Most Christians I’ve talked with about witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses say they do one of two things when they meet a JW: (1) tell them they are wrong and going to hell, or (2) tell them they’re not interested in talking. I think there is a third way.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are at your house asking to come inside to talk with you, so the conversation is usually polite at the beginning. They want you to believe what they believe and you want them to believe what you believe. If you treat them respectfully, they will usually treat you respectfully. You can have an intelligent conversation that could lead them to Christ over time. A key to witnessing to them is loving them as Jesus loves them.
Asking questions opens the door for you to present the truth of a matter. It also helps people see that what they believe is often full of holes that cannot be defended. JWs have a method of introducing new people to their beliefs through Watchtower (WT) publications. You could tell them you’ll read their copy of WT “if” they read something you give them. That would probably stop the conversation since JWs are not allowed to accept Christian literature, which they consider apostate. I suggest that unless you are well-grounded in the Bible and witnessing to cultists, you may not want to go any further than to offer Christian materials to JWs.
If you are well-grounded in the Bible and witnessing to cultists, you may want to open the WT copy the JWs give you and ask questions about what you read. Pray as you talk with them. Read something from the WT aloud, then ask the JWs questions about it. In my experience with JWs, one of them will take the lead in talking with you and the other(s) will listen. After I talk with the leader for a minute or two, I turn my attention to the JWs who are NOT talking. That’s because they are usually younger in their “faith” and less secure in their beliefs. They’re still “learning the ropes” and what I say may reach them, especially if the Holy Spirit takes the words and does a work in the JW’s heart.
I realize that my work in apologetics has usually been pre-evangelistic. My prayer as I talk with JWs is to sow seeds of doubt in their minds by presenting the Truth and that one or more of them will begin to question their beliefs. Those doubts and questions have led to many JWs being saved by the True Jesus, the Eternal, Co-Equal Son of God.
My experience has usually been that the senior member of the JW team brings their visit to an end when he can’t get me to stop talking with the junior member of the team. More experienced JWs know what I’m doing and want to get out and move on to a house where they don’t have to deal with “apostates.” It’s not easy to talk with JWs, but they need to know the Truth and how will they know unless someone tells them.
*** I will warn you that this next witnessing method to JWs is only for those Christians who are extremely sure of their Christian beliefs and experienced in witnessing to cultists. That’s because this method will take you into a place where spiritual evil is strong.
Jehovah’s Witnesses want to get people into “home book” studies as part of their pre-conversion program. Though most JWs will not attempt to teach strong Christians, it has happened. They might ask you to study with them or you could ask them about getting involved in a study. If they agree, be sure they understand that you want to be able to ask questions during the study time. If they agree to it and you feel strong enough, you could use that study time to help them see the error of their beliefs. Ask thoughtful, probing and specific questions as they take you through their method. The WT studies use the New World Translation, so have your translation of the Bible ready to ask questions. If you happen to read Hebrew or Greek or have a literal translation (e.g. Interlinear, Parallel), use that during the study. That may bother the JWs you’re studying with, but you can say it shouldn’t be a problem as long as the NWT is a good translation from the original languages.
The JW teacher will ask you to respond to questions in the WT book using the printed answers. Instead, ask questions about their questions and answers. JWs use a psychological “praise” technique during studies to make the pre-converts feel good about pleasing the JWs. People like people who say good things about them (positive reassurance technique), so JWs use praise a lot during the weekly studies.
You should know that JWs may not continue to meet with you after you ask them questions. The WT teaches JWs to avoid examination and independent thinking. The WT teaches that the Bible can be understood only through the Watchtower organization and that the Watchtower magazine is how God communicates with the human race today. The WT warns JWs that anyone who thinks differently than what the WT teaches is “like” Satan. The WT warns JWs not to spend time with “apostates” (e.g. people who believe in the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the physical resurrection of Christ). The fact that you want to use your own Bible and have lots of questions that challenge the teachings of the WT may lead JWs to drop you like a hot rock. If that happens, be polite and let the Jehovah’s Witnesses know you’ll be praying for them.
In the next part of our study, we will look at what Scientologists believe about the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”