Evangelism Mistakes

24 Mar

I am going to be quoting from the book, ‘Why We Left a Cult’, for the most part as it has some good pointers for Christians on what not to do when trying to win a person who is involved in a cult. i will also be quoting some of their advice on what to do as well. I am well aware that most of you probably have studied this topic at length but it doesn’t hurt to freshen people’s memories.

Now when I read that book, i saw that their warnings and advice could be applied generally to all unbelievers and not be limited to those members of a cult so don’t feel that the strategy given is restricting. God will lead you to the right way to reach those caught up in false beliefs and there are two things to remember. First, the following scripture:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.(Eph. 6:12 NASB)

Far too often the believer looks upon the unbeliever as their enemy. But they are not. The real enemy of the believer are the evil forces behind the unbeliever which makes prayer and spiritual warfare so important in evangelism.

Two, make sure you use God’s word as he directs for he has a purpose behind their use at that time:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Is. 55:11 NASB)

You are not going to win every person to Christ that you encounter with the Gospel so be realistic and let God do the leading. That way you will not be discouraged and give up. Another thing to remember is that when you witness to cult members, they will face opposition from their cult people, which tells you that you need to study up on the cult you are targeting. Being ignorant of their beliefs, practices, ideology is not the smart thing to do in evangelism and as the Bible says:

Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the Lord is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed. (1 Sam. 2:3 NASB)

Obtaining knowledge is not a bad thing especially when you do so to further the cause of Christ. Knowing things about a cult is not wrong, just make sure that as you study up on the false religions you ask God to keep you from falling into error and then teach you what you need to know in order to refute those false beliefs. As a place to start learning about them, here are two links on what other religions believe:

{The first three sections are not false beliefs}

Now to that book’s warnings on what mistakes are made when evangelizing a cult member:

#1. I could count  on my hands the number of times that any Christian made a sincere effort to share the gospel with me. Of that small number who tried, most had no idea of what would be effective, and some actually strengthened my faith in my Jehovah’s Witness beliefs. (pg. 101)

#2. With scripture alone it is very difficult to reach a Jehovah Witness because he will look at the Bible through Watchtower-colored glasses. (pg. 101)

#3. There were people who said they were Christians and then slammed the door in my face, or wanted to argue about why Witnesses wouldn’t salute the flag… I recall plenty of arguments about the Trinity and other doctrines, but no one ever talked to me about being born again or about accepting Jesus as my personal savior and having assurance of salvation.  (pg. 102)

#4. So, before Christians can discuss doctrinal subjects effectively, the closed mind of the Jehovah’s Witness must be opened by asking them questions regarding the authority of the Watchtower organization (pg. 102)

#5. Since I believed that God was a God of love who would never permit anything like hell, I was incensed that he would talk to me about such a thing or teach my children about it. (pg. 103)

#6. …no one ever talked to me directly about how Jesus was not correctly taught in Christian Science. (pg. 103)

#7. …no one witnessed to me during the time I was discovering the nonscriptural nature of Christian science. (pg. 103)

#8. The first mistake was overzealousness, I ran into Christians who were outspokenly anti-Catholic or anti-New Age when their emphasis should have been on witnessing to me through sound doctrine and their own lifestyles. (pg. 104)

#9. The other mistake was made by people who were more concerned with influencing me to become a member of their own denomination than helping me to grow in Christ. (pg. 104)

#10…although the church in general certainly emphasized the socially acceptable moral teachings of Christianity, it failed to teach about the existence of Satan and his demonic angels. This subject matter is very biblical but culturally frowned on. Even when as a New Ager I was witnessing in Lutheran, Anglican, Pentecostal and other churches, or out in public, no one opposed my introduction of New Age concepts into Christian terminology or teachings. Unfortunately, many Christians today are not sufficiently grounded in fundamental Bible doctrines to be able to confront those who have been deceived. (pg. 104)

Now to some of the advice dispensed in this book:

