The following method of witnessing to those lost in bible-based cults is non-offensive and powerful. It focuses on Jesus, the gospel, and uses Scripture. This is important for three reasons: first, Jesus draws all men to Himself (John 12:32); second, the Gospel is powerful for salvation (Rom. 1:16); and third, Gods Word accomplishes what God wants it to (Isaiah 55:11).
If someone puts his faith in the Jesus of Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other cult, then his faith is useless. The validity of faith does not rest in itself, but in its object. The greatest faith in someone false is the same as no faith at all. That is the case with the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Each group believes in a Jesus, but not in the Jesus of the Bible, and because they each have a false Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4), they each preach a false gospel (Gal. 1:8-9). They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong dead wrong.
The official theologies of the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do not permit prayer to nor the worship of Jesus. They also deny that He can be called their God. But the Bible permits, even encourages, these things for the true believer. The true Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, is prayed to, worshiped, and called God. And, this is where we must begin.
If you can prove a Cultist wrong in a minor point of theology, he is still a Cultist. But, if you show him that the Jesus he believes in is not the same one found in the Bible, then you have undermined his entire theology.
In brief, you should introduce the Cultist to the real Jesus: the one of the Bible who is prayed to (Acts 7:59; 1 Cor. 1:1-2), worshiped (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6), and called God (John 20:28 - Heb. 1:8). The hope is that once the Cultist sees that he is without the Jesus of the Bible, he will realize he doesn't have the true God. Then, hopefully, he will accept Christ and leave his cult. If not, at least the seeds of truth will have been planted and he will have been exposed to the true Jesus.
The "approach" is simple.
- Establish a common ground: the need to know the Father.
- Establish that the only way to the Father is through Jesus: the Jesus of the Bible.
- Show the need for having the correct Jesus, the one of historical (and Biblical) Christianity.
- Establish that the Jesus of the Bible is prayed to, worshiped, and called God.
- Ask the Cultist if he prays to, worships, and calls Jesus God.
- Ask the Cultist why he is right and you are wrong if you do what the scriptures teach and he doesn't.
- Present the gospel
Remember, a false Jesus cannot save. Sincerity and false messiahs do not bridge the gap of sin between God and man, only the Jesus of the Bible does that.
Here is a sample dialogue between a Christian and a Cultist.
Christian: Would you agree with me that we both want to know the Father and do what He wants us to do?"
Christian: How, then, do we get to know the Father?
Cultist: Through prayer and reading the Bible.
Christian: Well, that's not a bad answer. But Jesus said that he was the One who revealed the Father to us (Matt. 11:27 and Luke 10:22). So, to know the true Father we must first know the true Jesus, right?
Cultist: Yes, that seems reasonable.
(You are not attacking his doctrine, you are appealing to his desires which, on the surface, are identical to yours: to serve and love God. You can catch more bees with honey than with a hammer.)
Christian: Well, let me ask you another question. Will a false Jesus reveal the true God?
Cultist: No. I suppose not.
Christian: That's right. The real issue then, isn't that we are going to church or are nice people. Its whether or not we know the true Jesus so that He can reveal to us the true God. Right?
Christian: The question is, "How do we find the true Jesus?" The only way I can think of is if we go to the Bible. That is where the true Jesus is, right?
Cultist: Right. But you could also pray and ask God to reveal Him to you.
Christian: I see what you mean. But how could you pray to God if the only way to get to Him is through Jesus, and you don't have the right Jesus? Wouldn't prayer, then be useless?
Cultist: Not if you're sincere.
Christian: But then you are saying that if you are sincere, you don't need Jesus. Do you see the problem with that? Sincerity doesn't make access to God possible. Only Jesus does that. Remember, Jesus said that no one comes to the Father, except by Him (John 14:6).
Cultist:But doesn't James 1:5 say if you lack wisdom to ask of God and He will give it to you? So couldn't you ask God for wisdom about what is true?
Christian: James was written to those who were already believers; they already had the true Jesus and, therefore, the true Father. Also, wisdom is the proper use of knowledge. It isn't the gaining of knowledge, nor is it gaining access to God. Do you see that you still have to have the true Jesus. Because if you were to pray to God for wisdom, and you served a false Jesus, then who is going to answer your prayers? It wouldn't be God would it?
Cultist:I see your point.
Christian: Good. Now let me ask you a couple of questions to get things started. If you were to say, "Father receive my spirit," who would you be praying to?
Cultist:I would be praying to the Father.
Christian: Right. If you were to say, "Jesus receive my spirit," who would you be praying to?
Cultist: I wouldn't pray to Jesus. I would only pray to the Father. That is what He said to do in Matt. 6. He said to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven..."
Christian: Yes, that's true. But if you believe it do you do it? Do you pray that way all the time?
Cultist: Of course I do.
Christian: No, what I mean is. Do you pray that prayer. If you believe that is what you are to pray, then you could only pray that particular prayer. You would have to repeat it every time you prayed. But that isn't what Jesus intended. It was a model prayer. It is what we are to follow. May we continue? You'll see what I'm getting at in a moment.
