Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Mormon Missionaries

Over recent weeks I've been having in depth discussions with Mormon missionaries who keep coming round my house.

The missionaries tend to change after a few weeks and it is fascinating how when I ask what their name is they always reply 'Elder...'.  I then ask them what their name is again and again they reply 'Elder...'.  So I then ask them what their first name is and we finally get on first name terms.

This is important, and I tell them so, because it is very easy to caricature people, but when we are on first name terms we are getting to know each other as people created in God's image.

Week by week we have been engaged in debate and discussion with laughter and seriousness all thrown in for good measure.

One of the most interesting times was about a month ago when I asked them what their doctrine and theology of God was.  They looked at me with blank expressions, shuffled in their seats (there was three people round), looked at each other and then said
'No-one has ever asked us that before.'  And they didn't know what to say.

They came round again yesterday and I asked them again who they believed God was.

They talked about god the father having a body.

They talked about jesus being a god independent of god the father.

They had no idea, understanding or theology of the holy spirit.

They spoke about many gods who can be worshipped.

The spoke about how the universe was eternal and how god had made the world out of this eternal matter.

So I challenged them.

They said that they believed in the Bible, so I challenged them about how they read the Bible, or rather, their lack of reading the Bible.

I spoke about God as Trinity, Father, son and Spirit.

I spoke about how there is One God worthy of worship and if we bend our knee to any other then we are committing idolatry.

I spoke about the majesty, wonder and mystery of God as eternal, Triune community.

I told them that in their understanding of god and the universe they had made the created equal with the creator and so god was no longer above and beyond all things, fully Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Lord and King.

They looked at me confused, challenged and unsure of what to say next.

I am going to meet them again.

I have built a good and honest relationship with them.  We have agreed that we are worshipping different Gods.  So we can be upfront and honest about where each of us are coming from and cut through the similar language.

It is good to be in conversation with them.

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