#1. If you want to reach a Jehovah’s Witness– whether he or she be a neighbor, a friend, or the stranger at your door– you must introduce that person to Jesus Christ through your own conduct and your own love. (pg. 146)

#2. Don’t push the person you are trying to influence (pg. 146)

#3. Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cult members are lacking something and they feel that lack (pg. 147)

#4. Be patient. Be prepared to spend time teaching and helping him or her and do not expect instant results. (pg. 147)

#5. Also there are several tactics Jehovah’s Witnesses have been trained to use that you must be aware of. For example, when you begin to discuss a subject that makes a Witness feel uncomfortable, the Witness will change the subject to something he or she is comfortable with. (pg. 147-8)

#6. So, a Witness will be more likely to think about what you are teaching if it is presented in the form of questions, instead of flat statements he or she has been trained to counter with answers prepared by the Watchtower Society. (pg. 148)

#7. Be aware that a Jehovah’s Witness is allowed to lie. (pg. 148)

#8. Christians should know why they believe what they believe and know where in Scripture it is taught. (pg. 148)

#9. But even though a Christian should intercede continually for a Christian Science friend, it is not a good thing to tell him or her that you are doing so. This kind of prayer is frightening and threatening to Christian Scientists and will often drive them away. (pg. 148)

#10. Many Christian Scientists really love God, insofar as they understand him. They are very sincere in that love and honest about expressing it. Therefore it does no good to attack their character or judgment. (pg. 149)

#11. …God’s true salvation is tragically hidden to Christian scientists even while they read the scriptures, because Mrs. Eddy has changed the definition of most key scripture words…Christian Scientists are essentially speaking a different language from the Bible…Clarify the meaning of key Bible terms at the outset. (pg. 151)

#12. Examine your motives…Show Christ in your actions…Be properly equipped with the Word of God…Never compromise your own faith… (pgs. 151-2)

Here are some misc. thoughts found in the chapter titled What I Miss, use them as food for thought:

#1. One area where Jehovah’s Witnesses and many other cults excel is in the realm of study…Witnesses spend many hours a week in teaching situations, whereas it seems to me that many Christians regard Sunday School as something only for children…If we could put more emphasis on learning of our own beliefs, we wouldn’t be so vulnerable to cult indoctrination or to any teachings that would take us away from the body of Christ (pg. 106-7)

#2. The only thing I see lacking in modern Christianity is that there is not enough good Bible study in churches. When people come out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are accustomed to spending many hours a week studying doctrine, so they need guidance to learn true doctrine. (pg. 107)

#3. I also miss the Christian scientist’s way of handling money…The ‘intellectual’ qualities of Christian Science are attractive to many such people. (pg. 108)

#4. Our first year after being saved was an interesting one– we visited all kinds of churches in our area. Looking back , I am really glad we gave ourselves time to do that. With some churches, my husband and I felt led not to return… (pg. 108)

#5. …we wanted a church that was true to God’s word. (pg. 108)

#6. …words and terms that seem natural to established Christians are quite foreign to new Christians…one of the great things  I learned from BSF was how to pray…Another thing that meant so much to me in BSF…was the love and friendship… (pg. 109 BSF =  Bible Study Fellowship)

#7. Love & Acceptance..Unity…lack of competition… (pg. 111 and these are things they missed that the cult gave therm)

#8. Take the pressure off baby Christians to become members of a church or to do church work…Emphasize salvation through grace, not works…Never place novices in a position of spiritual leadership…Allow the HS to bestow gifts on new believers as he wills. (pg. 111-12)

#9. Knowledge of the New Age and other cults. The church loses Christians to cults because it doesn’t know how to recognize error. (pg. 112)

#10. Godly standards. Lately it is difficult  to tell the difference between Christians and ‘the world’. (pg. 113)

#11. I am shocked to see so much of the New Age in Christian churches… (pg. 114)

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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Bible, church, controversial issues, education, faith, leadership, theology


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