by guest blogger Don Veinot of Midwest Christian Outreach
[note from Karen: As you read this, perhaps God will nudge you too to reach out to those in America who are lost in cults and non-Christian religions. Yes, America does indeed need missionaries!]
It is rare that Christians think of missionaries to America. After all, being a missionary requires traveling over a large body of salt water, living in strange, sometime exotic, lands, and learning to speak in another language. And yet, Midwest Christian Outreach. is just that. A mission to cults and non-Christian religions in America. We are ambassadors to those groups and individuals who would not likely darken the door of a church unless they come to the faith first. Many of them have not met a Christian who understands enough about what others believe to be able to challenge their thinking. In addition, well-intentioned Christians often do not understand their own personal faith well enough to be able to give a defense (Jude 3) to a Wiccan, pagan, agnostic, or Jehovah’s Witness.
In our daily encounters we must answer challenges like,“Why were books taken out of the Bible?” (They were not.) “The Bible has been translated over and over so many times, it is no longer recognizable for what it originally said.” This is usually asserted by those who know virtually nothing about translation from the original languages to a modern-day language like English. “The Bible is anti-science.” Typically, this means it does not affirm evolution.
Just this week I had over a 10-hour back and forth discussion with an agnostic who made these and other claims. As I explained to him that the original writings were all completed and accepted before the end of the first century, he was shocked. When we talked about the reason for rejection of later writings, he admitted that no Christians he had spoken with mentioned that point. When he questioned the existence of Christ, he decided he needed to do some investigating after I laid out some of the evidence. You might pray for him. His name is Rich.
As we have opportunity, we meet with Wiccans. We find one of their biggest complaints is that Christians falsely accuse them of worshiping Satan in the sense that there is only the worship of the One True God and worship of anything else, creation for example, would be pleasing to the evil one. Wiccans assert there is no such malevolent being as Satan but that Christians made him up to keep people afraid and in church. As a result, Wiccans are blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and not of what they are worshiping.
Witches and pagans believe the creation is god and carry out earth-worshiping rituals. Engaging them about truth, biblical truth and God, is often no different from being a missionary in Africa and witnessing to a Shaman, witch doctor, or other spiritual practitioner. Once they realize there are legitimate challenges to their faith and practices as well as reasonable evidence for the claims of Christianity and salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, they sometimes become more open to the gospel.
What happens after someone comes to the faith presents another set of challenges. With New Age and occult practices like the Enneagram racing through the church, we often have former New Agers who have been gloriously saved contact us in horror, wondering why the churches they are checking out are engaged in the very practices they abandoned to accept the Lord? We often find ourselves discipling them in online groups, by email, and/or by phone while we try to help them find a sound Bible-teaching church in their area. When we reach a Jehovah’s Witness or sometimes even a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we must spend a great deal of time unwinding them from false understandings of the Bible and the church.
The tools God has given us to use in this mission field include other believers with a similar calling. It helps us to encourage and be encouraged as well as challenge one another to further study and to be kind as well as reminding one another that God loves not only sinners but also the church.
The outreach is expanded with the website, which is updated with new articles on various false beliefs and sometimes cultural issues from a biblical perspective each week. We do a live weekly webcast on our YouTube channel and have a weekly e-letter, The Crux, which goes out with updates and news stories. The most important tool in all of this is the prayer warriors God raises up.
It is God who guides and equips His workmen. It is God who orchestrates the opportunities to meet the lost in their environments and opens their hearing to engage in the presentation of the gospel. It is God who gives the increase. My wife, the team, and I are blessed to be used by Him. We are empowered by the prayers of those who are burdened with reaching those lost in cults and non-Christian religions in America, a mission field right outside our door–and right outside yours as well.