—A New Positive Approach to Winning Pagans!1/88DO 2401
1. This supposed problem with Buddhist traditions, I don't buy it at all! I've witnessed to Catholics right & left & gotten'm saved, & I don't think there's all that much difference. The Catholics are just as heathen, pagan, idol-worshipping & unsaved as the Buddhists, & their whole system is just about as false!—Although it's dressed up with Christianity & Christian names & all that, which makes it a little bit easier, & they're supposedly not changing religions. But once you get them saved & they get all turned on about Jesus & they want to fellowship with you instead of going to church, oh, brother, then you've got the explosions! Down comes the priest & the nuns & the family & everybody else to practically hold them by force! So it's the same thing, let's face it.
2. The approach I've used with Catholics has been the very same thing, the same idea. I certainly haven't attacked their religion! We've gotten Catholics saved & gotten them all turned on about our teachings & everything‚ & we didn't say a word about not going to church, not a word about not being Catholics! If anything, we've almost promoted it in some cases, & said, "Well, that's fine, go ahead, that's all right!" We've told them, "Watch out what you say to your relatives & the priests & try not to say anything they're not going to like or be offended by. Just get turned on to Jesus & say you're an even better Catholic now than you ever were because you've really got Jesus in your heart & you're really turned on!" So it's a little easier in some ways with Catholics because of it being a Christian religion. But it's not really very Christian, as you can see by the way they often persecute true Christians! (As in the Philippines, for example.)
3. But I don't see any problem with those Buddhist traditions. They're nothing but forms & ceremonies & going through motions. Good night‚ a lot of our folks have gone back to the Catholic Church & gotten married just to please their relatives & all that kind of stuff, what's the difference? It's just going through the motions, going through the ceremonies!
4. You can just tell them, "You don't have to change your ceremonies, you don't have to change your traditions or your customs!" Buddha himself, personally, virtually totally abandoned the concept of gods or God. I suspect he was a Jew, of course. He totally abandoned all gods & God Himself‚ & he just taught a system of ethics, a system of thought‚ meditation‚ & of course the whole thing led to demon possession.—The whole system of meditation & going into a trance & all that junk. That's probably what he did under the Bo tree or whatever it was!—It must have been a boa constrictor!
5. He just sat there until he supposedly got this all thought through, & he thought himself completely out of existence!—That that was the best thing of all, just Nirvana, nothingness, that was Heaven, that's the whole thing in Buddhism, just to get out of it all! It's good preparation for suicide because the whole idea was to just sit & meditate & think about nothing finally. If you could get to where you could absolutely think about nothing, then you've got happiness, you've got joy! If you just don't think about anything‚ then you don't worry about anything! That's what it's all about.—Buddhism!
6. And then if you can just do it enough‚ you get into a trance-like state where you find this "inner power" that you never had before, this supernatural power that really joins you with the great power of Brahma the Creator, & you become one with the Great Spirit of all because you get a piece of his spirit! Of course, it's the Devil & his little demons they're really talking about! But anyhow‚ that was his whole idea, get rid of God & gods & everything else but your own little god, you are god & you can have a little god inside of you‚ this special spirit, a part of the Great Spirit.
7. Actually, most practicing Buddhists today have gotten almost totally away from his teachings, they have no Scriptures really, they have no actual doctrines or criterion or dogmas or anything. If you read anything about Buddhism, you'll see that the whole religion in many of those countries is really nothing but a system of ceremonies & traditions & customs without any religion. It's not a religion! They don't worship any actual gods. So to just practice their little ceremonies & marriages & a few little traditions, for goodness sake, it's nothing but a form & going through the motions & has nothing to do really with religion!
8. So I think you can just tell them, "You don't have to change your religion, you don't have to change your customs, you're not adopting a new religion!—Jesus is not a religion!" I've taught that for years! Jesus is not a religion, He is a Person, He is a special inner personal Friend you can have! If the Buddhists can teach that you can get a piece of God in you by all this meditation & blah blah & you can become part of the Great Spirit by having a part of Him in you, well, let's teach it about Jesus! That's exactly what we're teaching! You can have a part of the Great Spirit, God‚ the God of Love‚ by having a part of Him, His Son or His Holy Spirit inside of you!
