How to Share the Gospel with a “So – Called” Jehovah’s Witness

“So-called” (because they are not God’s witnesses) JWs are often argumentative – therefore, when you run into one, just quickly sigh internally and determine to give it your best shot, trusting in the Holy Spirit to work through you. Remember that JWs are simply one element of the religious lost, although an unusually zealous element.

Work hard to take over the conversation, but avoid arrogance or anger. JWs expect the rest of the world to hate them, particularly those of us in “false churches.” So show them much compassion.

JWs love to argue about their pet false doctrines. Don’t waste your time trying to prove the existence of Hell – they won’t believe it. They also deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The best approach, I believe, is to give a version of your testimony and challenge them on their salvation – they have no assurance, because they depend on being in the “right group,” a sure mark of a cult. Also hammer them on the insufficiency of their works for their hope of resurrection. Focus on the resurrection – you can both agree that it’s your hope of resurrection that matters (although they believe in soul sleep until then).

If you can get the JW to sit down in your living room, to engage in some discussion, you might start out with:

“I’m very interested in just what it takes to be saved, to be forgiven from my sins and enjoy the New Heaven and the New Earth when God resurrects His saints . . .”

You see, they reject the idea that when a believer dies, that he goes to Heaven to be with the Lord. Despite such Scripture as 2 Cor 5:7-8 and Phil 1:21-23. They believe in ‘soul sleep’ — that the deceased saint has no conscious existence until He is resurrected to enjoy the Millennial Kingdom on Earth, and then the New Heaven and the New Earth. So don’t get into soul sleep. The issue is really whether we will be resurrected! The JW also believes that lost sinners merely get annihilated in the Final Judgment, with no existence whatsoever after that. They do not believe in a literal Hell or a literal Lake of Fire. I don’t want to argue with them about Hell, soul sleep, etc. I do want to focus on what it takes to be saved, to experience the Resurrection. I will point out to them later that the lost don’t just get vaporized, but do suffer in a literal Hell, but I do that in the context of explaining the Gospel. So continuing . . .

” . . . So let me ask you: If I just found out I had two hours to live and I’m worried about my soul, whether I’ll be saved or not, what should I do? If I’ve lived a wicked life up to this point, how can I be saved?”

This scenario should trouble them, because two hours isn’t enough time to pack in a lot of good works. The JW believes that he must faithfully follow the Bible as he lives the rest of his life. He never has assurance that he can do enough. And he is self-righteous in that he doesn’t see the many sins in his life as being enough to condemn him no matter what good works he performs.

If you can’t get them to come in and talk at length when they show up at your door, you might try this . . .

“Thanks for coming by. I know you have to care about people in order to give your time to this work. But what can you possibly offer to me? Years ago I recognized that I was a sinner and lost and that I needed a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. When I humbled myself, and repented from my sins and from my self – me ruling my life – and trusted Jesus Christ and his shed blood alone for my salvation, I was born again. I’ve never been the same since. God gave me the gift of everlasting life – that lasts forever. Jesus put me in his hand and no man can pluck me out.

You see, I know you believe that salvation is to be found only in the Kingdom Hall. No? If you left the Kingdom Hall and just stayed home every week, or if you came over and joined my church, would you have any fear that you would miss the resurrection? In fact, are you working hard enough to earn the resurrection? What about all those wicked thoughts you have? Jesus said that if you are angry without cause or you call someone a fool – insult him – you have committed murder in your heart . . .”

You can use the law here to point out their lost condition. For more on this, review my other articles on evangelism, including A Simple Framework and A Very Short Gospel Presentation.

You can also press the JW on whether he is certain that he will see the resurrection, whether he is sure that he has ETERNAL LIFE. John 3:16 and John 5:24 teach me that I have — present tense — eternal life, and that I have passed from death to life. Eternal life lasts forever. If I have it now, I will have it next year and forevermore. Since the JW cannot affirm that he already has eternal life, because he can only hope that he is worthy enough to be resurrected, he must be lost. You are either lost or saved, either in spiritual death or life. You should point out to the JW that since he does not have eternal life, then he is lost and needs to be saved . . . by repenting from his dead works, leaving the Kingdom Hall, and following Jesus Christ henceforth!

