Yesterday I was walking down the High Street at Penrith NSW, when a Mormon missionary approached me and started to talk to me. Now I have a standard opening line when ever I speak with Mormons, where I say…Hi Elder…my names Craig…its really interesting how I just passed another guy with your same name Elder. Which normally throws them off balance from their opening lines
However this time the joke was lost on the man and he ignored it going straight into his patter… so I played dumb and said yes OK, I would like to know more about the big fella in the sky. He started to tell me how the Mormon church was family orientated and how God wanted us to obey his commands.
I asked him which ones and so he started to talk to me about tithing. My regular readers will know that I totally disagree with the modern concept of a 10% tithe and how its taught as being a Biblical mandate. …So I asked him if we also had to be circumcised…He went red, wanting to know why I asked….well isn’t that a command in the Bible…. to which he said…it used to be…but its no longer one we have to keep!
During the talk there was no mention about Christ, no mention about the cross and no mention about forgiveness. So I asked him what the gospel was, to which he told me he had already told me…I apologised, saying sorry I must have had a mental blank and missed it…can you repeat the gospel to me again please. So again he started about keeping God’s commandments, tithing, having to do mission work …..and again there was no mention of Christ, the cross, or forgiveness.
By now I was deeply saddened and said to him. I need to be honest with you. I am nearly finished my theological degree, I am a chaplain and I am involved with the local church. Let me tell you what the gospel is. I said… the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, God coming to earth as a man – humanity didn’t believe him, killed him in a barbaric way..he died and resurrected 3 days later… and since then this good news has been preached for the forgiveness of sins which brings us back into relationship with God….
His eyes opened wide and then he asked if I believed in the book of Mormon – to which I said NO! I believe in the Bible…for most of the New Testament was written by the very people who lived, breathed, ate with and were sent out by Jesus as the very first missionaries…
I then also told him the truth about the OT tithe and how the tithe in Malachi wasn’t a yearly 10% – rather it was the 10% tithe of the 3rd year, the purpose of which was to be used to feed and care for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the refugees etc and has a direct bearing to the reason why God rebuked the nation through the prophet Micah: because they had totally failed in their social justice systems of truly caring for all within their midst.
I said then said to him… do you believe that Jesus died for you, that your sins are forgiven because of what Christ did for you on the cross…because if you do, that means you are truly saved!
Don’t you just love the good news of the Gospel?