This evening I had an opportunity to talk about Jesus with a couple of nice women while shopping with my family in Walmart. As we wondered down an isle looking for cooking oil, the two women approached us and asked us a question. One of them said, "Excuse me, did you know that the Bible talks about a mother god?" My wife responded, "No, we have never read that before."
At this point, Darlene moved on with the girls and I talked with the ladies. I asked them, "What kind of Bible are you referring to? What translation?" They used a New International Version and opened up their Bible to Revelation 22:17 and proceeded to make an argument for the existence of a mother god who provides salvation for mankind with Jesus. We spent some time talking about various texts in the Bible. They claimed they read the texts like Revelation 22:17 literally and interpreted them accurately. I disagreed and challenged their conclusions using Ephesians 5 and what I believe to be a contextually appropriate interpretation of Revelation 22. Unfortunately, once our conversation ended I was unable to persuade them to change their beliefs about a mother god. I pray the Lord will continue to place people in their paths who will provide a biblically faithful testimony about Him. The Christian Apologetics and Religious Ministry site offers a quick explanation about the cult whom these ladies represent. It is named the World Mission Society Church of God.
These nice ladies helped me learn 3 things about myself and the way I talk with others about Jesus.
1) For most of our conversation I felt like they were talking at me instead of having a conversation with me about our theological beliefs. When I talk with people about Jesus, am I truly engaging in a conversation with them about Jesus or am I talking at them about Jesus. Do I respond to their questions and concerns? It seems that I should do more listening and less talking. Jesus asked a lot of questions.
2) I didn't feel like they cared about me as a person but really cared mostly about communicating their beliefs to me. I completely understand the importance of clearly explaining the gospel to those who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus. I must remember, however, that I am talking with people who have feelings. If I truly love people the way Jesus loved people, perhaps I will have more opportunities to tell them about Him.
3) They shared their beliefs with me. I would have walked past them if they had not said anything. This is the hardest lesson I learned tonight. I was in Walmart and there were probably many other Christians in Walmart too. Yet, these two women who worship a false God were the ones sharing their faith. As followers of Jesus we must be about fulfilling the Great Commission. In short, our purpose is to share our faith with others. Lifeway Christian Resources published a study about the frequency with which Protestant believers go about fulfilling the Great Commission. See below for some of the general conclusions of this study.