In the last few articles we’ve been looking at how best to witness to people of false religions. Today I want to tell you to make sure you get your definitions right with people of false religions.

One of the big problems with witnessing to people of false religions is a language problem. In most major cults Christian words have been re-defined and then are used by the person advocating the false religion. This can be quite dangerous for the Christian who is naively unaware.

For example, there is confusion over the title ‘the son of God’. When you as a Christian affirm that Jesus is God’s son you are referring to Jesus as a divine member of the trinity who was never created, but instead is the Creator: ‘For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him’ (Colossians 1:16). Yet a Jehovah’s Witness will also quite readily affirm that Jesus is God’s son, but they mean that Jesus is a created ‘god’: From their official teachings we read: ‘…Jesus was “the son of God.”  Not God himself!’

Another example is the resurrection of Jesus. As a Christian we believe that Jesus was bodily raised: ‘See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have’ (Luke 24:39). Meanwhile a Jehovah’s Witness will also claim to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but they only believe in a spiritual resurrection. From their official teachings we read: ‘Jehovah God raised him from the dead, not as a human Son, but as a mighty immortal spirit Son.’

So when you speak to a believer of a false religion you must define your terms. You simply cannot take for granted that you are speaking about the same thing. If you do, you will begin to think that the false religion is in agreement with you and you should welcome the person as a brother or sister in Christ. And in doing so, you will be exposing yourself to false teaching and all the time missing the opportunity to carefully and patiently correct the person who has been severely misled.

Do you take for granted that you’re on the same page with someone of a false religion? Or are you careful to make sure you are talking about the same thing?

Joel Radford