When you are making headway with Witnesses on a particular matter, often they will try to change the subject. We all do this to some extent, but it’s a special challenge when you are trying to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
So how do you stay on topic and avoid getting sidetracked?
With Student Role Teaching, you control the situation by the questions you ask.
Let me give you three examples.
Discussing the Identity of Jesus
When you are trying to focus your discussions on the identity of Jesus, Jehovah’s Witnesses may well suddenly say something like, “The Trinity is three. The Father and the Son are only two. What about the Holy Spirit?”
Now, that certainly is a related subject. But it’s not the subject you are discussing.
They are trying to get you off topic.
When they do that, I rejoice. I consider that to be an indication that they have found my presentation about Jesus to be far more difficult to handle than they expected, and they hope to distract me.
If that happens to you, I recommend that you say, “That’s a good point, and I’ll be happy to look with you at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit later, but right now I am trying to concentrate on what the Bible teaches about Jesus.”
If they persist in trying to switch to the Holy Spirit topic, ask, “Are you agreeing that I am right about who Jesus is?” They are almost certain to say no—emphatically. Then say, “No problem. Why don’t we stick to the identity of Jesus for now and save the issue of the Holy Spirit for another day?”
Discussing the Holy Spirit
This is the converse of the previous example.
Let’s say you have been asking Jehovah’s Witnesses about scriptures which show that the Holy Spirit is both a person—not an impersonal force as the Watchtower teaches—and, in fact, is God himself.
It’s not uncommon for Witnesses to say, “The Trinity is three. The Father and the Holy Spirit are only two. Are you aware that Jesus specifically said in John 14:28 that the Father is greater than the Son?”
To stay on topic, you can say something like this: “That’s a very important subject, too, and I do want to discuss the identity of Jesus with you, but I personally find that if I switch subjects back and forth I lose my focus and then I don’t really learn anything. Is it all right if we stick to talking about the Holy Spirit for now and save for later looking into what the Bible says about Jesus?
Discussing faith and works
When you are discussing the role of faith and works, you will want to get them to look at what Paul says in Romans 4 and Ephesians 2 about salvation being by grace through faith alone and not of works.
I can almost guarantee that the Witnesses will try to switch you over to James 2:26: “Faith without works is dead.”
Now, at least they are talking about the same subject—faith and works—but they are trying to get out of confronting what Paul teaches.
You are their student.
You are the one with the questions, so you can direct the conversation.
For the time being, narrow the topic to what Paul teaches about the subject.
Tell them, “I’m sorry, but I get confused if I jump back and forth between books of the Bible. I find it difficult to reconcile what Paul and James say about faith and works and I want to study this carefully. I’ll be happy to look at James later because I believe God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself. But right now I want to hear your explanation of what Paul is teaching because I want to make sure I correctly understand Paul before we move on to James or anyone else.”
You can use similar techniques with other topics. The main objective is to get the Witnesses to focus on a particular Bible passage instead of jumping to one they like better.