9. It's a parallel! Theirs is the counterfeit, ours is the reality! They're teaching a very similar idea, that you can be God through having a piece of God in you, this Spirit of God, & become a part of the Great Spirit of all. Well‚ that's exactly what we teach, only we teach that His name is Jesus! So, what's the difference? The main thing is to get'm hooked on Jesus, then He'll take care of all the rest!
10. It reminds me of the story Fred used to tell about the guy who was so upset about Hell. He didn't believe in Hell, he didn't want to hear about Hell. But finally he wanted Fred to come & talk to him & explain about Hell because he was afraid he was going there. I've found that most of the people who are against Hell believe in it but they're afraid they're going there! So they want to explain it away or have you explain it away so they don't have to go there.
11. So anyhow, he sent for Fred & he wanted to know all about Hell! That was his big sticking point, he didn't believe in Hell, he didn't want to go to Hell, he didn't believe in them talking about Hell & all that. So Fred said, "Well, I'm not going to talk to you about Hell‚ I just want to talk to you about Jesus!" He finally got him to accept the Lord, & afterward, after he'd received the Lord, Fred said, "Well, now what do you want to know about Hell?" He answered, "I don't want to know anything about Hell now, I'm not going there!"
12. So the Lord takes care of those things! See? You don't have to teach the Catholics about all their wrong doctrines‚ just get'm to read the Bible! You don't have to attack Mary & attack idolatry & attack the Pope & whatnot, that's the worst way in the World to go about winning Catholics!
13. The first thing you have to ask a Catholic is‚ "Are you sure you're going to Heaven?" And they say, "How can I be sure? I've got to wait till I die & balance up my good works against my bad works‚ & then I'll know if I earned my way." I'd tell'm, "We don't have to do that—look what it says right here in the Bible! All you have to do is receive Jesus! He already paid for your sins & it says right here you can be sure you're going to Heaven!" And they're just absolutely amazed to hear that Salvation is so easy, all they have to do is receive the Lord! I have never had them fail yet to bow their heads & pray & ask the Lord to come in. I have had some real tremendous decisions that way, whole families saved!
14. Of course, then when they preferred to fellowship with us rather than with their church‚ whew!—Down comes the church & all the relatives & everything, & there's a real explosion! It's a lot like that with Jews too, only Jews get more violent! Abe Schneider, after he got saved, started going to one of Fred's fellowships, & his mother & two big bruiser brothers marched right into the church during the service & grabbed Abe, pulled him out of the church & beat him up! They are violent!—And they finally officially buried him!
15. They have a coffin & an official burial service. "Where's your son Abe?" "Oh, he's dead!" They don't even recognise he's still alive, he's officially buried! The Orthodox Jews do that, it's a common practice. They officially have a ceremony, a funeral, a coffin, & he is buried in the ground as far as they're concerned & they tell everybody he's dead! "Where's your son Abe, we don't see him around any more." "Oh, he's dead!" That's how they are. And they get violent about it! Well‚ the Catholics are almost as bad.
16. The main thing is‚ you should try to convince Buddhists that you're not trying to make them change their religion. Don't argue against their religion, don't even talk about their religion unless they bring it up, & they usually do. They say, "What do I have to do now, change my religion? But I'm a Buddhist!" Or "I'm a Hindu!" Or "I'm a Shintoist" or "I'm a Taoist!"
17. They say, "Well, what are we going to do about their ceremonies?" Well, go through with'm! We've had plenty of our folks who, to please their relatives, have gone back to the Catholic Church, gotten married‚ had their infants baptised in the Catholic Church & all of that! So what? It's mere forms & ceremonies, going through the motions just to please their relatives.
18. Tell'm, "Well, you don't have to stop these ceremonies & you don't have to stop these marriages & Buddhist forms & rituals, just going through the motions, as long as they don't mean anything to you‚ as long as you're not worshipping the stone images or the idols or whatever. As long as you know it's just a form & a ceremony & you're just going through it to please your relatives, don't worry about it!"
