HOW TO WITNESS EFFECTIVELY TO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES – Breaking the Watchtower Barrier Step-by-Step
When Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door offering Watchtower and Awake! magazines, their only goal is to get you interested enough in their religion to consider becoming one of them.They are not visiting you to consider your spiritual beliefs as viable options for their lives. No! They believe they already possess “the Truth.” So, in their minds, they don’t think you have anything to offer them. Their only purpose in being at your door is to teach you; not you them. So, how can a Christian get through to a Jehovah’s Witness who believes he or she already has all the answers? The key lies in following three steps which we will examine below:
If you’re like most people in Christianity, you’re reasonably content within the Christian faith. From time-to-time, you might consider switching church affiliation to accommodate location, worship-style and pastoral preaching preferences, but you would never think of turning to a Hindu or Buddhist religious authority for spiritual advice. After all, what would these religious leaders have to offer a Christian who believes the claims of Jesus that He alone is “the way, the truth and the life?” Furthermore, the Bible repeatedly condemns anyone who turns to false “gods” for spiritual guidance. Paul warned the Corinthians, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” —1 Corinthians 10:21 1.
Like contented Christians who turn only to Christian sources for spiritual support and guidance, Jehovah’s Witnesses turn only to the Watchtower organization. They have been taught that the Watchtower organization is the only religion that possess the true teachings of God and that all other religious affiliations (including Protestant and Catholic associations) have been deceived by Satan into believing doctrines that lead to eternal destruction. So, even if they become disenchanted with their religion over something they observe in the organization, they will not turn to anyone outside their organization for spiritual help because they don’t believe others have anything to offer them.
With this in mind, we must recognize that the first step in reaching Jehovah’s Witnesses is to help them become uncomfortable and discontent with their religion and to offer by our words and actions the spiritual hope that they do not have but long for deep inside. As the following chart illustrates, there are several spiritual benefits that true followers of Jesus can offer Jehovah’s Witnesses that are in blatant contrast to what he or she has in the Watchtower religion:
QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
Just as a sales person carefully packages his or her offer to appeal to those he or she is trying to convince to purchase a product, so a Christian must prepare his or her message to appeal to the Jehovah’s Witness he or she is trying to reach. To this end, questions can be one of the most effective tools you can use to help them listen to what you have to say. The following are a few examples of questions you can use with this step:
By seeing the peace and eternal security you have in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses can be drawn to hear what you have to say. As you discuss these issues that lie close to the heart of every Jehovah’s Witness, he or she can be led to the realization that what the Watchtower religion offers is no comparison to the truth and freedom that Jesus alone offers. This approach can open doors for the gospel that otherwise would not be open.
For more suggestions on how to lead Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ using questions like the ones listed above, see the following links on our website:
DIALOGUES WITH JW CINDY AND CHRISTIAN KAREN (www.4jehovah.org): Based on the Watchtower 1996 Publication, What Does God Require of Us?:
Nearly all of us who have endeavored to share our faith with Jehovah’s Witnesses have experienced the typical “Bible Ping-Pong” scenario: The Christian presents to the Jehovah’s Witness verses from the Bible to support his or her argument, only to encounter a list of Watchtower counter-verses and twisted reasoning as to why the verses presented by the Christian are not valid.
What is the source of this communication problem? The problem is Watchtower authority and the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses place their trust in this organization over what they read in the Bible. They have been led to believe that Jehovah God only communicates His truth through the Watchtower organization and that a person must submit to the organization’s interpretation of Scripture over personal reasoning or analysis of the biblical text. Thus, most Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that they cannot understand the Bible apart from Watchtower literature.
When presented with arguments they cannot answer, many Jehovah’s Witnesses have gone so far as to say that if the organization is wrong on a particular doctrine, it would be better for them to be “wrong with it” than to go against its teachings. They reason that since the organization is Jehovah God’s “responsibility,” He will correct any error within it in His timing and that their job is to be “loyal” to whatever the organization teaches, whether the teachings are right or wrong. Thus, they reason that in the final judgment, God will evaluate their “loyalty” in support of the organization and will excuse away any false beliefs held during their lifetime with the understanding that this is what “God’s organization” was teaching at the time.
