articles from the From The Founder column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 5: Numbers 1 & 2, 1994.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
The Do's and Don'ts of Witnessing to Cultists
by Dr. Walter Martin
From the From The Founder column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 5: Number 1, 1992
There are both do's and don'ts when it comes to witnessing to cultists. Following are a few that I've learned over the years.
The first do is, do identify with the cultist. Convince him (or her) that you consider him to be a person in his own right -- worthwhile, basically honest, and not trying to put something over on you. Cultists are people before they're cultists. They have families, they have children, they have needs, they have frustrations and fears, and they are brothers and sisters in Adam, though not in Christ.
In Acts 17 we are told that all people are God's "offspring." This means that in Adam, all of us share a common heritage. So let's talk to cultists from the family-of-Adam perspective, prayerfully hoping to bring them to the family-of-God perspective.
Second, do labor persistently with cultists. Never give up unless the cultist decisively refuses further contact. Until they pull the plug, we need to hang in there -- remembering that the Lord blesses His Word. The Scripture says, "My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:11).
Third, do exhaust every effort to answer the questions of cultists. After we communicate the Gospel to someone, it's important for us to be prepared to give them reasons why we believe in it. The apostles were apologists as well as evangelists. They not only proclaimed Christ, but when they were questioned, they had good, solid reasons for their faith. That's why Peter said, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Pet. 3:15).
Fourth, do allow the cultist to save face. When you're witnessing to a cultist and you've won the argument, you have an opportunity to present the Gospel to him in a very loving manner or you can come on so strong that the person will end up fighting you even though he knows in his soul that he's wrong. When you sense that the person -- a Jehovah's Witness, for example -- has lost the argument and is deflated, that's the time to be magnanimous and say to the person, lovingly: "I realize that we can get awfully uptight in these areas if we let ourselves. Let's just forget that you're a Jehovah's Witness and I'm a Baptist (or whatever you are). And let's just think of ourselves as two people who want more than anything else to know the whole truth and the whole counsel of God. Right?" I haven't met a cultist yet who wouldn't say "Right" in response. Then you can say: "You know, it isn't your fault." That is an important point to make. Because the real fault lies with the organization that's deceived the person, not with the person who's been deceived. The person you're speaking with may have bought the deception, but the Watchtower deceived him. Fix the guilt upon the organization. Then, as you continue sharing the Gospel, you may find that the person is a lot more open.
Now, there are also a few don'ts I want to mention. First, don't approach a cultist with a spiritual chip on your shoulder. A spiritual chip is the communication of the feeling that you are looking down on the cultist because you have something he or she doesn't have. Such an attitude will turn them off as fast as anything you could imagine.
Second, don't attack directly the founder of any particular cult. When I lecture on Mormonism, I do not attack Joseph Smith as a person. When I lecture on Christian Science, I do not attack Mary Baker Eddy. I criticize the theology they taught. Remember, if you deal in personalities, people become instantaneously defensive.
Third, don't lose your patience, regardless of how dense a cultist may be. Remember how dense you and I were -- until the Lord managed to break through. Because cultists are bound in the chains of slavery to sin, you need to be patient. And being patient means being willing to go over something ten times if necessary, believing that the Lord will bless your efforts.
In closing, let me say that after all is said and done, the way we most effectively communicate with cultists is through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Remember, it is He who touches their souls; it is He who convinces them of sin and of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8). And we become in His hands the vessels which by grace have become fit for the Master's use.
These words were adapted from Dr. Martin's tape, "The Do's and Don'ts of Witnessing to the Cults." It may be ordered from CRI for $6.00.
The Judgments of God
by Dr. Walter Martin
From the From The Founder column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 5: Number 2, 1992.
Of all the doctrines taught in the Bible, none is declared with more consistency and fervor than the doctrine of divine judgment.
But how many judgments are there? And who will be judged? Though there are a number of judgments that may be found in the pages of Scripture, there are five that I believe are particularly important. Let us briefly examine these.
The first judgment I want to mention will take place at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:27; 1 Cor. 4:4-5; Rev. 22:12), and will be a judgment of the works of believers. Whatever the Christian has built upon the foundation (Christ) -- whether it be gold, silver, precious stones, or else wood, hay, and stubble -- it must be tried by the fire of divine judgment. The work of some believers will stand the test while that of others will be burned away. But even though a man's works may be consumed, his faith in the imperishable foundation will remain and his salvation rests secure (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
It should be noted that Paul's counsel is directed here to Christians, for only the Christian will appear before the judgment seat (Greek: Bema) of Christ. This Bema judgment has nothing whatever to do with the unsaved, for they are never mentioned in connection with it.
One of the greatest errors ever perpetrated in Christian theology is the idea that one great judgment will take place at the end of the age, at which all men will be gathered before the Great White Throne. There is absolutely no basis in the Word of God for such an idea.
A second divine judgment concerns the righteous judgment of all nations. Scripture declares that this judgment will also take place at the return of Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:32). It should be distinguished from the final judgment of the wicked -- which takes place at the Great White Throne -- since three distinct groups of individuals are represented: sheep, goats, and brethren. And, according to verse 31, the setting of this judgment is the earth (i.e., not a Great White Throne).
A third judgment in Scripture concerns the nation Israel. Bible scholars may disagree about the nature and extent of this judgment, but they are fairly well agreed that such a judgment must take place. Such passages as Ezekiel 20:37-38, Isaiah 1:24-26, and Malachi 3:2-5 definitely teach such a judgment.
Certainly, as Paul puts it in Romans 11:2, "God hath not cast away his people" (Israel). But it will be necessary for them to pass through great tribulation so that a godly remnant may be saved out of the wrath that is to come.
A fourth judgment is that of Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and Satan's multitudinous emissaries -- the fallen angels. Jesus once declared, "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out" (John 12:31). In that statement Satan's doom was sealed. Although sentence was pronounced upon him at the Cross, it is not until Revelation 20:10 that the sentence is executed: "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
A fifth judgment in the Word of God concerns that of the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15). In this judgment the saints will be seated with Christ, and the wicked -- those "not found in the book of life" -- will be judged. The fate of those who endure this judgment is the second death, everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord (Rev. 21:8).
The wonder of the doctrine of divine judgment is the fact that the Christ of Calvary's cross will be the Judge of the Great White Throne. What a comfort it is for the believer to realize that he has passed from death to life and will not be judged in the final Great White Throne judgment.
These facts should cause us as believers to judge ourselves (1 Cor. 11:31). Indeed, since Peter tells us that "judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17), we ought to examine ourselves closely.
The Christian has nothing to fear from these judgments. He need only see that his works be composed of the gold, silver, and precious gems that will endure the fire of God's holiness.
This article was adapted from a chapter in Dr. Martin's book, Essential Christianity. It can be purchased from CRI for $7.00.
End of document, CRN0050A.TXT (original CRI file name), "The Do's and Don'ts of Witnessing to Cultists," and "The Judgments of God" release A, June 30, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
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