Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Unexpected Visitors

Today I was working at home when two Korean women knocked on my door. They were from a "Bible study group" and wanted to "conduct a survey". They were obviously evangelists so, not wanting to waste their time, I said I was a Christian already. That obviously was covered in their script, since they immediately asked if I knew about "God the Mother", and when I said no, whipped out a Bible, turned to Genesis 1:26-27 and explained that since God created men and women in his image and uses the plural personal pronoun, he must therefore have male and female sides. I explained why "the image of God" clearly cannot mean God is like us in every way, and the plural "us" in verse 26 is a royal plural, and then we went on a merry tour of Bible verses cherry-picked to support various unusual doctrines. They seemed to focus a lot on verses in Revelation mentioning the bride of Christ (something to do with "God the Mother" I suppose), and on verses to do with "living water". (They were interested in the source of it; no idea where they were going with that ... not the filioque controversy at least :-).). Suffice it to say that I did not agree with their interpretations.

One woman was somewhat older than the other, and obviously mentoring the younger, since the younger took the lead initially but when she started to flounder the older woman took over. When she finally tired of me she accused me of following my own ideas and not the text, and took her leave. Before they left I managed to hand them a card for ACPC and invite them to my Bible study at 7:30pm tonight. I genuinely hope they'll show up, though I'll be surprised if they do. (Then again, wouldn't they want the opportunity to convert more than one person at a time?) Funnily enough the only thing that really knocked the older woman off her stride was when she discovered I go to a Chinese church.

A quick search suggests that they belong to the World Mission Society Church of God, a pseudo-Messianic Korea-based, Christian-based cult, er, minority religious group.

In the excitement, there are things I wish I'd done differently:

  • Known something about their organization during the conversation
  • Pulled out my study Bible to get more background on some of the verses they were using
  • Had at my mental fingertips verse references for key concepts such as the church as the bride of Christ
  • Made a better case for them to visit our Bible study or our church to explain their ideas more fully
  • Gotten some contact details from them

I have immense respect for these women. They probably sincerely believe that their door-to-door evangelism is helping people reach salvation, and are willing to overcome fear, shame, a language barrier and demands on their time in pursuit of that. I think they're wrong about some critical issues, but they get more right about Jesus than the average person who rejects him completely. I'm impressed.


Berend de Boer
The royal plural didn't exist in the ancient Middle East. For example, look at Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, he says "I", not "we". From memory, I think it was invented by Augustus.
You're right. "Royal we" isn't the right term. I was thinking of the explanation "God and His heavenly angelic court are in view" as mentioned here and elsewhere: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/reformation-study-bible/Gen.1.26
Joshua Cogliati
Did they show up at your bible study?
Unfortunately they did not.
John Dowdell
I also reacted to the choice of pronouns in a translation of a translation of a translation, each subject to local pressure.... ;) But about the "things I wished I had done better," it sounds like you've done them since then...?
There's only one translation step here: from the original language (Hebrew) to English. And the text in the original language is available if you want to do an independent analysis. Yeah, I learned a few things :-).