Realizing the extent of the authority the Watchtower exerts over the minds of its followers, many Christians have found that until a Jehovah’s Witness’ trust in the Watchtower organization is broken, effective discussion of the real “Truth” taught in the Bible can be a futile experience for both the Christian and the Jehovah’s Witness. Ultimately, only the Holy Spirit’s conviction of truth can completely break a Jehovah’s Witness’ trust in the counterfeit authority of Watchtower organization. However, a Christian who is equipped to tear down the following four false premises the Watchtower has ingrained into the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses can greatly enhance their ability to break free of Watchtower bondage:
We will now examine these faulty premises and provide effective questions to tear these down and replace them with God’s truth.
The first premise the Watchtower implants in the mind of a prospective convert is the idea that the Bible is so complex that one must have “help” to understand it. Once the person feels he or she can’t understand the Bible without “help,” the door is open for the prospective convert to accept the Watchtower claim that it alone has the authority from God to correctly interpret Scripture. To provide support for this idea, the Watchtower points to the following example of Philip teaching the Ethiopian eunuch:
“And he arose and went; and behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch… he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.’ And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him… And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.” —Acts 8:27-31, 35
The Watchtower correctly notes how the Ethiopian eunuch was unable to understand Scripture without Philip’s help, but it fails to note that once the eunuch accepted Christ, his teacher (Philip) left and he “saw him no more.”
“And they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.” —Acts 8:38-39
If Acts 8 is to provide the basis for the Watchtower claim that God’s people need help to understand the Bible, how can one explain the fact that the eunuch’s teacher left him once he came into “the truth” about Christ? This question along with the following list of Scripture verses will help you debunk this faulty Watchtower premise:
The Watchtower correctly teaches that in the Old Testament, God led the nation of Israel through a “priestly organization” of men from the lineage of Aaron. These priests served as temporary mediators between Israel and God by offering blood sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. However, with the coming of Christ, God did away with the “priestly organization” of Israel as Jesus became our ultimate “High Priest” and “Mediator” through whom alone we are to approach God by acceptance of His sacrificial atonement for sin (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Timothy 2:5).
While the Watchtower recognizes the death and resurrection of Christ as changing the way God leads His people, the Watchtower incorrectly teaches that after Jesus rose from the dead, He appointed a Christian organization of followers in Jerusalem to serve as God’s “governing body” leadership to mankind in place of Israel’s “priestly organization.” To bolster its claim, the Watchtower points to the resolution of a debate over circumcism that began in Antioch and was settled Jerusalem.
“And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue…. Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees, which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe. So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.” —Acts 15:2; 16:4-5
This passage does not prove that a so-called “governing body” existed in Jerusalem for if we look carefully at the context (Acts 15:1-2), we see that the dispute over circumcism arose when men from the area of Jerusalem (Judea) came down to the congregation at Antioch and proclaimed to these believers that they needed to be circumcised according to Jewish custom. Is it any wonder they went to Jerusalem to settle the dispute that had been caused by men from that area? At Acts 16, the “decrees” that Paul and Silas were delivering to the churches had to do with the decision that had just been reached concerning circumcision. There is no indication that these “decrees” involved any other issue. Thus, we see that one cannot use these passages to provide a basis for the Watchtower claim that Jesus appointed an organization to led God’s people in first-century Christianity.
Not only is the evidence for leadership from a first-century organization completely lacking in Scripture, but the consistent pattern seen throughout the New Testament is God leading directly through the Holy Spirit. You can help a Jehovah’s Witness come to this conclusion by showing the following verses and asking the questions outlined below:
The idea that God appointed a select group of people to dispense spiritual truth in the last days is based on the Watchtower’s misinterpretation of Jesus’ parable at Matthew 24:45-51. In this parable, Jesus describes two types of slaves (servants) who were put in charge of their master’s belongings while their master was away. One slave was found “faithful and discreet” 2 upon his master’s return and was thus rewarded by being appointed over “all” of his master’s possessions. The other slave proved unfaithful in his tasks and when his master arrived, he was thrown out with the hypocrites.
While there is nothing in this passage to indicate that it is describing a religious organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that this passage is prophetically speaking of the Watchtower organization. They believe Jesus’ “invisible presence” began in 1914 and that at this time, Jesus being the “master” in this parable inspected all of the religious “slaves” (Christian churches) of Jehovah God to determine which one qualified to be appointed by Jehovah God to give spiritual food to God’s people in the last days. Thus, they claim the Watchtower organization passed the test and was appointed as the sole spiritual authority over “all” of God’s “possessions” (His followers).
