My wife and I recently received an unusual letter. It was unusual because it was hand-written. Normally, only our friends send us hand-written notes thanking us for supporting their mission trip, or inviting them to dinner, or whatever, but the name on this particular letter wasn’t familiar to us. My wife took it to open while I scanned through the rest of the mail. She came back a couple of moments later and said “Here, you need to respond to this.”
The letter was from a young gal who told us how her and her family live in our neighborhood. She went on to explain how she hasn’t had the opportunity to speak with us yet, but wanted to give us a special tract (included with the letter) and tell us how the Bible answers many of the important questions of life like: “Why do I grow old and die?” “What is the purpose of life?” and “How do we find happiness?” She ended her note encouraging us to read the tract and then contact her at the address provided in the letter if we have questions.
When I looked at the tract, it was obvious by the illustrations of a family gardening in a large, green orchard wearing business casual clothes with the kids playing with lion cubs that it had to be either a Chick tract, or it’s the JWs. Sure enough, when I turned over the tract, in itty-bitty font I read “The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.” (By the way, are short-pants and a tee-shirt forbidden in the kingdom as proper gardening wear? I digress).
The tract outlined what our letter writer had told us by asking something like, “Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world like the picture on the front of the tract?” It went on to talk about how Jesus Christ the Messiah will come to set up this wonderful paradise, from which sickness, and disease, and suffering will be banished. The last paragraph explains in vague terms that in order for me, the reader, to join in with this “paradise,” I need to read the Old and New Testaments so as to find the specific details. Oh. And of course, my local JWs are happy to provide further information.
I didn’t know what to make of the letter and tract. I thought of two possibilities. Either this was a genuine neighbor who collected all the house address around her and wrote a personal letter to see if anyone would respond, or this was a new way the JWs are evangelizing seeing that the door-to-door method is met with resistance and has become something of a cultural joke these days.
Whatever the case, my wife and I saw it as a divine appointment by God. Nothing happens that our Sovereign God does not orchestrate. I took the opportunity to write a brief response explaining to this gal how she is being deceived by the JWs and give her a basic outline to the Gospel with Bible passages for her to consider. I then sent along two CDs from GTY and prayed God would move on her heart not to pitch them in the garbage, but listen to them.
I thought I would share the letter for others to consider. Any improvements for future opportunities are welcome.
I want to thank you on behalf of my wife and family for the lovely hand-written note and tract you sent us. Not a whole lot of people hand-write letters these days, so it was a delightful surprise to receive.
To begin, you need to know my wife and I are born-again, Bible-believing Christians, so any note sent with a tract telling us about eternity and the world to come will grab our attention. The subject of eternal life is one that concerns us both, because we believe the Gospel message we proclaim to others about obtaining that eternal life is vitally important.
In fact, the matters of one’s eternal destiny are so significant all other “earthly” concerns pale in comparison because they pertain to the souls of men. That means the Gospel message we proclaim concerning these matters of eternity must be presented with accuracy, precision, and truth. If we proclaim a false Gospel that presents a false understanding of Jesus Christ or contains deceptive content in our overall message, we risk not only leading these people into eternal error; we the messengers will incur God’s judgment for leading them astray. I’ll be honest with you; I believe the Watchtower Society presents such a false gospel.
Consider the tract you included with your letter. While it certainly spoke hopefully about a world free of pain, suffering, war, and turmoil, and the like, it doesn’t tell the reader what it is exactly a person must do in order to enter into that blessed place. In other words, it is missing that Gospel message that brings a person into the “New Heaven and the New Earth.” I would think that front end of the message would be much more important that the back end, if you know what I mean.
But let me move to the questions you posed in your letter that asked such things as, “Why do we grow old and die?”, “What is the purpose of life?”, “How can we find real happiness?” You suggest the Bible gives us those answers and I certainly believe it does, because those questions are hitting at the heart of what that Gospel message tells us. However, I think the spin the Watchtower places on those subjects will not provide the right answers to those questions and only cause a person to continue in “darkness.”
Allow me to explain.
The Bible says that God created man and woman to worship and fellowship with God (Genesis 1 and 2). The first man, Adam, however, disobeyed God by eating from a tree God had forbade him to eat (Genesis 3). That plunged the man and all his progeny (that’s you and me) into a state of total depravity (Romans 5:12). In other words, man was separated entirely from God, both spiritually and intellectually (Ephesians 2:1-4; 4:17-19). Additionally, our separation from God causes us to be spiritual rebels (Romans 3:9-18). We stand opposed to, and actively fight against, everything about who God is. Thus, everything that men do is considered sinful and evil before Him. That is why men grow old and die. They are under the curse God placed upon the man and all the earth (Romans 5:12-17).
But God is gracious. He did not plan to leave all of mankind in their sinful state (Ephesians 1:4-14). So God came to dwell among us as the man, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and died a sinless death, so that He could redeem a people He calls out to be with Him forever(Romans 5:6-11, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Because God is holy, He has to punish all sinners. No one can do anything to earn righteousness before God (Romans 3:21-31). Only an infinite God could pay the infinite debt man owes to Him because of his sin. That’s why Jesus Christ could not be a created being like an angel. No angel has the ability to pay the penalty for sin owed to God by man. That is because our sin is too great and God’s law too holy for any mere created being to reconcile. Only God Himself can do that.
Because Jesus rose bodily from the dead three days after his death on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), we know God the father was pleased with the sacrifice He made. Those who put their faith in that accomplished work will be declared righteous before God, meaning his and her sin debt has been paid in full and the wrath of God turned away from that person (Ephesians 2:8-10). God imparts the Holy Spirit to us that we may now begin a life of living righteous before God (Romans 8). In short, this is what it means to find our purpose in life and real happiness. True purpose and real happiness begin with a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ and enjoying Him forever.
________, my sincere prayer and hope is that you will read this letter and consider what I stated about the Watchtower as well as the passages of Scripture I pointed to. Also, I have enclosed a couple of preaching CDs I hope you will hear [For those interested, I enclosed two of John’s messages I had on-hand, Two Paths, One Way and The Call to Repentance]. I know your teachers will probably warn you against them, but I trust God that if He is calling you to Himself in true faith and repentance, you’ll get by yourself and listen to God’s Word taught.
My wife and I serve a great God. A great God who is a saving God and I know He can save you as well. Please hear the things I wrote in this letter and ponder them deeply in your heart. Your eternal life depends on them.