This afternoon there was a knock on the door. Rarely does anyone call on me without letting me know, so I didn’t know who to expect. I opened the door and I saw two elderly women standing there. I then noticed the book they carried. Knowing that Methodists, Anglicans, and Congregationalists rarely make this kind of house call, I knew it was Jehovah’s Witnesses.
They said there they were just going around spreading messages from the Bible. I don’t know what look I had, but the lady who was speaking suddenly stopped and said, ‘Is the Bible the sort of thing you’re interested in?’ I told them I was a Methodist minister, and asked what church they were from (knowing the answer). They told me, and the lady who first spoke said that she used to be Methodist. I said I was sorry we lost her.
Then, she said that she is very interested in people’s beliefs and opinions and wanted to know what I thought happened after death. I said my beliefs are a little strange in that I don’t believe people ‘go to heaven’ when they die, but wait for the resurrection as Jesus was resurrected.
The seemed a little caught off gaurd and said, ‘That’s what we believe.’ And what about the earth? Well, I said that I believed it would be re-created into a new creation. They nodded, and one lady handed me the little pamplet ‘Life in a Peaceful New World’. I did admit that I was committed trinitarian, and they would not likely change my mind about that.
I don’t know if this surprised me or not. I think a friend from Divinity School once encountered them and found out they believe in the resurrection quite strongly. I think growing up, most people I knew got hung up on people saying that they didn’t believe one when to heaven when they died. If that’s so, I know from experience people don’t tend to listen to the full story from me, either, when I say that (i.e., I believe we will be resurrected like Jesus to eternal life – just in a new creation than in ‘heaven’).
She said that she was surprised that so many ministers didn’t know their bibles. Some had even been quite mean to them. They spoke for a few minutes more about a number of issues, including women in the ministry being wrong (which I thought ironic, given that they were two women intent on teaching anyone). In the end, I decided not to engage. Having been what may appear to them receptive, that might give me a repeat visit.
Still, it was nice to talk theology again (outside of Disciple and the blog, I don’t get to often), and I believe them that they were interested (if only for evangelism purposes).