Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 6, 1951

An Interesting Conversation

Jack Meyer, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

(Editor's Note: This article is taken from Gospel Visitor (see editorial), and is typical of the excellent material carried in that organ. Consider carefully what brother Meyer has to say concerning the power of the printed word.)

This writer engaged last week in one of the most interesting conversations of his life. It was too long to give many details. But enough of the facts can be presented here to give some profitable lessons.

A gentleman's voice over the phone asked for an interview. The conference was arranged and lasted about two hours. The caller was the Christian Science publication chairman for the state of Oklahoma, with headquarters in Tulsa. He was a high-type man, as to intellect, ability to handle himself in conversation, knowledge of Christian Science, knowledge of human nature, and even in appearance. He explained that he had taken note of our articles in Gospel Visitor on the back page, Christian Science versus the Bible, and his visit was to change my viewpoint to one more favorable toward Christian Science. At various stages of the long conversation, by piecemeal questioning, he gave the information that someone had sent in a copy, or copies, of the paper to the Boston headquarters, and headquarters had in turn asked him to make the visit. We discussed Christian Science in the light of the Bible. I made it clear why I believe that Christian Science is a system of infidelity, that Mrs. Eddy was a fraud. Yet I kept two things in view: that the average Christian Scientist is sincere and intelligent. The gentleman knew his subject, and handled both it and himself in an exemplary manner. There never was a hard word said by either of us, so far as anger or ill will was concerned. No resentment or discourtesy. Yet I left nothing unsaid as to how Christian Science contradicts the Bible and is in no sense Christian, nor did I compromise at any point. We parted as we met—he a confirmed Christian Scientist, and I as simply a Christian. He has sent me a tract and a book, and I am regularly sending him Gospel Visitor.

I am not in this article interested so much in the arguments that each of us made. He wasn't the type who tried to monopolize the talking, and neither did I. Naturally I think he could not handle the truth, and I thought I saw weaknesses in his armor which were easily detectable. He may think the same in my direction. But there are other lessons to be learned right now.

First, think of the efforts to which Christian Science goes in order to change unfavorable viewpoints to favorable ones. I would not be so silly or conceited as to think that this play—from Scientist, to headquarters, to state publication chairman, to me—was made because of Jack Meyer. They do that, as they are able, in all such cases. And they make such efforts, be it a metropolitan daily or a comparative unknown church weekly. They overlook nothing in winning converts. Several years ago, while living in Houston, Texas, and writing a series of articles on Christian Science for a Birmingham, Alabama, paper, they did the same thing—sent the Alabama chairman to see the Birmingham editor. They will do that anywhere, when anyone attacks them. Their zeal in trying to silence the guns of attack and winning converts is something to make us think.

Second, this is an indication of the power of the printed word, in paper article, tract, etc. Probably no group exceeds the Christian Scientists in the amount of printed matter displayed by them. And their printed matter is always distinguished by at least two features: (1) It is attractive in appearance, on good paper; (2) it is conspicuously displayed. The attention they give to opposing articles show that they recognize the power of the press. Many of our people could learn this. Christian Scientists realize how far a written sermon can travel in influence.

Third, there is the lesson of good judgment in trying to converse with people regarding opposing convictions. The gentleman who called on me fought hard for his doctrine, but never in anger or bad temper. Christians should remember that lesson in talking with people about the truth. When we call on prospects, those who visit our services, or have any contact with them about the gospel, let us keep in mind that we are trying to convert, and not simply trying to win an argument or show our temper. We may to convert the man at the first conversation, but we hope to be back, and we want to keep him in a receptive mind. We need not compromise anything or conceal any truth. But we can well afford not to close doors needlessly. They will be closed soon enough anyway. We should show better judgment than the world does.

When the interview was over, I felt that I had engaged in a profitable exercise, and had learned much. I reflected on the foregoing, and other, lessons as we spread the truth of Christ. And I felt that even this faulty picture of that scene would be of some help to Christians.