One key point that you must make at some point:

“You see I’m not trying to convince you that I’m a Christian. I’m warning you that according to God’s word YOU ARE LOST and one heartbeat away from judgment and condemnation.”

If you want to get into the issue of the Deity of Christ, you might try it this way . . .

“My salvation is not in my church or in my works.” Quote Eph 2:8-10 and explain – faith + grace, then works. “My faith is in God my Saviour.” Quote Isaiah 12:2-3. Jehovah is the Saviour. “And look at what the New Testament says.” Quote Titus 3:4-6 and 2 Peter 3:18. Go to John 4:13-14. Jesus Christ is both God and Saviour. There is only one Saviour – He’s revealed in the New Testament as Jesus.

Then compare Is 43:11 and 45:22-23 with Phil 2:10-11. Every knee shall bow before God, Jesus Christ, who said that He is one with the Father. (John 10:30) Consider Is 7:14 and Is 9:6 with Matthew 1:21-23.

John 5:22-24 identifies Jesus as the eternal Judge of the soul of every man. Yet Revelation 20:11-14 makes clear that God is the Judge at the Great White Throne.

John 4:13-14 and 7:37 identifies Jesus as the source of eternal life, in John 14:6 He asserts that He is Life (and The Truth and The Way), and in John 17:3 He insists that to have eternal life one must know God the Father AND Jesus, the Christ.

In Mark 2 Jesus agrees that only God can forgive sins and then demonstrates that He (Jesus) has that power, as He also affirms in John 7:48-50. Matthew 28:18-20 is an insistence that Jesus has all power in Heaven and Earth, given to Him (by the Father), yet Scripture teaches consistently that only God is all powerful, all present, all omniscient – thus Trinity is taught, as Jesus taught that when He would leave the Earth (John 16), the Holy Spirit would be with His disciples. Jesus said that the Father would send the Spirit in John 14:26 and then said that He (Jesus) would send the Spirit in John 15:26. The Holy Spirit as a Person is also affirmed in John 14:15-17, 16:7-8,13-14, Acts 5:3-4, and 2 Cor 13:14.

John 1:1 and 1 John 5:7 teach the Deity of Christ and the Trinity directly, and so JWs will dispute the translation on those issues. And so it’s best to use a wide variety of other Scriptures that they will find in their own perverted New World Version.

John 10:27-31, John 8:56-59, and John 5:18 make clear that the Old Testament believing Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time on Earth knew full well that Jesus was claiming Deity. Mark 2:28 is Jesus’ assertion that He is Lord of the Sabbath, a claim only God could make. Even the term He uses for Himself, ‘Son of Man,’ from Daniel 7:13-14, indicates His Deity, as the Jews well understood.

Other Scriptures of note that I won’t comment on here include Psalm 36:9, 18:1-2, 18:30-33 coupled with Habakkuk 3:17-19 and 1 Cor 10:2-4; Rev 1:4,6,8 and 21:6-7, and Heb 1:8. Also compare John 20:28-29 with Acts 10:25-26, Rev 22:8-9, and Matt 4:10.

There are lots of other Scriptures on the subject, of course. You may not have liberty to get very far. Sometimes the JW will terminate the conversation with me, when he realizes that he can’t answer my points about assurance, eternal life, self-righteousness, etc. However, if he is persistently argumentative, I may terminate the conversation before he does, especially if he is in a pattern of interrupting while I talk. In that case, I’ll suggest . . . “Look, it’s clear to me that you are not interested in listening. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll make you an offer. We can get together another time and spend about an hour going through the Scriptures. I’d be glad to show you how you can be saved and repent from these false teachings in the Kingdom Hall. Do you want to do that?”

If not, then move on with your life. If he agrees, then study up! It could be that the Lord has been sowing discontent in his heart about his false doctrines and is trying to draw him to the truth.


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