SPRINGFIELD – Shane and Dixie Wise were Latter-day Saints who traced their ancestry to pioneers who traveled west with Brigham Young following the death of LDS founder Joseph Smith. They were sealed in an LDS temple, and Shane spent two years on a mission to Taiwan. Both were tireless leaders in a faith rooted in family and culture.
Then the Wises faced a crisis in their LDS faith and met the real Jesus. Today, they serve at an evangelical church in Utah, minister to current and former Latter-day Saints – and still feel the backlash from family and friends who consider them apostates.
The Wises are featured speakers at “When Counterfeit Christianity Comes Knocking,” a one-day apologetics conference that seeks to equip Missouri Baptists to share their faith with Latter-day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses who visit their homes.
South Gate Baptist Church in Springfield is hosting the event Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Greene County Baptist Association and the Missouri Baptist Convention are among the sponsors. Attendance is free but registration is limited due to social distancing protocols. For those unable to attend in person, the event is livestreamed at southgate.org.
South Gate’s lay-leader Jim Schurke and Greene County’s director of missions Michael Haynes are the drivers behind this unique event. Schurke has long ministered to Latter-day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses and has a knack for engaging them respectfully when they come to his door. He has long envisioned a training event for his fellow Missouri Baptists that equips them for sharing their faith in warm and casual conversations.
To Schurke, 1 Peter 3:15-16 provides excellent guidance for defending the Christian faith. “First, we must always be prepared,” he says. “This means we need to know what we believe and why we believe it. Secondly, we must know some basic beliefs of the groups we are working with, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Latter-day Saints. And thirdly, we must approach those who come to our doors with gentleness and respect.”
Other speakers include Charles Smith, a former long-time leader in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society who now leads an annual conference on JW beliefs and practices; Wil Hoffmann, senior pastor of Rising Sun Baptist Church in Hatton, Mo., and a former Baptist pastor in Utah; Schurke; Haynes; and Rob Phillips, director of ministry support and apologetics at the Missouri Baptist Convention.
The conference’s morning session features personal testimonies by the Wises and Charles Smith, and the afternoon transitions into practical application. Schurke interviews Smith about how to respectfully challenge Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door, and Hoffmann interviews the Wises about how to respectfully challenge Latter-day Saints at your door.
Sponsors are setting up booths and book tables so attendees may obtain additional resources and meet various ministry leaders.
Due to possible continuing Covid-19 restrictions in Springfield in November, registration is limited to 100 people.
For information about online and in-person registration, visit South Gate’s website at southgate.org.