Yesterday morning, before I had even shaved, showered or gotten out of my jammies, I had what seems to normally happen early on weekday mornings while I’m drinking my coffee.
I refuse to divulge just how early in the morning this took place, since I’m a night person, but I’m getting up earlier and earlier to start my day with Jesus and the Word for a few hours first thing in the morning, but that’s irrelevant to this post.
But I’m talking of a bi-weekly, if not weekly occurrence that happens to me probably because of my close proximity to Park Kennedy a highly trafficked tourist spot in the middle of Miraflores, Peru, and the fact I’m close to it by way of a very busy street.
Of course, I’m talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses proselytizing at my door. Needless to say, I had an another interesting encounter with them, which I hope I can translate into talking about how to respond to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This time the younger of the two was familiar to me as she had come by in another pairing that knocked on my door maybe two weeks ago. In fact, I currently have a scar on my forehead from banging my head on a cabinet in the kitchen after bending down to throw their literature in the trash after they insisted I take it. I grabbed my really marked up New International Version of my Bible to follow along with what they were telling me, because it’s easier to just follow along in English since not only is theirs in Spanish, but like Reina Valera-type Spanish (think the equivalent of King James). However, the specific reason I grabbed this NIV of mine because the appearance of all the highlights and pen markings would communicate that yes, I DO read and study this book and know a thing or two about it.
They Are Lost Souls Too, And Deserve To Be Treated Just Like Anybody Else We’d Witness To
Right away I ask them now if they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses because they always start by saying they’re Christians when they are not, even if they say they are, but this post will not be an apologetic against their false ‘gospel’. They talk and talk for a long time and whenever they FINALLY let me get a word in edge-wise, I get to reveal or indicate I am a Christian and I’m here as a missionary and that peaks their interest, they ask what my church is, and so on, and only THEN do they indicate they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is when you need to know how to respond to Jehovah’s Witnesses because you may likely only have a brief opportunity before they want to scram.
So I ask straight up front now since it can take minutes and minutes before they usually leave–or sometimes when they come by I’m in the middle of a skype call—one time it was recording a podcast. I pay attention to this strategy of theirs because not once have I had actual Christians knock on my door to share the Gospel with me, but just this cult–and yes they are a cult in every definition of the term, in case you think my saying that is harsh.
She (the young lady) turned to something she wanted to show me in the Gospel of Luke that made no sense to me as to why this would be their strategy for how to start trying to convert me. Something about that Jesus went around preaching the Kingdom of God. I said I agreed, but that we were in disagreement over what the Kingdom of God was, so I stated that when he healed people or cast demons out of them, he told them that the Kingdom of God had come near to them (see Mark 1:14-15), so that I do the same thing when praying for or laying hands on sick people and healing them1. In summary, since Jesus healed and demonstrated the power that validated his message (preaching) I try to do the same. They were stumped on that one and turned to the book of Revelation to show me how in THAT time of His reign, God will heal every sicknesses and there will be no more tears THEN. I then took them to Mark 16 says:
17And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Note: these signs will accompany those who believe, so I do what it says and heal people, prophesy over them, and so forth. I asked them if they consider themselves believers, and they said yes, so I asked them if they do the very things here that believers are supposed to do. I also shared a thing or two about talking to God and hearing him, and they looked at each other not as though they were stumped, but that they were annoyed they weren’t going to be able to argue with me whatever token verses they are trained to argue with Christians.
Which is precisely the point, I don’t argue about what they’re prepared to argue about.
Arguing or Discussing Theology Is Useless: Go For Testimony If You Decide to Respond to Jehovah’s Witnesses
I don’t argue Bible. I argue experience. You may think that’s highly subjective and flaky and ‘charismatic’ of me, but I’m well versed in the Bible and that’s already a given when I’m sharing with Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. What I try to do is go for testimonies and experiences to prove the power of God, and to show them they don’t really have a relationship with God–that they don’t hear from Him or talk with Him or experience His presence like they think. If they actually let me (Mormons usually do, but Jehovah’s Witness tend to want to stick to their talking points), I ask them to explain to me their testimony. Almost 100% of the time they never have a pinpointable conversion experience, which is what I zero in on and show them how in their own words, they were led or taught into it by circumstances or someone they trusted or listened to. I’m making a generality, but this happens almost every time. So I show them how in my own experience, my conversion was unmistakable.
