This will probably be quick, as I am at church during our second service, and a thought just came to me.
I met up with a Jehovah's Witness yesterday during a visit to Goodwill. He was a nice enough man, fairly unassuming. Yet, there we were talking about our differences in the middle of the Goodwill book section. So, I failed miserably in my witness encounter with him. Now, I must admit - I've only witnessed maybe 10-20 times in my whole life, the most of which have come just within the past year. I'm very grateful for the Way of the Master ministry that has helped equip me to witness, however much of a failure I was.
Anyways, he was using verses from an un-JW bible to substantiate his claim that Jesus was not God. And, you know what my thoughts were during this entire witness encounter? Boy, if I opened my mouth every time he took something out of context, or read something the wrong way, and if I had a dollar for each time that thought came across my mind, I'd be a very rich man.
I have two thoughts that accompany this:
Number 1 - This morning at church, one of the ruling elders gave a call to prayer today, and he used Jeremiah 29:11 as a support verse for our prayer...meaning, he wanted us to meditate on that verse when praying. Hermeneutics, anyone?! It's interesting that we do the very thing that we accuse the Mormons and JWs of doing when we take verses out of context. Go ahead. Read Jeremiah 29:11, but then read all the verses around it. You'll find that verse was written specifically for that people at that time in that situation. I promise! So, can I challenge y'all to read your Bible hermeneutically? A great resource for helping you do this is Herman Who?, available at wayofthemasterradio.com (shameless plug!).
Number 2 - This thought is much harder to articulate, since I've not fully devoured it, as of yet. However, I will say this. I could have said much more, and I probably should have. I wish I had MY bible so I could have expounded more fully on his supposed claims. One thing I will say - get yourself in the position of strength. Jesus is God. A clear reading from a protestant bible will prove that. If you need help on this, check out www.wayofthemasterradio.com/pastmedia.shtml for a PDF file expounding on the diety of Jesus. Very helpful.
In summary, please know your stuff. Yes, people should know that you care. However, it doesn't need to take several weeks to show someone you care. Be like the doctor who persuaded the sick man that he was sick for 10 whole minutes, allowing the man to understand and to BELIEVE that he is sick. How long did it take for the sick man to hear of and appreciate the cure? 10 seconds!