From the fact that you are reading this blog, I assume that you want to be able to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses with the light of the gospel.
The good news is that they want talk with you about God and salvation. That’s why they go door-to-door.
More good news. Witnesses know that it is hard to get people to change their religious views. Like salespeople, they have been trained to keep going even when they meet resistance that takes the form of reluctance, misunderstanding, questions, and objections.
However, once they become convinced that you will never agree to become a Jehovah’s Witness, they will stop meeting with you.
That can happen in one of three ways.
1. If you tell them point blank that you will never become a Jehovah’s Witness
Sometimes they will ask you early on, “If we show you that we have the truth, would you consider becoming a Jehovah’s Witness?” If you say no, they will terminate any further involvement with you.
The problem is that, being a Christian, you don’t want to lie to them.
The way I handle that question is to say, “Sure. IF you show me that what your organization teaches is true and that what I believe is false, of course I will change and join you. But that’s a big IF. I’m willing to meet with you and listen to you, but if I disagree with you, I’m going to say so and if I don’t understand where you’re coming from, I’m going to ask a lot of questions. Is that okay?”
I’m quite sincere in making that statement. If they can prove that they are right and we are wrong, why wouldn’t we become Jehovah’s Witnesses?
2. If they feel that you are trying to embarrass, persecute, humiliate or attack them personally or Jehovah’s Witnesses as a group
Some Christians tell Jehovah’s Witnesses that the Watchtower is a cult. Others accuse Witnesses of not caring about their children because they are willing to let them die rather than have a blood transfusion. Still others tell them in so many words that the Watchtower organization is a false prophet. Not surprisingly, statement like that are likely to bring an abrupt end to your discussions and terminate any chance you have to share the gospel with them.
The Watchtower constantly tells Witnesses that they should expect to be persecuted for the truth, so they often see any type of challenge as persecution.
How can you avoid this trap?
First, avoid discussing controversial subjects until you have built a rapport with the Witnesses. They need to know that you respect them even when you disagree with them.
Second, you have to start out revealing less than you know. You may know about Watchtower scandals or false prophecies or doctrinal flip-flops. There is a time and place for getting into such things, but that is something that is best reserved until later in the process—after they have gotten to know you well enough to realize that your motive is not to humiliate or embarrass them.
Third, when you do get into touchy matters, go out of your way to say, “I want to make clear that I’m not accusing Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Watchtower organization of anything. I’m just concerned about this particular point.”
It’s all right to challenge the theology of the Watchtower as long as you make clear that it’s not a personal attack.
3. If they feel that you are trying to get them to leave the Watchtower or convert them to your religion
They haven’t come to your door to talk with you as an equal.
- They consider you to be a pagan who is deceived by Satan and the false religions of Christendom.
- They believe that they have the truth and that you are in darkness.
- They think that there is no spiritual truth that you can teach them
Because of this, they see it as an act of compassion for them to try to convert you to their religion, but they won’t abide you trying to convert them to yours.
This creates a real challenge for Christians who want to get through to Witnesses with the light of the gospel.
Generally speaking, you have to ask questions rather than making statements. Even then, you have to be careful not to come across as sarcastic or as trying to silence them with “gotcha” questions.
Phrases like, “I’m puzzled,” “I’m confused,” “I’m sorry; I don’t get that” or “Please help me understand…” can be very helpful.
Sometimes you do need to make declarations of what you believe. The most effective way to do that is to follow it immediately with a question: “The way I understand this matter is _____________________. Do you see from these Bible verses why I would think that?”
If they ask you point blank, “Are you trying to convert me?” I recommend that you tell them, “I am not trying to get you to join some other religious organization. I just want to look at what the Bible says.”
In summary, in order to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses, you will need to
- Keep them interested in meeting with you without lying about your intentions
- Point out inconsistencies between Watchtower teachings and the Bible without coming across as attacking the organization
- Discuss Bible truths with them without making them feel like you are trying to convert them.
In future blog posts, I plan to give you specific suggestions for doing this an. d to solicit from you the benefits of your own experience.
Have you had Jehovah’s Witnesses unexpectedly break off meeting with you? Did this article help you understand why that may have happened? What would you do differently next time?
Share your thoughts in the comments.