Editor’s note: “From the Profs” is an occasional feature highlighting past experiences of Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College faculty in sharing the Gospel.
During a block party with a church plant several years ago, Associate Professor of Apologetics and World Religions Travis S. Kerns, then a Send City missionary to Salt Lake City, Utah, noticed a member of the church plant conversing with a couple in the shade of a nearby tree.
After a moment, the church member approached Kerns and said, “There is a couple over there that has some questions about Mormonism. Could you go answer them?”
Kerns agreed, approached the couple, and asked how he could best answer any questions they had.
The woman looked back at Kerns and, in a straightforward manner, replied, “I have two questions: I want to know about the temple and the priesthood. Go!”
Kerns addressed each of the two issues the woman presented. This seemed to appease the woman, because her next response was simply, “OK. We’re done. What’s next?”
Initially surprised by her emphatic response, Kerns asked for clarification. The woman said, “‘OK’ means we accept your answer. ‘We’re done’ means we were Mormon—in fact, I’m a sixth-generation Mormon and my husband is fourth-generation Mormon—and we don’t want to be anymore. And ‘What’s next?’ means you are happy and we are not. How do we get what you have?”
Having served in Utah for six years by that point, Kerns had observed that, despite the state being one of the most religious in the country, it is also one of the most broken. Many struggle to break free of their religious traditions that ultimately fail to satisfy.
In light of that, Kerns was overjoyed by the woman’s response. He presented the Romans Road, and the couple responded in repentance and faith. In that moment, they were saved.
The miraculous story of this couple’s salvation did not end that day, however. Moved by the joy of their salvation, they returned home that evening to share that same Gospel message with their two children, who also received Christ.
The couple later shared with the man’s parents, siblings, and their families. Each family member, Kerns says, was led out of Mormonism to the saving work of Christ.
Years later, the couple is still joyfully living for Christ and serving another church plant in Salt Lake City. Every aspect of their life, Kerns says, is reflective of their understanding of what it means to live in the freedom of Christ.
“They are infectiously happy and intoxicatingly filled with joy,” says Kerns, who joined the faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2019. “Why? Because they understand what it means to be released from bondage and what it means to gain freedom. Because they know what it means to rejoice in Christ.”