Today I had a very interesting experience, and I thought I would share it with you, perhaps you would like to share it with your readers. I was working for a certain person (a Methodist, she so happened to be, but could have been a member of any denomination), and the subject of religion came up. After a few short sentences addressing the subject introduced, I said something like this:
"Well, let me tell you what I have decided and why. I have decided, after studying my Bible very carefully, to let others know that I am just a Christian, nothing more, less, or else. I am not a member of any religious body made by man. I am not a member of any organized religious institution, commonly called a 'church'.
"If you have a Bible handy, I would like to show you a couple of scriptures, let you read them, and then let you further study them for yourself. (She had a Bible, and retrieved it.) Would you read Matthew 20:20-28? (She read it.) Nov if the Lord's apostles could not have any dominion, nor exercise any authority' over other humans, why do we have today in all the churches a group of men who are called the 'Board of Directors', 'Eldership', 'Board of Deacons', or whatever each different church has as their hierarchy, which makes all the decisions for the members, even without consulting them? What does the church to which you belong call their board of directors? (She told me.) Do you make any decisions in the church where you attend? Or, do you do only what you are allowed to do, probably only attend and give, and sit through some formal service?"
(She told me that is exactly what she did, and that she even had the formal service order memorized! She said she had never thought of it that way before, but just accepted it, because that is all she has ever known or done. She was very concerned whether any church was scriptural; and she certainly wants to be in the right one. She marked the scripture for future study, and for discussion with her husband, a church member also.)
"I want you to read the other scripture now. It is found in I Cor. 16:1-4. (She read it aloud.) Was this a collection of money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem? (She answered in the affirmative.) Did the disciples know exactly where every cent they gathered was going? (Again, she answered in the affirmative.) Was there a 'church treasury' here, which the Board of Directors controlled? Or, did each disciple set by 'himself at home according as he has prospered? [Here she was really surprised to see the word "him" in the passage in the King James Version. She commented that it looks as if we have been adding to and subtracting from what the Bible teaches.] If the Lord asks you when you are judged what happened to the money you contributed each week, what can you tell him? (She said, "All I can tell him is that I do not know, and that probably is not going to get the job done.") Do you think you are to be held accountable for how your money is spent? (She certainly did think that she was accountable.)Well, after you study it very carefully, as I have done, you might want to consider doing as I have done, that is, get out of these institutional churches, and simply be just a Christian! I will be back in touch with you and see if you would like to discuss these thoughts further. How does that sound to you?" ("Very good!")
This was one of the easiest Bible discussions I have had in 35 years. It was a simple approach, and the person accepted quickly the challenge to study, and surprisingly with great interest! It looks like we have been wasting our time trying to get people out of their denominations and into our denomination. Maybe you would like to try this approach with the next person you meet. I predict the person will be very interested in continuing the conversation. If you do not know how to begin, you might want to say, "Let me tell you what I have decided, and why ..."
As I was driving home, I was still in shock as to how simple it all was, and the genuine interest of the person. I remarked to myself, "WELL, I. B. JOHN BROWN".