QUESTIONS TO ASK JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WHEN THEY KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR –-A Step-by-Step Guide for Christians Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses
WHO ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their door-to-door proselytizing efforts and the Watchtower and Awake! magazines that they distribute to private homes, public facilities, and individuals on street corners. Although they claim strict adherence to the Bible and do not regard any other book as “Scripture,” they rely on their own version of the Bible called The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and additional publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society that they use to interpret the Bible. While Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be “Christians,” their true authority is the Watchtower organization that demands full devotion to its teachings and policies. Their denial of key Christian beliefs, such as the Trinity, heaven for all believers, hell fire for unbelievers, immortality of the soul, and the cross, has caused many Christian churches to denounce this group as a heretical movement. Likewise, counter-cult experts criticize this group for its prohibition against blood transfusions and critical literature, and its strict “shunning” policy against those who leave the group. 1.
Although every Jehovah’s Witness is expected to “publish” their message by consistently engaging in “field service” (proselytizing door-to door and conducting “bible studies” with potential converts), most spend between 10 to 70 hours per month in these activities depending upon the level of “publisher” they have committed to perform. Each month, they are expected to report their field service time and studies to the local Kingdom Hall (Jehovah’s Witness meeting place). Weekly meetings and semi-annual assemblies constantly emphasize the need to increase field service activity and to be faithful in meeting preparation and attendance.
A strong motivating factor for Jehovah’s Witnesses is the belief that at any time, Jehovah God will unleash His vengeance against wicked mankind through the prophesied “Battle of Armageddon” that will destroy earthly governments and establish the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth. Jehovah’s Witnesses are told that when this battle occurs, Jehovah God will reward or condemn them based upon their faithfulness to perform consistent field service and their loyalty to the beliefs and practices of the Watchtower Society. Therefore, throughout the history of the organization, when false dates for the “end” of the world have been speculated, many lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been ruined because they sold their homes, gave up the pursuit of higher education, marriage and children in order to prepare for the end. While Jehovah’s Witnesses today still hold to the idea that Jehovah God will destroy this world at any time, they do not attach a date to this belief, but work to maintain a perpetual state of readiness for the “end” to come at any time.
HOW TO WITNESS TO THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AT YOUR DOOR:
Despite their cordial smiles and happy appearances, most Jehovah’s Witnesses you meet at the door are under stress and have no spiritual peace. Because of their belief that Armageddon will occur at any moment, they feel constant pressure to perform and have no assurance that they have been doing enough to be acceptable to Jehovah God. Love in the organization is conditional upon performance. If they do not perform or are caught doing an unapproved act (such as reading anti-Jehovah’s Witness literature), they will be “marked” as a spiritually “weak” person to be watched or avoided, and if the act is serious enough, they will even be “disfellowshipped” (kicked out of the organization) and “shunned” by all of their friends and family members in the organization. There is simply no way for a Jehovah’s Witness to experience true unconditional love in the Watchtower.
If you are prepared, you can show them a different way. Demonstrate the unconditional love of Christ in your words and actions. Let them know that regardless of whether they agree with your beliefs, you care about them and want to be their friend. When you’ve finished a tough discussion with them, always let them know that you love them and will be praying for them. This will plant a seed of truth and love that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Remember, Jehovah’s Witnesses are bound to the teachings of the Watchtower organization. So, until they are ready to leave their religion, do not expect them to agree with you on the doctrinal differences that come up in conversations. Just plant seeds of Scriptural truth with love and let the Holy Spirit drive it home in their hearts. Someday, you may even have the privilege of seeing the Holy Spirit open their eyes to His Truth (John 14:6). So, be patient and do not pressure them into agreeing with you.
1. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO TALK…
If you don’t have time to talk, you can hand Jehovah’s Witnesses copies of our business card tracts (www.4jehovah.org). Since Jehovah’s Witnesses are warned against reading literature critical of the Watchtower organization, we designed these small card tracts to aid you in planting seeds of truth in a way that is less threatening than the normal full-size, three-fold tracts and pamphlets that are produced by Christian evangelical tract ministries. Due to the size of these cards and the photos that look like images from Watchtower publications, the Scriptures and the questions on these cards can be read before the Jehovah’s Witness knows what he is reading. By the time he finishes the card, even if he discards the card afterward, the seeds of truth from God’s Word have already been planted in his heart for the Holy Spirit to bring back to his mind.
