On Saturday before Easter I was in the yard with my wife finishing up some lawn work when two older men approached us with an invitation to a “sunrise service on Sunday”. I have to admit when they approached I immediately assumed they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and so their invitation surprised me. I knew JW’s do not celebrate Easter and felt bad for prejudging them.
When I asked what Church they were with, one handed me a tract which I quickly scanned and found, — yes, in fact, they were from the Watchtower.
I handed them the tract back and told them ‘no thanks’ and that I already had plans to attend a Sunrise Easter Service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The two gentleman asked why I wasn’t interested in keeping their literature. That gave me a small opening so I dove right in with the assumption I had, at best, two minutes before they took off for the next door.
I explained to them that I would be glad to answer their question if they would answer a few questions for me first. They agreed.
Q: You both know the Ten Commandments, right?
A: Yes, that’s in the Old Covenant, we aren’t bound by those laws any more.
Q: You have your New World Translation of the Bible with you, right? Can you tell me what Jesus said in Luke 18:20?
A: The older of the two gentlemen pulled out his NWT and started reading “You know the Commandments,…”.
I interrupted him and asked them both again if they new the Commandments and they admitted that yes they did know them and agreed that they still represent God’s law (after a little prodding). We walked through the five listed in Luke 18:20 and they admitted that they had broken each one of them at some point in their life.
Q: So when you die, what will happen to you?
A: We will be dead until the resurrection.
Q: What will happen to you at the resurrection?
A: We believe we are part of the earthly class and will live on the new earth.
Q: You’ve admitted that you are lawbreakers, what does your bible say will happen to the sexually immoral, to murders and to all liars in Revelation 21:8? Again the older of the two gentleman turned to that passage and started to read it out loud and stopped about half way through.
A. This doesn’t apply to us, we will be saved by our death.
I have never heard that before and said as much to them (I was momentarily taken off guard). “You’re telling me that you are saved by your own death and not through the death of Jesus Christ?” I asked. “Yes, that’s what the bible teaches” one of the men replied. At this point I really wanted to ask where the Bible taught that, but decided against it and pointed out that by their own admission they were liars, sexually immoral, and murders at heart and, if their scripture was true, they had no hope in the resurrection.
Our conversation came to a quick end and I was disappointed that I did not get the chance to share the Gospel message with them. Before they left however, I told them that I would pray for them (they told me they weren’t interested) and to please remember where I live and come back anytime should either of them want to talk more.
I was left with the distinct impression that wouldn’t happen either…
…but I’m praying anyway.