Midweek Meeting Notes, Wk of 2/11/24, Psalms 5-7)
My Meeting Notes, Week of 2/18/24–Psalms 8-10, Acts 6

Speaking with Evangelicals

A circuit overseer serving congregations in the Bible Belt (Southern U.S.A) tackled how to respond when people ask, ‘Are you saved?’ ‘Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’

If you hesitates in any way, he said, maybe to explain that with us it is not ‘once saved—always saved’—you can lose your ‘saved’ status, or maybe to explain how Jesus is God’s Son, not God himself—or maybe to explain that our individual salvation is not the central issue under all creation, but the sanctification of Gods name is . . . if you hesitate in any way, they take it as a ‘No.’ 

So why do it? Are you saved at present? (Yes) Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? (Yes). Just because the phrasing is not exactly as you would put it, why make a fuss? Whereupon, he had the congregation repeat in unison several times: ‘I am saved.’

I mean, there is such a thing as building bridges rather than burning them. Why burn when you don’t have to? Even my response to a truly condescending evangelical (a minority among them—few are this way) who said, ‘No thanks, I’m Christian,’ with the unmistakable implication that I was not—even that, I have rethought. I had said at the time, ‘Well, only a genuine Christian would do what I am doing. Frankly, I’m a little surprised you’re not doing it yourself.’ (Fade smug smile—a beautiful sight) But I have rethought it. Even toward those who blatantly deserve it, it amounts to ‘striking back’ and does nothing except satisfy the ego. 

Better to do, when some evangelical is intent to pick a fight (and if it is not them, it is us), ‘Look, I know you think we’re doing it all wrong. And we think you’re doing it all wrong. You’d steal our sheep in a second and we’d do the same to you. Got it. But the point is, we’re both doing it, and we live in a world where more and more people are not doing it.’ I’ve seen conversation turn on a dime with such remarks. Instantly, an adversary becomes a confidant. Discussion turns to mutual challenges of keeping faith in a faithless world, on the mutual trials of raising a family in one, and not one of ‘Our religion is better than yours.’

You can clear up those things later, if conversation goes that far, and it probably won’t, but it doesn’t anyhow.  Better to depart with a good taste in your mouth and theirs, than with a bad taste.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


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