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IRR Seminars

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IRR Seminars

We Take the Fear out of Encountering Other Faiths
January 13, 2021

Christian churches today are losing unprecedented numbers of members to false religious groups like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. A recent Pew Forum on Religion study found that 13% of converts to Mormonism and 33% of converts to Jehovah’s Witnesses came from Protestant Christian churches.  That means that in just the last two years 71,500 Mormon converts and 184,000 JW converts came from Christian denominations. 

Many people feel uncertainty and even fear when they encounter someone of a different religion or faith tradition. That fear hinders human connection and authentic, redemptive relationships.  

The Institute for Religious Research (IRR) can help educate your church or school regarding the lure and deception of counterfeit religions, minimize the fear factor, and train your people to share their faith more effectively.  Here are some of the seminars available via Zoom for your congregation or classes:

Engaging not Enraging: How to build redemptive relationships with those of other faiths.

Four essential elements that will help you lose the fear, avoid arguing and have constructive conversations with Muslims, Mormons, or anyone who thinks they already have the truth. Multi-media presentation featuring PowerPoint and video clips.

Mormons at Your Door and Next Door: How Should Christians View the Mormon Religion?

Mormons at the door

Mormons are often some of our best next-door neighbors. Yet when Mormon missionaries knock on our door, they are seeking to lead Christians of all denominations to abandon the historic Christian faith for their religion. At the same time, Mormons insist that they are Christians and that they do not attack other faiths. How should we view the Mormons? Are they Christians? If not, why not? Is it possible for us to take a firm stance against the false teachings of the Mormon religion while respecting Mormons for the traditional values they have in common with us? This seminar sheds light, not heat, on these questions.

Jehovah’s Witnesses at Your Door and Next Door:  Equipping Christians to Respond to Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah's witnesses at the door

Jehovah’s Witnesses attend at least three or four meetings a week, spend hours each week studying their literature, memorize numerous biblical texts that seem to support their beliefs, and constantly canvass their neighborhoods door to door offering to provide literature and free Bible studies to anyone who will listen. Most Christians find JWs’ apparent knowledge and facility in defending their beliefs intimidating. What do Christians need to learn in order to be prepared to discuss the Bible’s teachings with JWs? What are the key weak points in their doctrinal system? What really motivates most Jehovah’s Witnesses, and how can we respond to them in a personal way? This seminar will equip Christians with answers to these questions.

Counterfeit Detection: Recognizing the Social and Doctrinal Characteristics of Cults

Cult Member

Counterfeit religions abound—and most of them don’t issue “cult member” t-shirts to their followers. These religions often succeed using manipulation, deceit, and even fear. Many use the Bible and Christian terminology to confuse and mislead believers and non-believers alike. This seminar identifies the social and doctrinal marks of false religious groups, providing examples from the past and present, enabling you to detect a counterfeit before you get taken.


Faith Founded on Fable: Healing Hype and Prosperity Preaching

Emphatic Prosperity Gospel preacher

Much of Christian television, some of the bestselling Christian books, and the largest church in America all promote some form of the “word of faith” message of guaranteed healing and financial prosperity to those who confess these blessings in faith. Is there anything to these doctrines? Does God’s Word, the Bible, really teach these things? It is possible—and important—to understand Christianity as a positive, life-enhancing way of life without falling into extremism and false doctrine. This seminar explains how.

Seminar Instructor and Format

Joel B. Groat has served full-time with IRR since 1987, assuming the role of Executive Director in 2018. A missionary kid and later a missionary with his wife Lois in Venezuela, Joel has a passion for equipping Christian pastors and leaders cross-culturally in the areas of Leadership, Discernment, and Evangelism. He has spoken hundreds of times for IRR in over 20 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa. He has been the featured guest on radio and television programs and currently co-hosts the Unveiling Grace Podcast with Dr. Lynn Wilder. 

Each of IRR’s seminars is available in two types of presentations:

  • popular seminar (typically 45-75 minutes) especially suitable for presentations in churches and Christian high schools.
  • An in-depth academic seminar (typically 2-3 hours) especially suitable for presentations on Christian college and seminary campuses and at secular universities under the sponsorship of Christian groups

Both types of seminars include curriculum materials that the sponsoring church, school, or campus group can reproduce and distribute to those who attend. To inquire about pricing and availability or to schedule a seminar, you may contact IRR’s offices by calling (616) 451-4562 or via email.

Note: Due to the current pandemic we are not offering in-person teaching at this time, but would happily schedule a live Zoom meeting.