9/19/16 Jose about 65
I was early to watch my student’s soccer game, so I thought I would redeem the time by reaching out with the Gospel in the neighborhood around the field. An older, retired man named Jose, originally from Puerto Rico, was out doing yard work in front of his house so I stopped to initiate a conversation. I identified myself as a member of a nearby church and told him I ask random people what they think happens after we die. He politely answered, though he was somewhat guarded at first, more than most people, and only later on did I find out why.
Jose’s answer was the all too common trust in his own good works, with belief in Jesus included, rather than trust in Jesus alone for salvation. We talked for a while and he began to lighten up, finally telling me “At first I thought you might be one of those Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are always coming to my door. I just listen quietly to what they have to say and let them go on their way” he said. He had problems with some of their peripheral beliefs, such as refusal of blood transfusions or their refusal to observe holidays. But these only cloud the major issue. I told him that the main way in which the Jehovah’s Witnesses are different from Christian faith is their refusal to acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son and their belief that He is merely an angel. This leads to their subsequent belief that they must then add good works to Jesus’ sacrifice, since as a created and finite being His sacrifice on the cross would then be insufficient.
Showing Jose the central difference of Jehovah’s Witness doctrine helped prepare him for their false teachings. It also helped him see his own error in trusting his good works rather than Christ alone. I pray Jose was doing more than just listening quietly to what I had to say and let me on my way!