Ten minutes into my half hour bus commute this morning, just as my Mortification of Spin show was ending, I pulled out my earphones as a woman sat on the other side to me and said “Hello!”. She wanted to talk. I wrapped my headphones round the iPod and put it away.
“Where are you going?” I ask. And then after some extraneous conversationing, I tell her I’m a Christian.
She says “So am I!” and then I listen to a fascinating life story for the next quarter hour. Difficult family; time spent abroad; drugs; finding God; doubting God; and then looking round churches in town. She really wanted help, she had gone to a church, and she “wanted homework, not just conversations, written work to be getting on with when I wasn’t in church” but they’d just sent her to a student service where she had not received the intellectual stimulation she wanted. This disappointment led her to search out the JWs because she knew they did home bible studies, and she called them up and they came, “but not straight away, I called them up and I wanted them to come today, I was desperate!” This struck me — urgency is sometimes key!
So she’s with the JWs but they ended up chucking her out for immorality, but she wants to be rejoined. The whole time the story’s going I don’t know when its going to end, so I’m having to be ready to jump in with advice at any possible conclusion.
But it ended there, with her believing much of what the JWs taught, because apparently “the Trinity doesn’t work” but being rejected from their cult due to her not meeting their tastes.
And the story’s over. My turn now. Arrow prayers, arrow prayers.
“You know what I think your problem is?”
“You’ve spent your whole life skipping from one person or one group to the next, trying to accept them and find acceptance from them, but not once in you story did I hear you talk about what God thought, and whether he accepted you.
I believe — as I’m sure you know — in God’s law. You and I have broken it. That means that our relationship with God is broken. That’s humanity’s biggest problem, our broken relationship with God. But Jesus died to make that way to God possible…”
“Yes, Jesus is the bridge.”
And that was almost all I managed. But we talked a little more after that, and I explained that the JWs didn’t want her in their cult because she was damaging their reputation, and that’s all they care about, all they care about is people, not God.
Their entire cult is based around power relations, their peculiar beliefs must remain peculiar, otherwise their peculiar organisation would lose its peculiar power. And so it is with the behaviour of their members, they’ll try to clone you into being a peculiar JW and if you step out of line, then you’re not a peculiar JW anymore, and you’re out of their peculiar cult, because it doesn’t benefit them, they’re not receiving any power through the time, influence and money that you can provide. Everything they do is to gain power for their organisation. It’s all about uniqueness.
True Christianity is different, if I hear that someone who is a Christian doesn’t want to come to my church anymore, I’m devastated, but I’m not inconsolable, because I know that God doesn’t work in my local church only, but that he’s also sovereign over his universal church, so God is in charge of that person, not me or my organisation, I need not worry too much about his/her status with us, only the status he/she has with God. But if you leave a cult’s church, they tell you that “You are leaving God” but this is a lie. You are only leaving them, and they will no longer benefit from the power, influence and money that you provide for them.
I didn’t say all this to her. But I said a bit of it.
“Their good people though”
“I’m sure they are very moral”
“But I do get so scared having to talk to the elders, and I want to go to their meeting at the Kingdom Hall tonight, but I know when I walk in there everyone will judge me.”
I always quote John 20:28 to JWs, I like to tell them, “it’s in your Bible and in the real Bible!” Maybe that’s what God will use.
Just before we went our separate ways, I asked her, how come you tried all the churches in town but you didn’t try mine? It’s called Alfred Place Baptist Church.
“Oh, yeah, I went there ages ago, who’s the man there? Thomas is it?”
“Geoff Thomas. That’s my Grandad.”
She loved that. She said that he’d given her and her friend a book about depression. I wonder if it was DMLJ’s Spiritual Depression?
So it was interesting, also disheartening in some ways, but she heard the gospel, at least in part, she appreciated the time I’m sure, and God willing she’ll come to the true Jesus if she has not already. God’s in charge.