I love to share the true Jesus with all Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormon Missionaries who come to my door. I usually invite them into my house and make them feel comfortable as we discuss spiritual issues. I always try to treat them with gentleness and respect as outlined by 1 Peter 3:15.
A year ago I was teaching a four week series at our church on how to share with Jehovah's Witnesses. Upon finishing my second session, I was told by one class member he would no longer attend my class because I made a habit of inviting Witnesses and Mormons into my house. He said I was participating in their evil. I asked him if he was referring to 2 John and he said yes.
2 John 10, 11 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [the teachings of Christ], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
According to this person, these verses say if I allow Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons into my house I participate in their evil. Is this what this passage teaches? Was I violating the prohibition in 2 John 10, 11 and partnering in their wickedness? Can we open our homes to evangelize Witnesses and Mormons?
I would like to share a few thoughts concerning this issue and then give a proper interpretation of 2 John.
- If this accusation is true then no unbeliever can enter your home. Verse 10 says the people that enter your house have to bring the teachings of Christ, which means they have to be a Christian. If you receive into your house an unbeliever you are participating in their wickedness. Therefore no unbeliever can enter the house of Christian, which could include plumbers, electricians, relatives, friends or neighbors. For me this would mean on holidays I would have an almost empty house; many of my relatives and friends are unbelievers. I thought Jesus wanted me to share with all unbelievers. This interpretation challenges the commands of Jesus.
- How do the four walls of my house change the evangelistic outreach? How can I talk to someone outside my house but cannot bring them inside my home and do the same? Of course inside or outside my house makes no difference; either location I am commanded to share Christ. Truthfully, this teaching puts all missionaries out of work. They bring non-Christians into their homes all the time with the express purpose of evangelism. They share meals with these individuals with the goal of winning them to Christ. This is forbidden according to this line of reasoning and interpretation of 2 John.
- This interpretation seems to contradict the clear Biblical teaching concerning the sharing of our faith. Jesus told his disciples and us in Acts 1:8 to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Some Christians believe cult evangelism is a special brand of evangelism. However, the Bible speaks of two types of people; believers and unbelievers. Some unbelievers might be a little more aggressive in spreading their false beliefs but evangelism doesn’t change; we are to share with atheists, new age believers, Buddhists, Muslims, agnostics, and anyone who needs Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t make specific group exceptions to His command. All Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons need to hear the truth about Jesus and why not tell them in the front room of my or your home.
I believe it is obvious this particular interpretation of 2 John is clearly bogus and in some cases, when it is taught by a pastor, falsely restricts evangelism of a group of people who need to hear about the one true Jesus. So if this interpretation is false, what does the passage really teach? I will tackle that in part 2.