Suppose you just opened your door to your house and standing in front of you were several people. They asked you any of the following questions
Are you saved?
Do you have a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel?
Did you know that Jesus was not his real name?
Did you know that Jesus and God are two different people?
Did you know that Jesus was not a Christian he was a Muslim?
What would you say?
As Catholics, we do not really use that language and sometimes are thrown off as to what to say to them. In a society where many people are seeking the truth, do not give up on the truth and settle for any of these interpretations. You do not have to have a faith crisis and real concern over your own personal salvation or religious beliefs. Politely tell them you are not interested and if they come back again, do not open the door. Instead, open their mind and yours to the following:
Are you saved? (Normally fundamental protestant churches) These churches are actively seeking new members and are now going door to door. The concept of salvation is simple for them- if you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior and take him into your heart you are saved. The problem with this is that the Church and the early Apostles (Paul) taught that salvation was done through our good works (our efforts throughout our life and Christ dying for our sins.) You need both. It is not an event (a one-time occurrence) rather it is a lifelong experience. When the protestant churches went against the Church- they throughout all the Liturgy, mass, Church Fathers, and Church History. They replaced it with entertainment. The members came to church every Sunday to listen to the minister preach to them. The minister was not a priest. There was no Eucharist. There was no wine changed into blood or bread in flesh. There was grape juice once a year and bread on the side. Therefore, salvation was changed as well. Instead of a process that lasted a lifetime, it became an event that took place once.
Do you have a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel? These could be Mormon Missionaries or fundamental protestants. Either way, the message is strange. If they are LDS (Mormon) they will change the subject from the Bible to the Book of Mormon (a new testament for Christ- what they will say). However, the Book of Mormon is a collection of stories taken Golden Plates (that no one ever saw) translated by an educated young man, by seer stone in a hat, and it was written about a group of people who have never been discovered to have lived in the Americas let alone ever lived anywhere on this earth. Is it any wonder that they would like to talk about emotions? When you do not have facts on your side- you argue emotionally- that is what a testimony is- an emotional truth. Ask them politely to leave. Fundamental Christians also use this technique when talking to Catholics. Many people know that we have a different Bible. What they do not know or understand is that while they base their faith on the Bible, they do not have all of the Bible. They knocked the idea of a Pope, but Martin Luther took it upon himself to take books out of the Holy Bible and to dictate that the Bible was the word of God, what did Martin Luther actually do? Did he not place himself in the position of a Pope? Did he just do the same thing that he found so bad that the Pope had done? How can the Scriptures be the law if you do not include all of the Scriptures?
Did you know that Jesus was not his real name? This is the favorite thing for the Jehovah's Witnesses to tell you when they come to your door. The problem is this, Jesus did not speak English, he spoke Aramaic and therefore his name could not be Jehovah's Witnesses either. Jehovah's Witnesses got their start in 1870 when a man named Charles Taze Russell started leading Bible studies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Jehovah's Witnesses movement came out of the Bible Student movement, which was also founded by Taze. When Taze began disputing some of the traditional views within Christianity, the Jehovah's Witnesses were born. It is one of the major ways in which Jehovah's Witnesses differ from various Christian denominations. See the next couple of points for more details on this. Jehovah's Witnesses refer to the fact that the Bible never explicitly mentions the term "trinity." They claim this "doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies." They also claim that there was a battle in heaven between Satan and God in 1914, they believe in no blood transfusions, they can not salute or say a pledge to a flag, and they have no paid clergy. “A clergy class and special titles are improper.” In support of this position, Witnesses refer to these verses: “I will not show partiality to any person or use flattery toward any man” (Job 32:21). “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ” (Matt. 23:8–10).
These verses simply show our Lord was saying we shouldn’t give men credit for what really comes to us from God the Father and that his followers should be willing to serve. But Jesus shouldn’t be understood in a crassly literal way. If Matthew 23:9 were taken that way, you’d have trouble finding a title for the man who married your mother.
Furthermore, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul called himself the father of the church he founded in Corinth: “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15).
The Witnesses also ignore Scripture’s teaching concerning the authority of Church leaders and the appropriate honor that’s due them because of their office: “Respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” (1 Thess. 5:12–13), “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor” (1 Tim. 5:17), and “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account.” (Heb. 13:17).
In summary, then, understand that the Witnesses’ use of the Bible typically involves two main problems. First, they quote passages out of context, highlighting only those verses that appear to support their beliefs, while ignoring others that contradict those beliefs. Therefore by picking and choosing what you should believe you can believe almost anything or justify almost everything, but that does not make it right or proper in the eyes of the Lord. Second, their own NWT translation often distorts the text so as to support their beliefs. Be wary, then, when the Witnesses come to your door. Politely ask them to leave or you are not interested.
Did you know that Jesus and God are two different people?
