Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's Saturday, which means....

....the Jehovah's Witnesses will be knocking on doors this morning.

Last Saturday the JW's made the grace-filled 'mistake' of knocking on my door. I knew immediately who they were: bibles in hand, copies of The Watchtower, and dressed in their Sunday best. I was in my workout clothes (shorts and t-shirt).

When I saw them I started right up. "What a blessing today is for you!" "You have an opportunity to repent and turn to the truth about Jesus Christ!"

Stunned silence for a few awkward moments from the middle-aged woman and teen-aged boy.

"So you read the bible" she began, "I am glad to hear that".

"Oh yes, I read the bible...one translated from the original languages!" "The one you have in your hands is a mis-translation from Mr. Russell and Mr. Rutherford, the founders of your sect. Neither could read Greek or Hebrew, but they and their successors require that you only use their translation and their mis-interpretations for bible studay as published only by the Watchtower Society!"

At this point I look over to the teenage boy, who is probably more used to being treated rudely than being challenged. I turned to him and pleaded.
"For the sake of your soul, read the bible as handed down to THE CHURCH - and bible study materials from anyone else and compare it to the stuff you are required to read only!"

The woman jumped in, "We respect your opinion" "We are going to houses today to speak about why there is evil in the world" . This is a common ploy to start a conversation, used by the JW's. They of course have a watchtower publication to sell/give to me with all the answers to why they say evil is in the world.

I answer, "Evil is the privation of God's created goodness. Men loved evil and darkness more than goodness and light, and due to our free-will evil enters in when goodness is rejected"
She then asks, "have you ever heard about a war in heaven?"

I immediately respond, quoting the passage from Revelation "and there was a war in heaven, Michael and his angels...." and began to explain that the fallen spirits, the demons, have dominion over the earth.

I then looked again at the boy "This is why we must battle against the tempations of The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. The world seeks to draw us away with treasures and enticements (the JW's certainly understand this and reject the world in severe terms), the flesh entices us to pleasure and selfishness that is unlawful, and the devil seeks to deceive us. One great deceit was the founding of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Would God really hide the truth after the death of Jesus, until Mr. Russell figured out the truth 1800+ years later? Why, if the bible expressly forbids setting dates and times for Jesus' second coming was your sect founded on the setting of those dates TWICE, and now tries to hide that history from converts? Please look it up and find out if this is true....it is! And the devil would certainly try to deceive those who want to be prayerful and holy by having them deny revealed truths such as the Trinity - there is One God in three Persons, or that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!"

At this point the woman jumps in, "We believe that Jesus is a son of God." I respond as quickly - "Not just "A" Son of God, he is the unique Son of God, God himself, the second person of the Trinity who took flesh and died for our sins on the cross"

She then says, "well, I respect your opinion" and motions to the teenager, who has been completely silent throughout, to head down the steps of the porch. "Have a nice day" she says.
I plead, "Repent of this sin and turn to the truth that Jesus Christ IS Lord! - I will be praying for you!"

They moved quickly to the next porch and I waited on mine, near the edge across the driveway from them, to help my neighbors to avoid the deception. He kept looking back at me and I smiled and put my hands together in a prayer postion and then pointed to him and he looked away. No one answered next door, and the woman JW gave me an uncomfortable look as I was watching her leave that porch. She skipped several houses to get out of eye-shot of me.

This one was almost as good as when the Mormons came to the door of a house in Charleroi, PA while we were having a bible study, and almost all of them present had just finished my adult ed class on American Heresies. Boy did they ask the Mormon Missionaries all the uncomfortable questions, and didn't take their evasive responses. I imagine I will never see two mormons so anxious to get back out the door of a house!

God help us for not being better equipped to lead the JW's and Mormons from their errors, and for not being better about evangelism to lead our neighbors into the Good News of God in Jesus Christ before the heretic sects lead them astray.