I’ve always wanted to know what it looked like inside of a Kingdom Hall building.
Last night, I found out.
It all started with a flyer. I found one on my door several nights ago that had a picture of Jesus on it. The picture of Jesus was apparently drawn by the same guy who drew the pictures of Jesus in my 3rd grade Sunday School book. In both pieces of literature, Jesus looked like Kenny Loggins.
Below Jesus’ picture, there was an invitation.
You are invited to consider answers from the Bible on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
I made up my mind to go. And then I remembered that my son had soccer practice. I prayed for several days that God would make it rain so that practice would be cancelled and I could go and tell the Jehovah’s Witnesses the truth about Jesus. Eventually I quit praying for rain and started praying for God to forgive my idolatry. There’s a fine line between letting things like work and hobbies come before your family and letting your family come before Jesus. I was letting my sons come before Jesus. They could live with me missing soccer practice for one night because I’m telling people about Jesus.
I spent a lot of time in prayer before I showed up to the Kingdom Hall. I’m not a smart man but I do have a smart mouth. To be more specific, I’m a jerk by nature. I asked the Spirit to help me not to try to win a debate but to speak the truth in love. I also have a huge ego. I want to be known as the man responsible for shutting down the local Kingdom Hall. I asked God to give me a greater passion for the lost than for my own glory. Like I said, this took a lot of prayer.
When I pulled into the parking lot, I knew that I was terribly underdressed. I was wearing old hiking boots, jeans and a huge black coat. I looked like a terrorist. All that was missing was the camouflage ski mask. It was at the dry cleaners. Everyone else was dressed like they were going to the prom.
My heart sank when I saw the people walking in.
No longer was this a building where people talked about things that were contradictory to Scripture. It was now a building full of real people. People that looked just like the people in my church. People with firewood in the back of their truck. People with small kids. People that rushed from work to make it to this meeting in time. People that I had seen at the gym before.
If I didn’t look suspicious when I got out of my car, surely I did when I sat down. I was the guy in the big black coat and jeans sitting in the corner next to the offering box. I felt like the Unabomber must have had he ever shown up for Vacation Bible School.
The meeting started with a song I had never heard from a book that I didn’t have. No one offered me one until much later when the guy next to me let me look on with him. Neither one of us sang. We both just looked down at the words like a couple of baptists.
The sermon came after just one song. On the surface, it sounded like any sermon one would hear at an Easter service. Well, until the speaker started talking about the 144,000. He told us that very few people were counted among the 144,000 that get to go to heaven. The rest of us have to settle for paradise on earth. He then talked about taking the “Lord’s meal.” I knew that he meant communion and I immediately decided not to partake. It turns out that I wasn’t the only one.
“This bread and wine is only for the 144,000. If you are not among the 144,000, please do not partake.”
And so we literally passed the bread and wine. I didn’t see anyone eat the bread or drink the wine. I still want to know how one finds out if he is among the 144,000. After the passing of the elements, a prayer and a song, the service was over.
Now it was my turn to talk.
I figured that I would start with the guy sitting next to me. The one that shared his song book with me. But he actually got the first word in.
“This is a lot different from the baptist church I belong to.”
“What?! You’re baptist. I’m a baptist preacher.”
We wouldn’t have been more surprised if we had ran into one another inside of a liquor store.
I gave him my card and invited him to my church before he got caught up in a conversation with a few ushers.
Another usher came to me and asked me if this was my first visit. I told him that it was and that I had a few questions about Jesus.
He got another usher and they both stood ready for me to share my concerns. There was a bit more small talk before they told me to go ahead and ask my questions.
“Is Jesus an angel?”
“Is it okay to worship angels?”
“Okay. Can you please explain Hebrews 1:6?”
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
They told me that Jesus eventually quit being an angel.
“But you just said that he is an angel.”
One of the ushers walked away. The other asked me why I was here. I told him about the Kenny Loggins flyer that someone left on my door. It all started with a flyer, remember? I told the man that I would be praying for the Holy Spirit to work in his heart so that he could see that Jesus is God and “much superior to angels.” He told me that he would take all of the prayer that he could get. I think he was really on to something.
Next I went up to the front of the room to talk with the speaker. He was busy putting away the bread that no one ate and the wine that no one drank. We exchanged pleasantries before I told him that I had a question about Jesus. He told me to ask away.
“You don’t believe that Jesus is God, right?”
“Well, why does God the Father call him God?”
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8
His answer broke my heart.
“I’m not a walking dictionary so I’m not prepared to answer these questions.”
This man was not my enemy but he certainly was in the enemy’s grip.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
As I left, I thought about all of the other people there who were in the enemy’s grip. There were a lot of black people there. Maybe half of those in attendance were black. I wondered how many of them were made to feel unwanted at churches that supposedly preach the truth only to find refuge in an organization that is built on lies.
I moved in next to the Kingdom Hall about a month ago. One of my church members joked that he hoped they didn’t convert me. I joked back that the place would be shut down within a year.
Now, no joke, I’m really praying for that to happen. Not because the baptist preacher came by and rattled off a few verses but because of the Holy Spirit’s sovereign work to remove Satan’s blinders from their eyes so that they can see that Jesus Christ is God.
It all started with a flyer.
I’m praying that it all ends with a mighty work of God.