It was probably during our first year of marriage– we were living on our own in the apartment we were renting– my wife, our cat, and I were enjoying a peaceful evening when our doorbell rang.
Standing out side was a man and he had some pamphlets in his hand. I let the man in the house, and we started to look at his material. By now, you’ve probably guessed that this man was a Jehovah’s Witness. What was strange was that I thought that these people traveled in groups of two– and here was a single guy.
At the time, I was a deacon in my church, and figured that this guy didn’t know what he had gotten himself into.
Over the next few weeks, once a week, this man came by, we had him into our house, and he and I looked at the Scriptures and compared what the Bible said to what he believed. He even brought a cat toy once for our cat. In the end, however, he stopped coming to the house– probably about the time that he figured that there was no convincing me that the Trinity was false (which is where we had started our discussion).
It wasn’t until many weeks later in a sermon that I found out that, though my heart was right, I had disobeyed a portion of scripture.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
You see, this passage (which teaches us what to do about false teachers) clearly tells us that if someone comes into our presence and we know that he’s teaching false doctrine, we’re not to greet him or have him in our house.
Our cultural sense recoils here. How can inviting someone into our house be that bad? No one stands around outside anymore– so how will I witness to people that come by my house?
The problem at the time of this writing and today is that we show people favor when we let them in our house– just like I show people favor when I link to them from this blog. Now if someone comes and says something wrong on this blog, I can correct it according to the Scriptures. But if all someone in the neighborhood sees is me welcoming in a Jehovah’s Witness, they do not know whether I also agree with that teaching or what that person is doing in my house– and it’s obvious when a JW is coming door to door.
John the apostle is saying that our testimony is important– we are called to live a high standard which means that when people see us as Christians we are to be ones that bring glory to God. We are not to cause anyone to doubt who we are or what we stand for.
So, I’ll talk to a JW, but only on my porch or in a public place. I won’t give them the privilege of entering into my house.