Project Description


Witnessing to

Jehovah’s Witnesses

For many Christians today, the idea of sharing the gospel with a Jehovah’s Witness is a daunting prospect. It seems like they are an unreachable, unbreakable group of people who doggedly defend and cling to their beliefs. They seem to have an answer for every argument a Christian may throw at them. They vehemently deny the trinity, the deity of Christ, the doctrine of the eternal soul, the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the existence of an eternal Hell. Any attempt to persuade them otherwise can seem like a waste of time.
Why is it that the average Jehovah’s Witness appears to present such a formidable wall of resistance to the gospel message? For one thing, he attends around five meetings a week at his local Kingdom Hall.  These mostly take the form of training, using role play and other techniques to practise witnessing to different types of people, including ‘born again’ Christians. This helps to explain why he is often so well-rehearsed in what he says.

Another key reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses are often so set in their beliefs, is to do with the actual process they go through to become a Jehovah’s Witness in the first place.  It takes an estimated 1800 hours to convert someone to the cult.  At first the Witnesses will seem quite accepting of what an individual, studying with them, initially believes. Then over time (a lot of time), they gradually break down what that person believes until any previously held beliefs are destroyed. Then, slowly but surely, brick by brick, the teachings of the Watchtower (the Jehovah’s Witness organization, with its publications and magazines) are gradually used to build up the individual in his new faith. No stone is left unturned. There is no room for any other belief, no matter how small, that does not conform to Watchtower theology and teaching. The result of this indoctrination is a Jehovah’s Witness who appears utterly convinced he is right and will not concede he could be wrong on even the smallest detail.

A third reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses present a seemingly impenetrable wall of resistance has to do with their source of authority – the Watchtower. To Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower organization is where they get their ‘truth’ from. They have the Bible, but to them the Bible cannot be understood without the Watchtower’s explanation and interpretation; someone who has only the Bible is in spiritual darkness.

It is for these reasons that Jehovah’s Witnesses present such a challenge to the Christian evangelist.  One may be tempted to conclude- ‘once a Jehovah’s Witness – always a Jehovah’s Witness’- when in fact, the opposite is true. Statistics show that Jehovah’s Witnesses have proportionally one of the highest dropout rates of any religion! So maybe they are not as unbreakable as they seem?

Let us now consider two approaches the Christian can use to effectively reach Jehovah’s Witnesses with the gospel.

The first approach is to attack the Jehovah’s Witness’s source of authority – the Watchtower.

The Watchtower organisation, its literature and magazines, is like a well of water that the Jehovah’s Witness draws his truth from. To him, everything that comes from that well has a sweet taste. So the first effective approach in witnessing is to poison that well – to make the sweet waters bitter! If the Jehovah’s Witness can be made to doubt the source of authority, then that can often set him on a path of critically examining his own organisation and finding out that it is indeed a false prophet.  The Watchtower fails the test of a true prophet outlined in Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken…”  The organisation has made many false prophecies in the past. Examples of such are too numerous to mention here, but are readily available on the internet and in sound publications about the cult. The Christian witnessing to them will need the exact quote with references so that the Jehovah’s Witness can look them up later for himself. The average Jehovah’s Witness will not like this approach, and resistance is to be expected, but the ultimate aim is to sow seeds of doubt as the Christian begins to target his complete confidence in the Watchtower.

The next stage of this approach is so important. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses have found out that the Watchtower organisation is indeed a false prophet, and their confidence in it is thus destroyed. However, to accomplish only this, would be to fail in the task of witnessing effectively to them. If one succeeds in leading a Jehovah’s Witness out of his false religion, only to have him join another – this is a terrible tragedy. So in conjunction with attacking the Watchtower, the Christian must also reinforce the real source of authority and truth – the Bible. “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17).

A series of questions can be asked.  These should help the Jehovah’s Witness to think for himself, and to realise that the Bible can be trusted, when the Watchtower can’t.  When the Witness is challenged with the question, ‘Is the Bible the inspired word of God?’ he should reply ‘Yes.’ A follow-up question can then be asked: ‘Is the Watchtower inspired, the same way the Bible is inspired?’ The usual response is, ‘No – it’s just a study aid’.  This helps expose the issue at stake.  Further questions such as, ‘Which is more important to you – the Bible or the Watchtower?’, and, ‘If you had to choose between the Bible or the Watchtower – which would you choose?’ are also designed to help the Jehovah’s Witness begin to see the Bible as more important than the Watchtower, and that the Bible alone can be relied upon for truth. This method works well, and is an approach the Jehovah’s Witness often does not see coming. It is certainly better than debating doctrine for two hours and getting nowhere.

The second approach, ideally combined with the first, is to challenge the Jehovah’s Witness with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel is “The power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). A few months ago I witnessed to a Jehovah’s Witness in Australia, and asked him what I needed to do to make it to ‘paradise’. As he began to list all the ‘good works’ required, I started to count them in the fingers of my two hands. He smiled, as he could see I was showing him how his religion teaches a ‘works’ based salvation. I then pointed out that the Bible teaches something quite different, quoting Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” I then encouraged him, “Why not look it up in your Bible?” (The New World Translation).  He read it aloud from his translation observing that it said pretty much the same thing.

With that crucial truth explained we parted company and I prayed that God would open his eyes to the truth of the gospel, that we are saved, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy” (Titus 3:5). Like all sinners, the Jehovah’s Witness needs to hear the truth that we mustn’t seek to work our way into God’s favour, because the Lord Jesus Christ has done all that is required.  His life, death and resurrection provide the only message of hope to all.  God made Christ to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Luke Barker.