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Vantage point

Love them

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When most Christians think about the members of this group, they do not have positive thoughts. Mormons are not seen as people to be reached with the true gospel. Instead, most believers think of them as a lost cause … people with an unusual belief system to be avoided at all costs.

When Mormon missionaries arrive at our doors few Christians take the opportunity to give them a loving presentation of God’s plan of salvation.

Nineteenth-century evangelist Dwight L. Moody had already had a degree of success in reaching sinners when something happened that would transform his ministry and make him one of the most effective soul winners to ever walk the face of the earth. He invited Henry Moorhouse, a converted English pickpocket, to preach in his church. Moorhouse preached several times, always using the same text, John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Moody, whose message had been of a vengeful God ready to cut the sinner down if he didn’t repent, was touched deeply. "This heart of mine began to thaw out," he said. "I could not keep back the tears." Moody’s message changed to a God of love in pursuit of the sinner running away from Him. After that Moody would be known as "the Apostle of Love."

Christians who encounter Mormons today can profit from this lesson. It is not for us to determine when someone is beyond God’s reach. Mormons, though trapped in a false belief system, certainly are not beyond reach. Neither are they deserving of our scorn. He who has a love for lost souls must love them.

The Mormons at your door should not be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity. If the thought of talking to a Mormon disturbs you, do this: Pray that God will give you a love for them!

If you love them, then when you face them you will respond differently. Christians should be informed and prepared to defend their faith. That’s one of the reasons for this issue. But a visit with a Mormon need not be a debate. There are two things that every Christian can effectively deliver to any Mormon who crosses his or her path: Christian love and a personal testimony. In a loving way, share how Jesus is real in your life. Just like Moody, we will win more when our hearts thaw and we love the lost.

With the eyes of the world now on Salt Lake City and the Winter Olympics, Mormonism, Utah’s predominant religion, will likely receive unprecedented attention. That can be a good thing if it reminds Christians to pray for, and witness to, the Mormons in their own communities.

– Ken Horn

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