On the backside of each card, we list our evangelistic www.4jehovah.org website that is easy for a Jehovah’s Witness to remember and study on his own when no one is looking. If he visits the website version of each of our cards, he will find links to other articles on our website that provide more research on each topic. Since these cards are small, you can place them in your purse or wallet and have them ready to hand out to the next group of Jehovah’s Witnesses who visit your home or neighborhood. You are welcome to view and print these cards free from our website at the following link, or order pre-printed copies from us at this link as well:
How to present the card tracts to Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Since Jehovah’s Witnesses never visit homes or neighborhoods alone, they can be seen walking down the street in groups of 2 to 4 people and may be accompanied by their children. If you are prepared, you can hand several different cards to each adult in the group, and in so doing, plant many seeds of truth. For best results, we suggest that you hand the first adult who seems to be the leader of the group, two or three different cards that you randomly select from your pile of cards and include the card entitled, “Are You a True Witness of Jehovah?” placed at the top of his or her stack. Next, hand the second person in the group the card entitled, “Did The Early Christians Call God By His Personal Name?” at the top of a different set of two or three cards. For other adults that may be in the group, hand stacks of two or three cards of whatever else you have left in your pile. This way, when they see that each received different cards, curiosity may encourage them to read each other’s cards and more seeds will be planted. When you hand them these cards, be prepared for the following sample dialogue:
With this statement, it is best to walk away or close the door because if you spend too much time talking about the cards, it won’t take long before the Jehovah’s Witnesses will decide that these cards are too critical of their beliefs for their comfort in reading them. You must understand that Watchtower policy strictly prohibits Jehovah’s Witnesses from reading anything critical or their beliefs and practices. The Watchtower Society has even published articles explicitly warning Jehovah’s Witnesses not to accept literature from the people they meet at the door. Thus, if a Jehovah’s Witness is discovered to possess “apostate” (anti-Jehovah’s Witness) literature, he runs the risk of being disfellowshipped. Therefore, it is best to let the Jehovah’s Witnesses read the cards to make their own determinations about them so that the seeds of truth will be planted before cultic-mind control and fear will have a chance to take over.
2. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO LEARN HOW TO DEFEND YOUR BELIEFS…
If you desire to share your faith one-on-one with Jehovah’s Witnesses, but you do not have time to prepare for an in-depth discussion on the differences between beliefs, you may want to invite them to read a photocopied documentation packet of Watchtower literature that you can obtain from our website under the “QUESTIONS FOR JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES” link. If presented tactfully, you may be successful in getting them to commit to an hour to read the photocopied Watchtower documentation with you so that you can discuss your concerns about the organization without presenting any “apostate” (anti-Jehovah’s Witness) literature. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses are sometimes hesitant to look at photocopies of their own publications because they are told that the photocopies are nothing but “lies” about the Watchtower, you will need to be tactful in how you explain why you need their “help” to verify whether or not these photocopies are authentic and to obtain their perspective so that they can “help” correct any “errors” or “lies” you have come to believe about Jehovah’s Witnesses from viewing this documentation. For advice on how to present a documentation packet like this to Jehovah’s Witnesses, see the following article:
The best way to witness to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who show up at your door is for you to invite them into your home for a friendly conversation on the differences between Biblical Christianity and Jehovah’s Witness beliefs. While it may be tempting to argue with them by saying: “You are wrong because the Bible says…” Avoid this temptation because you can win an argument but lose the heart of the person. As the old saying goes: “Convince a man against his will and he is of the same opinion still!”
Rather than you telling them what you believe, it is far more effective to challenge their beliefs by asking logical and Scriptural questions in a gentle and loving way. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses pride themselves in being able to answer anyone who challenges them on their beliefs, if you know the effective questions to ask, you can raise serious doubts in their minds that the Holy Spirit can use to convict them of the truth. So, be patient and do not force them to agree with you when they cannot answer your questions right away. Allow them to save face by humbly acknowledging their struggle with the contradiction you raised and then let the issue rest. You can do the same if they ask you a tough question that you can’t answer right away. Just say:
They will almost never say: “No!” to your request. By giving each other the opportunity to save face in this manner, you will be able to keep your discussions from turning into a debate.
