This is part 5 of a series.
Finally, I want to leave you with some thoughts of where I failed, my repentance, and God’s encouragement to me.
Even Christians who can rightfully be called *seasoned* evangelists and leaders are fallible men and will err. Allow me to describe the circumstance to you that we faced Saturday.
The cult called the Seventh Day Adventists (herein called SDA) has been noticeable for over a year now when I evangelize. The purpose of this post is not to prove they are heretical, but that fact is assumed. If you disagree, let me know and I’ll telly you why.
We encountered an SDA fellow Saturday. It took me a moment to recognize him but I remembered him from another outreach where he had tried to convince Kurtis and Nick that hell wasn’t eternal, and of some of their other errant doctrines with which they yoke people and try to seal the condemnation of others.
Matthew 23:4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
Dave actually chuckled about how quickly I exited the conversation with this man. He is divisive, and I see him as sent by demonic forces to obstruct our mission.
Titus 3:10-11 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
But the SDA folks immediately engaged our young people. A part of me wanted to stop it, but it was toward the end of the day so we weren’t really being diverted from the mission, because it had settled down by then. And, “Maybe our young people would engage the SDA folks and win them to Christ,” I thought.
From a team leadership perspective, I want to keep my team on task. So there are times I break up what may seem like enjoyable fellowship, to remind the team we are there for a reason, to reach the lost that we encounter. I also will try to keep people from being tied up with one person if it seems warranted.
But at the same time, I see the debate that ensues with an SDA as a chance for a young person’s faith to be tested. They are forced to consider their own hermeneutic as the SDA person references Scripture after Scripture to defend his or her cause. I was pleased to see this, and that our youth grew stronger in the faith once for all delivered to the saints!
But, alas, in our kindness and friendliness toward even those who are enemies of Christ, I believe I made quite an error at the end of our outreach. Before we walked to the car, we all gathered around to worship the Lord in song. I have a dozen waterproof hymnbooks I produced with about 54 hymns in them. As we were starting to gather two polite SDA ladies approached us and a couple of our members invited them to sing. I had an urge to tell them no they could not sing with us; that we did not worship the same God. But I desired to avoid that conflict and thought that it wouldn’t hurt if a person simply wanted to sing a song while we sang.
And had they simply joined on their own accord or been standing at a distance singing along, that would have been OK. But these ladies sang with us as if they were with us. And it made me very uncomfortable. Then, I noticed while we were singing, one of the women was passing out her heretical gospel-less tracts! What a failure on my part to stand up for what was righteous and good and separate from the world. But Christ gives grace and I rely on His righteousness to sustain me.
So finally, as if it were simply meant as an act of encouragement to me, the Lord who directs my steps directed me to take my children to lunch Sunday after church where we met a kind waitress named Tammy. What we didn’t know is that Tammy needed encouragement. So I wrote Tammy a ‘gospel’ note on the back of our receipt for I had forgotten my tracts, and Tammy responded by emailing me that she is a new believer who needed encouragement!
Praise the Lord for His providential will in the life of this child of His!