HOW CAN I MOST EFFECTUALLY DEAL WITH CULTISTS WHO KNOCK ON MY FRONT DOOR?
by Shawn Brasseaux
It is truly sad that the average Bible believer is too afraid to deal with the cultists who canvas neighborhoods, knock on doors, and distribute sectarian literature to unsuspecting and dazed citizens. Genuine Christians do not know how to respond to false doctrine, so they will outright refuse to deal with its peddlers. This author knows the routine; long ago, he faced the same dilemma. “I do not invite them into my house, and I do not talk with them, because 2 John forbids it!” Frankly, this is an excuse—nothing more. The believer declines because he knows he really has no firm grounding in the Scriptures to handle even minimal opposition! Here, in this study, we offer three simple tips to help overcome this formidable “barrier” and reach the denominational proselytizer.
Before we begin, let us provide a few quick remarks concerning the misunderstanding of 2 John 9-11: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” This has a context, and our Dispensation of Grace is not it. John is an apostle of Israel (Galatians 2:9), whereas the Apostle Paul is God’s apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1-2). Furthermore, we do not appeal to John because he is writing of a time concerning the Antichrist and other antichrists, a period future from us (see 1 John 2:8; cf. 1 John 4:1-4). Our doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ are found in the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon. Now, we begin!
A WORD OF CAUTION (MARK IT WELL! MARK IT WELL! MARK IT WELL!)
When dealing with cultists, it is tempting to start by systematically targeting all their peculiar beliefs. Sometimes this approach is helpful—but only when the Bible believer is skilled enough in the cult’s teachings (rare) and proficient in the Scriptures (rarer!). Door-knocking cultists usually operate with an extremely strict, brainwashed mentality, so they will not sit silently as their most treasured ideas are discredited. In case you have not noticed, they will become increasingly agitated, defensive, and belligerent. By the time you have dismantled their system, they are too infuriated to hear and believe a clear Gospel message. Perhaps you are now too disgusted yourself to deal with them any further. What was accomplished? Just high blood pressure and spiritual destruction on both sides! Lost souls remain lost; Christians have lost their testimony and joy in witnessing. Friend, you want to expose them to as much profitable material as possible in as short a time as possible. It is not wise to start talking about just anything in Scripture. Try to adhere to the simple plan described in the ensuing paragraphs.
Again, every door-knocking proselytizer representing a denomination or group is extremely familiar with at least a few key Bible texts. Their group has trained them so they can especially deal with objections concerning their “pet verses,” increasing the likelihood of gaining new members. Here is why the Bible believer is fearful. “They know the Scripture better than I do, so I cannot possibly answer them!” Friend, listen, please pay attention here. Rather debating them regarding these passages—yes, very few Christians are strong enough in the Word to do that anyway—you want to make the most of your time and energy. Your goal is to make this time as instructive and edifying as possible for yourself and your listener. Maximize the amount of sound Bible doctrine you share, and this will minimize “the flesh.” Stick by the Word of God rightly divided, and you will be on safe ground because this is how the Holy Spirit works!
THE THREE-STEP APPROACH (MARK IT WELL! MARK IT WELL! MARK IT WELL!)
Years ago, this author devised the following direct method to be most useful in reaching cultists with the Gospel of Grace. Follow this simple, three-step technique and you will accomplish many vital objectives. It is important that you follow this outline because it is designed to hit the three major areas in “one shot.” The mature Bible student will take the applicable verses and craft a Gospel presentation suited for the particular convert. You, the soul winner, no matter the circumstances or personal backgrounds involved, have three responsibilities:
- Firstly, you need to precisely identify their false teaching. You should not misunderstand them, so you will let them speak on their group’s behalf. Once they have spoken to you, they cannot accuse you of misrepresenting them or charge you for not really knowing what they teach.
- Secondly, but most importantly, you need to give them the Gospel of Grace. The previous step was really a subtle gateway to this stage.
- Finally, you need to show them you are not interested in joining their group. As a Bible believer, you cannot fellowship with false doctrine and false teachers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Timothy 6:3-6; 2 Timothy 3:1-9).
And, here is the challenge… all three steps should be achieved within 5 or 10 minutes! Let me show you how to do this, it becoming easier and easier as you practice and use it.