19. I know we've told the story about Naaman, the Leper who got healed, going back to the Temple with the king, & he said, "Well, in this small thing, pardon Thy servant‚ but I have to go into the Temple with the King on my arm." And we've said you don't ever hear anything about Naaman again.—But you do! Jesus even commends Naaman in the New Testament!—Luk.4:27. In order to hold his position & his job with the king as the top man of the kingdom outside the king, he had to go into the Temple of Rimmon with the king on his arm!—Otherwise, he could have lost his job & everything! But as it was, it had its purpose.
20. Maybe if he'd come out openly & declared his becoming a worshipper of the true God Jehovah & defied the king & refused to go into the Temple & all that, he would have gotten killed & his family wiped out too & God knows what would have happened! But I'm sure he was able to carry on at least some kind of witness. I'm sure whenever he was asked how he got so wonderfully healed from leprosy, he certainly wouldn't have said, "Well‚ it was in the Temple of Rimmon." He would have said, "I went down to Israel because I talked to this little Jewish girl who told me about the one true God Jehovah, & that's how I got healed!"—2Kgs.5:1-19. So what's the matter with a witness like that?
21. We're under a lot of pressure in some countries, especially in the East! We've been driven off the streets, we can't just peddle & panhandle & become beggars & do it the easy way like a lot of our folks have been doing, just begging & litnessing & tapenessing & all that.—Very nice, all well & good if you can do it! But if you can't do it‚ if we're driven off the streets & you even have a tough time going house-to-house & office-to-office, well, praise God, let's teach English, let's invite them to our English classes, & let's invite them most of all to Jesus!
22. "Take Jesus into your heart! You don't have to abandon Buddhism!" Buddha was a great teacher & he said a lot of good things, believe it or not. But he was a counterfeit‚ he was the Devil's own predecessor of Jesus to produce a counterfeit to try to insulate the people against Christ when He came, Confucius the same thing. Confucius taught so many things & so many sayings almost exactly like what Jesus said, only Confucius taught them in a sort of negative way. For example, one of his main criterions was, "Don't do to other people what you don't want them to do to you!"—Sort of a negative approach. Whereas Jesus' is the positive approach: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!"—Mat.7:12. Get it?
23. So this business of worrying about abandoning their religion, forget it! Jesus is not a religion! The churches have a religion, they've got Christianity, but that's not what we're peddling! We're not peddling Christianity, we're not peddling churchianity, we're not peddling a Christian religion, that's something else, & we don't even care for it ourselves! We don't go for it! We don't go to church, we don't promote churches, we don't promote Christianity, we don't promote Christendom‚ we don't promote churchianity, for God's sake! We're against it! We're just for Jesus! "We just want you to take Jesus! He's that Member of the Godhead, the Great Spirit," or whatever they call it.
24. Whatever Buddha actually did teach, he was against the gods of the Hindus & the gods of the others‚ but he preached that there was a Great Spirit, that you can become part of the Great Spirit, that everything is a part of the Great Spirit, the whole Creation's a part of the Great Spirit, everything is God, you're God, & you can have God & his supernatural power if you'll just meditate & get in a trance & get a piece of his spirit, one of his spirits.—That is the Devil's spirits, of course!
25. Of course we don't have to go that far, to advocate or agree with all that spiritual business. What they're mostly concerned about are their family traditions, family ceremonies‚ marriages & whatnot that the family wants them to still partake in & think that if they refuse, then they're no longer Buddhists, in fact, they're no longer one of their own people!—Not Japanese or Chinese anymore!
26. I think that we ought to have a much more positive approach: "You don't have to abandon your religion! We're not offering you a new religion, we're not offering you Christianity, churchianity or a Christian religion! Jesus is not a religion! Jesus is a Personality who wants to be your Friend, your Saviour, & guarantee that you get to Heaven, Who will help you resist all these evil powers & evil spirits you're always worrying about!"
27. What we ought to be doing is just promoting Jesus! Here I'm back on the same subject again! I guess I needn't say any more about that. But I can understand how some of our Family are discouraged about it‚ & it's a major problem with people trying to witness to Buddhists! You've just got to abandon this idea that you're trying to get them to change their religions!