Remember, your goal is not to win the argument, but to win the person. Don’t expect them to change their beliefs and accept yours right away. They are representatives for the Watchtower organization, so even if they desire to change their beliefs, they can’t without leaving the Jehovah’s Witness religion altogether. There isn’t an honorable way out of the Watchtower. Jehovah’s Witness who leave the organization (“disassociate” themselves) are “shunned” by their friends and family the same way as those who are “disfellowshipped” for wrongdoing. Therefore, your goal is just to plant seeds of truth that God can use to convict their consciences. When they understand the point you made (whether they agree with you or not), you have accomplished your goal.
How to start a meaningful conversation with Jehovah’s Witnesses:
To be effective in witnessing, you must first recognize that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not interested in debating or arguing with you about your beliefs. Since, they believe that Christianity has “apostatized” from the teachings of the Bible, they do not believe that you have anything to offer them. They also believe that their leadership has been appointed by Jehovah God to “channel” truth to His people, so Jehovah’s Witnesses will not accept an interpretation of the Bible that disagrees with the official teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Finally, they are trained to avoid people who know a lot about their history and beliefs and who attempt to get them to leave the Watchtower organization. So, if you come across as too knowledgeable, they will immediately reject anything you say and mark their records so that you will not receive any more visits from their Kingdom Hall. Thus, to avoid coming across as being too knowledgeable, we suggest that you preface any discussion about their beliefs with a question like this:
If you plan on taking the time to dialogue in depth with the Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to your door, it is best to exchange names and phone numbers right away and to schedule a time when they can come back and visit you in your home for at least an hour. Since you will be getting them to agree to meet with you at an appointed time for a specified length of time, this will help avoid the common Jehovah’s Witness excuse of, “We have to go right away…” when you ask them a tough question that they cannot answer.
Beware that when they come for their first or second appointment, they will try to get you to agree to do a “bible study” in one of their publications. While you can use their publications to witness to them (and we recommend that you do if you are prepared in the way we will describe below), it can be difficult to get very far in your discussions with them because they will watch your response to the beliefs that are discussed in each of the chapters of their book in hopes of seeing signs that you are accepting their beliefs. If you continually indicate that you will not bend on your beliefs and that you refuse to accept what they are trying to “teach” you in their “studies,” they will accuse you of “not progressing in the Truth” and refuse to study with you further.
Another objection that can occur when you agree to allow them to use their Watchtower publications is an excuse of, “We will get to that doctrine later on in this book” if you bring up a difficult topic that they have a hard time defending. Then, when they perceive that after a few chapters in the beginning of the book where you are not “progressing” by accepting their beliefs, they will stop meeting with you and completely avoid the difficult topic that you had brought up earlier because you never “progressed” to that chapter in the book before they “gave up” on you.
What to Say if Jehovah’s Witnesses Question Your Motives:
When Jehovah’s Witnesses sense that you are strong in your Christian faith and that you are not going to convert to their beliefs, they may object to continuing their studies with you by questioning your motives for meeting with them. They may say something like this:
If a Jehovah’s Witness questions your motives in this way, you can reply with something like the following:
By answering in this way, you have put the Jehovah’s Witness in a tough position. If he answers “no” to your question about learning from each other, he has just admitted that he has stopped learning and doesn’t want to learn more truth from you. If he answers “yes” to your question, he has to then agree to allow you to share your beliefs and perspectives.
Pros and Cons of Studying with Watchtower Publications:
There are two ways you can handle a “study” with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The most common way is to allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to study with you using one of their Watchtower publications. While you do run the risk of the Jehovah’s Witnesses giving up on meeting with you after only a few chapters in their publication when you don’t agree to the doctrinal points they are making, they do tend to be more tolerant in listening to your concerns and staying with you longer if you base your questions upon the topics you are studying in their publication, and you don’t raise too many arguments against their beliefs in one setting.
