So far we have seen how Christians often fail to see past their preconceptions and judgements when dealing with cults, how the church is often ill-prepared to meet the challenge of the cults, and that anti-cult ministry is sometimes regarded as an inconvenient reminder to the church that it has a responsibility to contend for the faith.
Yet a basic approach to witnessing is not difficult. A little preparation, some understanding and a sure faith in Christ can make anyone an effective witness to the cults.
This starts before you open the door.
- Know your own faith. Confidence in your Christian faith is the best preparation for witnessing.
- Know something about the belief system of the group. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to know who your dealing with and that’s not hard.
- Know your position in Christ. Every believer is secure in Christ and need not be fearful of meeting the Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness on your doorstep.
- Make sure can share own faith. Have something to say and know how you will say it.
- Make a list of the groups you are likely to meet. Spend an evening researching them. Its not hard to pay attention to the people you are most likely to meet and learn a thing or two.
- Be aware of reality of Ephesians 6 – ‘the armour of God.’
You’re not trying to make something happen, that is the work of the Spirit. You’re simply sharing, plainly and honestly, the gospel truth.
Live your faith - what you are speaks louder than what you say.
Establish the Bible as your source of authority.
Define your terms.
Stick to key teachings & don’t be side tracked (1 Cor.2:2).
Show love for them and maintain respect for the message (1 Peter 3:15)
What not to do
- Do not panic or react. Some Christians think that if they fail in any way they have really blown it and so don’t even try. Others cannot stand to hear some of what cultists routinely say and wish to jump in and correct them as a matter of urgency. Either way you close the door on an excellent opportunity. If you have nothing else to share you have your testimony.
- Do not exchange insults. If you get to know these people, you often find that they do not fit the stereotype picture many have of cultists. Insulting them is the same as shouting at foreigners in the foolish belief that they will understand better.
- Do not feel obliged to talk if it is truly inconvenient. Tell them your busy and arrange for them to call back, perhaps at a time when you can have someone with you.
- Do not be afraid to say that you don’t know. There are things they do not know and they often get asked questions on which they have to do some research. Say you don’t know and offer to find out.
- Do not do anything you are too uncomfortable doing. We all can feel a little on the spot when people call and that should not put us off talking to people. However, you are not obliged to meet them on your own, have them in your house if you don’t want to, go to their meetings or take lots of literature.
- Do not try to win the argument, try to win the person.
What to do
- Do listen. You win the right to be heard by first listening.
- Do seek to understand. They get so many people who slam doors in their faces, misrepresent them, caricature them and abuse them that if you listen and seek to do some genuine bridge building you will touch their hearts.
- Know your facts – do not waffle, exaggerate or make things up!
- Do ask Questions. Turn your remarks and counter-arguments into questions if you can do so the onus is on them to think and respond rather than listen and react.
- Have literature ready. They will expect you to take theirs; it is reasonable to expect them to take yours in exchange. May not happen with the Jehovah's Witness.
- Know what to do next if they respond. They have a game plan and know how to proceed if you show interest and will invite you to church or set up a study programme, or both. Be prepared.
- Have a back up in someone who knows more than you or literature with which you are familiar that can fill the same role.
- Go to church and be involved - otherwise you will be the blind leading the blind. Your credibility is shot if you show them what is wrong with their church and then tell them that you do not attend church because your church is hopeless.
- Read your Bible. You do not have to be an expert but you should know the basics and more familiar passages.
- Know what you believe and why. The gospel is mystical but it is also logical and can be explained in terms of logical and philosophical sense.
- Have a prepared script. “When someone comes to the door I will say this and do these things.” That way you will not have to come up with answers on the spot as so many seem to feel they should. God can be in your plans as well as in their execution. Know what you want to do in the time you have – do not spend 2 hours on ‘irrelevancies’ and then have no time for the ‘essentials.’
- Tell them you are a Christian. Some like to feign credulity because they think it helps. No good comes from being “found out,” and they will work it out for themselves a lot faster than you think.
Previously: If These are Christians
Next:: The Myth of the Killer Text
Coming Up: Anatomy of a Cult