28. Just say, "I'm not trying to get you to change your religion! If you still want to be a Buddhist & practice these ceremonies, that's up to you, but why not take Jesus on top of it all? Why not try Jesus? He'll make you a part of the real Great Brahma or the Great Spirit, & He'll really give you power & heal you & do miracles & supernatural things & help you fight these devils & demons & evil spirits!"
29. You ought to be positive about it, not negative! "Well, now you've got to stop being a Buddhist & you've got to sacrifice this & give up that & don't do this!" This one woman someone wrote us about kept worrying about what she was going to have to give up or sacrifice: "You mean I've got to go witnessing & litnessing & peddle tapes?"—The wife of some important executive that they've been witnessing to who has been very sympathetic & everything‚ she's worried about what she's not going to be able to do!—Or have to!
30. It reminds me of a rich man that we were witnessing to down in Miami. He was a Nazarene, a Holiness guy, & he was bragging about all of his good works, how he didn't play cards, he didn't dance‚ he didn't go to movies, he didn't go to shows‚ he didn't run around with women, he didn't do this & he didn't do that! I'll have to give credit to Eve, she finally spoke up, very sincerely—of course it was a real irony & sarcasm—she said, "I guess your religion consists mostly of what you don't do!" That's so true of the Holiness people.
31. Well‚ in Buddhism their religion consists mostly of what they do! Whether it's anti-works or pro-works, it's the same works religion! Forms & ceremonies & motions & whatnot, what's the difference? If your religion either consists of what you do or what you don't do, it's the same thing, it's works! You don't do works or you do works. Not doing works is a form of works. Holiness not doing this & not doing that until your religion consists of what you don't do, is a religion of "don't do" works! So it's works of not doing things!
32. So what you've got to do is convince Buddhists that they don't have to abandon their religion or customs or family traditions or family ceremonies or observances or whatever! "You're just going to have something better, you're going to have Jesus on top of it all! Go ahead, enjoy your little family do-nothings or whatever‚ & your little traditions, & you know they don't mean anything except to your family. You know that you don't really have much faith in them. You don't really have a religion‚ you don't really believe in anything, you don't have any real faith."
33. They confess that, that Buddhism really isn't a religion in a sense. And that's true, because Buddha was actually trying to get away from religions into a system of ethics. In a way, as Jewish as he must have been, he was really trying to promote monotheism in presenting the Great Spirit, instead of all the Hindu gods & all that stuff. Maybe he could have even been a good missionary of the Jews trying to convert people to something similar to Judaism. Of course, he got far off the track, obviously. He cooked up his own ideas then & the whole idea was a system of good ethics & meditation & getting in touch with the powers that be, the spiritual supernatural powers, the Great Spirit & his little spirits, & that's what they do in the long run.—Satan!
34. Most people who just have little family ceremonies & observances of times & seasons & whatnot, they're not even hardly pretending to be Buddhists! They say‚ "Well‚ officially I'm supposed to be a Buddhist, but I don't do this & I don't do that, blah blah. I just observe it with the family & I have a few little ceremonies, weddings & things like that." Well fine, go right ahead! God's got no objection!—Not yet!
35. We've got no formal forms & ceremonies & liturgy of the Christian church, blah blah! The Catholics & the Protestants have it, but we don't. About the only thing we have is a little fellowship where we use a couple of little symbols for the Communion, just simply observing that to commemorate something. The ceremony itself doesn't do anything, it's not supposed to do anything for us, really. We're just commemorating, we're observing, we're showing our faith, that's all!
36. So we're not promoting another religion, we're not even promoting Christianity, much less churchianity! How about that? We're just promoting Jesus! "What's wrong with Jesus?—What have you got against Jesus? Why don't you want Jesus? He was a good Man Who went about everywhere doing good & His Spirit lives on. He just wants you to have His Spirit, & God has promised that you'll get to Heaven if you'll take Jesus!" That's all they have to believe!
