Sunday, October 19, 2014
Since my bus for Carpentras didn’t leave until noon I had some time to kill. Coming down the street to find a place to sit I saw the familiar Jehovah’s Witness literature stand and four well-dressed young people standing around waiting on passers-by. Unfortunately for them, I happened to have been a (intentional and going entirely out of my way) “passer-by.” The question was clear, “WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY TEACH?’ so I thought I would tell them. Having one person proficient in English and another moderately capable in the language it was not a good day when I explained that the Bible from Genesis to Revelation can be explained through faith in two words, “vicarious atonement.” I knew that these words were bigger than they were used to so I enjoyed explaining the concept to them beginning with fig leaves and going right through to the blood of the Lamb in Revelation. My, my, my! You think they had been struck by lightning. They are so used to people who know absolutely nothing about the scriptures that this encounter set them completely back upon their heels. So, here they got the red thread of redemption from Genesis to Revelation with a challenge regarding where they placed their confidence. “No doubt, you all were once Catholics. In those days your salvation was dependent upon the auspices of the Church, The Vatican, the Pope, Mary, the priests, the sacraments and so forth. These were your mediators. You were raised to be hopeful that this might work. Now, however, you have done yourself no better having only substituted Rome for Brooklyn. All religions follow the same pattern, Catholics, Islam, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and so forth. They control their subjects by procuring salvation for them as long as they follow the prescribed requirements and rules.” They didn’t like it but they got the point. It did not take them long to pick up their display and move across the street.