On Saturday night I showed up at a little coffee club with a bunch of
free-thinking poets, mostly college age, strewn about the whole place
at various tables. I wrote my name on the "open mic" list with a
marker on a white board. Most of the poems read were good. Many of
them expressed some kind of dissent or nonconformity. Others
expressed anguish. I got up when it was my turn and read both poems,
first "Not Guilty" then "Adopted." I sure saw some startled looks on
listeners' faces when I articulated words like "crucified", "Your Son
came...", etc. When I was finished they clapped politely.
The next guy to get up didn't read or recite anything from memory.
He was a middle-aged black man who gave some inpromptu social
commentary on the injustices and evils in society and the
difficulties of living life as a black man. He asked why there is
still so much corruption, sin, and injustice if Jesus died for sin
2000 years ago. I later introduced myself to the man but I wasn't
able to start a conversation with him.
There was one fellow who got up when it was his turn and read
a "psalm of Nephi" out of the Book of Mormon. I struck up a
conversation with him. We were discussing the Scriptures and the
Book of Mormon. (He gave me a book of Mormon. I always accept the
Book of Mormon because I figure that's one less in circulation.) It
became clear that he really loves the Psalms so I mentioned that we
sing the Psalms at my church. He'd never sung them before but he was
fascinated with the idea. He said he'd like to come and visit. He
showed up yesterday morning at our church (Christ OPC). Our pastor
preached a sermon on elders because our congregation is preparing to
consider two candidates for eldership. He described the
qualifications of elders, the duties of elders, the duties of the
church to the elders, and the biblical model of presbyterial church
government. After the service Paul the Mormon left hastily so he
wouldn't be late for his LDS church service. I gave him a flyer for
the upcoming debate we're hosting next month at the Uni of Utah on
whether Mormon temples are consistent with New Testament
Christianity, and he said he'd like to be there, and that he's
looking forward to going shooting with me.
Later I talked with my pastor. We both had the same initial reaction
about the sermon on elders, wishing that it had been some other topic
on the day we had a Mormon visitor, but then, on second thought, we
both realized (independently) that this was the perfect topic for the
occasion! (My pastor joked that we both have a little Baptist streak
in us.) Probably the most foundational tenet of the Mormon faith is
that there is a prophet in Salt Lake City whose every word is the
word of God. Biblical presbyterial church government destroys this
error. Paul the Mormon had already been ordained an elder, as all
male Mormons in good standing are, and so the biblical role of elders
should have posed some good questions in his mind. I'm trusting God
to do His will with this guy.
For Christ's Crown and Covenant!