I do this to try making them jealous of what I’ve got so they could become open and wanting it themselves. I show them that my motivation for sharing the Gospel is not based on a scorecard to make sure I witness (proselytize) enough to get into heaven, but because everybody who wants to accept the Gospel, repent of their sins and accept Jesus as the one who paid their price should they choose to accept it of Him–these will be forgiven and not condemned for eternity. My motivation is that I can’t keep this to myself, and not out of making sure I get into heaven, but to share this with as many as possible, and THAT is why I’m in this nation of Peru.
Recognize the Counterfeit by Knowing The Truth
I offered to pray for them if they had any sickness in their body, which they turned down. I don’t have nearly as much experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses as I do with Mormons. I got bored when reading the book of Mormon in order to study and learn what they believe. I see no point in doing that. In fact, what you really need to do, is study the TRUTH, and then you’ll be ready to resist the false and spot it when you encounter it. A friend of mine told me recently that when he started a job at a certain bank, they trained him to spot counterfeit bills by blindfolding him for the first three days, and just handling money with his hands so he’d get so familiar with it by touch, that he’d know a counterfeit when he touched it. Such is my approach with counterfeit gospels–to get close to Jesus personally so I spot the fake things coming along claiming they’re the way to heaven.
Lay Hands On Them, Pray the Fire Down
Why is it any lifeless religion doesn’t like it if you offer to PROVE the Bible by demonstrating the POWER of God–whether it be prophesying or healing, or something you can’t make up but that can only be the living God inside of you? When they realized they couldn’t argue, they left, of course. But this time was the longest I’d ever managed to keep them around–probably a good ten minutes or so. She turned to something in 1 Corinthians. By this point it was the older experienced one who had pushed the younger lady out of the way so she could correct me and go on about how miracles ended with the apostles (unfortunately I know plenty of actual Christians who believe that, but anyway). She didn’t quite know where the passage she was looking for was but I told her she was misquoting 1 Corinthians about the ‘perfect’ coming and the gifts passing away.
So I said to her in my Spanish that’s not true, since I’m not an apostle, and I perform miracles and I’ll show them if they’d like God in heaven to heal anything in their body. I went back to the passage in Mark 16 and asked them if they pray for the sick or cast demons out of people to which she looked at me funny I suppose because I’d ask that. I challenged them (politely) that if they aren’t then they shouldn’t go around proclaiming the Gospel because if they can’t provide the goods, then they don’t really have the truth. At this they decided it was time to leave and started asking me questions about my church. I gave them one of my business cards and wrote the address on it for the hotel where our fellowship meets. I told them to bring sick people and we’ll heal them and show them the Gospel if they really want to experience it for real.
The reason I offer to pray, is because in past experience, I got more results impacting them with the Gospel laying my hands on them and praying more fire or something (it’s not mechanical, but it’s WHO you’re praying to to touch them Himself that counts), and if they let you, you can do more in a minute calling the presence of God on them than arguing for hours about proper theology. There’s just something about the presence of Jesus that can’t be argued with and that destroys all bondages. But if you do find yourself in a situation where you can pray to lead them to Christ, go for the gold! They are a part of such structures and controlling lifestyles they will have a lot they need to overcome personally before they’re willing to let you know they want it, so don’t be surprised if in 15 minutes you’ve not gotten them to pray a prayer yet–you have done a lot of damage to their kingdom of darkness already just being a faithful witness for Christ.
Go for that! If they want to give you something to read for later, then in return (or just for free) give them something they’ll never forget–a lightning bolt of the Holy Spirit! You want to leave that kind of seed and God will honor it even if you never find out how.
What are your experiences or what has worked for you sharing the Gospel with Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Halloween? They don’t like random strangers knocking on their door.
— Offensive Wonka (@OhWonka) November 1, 2012
May 24th/2011 Edit: after several more visits from them, and realizing I was not necessarily following my own advice (looking for ways to pray for them, demonstrate the power, etc…) I got sucked into a bit of an argument this morning and decided to go online and look up some Scripture and found this VERY helpful cheat sheet I wish I was more prepared with the Scriptures to contradict the specific things they were bringing up. Check it out here http://carm.org/biblical-response-to-jehovahs-witnesses