There are three significant barriers to Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to Jesus. Here’s how to address them.
Barrier #1 is that they see Jesus’ sacrifice as historical, not personal. (pp. 79-81)
Ask the Witnesses if they believe Jesus was punished for Adam’s sin alone or also for our personal sins. If they say, “Adam’s sin,” request one of them to read aloud and explain Isaiah 53:5: “…our transgressions… our iniquities.”
Barrier #2 is that they think they need to come to Jehovah through an organization. (pp. 81=84)
The Watchtower often applies Peter’s words in John 6:67-68 to itself: “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” Ask simply, “Who did Peter say we have to go to in order to obtain eternal life—to an organization or to Jesus personally? Is it Jesus or an organization that is “the gate” (John 10:7-9) and “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)?
Barrier #3 is that Witnesses believe it is sinful to pray to Jesus. (pp. 84-87)
They will only pray to Jehovah.
Of course, since Jesus is no longer on earth, prayer is the only way to come to him. So ask them to read aloud and explain the meaning of these scriptures where Christians did call on the name of Jesus in prayer: Acts 9:20-21; Acts 7:59; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (pp. 84-86)
An especially good verse is 1 Corinthians 1:2: “… To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours…” If need be, ask them what it means to call on someone’s name in prayer. Doesn’t that mean you are addressing your prayer directly to that person?
You might note that some chain reference Bibles link 1 Corinthians 1:2 with Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Show them that the name being referred to is “Jesus”. Ask, “Doesn’t this indicate that God’s arrangement for salvation is that we call on the name of his Son in order to obtain forgiveness of sins? I don’t think we are dishonoring the Father when we call on the name of Jesus. We are obeying him.” (p. 85)
Often, Witnesses will point to the Model Prayer (Lord’s Prayer) as proof that we should pray to the Father, not the Son. In reply, you can point out that Jesus taught that method of prayer to his disciples, people who had already come to him in faith and were therefore able to address God as “Father.” Also, at the time Jesus taught that prayer, he was still on earth. His disciples did not need to pray to him; they could just talk to him face-to-face. (p. 86)
Even though he is now in heaven, 1 Peter 2:4 says that we are still supposed to come to him. That requires prayer. In order to address this issue further, I have sometimes found success by suggesting a “conference call prayer,” praying to the Father and Son at the same time. (p. 86)
If the Witnesses follow you and are receptive to the seeds you are planting and are prepared to come to Christ for salvation, by all means lead them through that process. But don’t be discouraged if they aren’t ready to do that. If you sense that you are at an impasse, pray silently for wisdom as to how to proceed. Perhaps it is best to move on to a different point. It might be better to back off altogether and return to that point later after more groundwork has been laid. (p. 86)
Unfortunately, given the depth of Watchtower indoctrination, Witnesses are very unlikely to be ready to come to Christ so quickly. Be encouraged by any progress you do make. Define success as by faith letting God present his message through you and leaving the results to him.
If they are not ready to proceed further in this direction, leave them with this thought: No matter how many good works we do, no matter how much preaching we do, no matter how many meetings we attend, we can only be saved if we comply with God’s arrangement and come to his Son, Jesus, for forgiveness based on his sacrifice. It is only by obeying God by coming to Jesus that we can have the peace with God that we all want and need. (p. 86)
- How would you show Witnesses that Jesus died for their personal sins as well as for the sin of Adam? (p. 79)
- Is coming to a religious organization that claims to represent Jesus the same as coming to Jesus himself? Which does God want us to do? (pp. 81-84)
- Since Jesus isn’t located on earth now, how can we come to him today? (pp. 84-86)
- If God commanded you to call on the name of Michael the archangel for salvation, would you do it? Would you be more likely to try it if you addressed them both at the same time in one prayer? How do you think showing Jehovah’s Witnesses examples of Christians in the Bible praying to Jesus might help? (pp. 84-86)