is a divinely inspired record for humanity, but it isn’t the book of Mormon. It’s the Old and New Testaments.

    Quick Quiz for those reading:

    1) What are the New Testament requirements for an apostle?
    2) Does anyone fit the requirements today?

    The shocking answers gave me some powerful ammunition with Mormons!

    I talked with a Buddhist and we discussed reincarnation. I told them that Jesus addressed the subject indirectly and quoted Him as saying it doesn’t happen.

    What about you all? What has been your experience encountering people of different religions and philosophies? Do share…

  6. on 08 Jan 2010 at 10:05 amzaph

    hi, how did it go with witnessing to those not of the faith of christ? its a little dated but if i may point out something. the reference to Acts 17:23 does NOT confirm the need to understand something of pagan religions – the scripture relates that ‘in passing’ paul noticed an effigy to the unknown god and then proceeded to tell them the truth about the living god(verse 24 to 30) and the man he has ordained(verse 31). there was no debate or arguing or drawing comparisons, the conversation was completely one-sided in fact. verse 32 reveals a standard response that has been occuring since the gospel of god first began to be preached by the lord jesus and you too will experience it is you continue in your faith. count yourself blessed if the reproach of christ comes upon you as it is proof of your faith. to those being saved your word will bring light but to those who scoff, your word will bring condemnation because they do not believe on the name of his son, jesus.

  7. on 08 Jan 2010 at 10:42 amzaph

    regarding the mormon question, they claim joe smith wrote their ‘bible’ via angelic inspiration or something like that when in fact scholars can prove it to be false and is in fact copied from the kjv of the bible.
    you see the kjv bible contains in the book of isaiah a translation error carried over from jeromes latin vulgate manuscript. it is the only place the word ‘lucifer’ appears – it is a ‘transliteration’ from the source manuscript. the correct translation should read ‘bright one or day star or morning star’ as most other versions render the verse.

    the dilemma for the mormons arise from the fact that this very same anomaly occurs in the ‘book of mormon’ also but none of their apologists can explain how it came to be there outside of unadulterated plagiarism, unless the spirit smith was hearing at the time happened to be reading from the king james. but even if you tell them this they wouldnt receive you because the truth is not in them and indeed they cannot receive it because they do not know truth – the truth(spirit) has not set them free a.k.a born again!

    it’s should also scare the daylights out of to know how powerful our cultural christianity is because of the many times i have pointed this anomaly out to other christians, all of them have gone on believing that lucifer is the devil. try it and see what response you get – even the unbelievers know the name lucifer as refering to the devil.

    narrow is the way and few find it!

    in christ, the son of the living god(math 16:16)

  8. on 08 Jan 2010 at 1:36 pmKen

    Zaph and all,
    I just want to make a simple point. Just as in the days of the book of Acts, most unbelievers have grown up with the influence of false religious beliefs. From among the people of the world, SOME hunger for the truth that the Scriptures alone provide. We have the opportunity to lovingly proclaim the truth as God gives us understanding of how to reach people. Sometimes background knowledge of false religion can help us be compassionate (not judgemental.) Sometimes being a good listener enables us to help others.
    Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. I Timothy 2:25, 26

  9. on 08 Jan 2010 at 9:44 pmRay

    About question #1, post 5:

    What are the New Testament requirements for an apostle?

    It seems to me that an apostle must be called of the Lord Jesus
    himself for that purpose. Not only must he be called, but he must
    be chosen of the Lord for that purpose. It follows that he must be ordained (recognized) of the Lord for that purpose.

    About question #2, It seems to me that Rick Joyner has had heavenly visitations with the Lord. The Lord has came to him at times. The Lord has ministered things to him, imparted things to him. I read of him receiving impartations of power once when the Lord places his hands on his shoulders during one of these visits.
    This laying on of hands was done repeatedly by the Lord. There were surges of power Rick felt by this. (read The Torch And The Sword, by Rick Joyner)

    I wondered if he was given the 5 ministry gifts at some time during his life. I’ve heard that an apostle has a 5-fold ministry office gift. He is called to prophesy, teach, pastor and evangelize.

    An apostle is sent by the Lord.

    I’ve heard of a prophet being called to be an apostle by the Lord,
    the Lord saying “I want you to be an apostle.” or something similar.
    I believe that is the man’s calling, to be an apostle. I Hope he makes it. Just because one is called, I don’t think it means he is “there” yet, or that he will necessarily arrive there, but it is important.

    I know of several ministers that seem to me to have an apostolic calling. I don’t think I should say that this or that one IS an apostle of Christ. I’ve just noticed some things that cause me to wonder about their calling.

  10. on 07 Jun 2013 at 7:34 amJoy

    It must be very difficult for people who are born into other faiths and through no fault of their own, have a different understanding of God…Will they get the chance to learn about salvation through Christ?

  11. on 07 Jun 2013 at 12:02 pmJas

    Joy
    Welcome
    If someone has never heard the Word of God then how can they be judged by it. What kind of God would condemn people without sharing His truth especially since the majority show more fruit than most christians.

  12. on 07 Jun 2013 at 5:25 pmBrian Keating

    Hi Joy,

    As it turns out, I wrote an article about your question – the question of “Can people who never heard about God and Jesus ever be saved?”. A link to that post can be found here.

    Please let me know what you think!

    Brian

  13. on 08 Jun 2013 at 2:57 amJoy

    Hi Brian,Thank you for a great article!It makes sense and i also totally agree with Jas,the majority of people who are spiritual(and not just Christians) are good and genuine people. I think you have shown enough evidence and reasons in your blog , to trust in a loving and merciful God!
    Thanks Brian.
    Meg

  

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