37. They don't have to not believe Buddhism to be saved! They don't have to believe they're sinners to be saved! They don't have to know they're not righteous to be saved, all they have to do is believe in Jesus! "Just accept Christ & believe that He still really lives today in spirit & loves you & wants to help you to fight all these evil spirits you're always worrying about!"
38. I haven't attacked Catholics when I've witnessed to them.—And I certainly wouldn't attack Buddhists by attacking their religion at all! I don't even tell Catholics they've got to quit going to the Catholic Church! I wouldn't tell a Buddhist he's got to quit performing his little ceremonies. I would just tell him, "I don't care about all that, that makes no difference to us! You do whatever you want to about that! You don't have to change your religion, we're not offering you another religion, we're offering you Jesus! We don't promote Christianity, Christendom or churchianity, we just promote Jesus! We don't promote the Christian faith as described & dogmatised & practiced by the Christian religion. We promote Christ!—Not Christian faith‚ not churchianity, not Christianity, Christendom, nothing! We just promote Jesus! We're not against your Buddhist religion, you go ahead & practice your little motions‚ whatever you want to do."
39. Or to the Catholics: "Go ahead to church! Go ahead & take your little liturgy & eucharist," as they call the communion. I'm not going to argue against their transubstantiation or consubstantiation of the Lutherans or blah blah blah! I don't care what they believe about that‚ it makes no difference to me! Whether they believe in consubstantiation, transubstantiation, Mother Mary, blah blah! I believe Mary's a Saint, & if they want to pray to her, let'm! If they want to say the pictures are just representations or the statues are just representations, they're just pictures of the Saints, my God, we use pictures all the time! We have pictures of Jesus & everything else. There are some anti-Catholics that are so dogmatic & so radical they don't even believe in having pictures of Jesus in their house!—Not even pictures, much less idols! So you can take that to the extreme too!
40. I don't give a damn if they want to go to church & kneel down! If they're really praying to the Spirit & not to the image, what difference does it make?—If they're really praying to Mary & not to the picture, the picture just reminds them of Mary. As some of them say: "I'm not praying to the picture‚ I'm not worshipping Mary, I'm just adoring her! I just admire her, & I'm praying to her to try to put in a little good word for me with the Lord."
41. The thing is not to fight all that stuff, the Lord & His Spirit along with His Word will eventually wake'm up to the ridiculousness of all that stuff, that they don't even need it any more! This is the first thing that a lot of Catholic converts will ask you: "Well, it doesn't look like we need to go to church any more‚ it doesn't look like we need to pray to the Saints & images any more!" You don't have to tell'm! They get the point, why go to church? They'll say, "Well, we enjoy your classes & your fellowship a lot more than we do going to church! We don't get anything out of going to church!" Then their relatives begin getting worried about them not coming to mass & stuff like that. They're the problem!
42. There have been times when we've even advocated & said to Catholics, "Well, maybe to keep peace with the family & the relatives & not get too much unnecessary persecution, go to church! You can talk to the Lord in church just like any place else if you want to. You can worship the Lord in a church, you can pray in church, & now that you can really pray better, you'll be a better Catholic & you really know what you're doing & Who you're doing it with & how!"
43. So, praise God! Why worry about Buddhism? For goodness sake, Buddha was just another man‚ a great teacher, he never claimed to be God! It was his followers that promoted him to a god & worship of his images & idols. But most of the people our Family's reaching & witnessing to, students, intellectuals, businessmen & rich people, they're not the kind to go around really worshipping idols & shrines & going through all the motions & everything, they're just concerned about the little family ceremonies‚ the things that their families are concerned about. "Well, can't we at least attend or help perform a Buddhist marriage in our family, & can't we do this or that?" Well, fine, let'm go ahead & do it! That's not going to interfere with their faith in Jesus & their love for the Lord!
44. We don't have a religion, we have Jesus! We don't have Christianity, we have the Lord! We have the heart of it all, not the form‚ not the ceremonies! They have the "form of Godliness without the power thereof."—2Tim.3:5. We've got the power, the Him, the He, the Man, not the manner! Praise God?
