Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. (John 14:23-24)
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:6-7)
You know, I suppose there are several ways that the Lord’s work could be done. After all, I do study other religions and try to understand what it is they see as justification for departing from Scripture. However, I do know for certain that the Lord was express in the Old Testament, and He continued it in the New, that things were to be done a certain way. Now, to be clear, there is considerably more leeway in the New Testament than the Old. After all, it really doesn’t matter whether you sing one hymn or three, or pray first and then sing, or the preaching lasts 30 minutes or an hour. No, what really matters is the proper, doctrinally sound ministering and teaching of the word of God to the Lord’s people so that they are strengthened and continue to grow in the Lord.
Moreover, when the Lord’s people are properly taught and built-up in the word, they are generally moved in their hearts to serve the Lord of their own volition. Properly taught, the Lord’s people need no outside motivation to do the work of spreading the message of the gospel. Moreover, if someone belongs to the Lord, their service to the Lord must be of their own volition, and of a right motivation, else the Lord will account it as wood, hay, and stubble to be burned up when the Lord judges His people. Thus, coercing brethren to serve the Lord by going door-to-door, through the use of threats and sanctions is utterly pointless as it does not please the Lord. Moreover, it muddies the message of the grace of Christ to both the individual being coerced and the people he or she witnesses to.
Unfortunately, there are those in this world who say they serve the LORD, who do not understand the above concept at all. However, I do not think this misunderstanding is entirely rooted in ignorance of what the Scripture has to say about service to the LORD. Rather, what is done appears as a calculated, knowledgeable, deliberate, wilful perversion of the Scriptures.
One such organization that engages in this activity with its members, all the while claiming that they are “serving the Lord,” is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Having dealt with a few when they come door knocking is an interesting experience. After all, I will talk with anyone about what they believe, so long as they want to talk. Unfortunately for the Jehovah’s Witness, just talking with you and not getting you “converted” can get them in a lot of trouble with the Watchtower. Why? Because, in their “Lord’s work” they must account for their time on a time sheet, and they must also fulfill a monthly quota. Otherwise, they are in a heap of trouble, and could be subjected to censure or discipline.
Now, how do I know this? Fortunately, there are those who came out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and they are not silent about it. There are some excellent sites out there that document the strange way the Jehovah’s Witnesses have of doing the “Lord’s” work. One such site is Watching the Tower. To be clear, the man that operates this site is not a fundamental, unaffiliated, Baptist. Rather, he is a Southern Baptist that was a 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness prior to his salvation. Thus, this is not an endorsement of his affiliation, but is a pointing out of an excellent resource to use to learn what we deal with when it comes to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
However, this does raise the question for unaffiliated Baptists: What are we doing to reach those in such wicked organizations as the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Or, are we leaving it someone else to minister to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups such as Mormons, Adventists, etc.? For that matter, are we concerned about everyone who holds a doctrine of salvation by works, who believe that they are either saved by their “good works,” or kept in salvation by their “good works?” Or, are we all too willing to let “someone else” take care of that. I am glad the LORD God does not do business the way the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. No, the Lord does not need to keep an earthly repository of records detailing the activities of His children. That is an activity that only a man-made organization bent upon controlling its member’s lives would engage in.
Coercion may be fine to cause individuals to “toe the line” in society for the purpose of restraining the wicked activity of sinful man, but it is entirely inappropriate as a motivation to serve God. If the child of God doesn’t love his Saviour enough to give up some time and effort to bring others to Christ, it really does call into question whether they are a child of God.