Why We Address Mormonism in Sermons…
One of the things that we know is unique about the Mission Church amongst other Utah churches, is our decision to address Mormonism at our Sunday gatherings. I have often had people ask me why we approach our local cultural “by name” in a setting that is supposed to be open to all. I have at least four reasons for why we do this. This past Sunday, I shared one of these reasons with the congregation during this sermon (12:12-15:15). Here’s that point, with a few more thoughts:
IT PROVIDES GOSPEL CONVERSATIONS:
Like most people, many Christians don’t want to say things to their friends and neighbors that might offend them. And that is a good thing. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). A desire to be kind, respectful, and gentle pleases God. We shouldn’t want to needlessly drive relational wedges between ourselves and others. Evangelism, however, demands that we be willing to cross over the lines of “hows the weather” conversations – into uncomfortable territory. The very essence of the gospel is, by nature, confrontative. This is why Jesus says, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword…You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:34, 22).
And this is where the tension lies: How can we live peaceably with all…and still confront sin?
Communication is far more personal face to face – eye to eye. This is why it is often very difficult for people do be direct with each other while sitting across the dinner table. But public speaking (i.e. preaching) is unique in that the speaker can deliver very direct and even challenging content, without it feeling like a personal attack. Additionally, by nature of public address, the listener usually affords the speaker sufficient time to offer a well thought-out, fully developed argument, without interruption: something that would be awkward in a one-on-one conversation.
When a Mormon neighbor is invited to a Sunday service, and hears a clear challenge to Mormon doctrine, it provides opportunities for future gospel conversations. If those same direct challenges were initially offered face-to-face, the Christian might not be given the chance to continue the conversation!
As a pastor, I believe that this is just one of the ways that I can serve our congregation.