You should always be polite. Greet the door-knocker with a “Hello” and even a “How are you doing?,” but avoid endorsements and flatteries (“how dedicated you are to proselytize for your group!,” “you have traveled and covered all this area?!,” “I have heard of your group and what a nice church building you have!,” “look at all the people who have come with you!,” et cetera). Invite the denominational person into your house. At this point, be careful not to say, “I do not agree with you because you are a false teacher!” Remember, you have not heard them yet. If you judge their doctrine before letting them speak, then you will prove to them that Bible believers really are “narrow-minded” and “ignorant” of their group. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Proverbs 18:13). However, by allowing the denominationalist to share their information with you, you are setting a wise example. Unlike a blind sheep of religion, you show the dear soul that you use your brain and carefully consider anything and everything. Perhaps this person will follow you in that regard of not being so naïve.
STEP 1. Do not start sharing the Bible with them. Let the false teaching go first. Begin by asking them, “Could you summarize your Gospel message in one statement?” (If they fail to understand what you mean, restate your inquiry: “What good news do you bring here for me to believe? What is the primary message your group proclaims?” These are developments of one question.) Make sure you limit them to “one statement,” otherwise you will likely end up with a complex diatribe lasting several minutes. You should be listening for a message about Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary. Knowing the cults though, we can expect something else to take precedence. They will emphasize some strange doctrine, an experience, a ceremony, a ritual, et cetera.
STEP 2. Now that the denomination has spoken, the Bible will speak. If the person is carrying a Bible, ask them to turn to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. You should take your King James Bible and turn to it as well. (If they do not have a Bible, let them use yours.) Honestly, though, it is beneficial to let them read the Gospel in their own Bible, if possible. This way, they cannot dismiss you with, “Well, that is your version and not my denomination’s approved version!” Here is the Authorized Version: “ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….” (Be careful to emphasize the word “Gospel” in verse 1, and the Gospel of Grace [Acts 20:24] itself in verses 3 and 4). If you want, you may turn to Acts 16:30-31 to summarize: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
STEP 3. The Bible will continue speaking (and it will have the “last word”). Again, if the person has a Bible, ask them to turn to Galatians 1:6-10 now. You should take your King James Bible, too. Honestly, again, it is beneficial to let them read the Gospel in their own Bible. This way, they cannot complain, “Well, that is your version and not my denomination’s approved version!” Here is the Authorized Version: “ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” The word “accursed” means “cut off from fellowship.” Politely tell the proselytizer that you in faith cannot join their group because they do not have Paul’s Gospel as their primary message (resort back to their comments in #1 and the Gospel in #2). They cannot backtrack—their own lips have condemned themselves as not Christian vessels!
At this point, God’s Word has convicted the door-knocking proselytizer. They likely do not want to hear anything else from you—that is totally fine because you have gotten the most important Bible points across to them! If they desire to talk more, accept the offer, but make it clear to them that it will be civil discourse. Furthermore, explain that no matter what they say, you have already made your decision to believe those Bible verses and will not join their denomination. You should encourage them to trust those verses—the Gospel of Grace—without delay. Do not be surprised or discouraged if they remain in unbelief. You have no doubt grabbed their attention, and they have been exposed to sound Bible doctrine, so praise the Lord Jesus Christ! Whenever you prefer, realizing the time of deadlock has been reached, ask them to leave your house because you cannot endorse false doctrine (reemphasizing the three points). Be tactful not rude!
One more thing: you should have already accepted whatever free literature they offered you at the beginning of the meeting. Certainly do not believe their lies. Yet, by taking their brochure, tract, or booklet, you are ensuring one less soul is deceived. That is one less piece of denominational literature liable to fall into the hands of a poor, benighted soul. Study that information, and familiarize yourself with that group. You will be better equipped to reach those church members next time you meet them, and you will be able to authoritatively warn others about their dangerous doctrines. Arm yourself with this knowledge so you can know exactly what you are up against when you get into more detailed discussions with them on other occasions.
» How do we identify false teachers?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» How long should I keep witnessing to the same person?
» Should we read denominational literature?
» Has God’s Word failed?
» “If any man be ignorant?”
» Must I witness to be saved?
» “I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?”
» Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?
» If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?
» If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?
» Should the lack of worldwide revival in our dispensation discourage us from witnessing?
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!”
» Can we witness “too much” to family members?
» What if someone asks me a Bible question I cannot answer?