A common thread among restoration churches is that there was a great apostasy. Everyone has it wrong but we have it right. We are so smart that we figured out the truth and now we have it. Another common concept is that the Church fell into apostasy about 1700 years ago and began to teach the Trinitarian belief that God is one but made up in three different personages or beings. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The restoration churches want us to believe that God is God, Jesus is the son of God but he is not God. The main problem here is that they do not tell you that this was man restoring the Church, not God. It was a man who had a vision (visited by an Angel- Muhammad, visited by God and Angel-later the story changed to visited by God and Jesus or understood by reading the Bible-Charles Taze Russell) In each case a person tried to reform the Church. Were they successful? Today they represent three fast-growing faiths but a deeper look into these beliefs may show where the future lies for them. If Jesus was a prophet of the Lord then why did the people of his day say that he died and was resurrected and later joined his father in heaven? If this was correct, why did the Quran look so much like the early Bible? Why is so much of the Quran about Jesus and Mary? Why did not more people believe this theory instead of just the Arians and Nestorians? Why was the proto- Quran written in Aramaic, not Arabic? If Joseph Smith actually had this vision, why did it change so many times? If Charles Taze Russell actually obtained his information from God, why did God wait so long to tell someone? Why wait almost 1900 years? Why not do this much earlier? In each case, it was a case where a man tried to change the Church. Today, you must know this because, on any given day, these people may be coming to your home.
Did you know that Jesus was not a Christian he was a Muslim?
In Islam, Jesus is one of the greatest Prophets and Messengers of God along with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. He delivered God’s message to the Children of Israel that they should only worship one God, follow God’s law, and establish justice. The Quran also refers to Jesus as the Messiah. Muslims believe that Jesus was never actually crucified, but rather he was saved by God. Therefore, Jesus did not die, but was raised to the heavens.
Prior to the Day of Judgment, Jesus will return to earth at a time of great confusion to destroy falsehood and establish justice. The term Messiah, however, is not limited to Jesus. It is also used to describe the false Messiah (Maseeh al-Dajjal in Arabic, which means someone who deceives others). Now, see the difference. Jesus comes down to earth (Messiah) to battle the false (Messiah) along with Muhammad. The only question would be why does either of them need help? For most Christians or Jews it is very easy to see why Jesus was considered a Jew or a Christian. In fact, Christianity was a subset of Christianity in the early years of the Apostles. People still went to the Jewish Synagogues to worship on the Sabbath and they had Eucharist service the next day in remembrance of Jesus rising from the dead on Sunday. To think that Jesus was not the son of Man or did not die is totally foreign to a Christian. What is more strange is to hear that Jesus was actually Muslim about 600 years before the beggining of the Muslim faith.
Jesus, Mary, and the angel Gabriel are all prominent characters in the Qur’an (as are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and a bunch of other Bible characters).
Muslims believe that Jesus (called “Isa” in Arabic) was a prophet of God and was born to a virgin (Mary). They also believe he will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal, or “the false messiah” — also known as the Antichrist. All of this may sound pretty familiar to many Christians. (The fact that Muslims know that “al-Masih ad-Dajjal” is the Arabic name for the Antichrist )
Mary (called “Maryam” in Arabic) has an entire chapter in the Qur’an named for her — the only chapter in the Qur’an named for a female figure. In fact, Mary is the only woman to be mentioned by name in the entire Qur’an. As noted in the Study Quran, “other female figures are identified only by their relation to others, such as the wife of Adam and the mother of Moses, or by their title, such as the Queen of Sheba.” Mary is mentioned more times in the Qur’an than in the entire New Testament of the Bible.
Just as they do with all the other prophets, including Mohammed, devout Muslims recite “peace be upon him” after every time they refer to Jesus by name.
Muslims believe that Jesus performed miracles: The Qur’an discusses several of Jesus’s miracles, including giving sight to the blind, healing lepers, raising the dead, and breathing life into clay birds.
The story of Jesus’s birth as told in the Qur’an is also the story of his first miracle when he spoke as an infant in the cradle and declared himself to be a prophet of God. Here’s the story:
And remember Mary in the Book, when she withdrew from her family to an eastern place. And she veiled herself from them. Then We [God] sent unto her Our Spirit [the angel Gabriel], and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said, "I seek refuge from thee in the Compassionate [i.e., God], if you are reverent!" He said, "I am but a messenger of thy Lord, to bestow upon thee a pure boy."
She said, "How shall I have a boy when no man has touched me, nor have I been unchaste?" He said, "Thus shall it be. Thy Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me.’" And [it is thus] that We might make him a sign unto mankind, and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter decreed.
So she conceived him and withdrew with him to a place far off. And the pangs of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date palm. She said, "Would that I had died before this and was a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten!" So he called out to her from below her, "Grieve not! Thy Lord has placed a rivulet beneath thee. And shake toward thyself the trunk of the date palm; fresh, ripe dates shall fall upon thee. So eat and drink and cool thine eye. And if thou seest any human being, say, ‘Verily I have vowed a fast unto the Compassionate, so I shall not speak this day to any man.’"
Then she came with him [the infant Jesus] unto her people, carrying him. They said, "O Mary! Thou hast brought an amazing thing! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not an evil man, nor was thy mother unchaste." Then she pointed to him [Jesus]. They said, "How shall we speak to one who is yet a child in the cradle?"
He [Jesus] said, "Truly I am a servant of God. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live, and [has made me] dutiful toward my mother. And He has not made me domineering, wretched. Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised alive!"
That is Jesus son of Mary— a statement of the truth, which they doubt. Actually speaking many of these stories that came from the Quran are about Jesus written originally in Aramaic.
In conclusion, the next time you answer your door, think about what you are going to say and think about what they are going to say to you. Use the opportunity to share the Gospel with them. Amen