A couple of well-dressed, polite, well-spoken young men came to my door today. They could have been Mormons (there are a great lot of them out west) but these fellows happened to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Of the two there was an older, more assured, experienced fellow. He was probably training the younger, quieter fellow in the background. My concern was for the latter more than for the former. Existentially, I suppose, it seems as if the younger, less certain fellow is not as hardened to the truth as a more experienced Witness.
Like a visit to the doctor’s office, the annual conversation at the door with the JWs is part of the cycle of life. They seem to come whether I want them or not. I quite dislike these conversations. I know what he’s going to say and he knows what I’m going to say. It’s almost like a ritual dance. Nothing I say about the reality of Jesus’ true deity or humanity seems to sink in. Nothing I say about the Greek text of the NT or the falsehoods of the New World Translation seem to make a dent. When I quote the Nicene Creed, they just stare at me. He responds by telling me how popular the JWs are and how many good works they’re doing and by challenging whether I really believe my faith. After all, he’s out knocking on doors and what I am I doing?
I responded by pointing out that if we’re going to count noses then we all might as well become Muslims. As to knocking on doors, I didn’t tell him that I’ve done plenty of it. No, I confessed that I’m a horrible sinner and that I’m trusting only in the finished work of the God-Man on my behalf and I repeatedly urged them both to do the same, that as long as it is called “Today” there is still hope for salvation. I urged them to turn from their good works to Jesus the Savior.
I know I shouldn’t but I always despair of these conversations. All the time I’m talking I can hear Walter Martin in my head accusing me of failure. I remember the things I’ve read about how to talk to cultists, how I should love them and how I should invite them in and spend hours with them. I didn’t. I didn’t do any of it. I’m sure I failed. Walter Martin is spinning in his grave.
It’s a strange way to enter Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Today I understand a little better the bewilderment of the disciples as the authorities and the mob led Jesus away. Nothing was turning out as the disciples had planned. The paradox of the kingdom is that it does not come in glory and power. It comes in weakness and foolishness. It comes as Jesus submitted to his Father’s will, as he allowed them to take him away and by that he fulfilled that which he had committed to do from all eternity—even as his friends abandoned him and left him to face the coming wrath all alone.
I wish I could say that I had magic words, that I had more gnosis than the gnostics, but I can’t. As far as I know, they left my door as certain of their commitment to their rationalism as when they came. So I do what I can do. I trust the Lord and count on the sovereign Holy Spirit to do the work only he can do through the foolishness of the Word preached. I pray for the men who were at my door, that the Spirit will overcome my frailty and make some, miraculous use of my fumbling through Christian verities and gospel truths and I give thanks for the foolishness of the message preached, that the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.