However, if you are not comfortable allowing Jehovah’s Witnesses to use one of their Watchtower publications to study with you, you can insist that they study with you using only the Bible. The benefit of studying this way is that instead of their books dictating what topics they will and will not discuss with you, you can take control by asking them to discuss with you a specific set of topics that you have “questions” about and would like their “help” to “understand” using the Bible alone. While they may be hesitant at first to do this type of “study” with you because they are not trained in this method and it is not part of the Watchtower program for making new converts, most will agree to this type of study for a short time if you explain that you have heard some negative things about Watchtower publications and are not sure that you can trust their literature at this point.
QUESTIONS TO ASK JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES DURING THE STUDY:
To prepare to become an effective witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have briefly summarized (below) each of the major doctrinal differences that will come up when you “study” with them. Even if you decide not to allow them to use their publications in your study, it is important that you are prepared to ask the following questions when these topics come up because they will come up at some point in your discussions with them if they study very long with you. After each of the suggested questions we list below, we have provided additional links to relevant articles on our website that you can read to learn more about each topic.
Each time that you meet, we suggest that you ask only one or two of the series of questions listed below, because you don’t want to make them feel like you are arguing and debating with them. If you stick with only a few questions that they are not able to answer in each session, these questions will stay in the minds a lot longer than they would if you barraged them with a LOT of questions all at once.
One word of caution as you engage in dialogue with Jehovah’s Witnesses: Stay on the topic that you or they bring to the table for discussion. It is common for Jehovah’s Witnesses to try to distract their “student” (you) with unrelated Scriptures and arguments in an attempt to keep an edge of superiority over you when you ask them a question they don’t know how to answer. If you allow them to throw you off track, you can easily become frustrated. So, do not let them change subjects when you ask a question they do not know how to answer. Neither should you try to divert them from a topic that they want to discuss with you by bringing up an argument or question that is irrelevant to the topic being discussed.
For example, if they’re discussing their belief that this earth will one day become a paradise, it may be easy to divert them by bringing up the false prophecies of the Watchtower organization and expecting them to change subjects by arguing with you on why they believe the Watchtower is still God’s organization in spite of its past prophetic failures. Resist this temptation! Changing topics like this from what they want to discuss with you is the quickest way to convince them that you are not really interested in hearing their message. A better way to handle a diversion topic like this is to share that you have some “questions” about the “rumors” you’ve heard concerning “false prophecy” in Watchtower history and you are wondering if it would be alright to discuss this topic the following week. If they agree, the door is open for a cordial discussion.
It is in this way that both sides show respect for each other. If you expect the Jehovah’s Witnesses to listen to you without interruption, you must show the same courtesy and respect to hear them out as well. Again, if they bring up a topic you don’t know much about and feel unprepared to discuss, you can always ask if they would allow you time to research this topic and discuss the following week.
1. GOD HAS A NAME - God’s name is spelled יהוה (YHWH) in Hebrew letters rendered as “Jehovah” in the New World Translation Bible of Jehovah’s Witnesses:
2. THE BIBLE IS A TRUSTWORTHY GUIDE FOR LIFE – It is scientifically, historically accurate and reliable, and its principles apply to all people.
3. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE EARTH IS TO BECOME A PARADISE.
4. WHO IS JESUS CHRIST? - As the first created “Son” of Jehovah, Jesus is not equal to God.
5: THE GIFT OF THE RANSOM SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
6. THE DEAD ARE UNCONSCIOUS.
7. THE RESURRECTION
8. GOD’S KINGDOM
9. OTHER TOPICS TO BE PREPARED TO DISCUSS WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
While we covered the essential doctrinal beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses that affect salvation, there are other topics that one should be prepared to discuss and defend if they arise in conversation. These are a Christian’s participation in war and politics, the acceptance of blood transfusions, and holiday and birthday celebrations. For resources to help you defend and discuss these beliefs intelligently with Jehovah’s Witnesses, see the following articles:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON REACHING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES SEE:
1. For more information on the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses listed here, see: WHO ARE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES? - Their History, Beliefs and Practices and Watchtower Doctrine Exposed.
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