Two of my friends in the church Aaron Mayfield and Jonathon Sawyer invited me over to their home last night. They had a couple of Frisco Mormon missionaries coming over to pick up the conversation where they left off. Over several months Jonathon and Aaron have been having missionaries over to their home and have developed genuine friendships with men they respectfully disagree with.
They are broken for them to believe the gospel of the glory of Christ. The Christ whose glory is not a better version of us--but is set apart in unique holiness (John 1:1). The Christ that is equal with the Father and therefore able to reconcile us to God through his atoning sacrifice on the cross and justifying resurrection (Heb 9;14). The Christ whose glory shines through His perfectly preserved word without mixture of error or need for revision or restoration (Jude 1:12; 2 Tim 3:16).
I was literally there just to be a fly on the wall and learn from my friends.
You see if you want to learn how talk to Mormon's you need to take a class in Jonathon 101. He is a former Mormon and knows how to humbly address the Mormon doctrine in light of Scripture. Moreover, for those who know Aaron--he's no slouch either and knows how to speak the truth in genuine love.
I'll leave the content of the conversation to Jonathon, but here are some things I took away from the evening...
1. The gospel of God's love (Eph 2:4; Acts 20:24) must be proclaimed through love. I'm not talking about acting loving in order to get a point across--but through the genuine love God has given us for those we're sharing with. Jonathan and Aaron modeled that. They prepared food for their guests. They bought an Edward's pie. They made coffee (just kidding--that was for me). They gave them gift bags filled with books! They desired to get to know them--their family--their interests--their history. I was humbled and challenged to see the level of Christ-like love on display.
2. Mormons believe in a different Jesus. I know you know that but really get that. For all the adopted Christianese--Jesus remains created by the Father as we are. He's only a better version of us. His life and death is a great example of intense morality--but something we can match in our own process of exaltation. His death on the cross is not absolutely necessary for our salvation--for we save ourselves through the rigors of morality. Bottom line--our Mormon friends are blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4) to glory of the worth of Christ and lean their full weight on the false hope of their personal goodness before a Holy Judge. The consequences couldn't be more serious (John 3:36).
3. God loves Mormons. Every Mormon was created and fashioned by God (Ps. 139; Acts 17:28). He loves them more than I could ever imagine for He is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus died that the gospel would be freely proclaimed to every bishop, every missionary, every little boy and girl. He doesn't desire any Mormon to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and takes no delight in punishing those reject the the Son (Ez. 33:11). Moreover, Christ makes his appeals of repentance and faith in Him through us (2 Cor. 5:20)--sinners who know what it's like to be rescued from eating the slop of self-sufficiency every day. I watched the One who wept over Jerusalem appeal through these men in a living room over pie.
4. Mormonism is not unique. When I see the intricate structure, the buddy systems, the scripts--I sometimes wonder if engaging with Mormons is really worth it. I think, "at the end of the day--will it really matter?" But this just exposes my unbelief in the power of the gospel (Rom 1:18). Mormons are blinded by morality--but not more blinded than I once was--or more blinded than the sea of the religious lost of north Dallas. God can turn the lights on in a moment. Moreover, we aren't going to catch a disease--for we already have it. However--they could hear of the One who has healed us and can deliver them.
May the Lord send us out with more joy, more strategy, more sacrifice based on better promises, a better hope from a resurrected and reigning Lord.