Cultist: Sure. Go ahead.
Christian: Just for the sake of argument, if you were to say, "Jesus receive my spirit," who would you be praying to?
Cultist: I would be praying to Jesus.
Christian: Right. Now, in Acts 7:55-60, Stephen, while full of the Holy Spirit, prayed to Jesus. It says, "And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (See also, Acts 9:14; Rom. 10:13.) Stephen prayed to Jesus, not just through Him. If it is acceptable for him then it should be alright for you. The Jesus of the Bible is prayed to. I pray to Jesus. Do you? If yes, good. If not, why not?
(If you are talking to a Mormon, you may want to mention that in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 19:18, Jesus is prayed to -- not just through!)
Cultist: Jesus said to pray to the Father. So, I do.
Christian: Yes, I agree. I do too. But I also pray to Jesus as Stephen did. If the church is only to pray to the Father, then why did Stephen, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, address Jesus in His prayer? Was he wrong?
Cultist: I don't have an answer.
Christian: Also, what does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord?
Cultist:I don't know. What does it mean?
Christian: It means to seek God, even to pray to God. For example, in Psalm 116:4 it says, "Then I called on the name of the LORD: O LORD, save me!" In 1 Cor. 1:1-2 the church calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus. That is, they prayed to Jesus. Now, if Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, could pray to Jesus, and the church in 1 Cor. 1:1-2 could too, then shouldn't you be able to do the same thing?
Cultist: Well, I'm not sure. I've never really considered this before.
Christian: Glad to see you're honest. Lets continue. Jesus was also worshiped. The verses for these are: "And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, You are certainly Gods son!" (Matt. 14:33). "And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him," (Matt. 28:9). (See also Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6.) Do you do what His disciples did? Do you worship Jesus?
(Mormon theology does not allow worship of Jesus. However, some Mormons do anyway. They just don't know that their church has, and still does, teach against doing so. If the person says he worships Jesus, ask him how he can do that without praying to Him. If, on the other hand, the Mormon has said he does pray to Jesus and that he does worship Jesus, then encourage him to continue and remind him that it is Jesus who has the authority (Matt. 28:18) to forgive sins (Luke 5:20-24; 7:48-49); He judges (John 5:22,27); He gives eternal life (John 10:28; 5:40), etc. -- See 100 Truths About Jesus. The whole point is to try to get him to ask the true Jesus to forgive him of his sins and reveal the Father to him.)
(All Jehovah's Witnesses say no to worshiping Jesus. They have their own Bible where they have mistranslated the word worship, wherever it refers to Jesus, to the words do obeisance which means to show respect or honor to someone. Because of this, using the verse about worship will not carry much weight. In that case, you will want to substitute this...)
Christian: Do you honor Him equally with the Father as Jesus said to do in John 5:23?
Cultist: Not equally. The Father is greater than Jesus.
Christian: The Father was greater in position. Remember, Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9). It was in this humbled state that He said the Father was greater than He. He didn't say different or better, only greater. You must understand that Jesus was fully man as well as fully God and as a man was in a lesser position. Still though, Scripture requires that you honor Him equally with the Father as Jesus said. If you don't, then why not?
Cultist: I don't have an answer.
Christian: Alright. There is just one more issue to address. Do you call Jesus your Lord and your God?
Cultist: No, I don't.
Christian: After Jesus resurrection He showed Himself to many people. One of them was Thomas. John 20:28 says, "Thomas answered and said to Him [Jesus], My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, have you believed?" In addition, God calls Jesus God in Heb. 1:8, "But of the Son He [the Father] says, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever..." The Father calls Jesus God. Thomas called Him his Lord and God. Do you call Jesus your Lord and your God?
Cultist: No. I don't call Jesus my Lord and God.
(Jehovah's Witnesses will say that Thomas was swearing. Ask them why Jesus didn't rebuke Thomas for swearing? Besides, in the Greek, Thomas literally said, "The Lord of me and the God of me.") (With a Mormon, you can again mention the reference in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 19:18 where Jesus is also called Lord and God.)
Christian: My question to you is this. If I have the wrong Jesus, and therefore I serve the wrong God, then why do I pray to Jesus, worship Him, and call Him my Lord and God as the Scriptures teach? But, if you have the true Jesus, why is it you don't do those things?
Christian: It seems clear that if you want your sins forgiven then you need to go to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you. Remember, the true Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, is prayed to, worshiped, and called God. That is the same Jesus I serve. Which one do you serve?
Christian: Since Jesus is the one who forgives sins, then I go to Him. You can too. All you have to do is pray to Him and ask Him to forgive you of your sins. You already know you are a sinner. So simply go to Him, the real Jesus, and receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in Him.
This brief approach is powerful because it brings the Cultist face-to-face with the Jesus of the Bible. Though the Cultist wont respond by dropping to his knees, at least you will have exposed him or her to the real Jesus. Also, remember that the Word of God will accomplish what God wishes it to: "So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire," (Isaiah 55:11).
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