As American as Apple Pie, Baseball, and….Mormonism?!?!
Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
A few days ago, my girlfriend got us tickets to go see the Minnesota Twins play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. She and her boys are big baseball fans so we headed out for a night on the town. Now I am not a baseball fan. I like futbol and football, in that order. Columbus Crew in the USA and Argentina internationally for soccer and the Pittsburgh Steelers for football are my faves. If they are on, especially if the Crew is playing DC United or the Steelers are playing the Ravens, you better believe I will be enjoying the game somehow. But this was neither soccer nor football. It was baseball, much longer than either of those other two sports. Strangely enough, it was on the 98th anniversary of the fastest baseball game ever played. And the Twins even played in that game, the Winston-Salem Twins. That game was 31 minutes long for 9 innings. Ah whatever happened to the good ole days.
But I digress.
As we were walking into the stadium there was a single man on the street corner giving a fire and brimstone sermon. Clearly Christian, this man was yelling Bible verses AT people. Everyone, including myself, gave a second glance thinking this guy was crazy. I felt bad for thinking that and went on into the stadium to watch the game.
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes
Part of the way through the game we saw a couple young men, no older than say 25, walking up one of the aisles wearing black dress pants, a white shirt, and a name tag. My first inclination was, “There are some Mormons at the baseball game!” I never expected to see a couple Mormons in uniform at a baseball game, but I figured, “Heck, they need to get out and have fun just like the rest of us, right?”
They were clearly enjoying the game, but I don’t think that is why they were there.
Later, as we were leaving we saw a LOT more. It seemed as if they had enough Mormon men there to place teams of 2 in a majority of the bleacher sections. As we walked through the stadium to the exit, there were groups of people taking pictures with the Mormons and speaking with them.
Then at a red light near the stadium, they were talking to people in general conversation. I overheard very little of it, but what I did hear was talking about Mormonism.
One man even walked a family to their car! He shook hands with the family and I saw them talking about something for a little while before we drove off.
Now, Christian, I am first going to say that Mormonism is a cult. I posted about that here. But quickly, here are a lot of things where Mormonism runs counter to Christianity:
- God used to be a man on another planet (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321)
- God resides at a star called Kolob (Mormon Doctrine, p. 428)
- After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential to become a god (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-347)
- There is a Mother God (Articles of Faith, p. 443)
- God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children (Mormon Doctrine, p. 516)
- The Trinity is composed of three separate gods (Articles of Faith, p. 35)
Those are just a few of the ways Mormonism differs from Christianity.
1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
But one thing is very similar in both: Evangelism is the key to spreading the message.
So which do you think is more effective?
Standing on the street corner blasting through a very loud P.A. system that Jesus is the only way to save you from hell….
Spending time getting to know the people at the stadium, walk with them to their cars, and help them as they spend time with their families at the baseball game.
One of the rare times that we saw Jesus lose His temper was directed only to the religious elite. Every time He spent time with the sinners, He was filled with grace and compassion.
And that is precisely what the Mormons were doing at the baseball game. They were showing grace, compassion, and genuine love for their fellow humans.
James 2:26 – For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
I hate to say it, Christians, but Mormons got us beat in the evangelism arena. We have a lot of catching up to do. It is as if we know we have the right answer (which we do) and yet we lord it over people rather than love them into the community.
I’ve heard it said before (on a DC Talk album) that the “greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who proclaim Him with their lips and deny Him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
Christians, it is time for us to evangelize. Yes, we need to use words. But even more so, we need to use actions. Faith without works is dead. When the people see the man on the street corner yelling the Bible at them, they do not see the man who would potentially walk beside them in the tough times. They just know this guy is yelling at them.
When they see the Mormons talk about their faith as they are walking a family late at night to their car, then they gain instant credibility because they are acting out that faith.
We need to act out the faith we proclaim. We need to break down the defenses of the world around peoples’ hearts before they will listen to the words we speak to them. If we simply go AT them with the Bible instead of going TO them and walking with them as they struggle, they will shut us out.
So let’s take a lesson from the Mormons. No, I don’t mean listening to any of the heresy they proclaim. But I do mean evangelizing like a Mormon. It will add credibility to your message that you are trying to preach.
James 2:18 – But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
As an agnostic, I agree with this totally. Nothing has turned me from religion more than the hypocrisy. My girls (my son is still too young to care) are non-believing because they chose to be that way after watching that kind of hypocrisy first hand. I will never forget watching all the kids on a girl scout trip to Washington D.C. All of the girls and their families, except mine, identify as Christian. But my atheist (her term, not mine — I am agnostic) was the one who walked up to several homeless people, looked them in the eyes, and gave them spending money from her pocket. I do so enjoy reading your stuff, even though we are millions of miles apart in our beliefs. I enjoy our conversation.
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