We will now demonstrate that the Watchtower does not qualify to be God’s “faithful and discreet” slave and that its interpretation of Matthew 24:45-51 is incorrect. To accomplish this, we will first examine Watchtower history, then examine inconsistencies in current Watchtower literature and conclude with questions from Scripture to debunk the Watchtower’s faulty interpretation of Jesus’ parable.
QUESTIONS TO ASK ON WATCHTOWER HISTORY:
QUESTIONS TO ASK ON CURRENT WATCHTOWER LITERATURE:
QUESTIONS TO ASK ON MATTHEW 24:45-51:
The final method the Watchtower uses to solidify its authority in the mind of a prospective Jehovah’s Witness is to get the person to accept a unique list of doctrinal criteria that the Watchtower describes as “the Truth.” Once the potential convert embraces these doctrines, he or she is guided by a Jehovah’s Witness mentor (usually the one who initiated the indoctrination “studies”) to accept the Watchtower claim that it alone fulfills the unique list of doctrinal criteria. Claiming that Jesus started only “one true religion” and that one must join this religion in order to be saved, the prospective convert is then led to make a commitment to the Watchtower organization through baptism. At this point, the convert is accepted into the religion “one of Jehovah’s Witnesses” and expected to follow Watchtower leadership as the sole religious authority for his or her life.
To fully counter Watchtower authority in the mind of a Jehovah’s Witness, one must be prepared to remove the Watchtower “truth” criteria and replace it with the Biblical definition of “the truth.” But until the Jehovah’s Witness is convinced that the Watchtower organization is not God’s organization, Scriptural arguments over its alleged “truth” criteria may prove futile. Thus, we recommend an alternative approach to dealing with this false premise.
This approach involves listing the criteria that the Watchtower claims proves it is the “only true religion” and contrasting the criteria with the claims of other religious organizations who also embrace the same fundamental doctrinal beliefs. Since most Jehovah’s Witnesses are unfamiliar with the religious groups we outline below, this approach can easily demonstrate to the Jehovah’s Witness that the Watchtower is not unique in its beliefs and therefore, cannot use its “truth” criteria to prove that it is the “only” true religion. At this point, you can substitute the Watchtower’s “truth” criteria for Biblical “truth.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES ON IDENTIFYING “THE TRUTH”:
Note: Jehovah’s Witnesses are warned against reading anything critical of their organization. You may need to present photocopied documentation from their literature and other sources to prove some of these points in “Removing the Watchtower Foundation.” For more information and supporting photocopied documentation, see the following links on our website:
Is the Watchtower “Faithful and Discreet”? (www.4jehovah.org)
What is the Truth? (www.4jehovah.org)
Facts the Watch Tower Society Doesn’t Want You To Know (www.4jehovah.org)
Dialogues with JW Cindy and Christian Karen (www.4jehovah.org) - Based on the Watchtower 1996 Publication, What Does God Require of Us?:
Unlike the Christian who is encouraged to challenge one’s faith using objective methods of reasoning and analysis (see 1 Thessalonians 5:21), Jehovah’s Witnesses are constantly discouraged from applying critical thinking to any of the doctrines and policies advocated by the Watchtower organization. Therefore, when the Watchtower organization is removed as a source of spiritual truth, the Jehovah’s Witness is left with feelings of uncertainty, not knowing what to believe or who to trust. Many of the common fears associated with leaving the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses include:
Many disillusioned converts who leave the Watchtower organization without sufficient help from people trained to counter Watchtower indoctrination, end up either joining another religion that claims to be “the Truth” or becoming atheists and agnostics, living life with no view of God or eternity. However, with proper resources, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the loving support of committed Christians and former Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been through the process, many have come to find true freedom in a personal relationship with Christ.
If God grants you the privilege of leading Jehovah’s Witnesses out of the Watchtower, it is important to keep in mind their struggle with these “fears” mentioned above and to be sensitive and patient in helping them work-through these issues with the truth of God’s Word. Because the Watchtower demands so much activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is also important to keep in mind that many who leave are “burned-out” on religious activity. Do not expect them to attend religious services with you right away. Because of the “fears” implanted in them from their Watchtower experience, it may take months and even years before a former Jehovah’s Witness feels comfortable enough to attend religious services regularly or to participate in a church-sponsored activity. Go easy when it comes to this area of Christian living and keep in mind that the goal is not to get them to join your church but to help them come into a personal relationship with Christ, looking only to God’s Word the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit for spiritual truth and freedom. For more information on available resources and support for former Jehovah’s Witnesses, please visit our www.4jehovah.org website.
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