WHAT’S THE PROBLEM, ANYWAY?
Have you ever tried witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness? If your answer is yes, which of the following words best describe your encounter?
· Waste of time
If you are like most Christians, one or more of the above words entered your mind. Just why is it that these well-dressed people are so hard to get through to? You’ve shown them indisputable scriptures proving that Jesus is God and they still don’t get it. Every time you show them a passage, they come back with one of their own. It’s a game of “bible ping-pong”, and in the end no one wins. Just what’s the problem anyway?
Let’s take an illustration. We’re both standing in a lush green field that overlooks a breathtaking view of a magnificent, crystal clear waterfall. You say, “Isn’t that waterfall beautiful”? I say, “What waterfall”? The problem is you have forgotten that directly in front of me is a huge brick wall blocking my ability to see past it. Similarly, the Jehovah’s Witness that you are encountering has a brick wall in front of them, hindering their ability to “see” the true Gospel. That brick wall is called the “Watchtower Bible and Tract Society”.
The Watchtower is the domineering mother organization of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It controls the precious lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide by claiming to be God’s organization on earth and the only true channel of communication between God and man. Consequently, scripture can only be interpreted and understood by them. The Witness you are trying to share the Gospel with is not really interested in your interpretation of the bible because you are not part of God’s organization, therefore, you’re wrong.
By understanding this we can now see the root problem of their spiritual blindness. We can fire all the scriptural ammo that we can muster at them and still end up in a stalemate. Yes, they may leave wounded, but still standing. God may use this and by repeated wounding, the Witness will eventually see the truth. However, there are 2 ways to cut down a tree. The first way is to remove all the branches one by one. The second way is to swing an ax directly into the trunk. Both ways will work. The first is time consuming and laborious, the second, although requiring effort, is less exhausting and more efficient.
Let’s apply this to our witnessing encounter. Instead of arguing scripture for an hour, why not try to undermine the authority of the Watchtower organization? Once the Witness sees that the Watchtower is unreliable and is not a safe guide, his foundation crumbles and he is more likely to be open to hearing the real Gospel. Let’s go over a couple of ways to do this.
1. False Prophecies - The Watchtower has proven over and over again to be a false prophet, predicting the end of the world in 1914, 1918, 1925, the early 40’s and 1975. Although the average Witness may have heard that the Watchtower has made some “mistakes” in the past, showing them photocopies of their consistently-failed predictions can have a lasting and devastating effect that will cause them to THINK! (see article on False Prophecies)
2. Doctrinal Changes - As a Jehovah’s Witness, today’s truth can become tomorrow’s error. There is no absolute assurance that the Watchtower won’t change its view on current teachings. Periodically, the organization claims to have received “new light” that replaces existing teachings. When challenged in this area, they will be quick to quote (out of context) Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established”.
Keeping up with their current doctrine is a small feat in itself. A Witness in good standing during the 1930’s and 1940’s would be disfellowshipped if he held those same beliefs today. It’s best if we can show the Witness that the Watchtower’s “light” is not growing brighter but blinking on and off. The Watchtower is not adding truth to truth but replacing one “truth” with a completely contradictory “truth”. Even the founder and first president of the Watchtower Society, Charles Russell, wrote, “A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. “New light” never extinguishes older “light,“ but adds to it”. (WT February, 1881, p.188)
Some reversals made over the years are as follows:
It would be good to ask the Witness, “Since the Watchtower has been mistaken and changed its teachings so many times in the past, how can you be sure that what you are being taught today will not end up being false doctrine”? And, “How can Jehovah approve of a religion that taught so much error as truth”? The goal, again, is to get him to THINK!
Although I believe that undermining the Watchtower’s claim to spiritual authority is key when witnessing, please don’t think that using the bible is not effective. God’s Word is living and powerful, sharper than any double-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). The Holy Spirit can cut through that thick veil of darkness that blinds them. If they come to your door and all you know is your bible, go for it. Be prepared however. The Witness you are encountering is probably very well trained in “refuting” standard Christian arguments.
Another great way of witnessing is by telling him your testimony of coming to know Christ. This works especially well when you are not well versed in the scriptures. Stress the personal relationship that you now have with Jesus, the assurance that all your sins have been forgiven and the confident hope of your eternal salvation. Sadly, Jehovah’s Witnesses have none of these.
Finally, remember the parable of the sower (Mark 4). The sower’s only job was to sow the seed. It was not in his power to make the crop grow. The Jehovah’s Witness you are sharing with did not become one overnight. He probably has gone through years of indoctrination. It may take years for him to finally leave. However, if we approach Jehovah’s Witnesses with a spirit of love and a desire to plant some seeds in their lives, I believe God will bless our efforts.
Tower To Truth