45. Too many church people have got the manner of Christians, the manner of churchianity, the manner of being a Christian, the manner of good works. They preach works just as much as any pagan heathen idolatry! They preach works & "You've got to go to church on Sunday, you've got to do this, you've got to do that, & don't do this & don't do that & blah blah!" That's not what we teach! We preach Jesus!
46. "Love Jesus! He loves you! He is the Son of God‚ the very Spirit of God! He's the One Who really can guarantee you'll go to Heaven! We're not worried about your Buddha, we're not worried about your Buddhism, you don't have to change your religion! Stay a Buddhist if you want to, perform the ceremonies, go through the motions! You know they don't mean anything anyhow, you've said so. So if it makes your family happy & pleases them, well okay, go ahead! We don't care! Just be firm in your testimony that you belong to Jesus!"
47. I don't even like the word "Christian" any more, it has a bad connotation. Most of the World doesn't like Christians! They've seen too many phony Christians in church & churchianity. That term is no longer good in our case. In the early days of the Early Apostles they started calling them Christians, but I like the term Christ-ones, one of His! "I belong to Him, He belongs to me! He's my Saviour, He's my Friend. Go ahead, I don't care about your Buddhism, that's up to you! Just take Jesus! I'm not telling you to abandon Buddhism, I'm not telling you to abandon your ceremonies with your family, I'm not telling you you've got to quit everything!"
48. We've been kind of radical & extremist in the early days about quitting jobs & school & everything else‚ but that's not the tack to start on! God will show them that! That's not up to you to show them, really, not to begin with at least. Why preach that when they don't even have Jesus yet? You can't preach to them, "You've got to stop this & quit that & forsake something else" etc. when they haven't even got the power to do it‚ they haven't got the desire to do it, they don't know why they should do it if they don't have Jesus! They've got to have Jesus first, that's the main thing!
49. Just tell'm, "Well, you just take Jesus & He'll take care of all that! Don't worry about it! You can do whatever you want to about that after you have Jesus!"—Because you know what they'll want to do once they've got Jesus, He'll work on that! Amen?
50. So praise God! Let's quit trying to convert Buddhists to Christianity! Let's just start giving them Jesus & let Him take care of their Buddhism! Praise God! And the same goes with Catholics or any other kinds of pagans or heathens‚ including the Protestants!—They're almost as pagan & heathen as the rest of them the way they depend on works & churchianity, which doesn't save them!
51. I've bumped into hundreds of Protestants who aren't saved but are staunch, self-righteous church members! They're just as hard to try to get saved—some of them even harder—than Buddhists, because you've got to take away all that Christian insulation‚ that church insulation against real faith, against really having Jesus. They think their works & going to church & all their ceremonies & traditions & customs & conformities save them. Well, that's no different from the Buddhists or the Catholics or anybody else.
52. What you've got to convince them of is that they need Jesus! Praise God!—That He's not another religion‚ you're not trying to convert them—at least not to their way of thinking—you're not trying to win'm over to churchianity to go to church or Christianity as they see it & Christians as they see them, you're just trying to give'm Jesus! If they'll just receive Jesus, that's all you want them to do!—And then have the faith to trust God to let Jesus take care of the rest! Amen? Praise God!
53. Maybe this can be a sequel to the other talk about "You Need Jesus!"—"Just take Jesus & let the Lord worry about your religion! You're not changing religions, you're just getting Jesus!" Praise God! Amen! And I think with that tack we'll make a lot more progress with not only Buddhists but Catholics & Hindus & everybody else! Amen? Praise God!
54. Lord bless this & make it a blessing to all of our folks to realise how to preach You!—Not to preach, but to sell, offer, give!—Tremendous opportunities & tremendous advantages & a real wonderful wonderful Jesus!—Friend‚ Saviour, Helper, Miracle-Worker, Healer, all the blessings that You can give them without attacking their religion or having them abandon their religion, Lord. You'll take care of that when they get You! So in Jesus' name we ask You to make it a blessing‚ & bless them, Lord, going all out with a new spirit, a new approach, a new attack & a new offer, & not preaching against things but for You, Jesus!—Amen? In Jesus' name! Amen!