Part 4 - How to Effectively Witness to Religious Cults
Thought Leader: Larry Goodrich, Ed.D.
Strategies to witness to religious cults differ widely. I am going to bring several of these together to prompt you to find those ideas that best fit your personality and knowledge of the Bible. My first overarching principle is that you befriend rather than argumentatively defend! Interestingly, it has been said that 80% of Christians within two years of being saved have ZERO non-Christian friends, and yet Jesus was a “friend of sinners.” If we first build relationships, we can gain an audience, not by berating the religious cults, but by genuinely caring for them and their eternal destination. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan said, “It is possible to be biblically correct, theologically astute, homiletically accurate, doctrinally sound, and spiritually useless.” Likewise, Dr. Francis Schaeffer stated, “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the whole world.”
Therefore, I suggest the following points to allow you the possibility of being heard:
1. Study your Bible until it is at the heart level, not just the head.
Although most Christian denominations have a standard set of doctrines they hold to, the vast majority of sinners do not come to Christ because we can quote our doctrines. Rather, it is usually because someone has built a stable relationship and lived out the Gospel, not spewed it out to put notches on our “gospel guns.”
2. Take the number one vitamin for a Christian – “B1”
The religious cultists and the world at large long to see someone live out the life of Christ in their spheres of influence. Remember, you are witnessing to cultists all the time, whether you realize it or not.
3. Study the works of the religious cults, so you are not taken off guard.
Read their standard works and know their major doctrines. Most cult groups have a statement of beliefs. Research them and know the key points they present.
4. Do not major in minors.
Stay on the doctrine of who Jesus is and His bodily resurrection. The cultists tend to make ‘knight chess jumps’ if they cannot answer a question. They will switch to another pet subject of their organization and try to get you to move away from the person, work, death, resurrection and return of Jesus Christ. Keep coming back to Him.
5. Cultists spell salvation “do,” but Christ spells salvation “done”
At the cross, Jesus declared, “It is finished.” He did everything that needed to be done to redeem us back to God.
6. Cultists may have your same vocabulary, but they use a different dictionary.
Typical words of the Christian faith are defined in a twisted way to match what cultists believe, not what the Bible intended.
7. If possible, learn to present the Gospel from their standard works or materials published by their organization.
8. If they say they believe like you, have them define their terms.
9. Make a list of scriptures that refute their claims.
Perhaps memorize those I’ve added at the end of these points, or write them out and keep them in your Bible.
10. Most cultists are as sincere or more honest than many Christians.
Do not go at them with, “You are just messed up and wrong. Your religion is all wrong.” Billy Graham stated, “The Devil is sincere, but he is sincerely wrong.” Keep in mind that Myron Boyd’s statement is still true, “A half-truth is a dangerous thing, especially if you have got a hold of the wrong half.” The cultists are sincerely wrong but are in great need of someone to lovingly share the truth.
11. Never fail to share what Christ has done in your life.
In fact, you might want to start by humbly sharing what God has done and is doing in the present. It is staggering to know that as many as 85% of today’s cultists were at one time mainline denominational believers. If God is alive and operating daily in your life, they need to know that reality. How has He changed you, and is He continuing to do so?
12. Challenge them to be critical thinkers and to deal honestly with the truth.
The truth can stand up to examination. They are taught rote / memorized answers. To ask them to think critically about newly presented evidence is asking them to do a hard thing. One of the most important things we can do is raise questions with the cultists that cause them to think through what and why they believe, in spite of clear evidence that is contrary to what they have been taught.
13. Sharing is not arguing.
Don’t argue or raise your voice. Just be firm, fair, consistent and loving in lifestyle and witness.
14. Ask them to give you specifics.
If the cultist says your Bible is corrupt and unreliable, ask them to give you specific examples that you can discuss with them. Ask them for documentation.
15. Pray for God’s love and patience.
Keep grace and works in proper order. Grace is God’s love-gift to us, though we are/were totally undeserving, and the works we do should be in response as a servant for a king. Works are never to earn God’s favor and salvation. We must move from “I have to do these things” toward “I get to do them as a follower of Jesus Christ.”
The following verses are a few of the many verses you could use when an argument is brought up that is against the clear teaching of scripture:
• Isaiah 43:10,44; 44:6,8
• I John 5:20
• Matthew 3:16,17
• Acts 5:4
• Ephesians 2:8,9
• Titus 3:5
• Romans 4:5
Deity of Christ
• John 1:1,2
• John 8:58/Exodus 3:14
• Hebrews 1:3,8
• John 5:23
• John 20:27,28
• Colossians 2:9
• John 14:2,3
• Revelation 7:9; 5:9
• Acts 1:11
• Matthew 13:41,42
• Luke 13:27,28
• Luke 16:23,24
Gospel of Salvation
• Romans 6:23
• I John 5;13
• Ephesians 2:10
• James 2:18
Unchangeable God - (Immutable - unlike the god(s) of the LDS)
• James 1:17
• Malachi 3:6
• Numbers 23:19
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