Thinking Out Loud

November 17, 2009

Jehovah’s Witnesses Willing to Invest Time

Today I met with a man who is a somewhat lapsed Episcopalian (or Anglican as we say here) who has been meeting on a monthly basis with some Jehovah’s Witnesses.     He has a lot of questions about various issues, and so he invited them into his home and they have been returning regularly, staying about an hour each time.

There was a time when Evangelicals were very big on the concept of door-to-door outreach and visitation.   Many a Saturday morning in the 1950s and 1960s might be spent in twos or threes ringing doorbells in a local neighborhood.

But as time went by, people tended to associate the “two by two” approach with only two groups:  Mormons (LDS) and Jehovah’s Witnesses.    These two groups took ownership of this method of proselytizing, with the result that it’s not widely used by others.

Before anyone starts dismissing these groups out of hand, I want to commend the approach for the following reasons:

  1. It’s Biblical.   The disciples were sent out in this manner.
  2. They deliver.   If the last few years of Missional Church has taught us anything, it’s taught us the importance of being sent.   So much of what the church calls “outreach” is really “in-drag.”   Millions of people are falling through the cracks of printed brochure distribution or mall campaigns or e-mail invites.   But it’s harder — though not impossible — for them to ignore a knock at the door.
  3. The people who this man met at his front door were willing to invest the time with him.  On hearing that, I made sure that I took out as much time as he wanted.   Fortunately, the phone didn’t ring and no one else needed to see me.   I would have given him all day.
  4. They knew their subject matter cold.  He was impressed with both their depth and their passion as they presented answers to his questions and introduced their beliefs, and also how their various doctrines fit together.    It’s important that we are able to do the same.   It has been said that of all the religions on earth, Christians are the least acquainted with their own sacred writings.
  5. They followed up.   They have been back to see him several times.

Hopefully today he met someone with an equal passion for and knowledge of the true Christian faith.   I encouraged him not to seek answers from the single source he has been using, and told him about a variety of resources available to him if he wishes to meet again.

12 Comments »

  1. “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are actively doing this work in over 236 lands in over 400 languages- and that is unparalleled by any other group.

    Additionally, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only group that is specifically preaching “the good news of the Kingdom” – most professed Christians do not clearly know what God’s kingdom is.

    Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9,10; Revelation 21:3,4;

    Comment by CHEATauWorld — November 18, 2009 @ 3:03 am

    • I wouldn’t want to leave your last paragraph unchallenged, but I’ll allow the comment since I rather expected it.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 18, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  2. Hello,

    I would agree with most of what you said. It is commendable that JWs and Mormons are willing to share their faith. I would ask whether they are doing it out of love for the one true God and for people, or are they doing it to be in good standing with their religion? I guess that’s a question they have to answer for themselves.

    The only part I would disagree with is your 4th point. JWs may have memorized a dissertation on the Greek in John 1:1, but there are many inconsistencies and contradictions within their beliefs, and if you know what those are, it is pretty easy to trip them up and expose glaring weaknesses.

    For example, JWs teach that only the 144,000 are born again. However, that means that the remainin 99% of JWs remain dead in their sin (Ephesians 2:1) and children of the devil (John 1:12-13, 1 John 3:10). Their doctrine is inconsistent with the simple teaching of the Bible. Verses like 1 John 5:1 say that EVERYONE who believes in Jesus is born again.

    I’ve talked to many JWs about this, and none of them have been able to answer. The usual tactic is to attempt to change the subject.

    Good post!

    Bill

    Comment by Bill — November 18, 2009 @ 10:47 am

    • Bill,

      Thanks for writing. I sometimes wonder though if as Evangelicals we also fall into the mindset of “doing things” to obtain better standing with God. I think it’s easy to do!

      You’re right. A better wording of point #4 might be, they know their dogma cold; or that at least they are able to parrot the party line taught to them. Some of their arguments do have an internal cohesiveness that can be impressive to someone like the man I described. But again, I wrote what I wrote as a challenge to Evangelicals. How good are we at articulating some of the finer points of doctrine? Maybe more so among the people here in the blogosphere, but what about your local church in general?

      You’re also right about it being easy to “trip them up.” I don’t mean this as a slight to some very sincere JWs, but I think they tend to attract people that have no history of dealing with philosophical or religious considerations at any level of depth; nor would they be encouraged to take in a broad worldview.

      I think a man like the one I spoke with would do well with something like the Alpha Course or the H20 Course, because both respect the value of doubt and questions.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 18, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  3. I never let an opportunity to talk to a JW pass me by, and I’ve found that the most profitable discussion that I can have with them is about the absolute joy of having a personal relationship with Jesus, and the role of the Holy Spirit (as Comforter, Counsellor, Teacher, Guide etc) in our lives. They really know little or nothing about this, and although they do try to change the subject and get back on the only topics they do know, I persevere, with what I hope is gentleness and a real concern for their souls.

    It seems to me that JWs follow a religion, rather than having an alive and meaningful, one-on-one love relationship with Jesus….and I grieve for them. Especially because they work so hard for it, with no assurance of the pleasure of God in what they are doing — and also because they have the added ‘burden’ of leading others into the same darkness.

    Good on you, Paul, for taking the time with this man — trust some healthy seed was sown and will bear fruit in his life. It bothers me so much when I hear about believers who won’t give a JW the time of day. We all were once in darkness, and it took someone telling us about Jesus, to bring us out. How can THEY know unless we tell them?

    Comment by kaybee — November 18, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  4. can Jehovah’s witnesses help me understand why they are not allowed to sing or listen to any other christian songs?

    Comment by PK — November 20, 2009 @ 7:53 am

  5. can they tell me how is disfellowshipping fellow brothers and sisters an act of love?

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses try to do unto others as they would have others do unto them.” (Matthew 7; 12[qouted from their website]) They try to be this way WITH ALL ME,not just with fellow Witnesses, friends, neighbors, or relatives”.

    this statement is very contradicting because
    1.they judge their fellow brothers and sisters for thier shortcomings.
    2. they also look down on other Chrstians and religions,claiming that they are THE ONLY WAY TO THE TRUTH but expecting others to respect their religion.

    i somehow believe certain things they say but,what is wrong with getting Good education and providing for youself? dating a woman you love if she is not a member?donating blood to save a life[ they say Jehovah wants us to respect and value life,why are they letting people die]

    “*** A blood *transfusion* is not the same as eating or drinking blood as has been illustrated with the: “If a doctor told you to abstain from alcohol, but instead of drinking it, you transfused it into your veins…” illustration that the society often uses. If a person was starving to death and was given multiple blood transfusions instead of food, he would still die. A transfusion of blood replaces the volume of blood lost (much like replacing an organ) which is needed to sustain life, nothing more. No nourishment is gained by a blood transfusion, as would be the case when eating or drinking the blood, which is forbidden. This illustration often used by the society does apply with alcohol and other digestible foods, but not for blood. It simply stays in your system indefinitely.

    *** I’ve also appreciated another example that demonstrates this same “principle” of Jesus’ valuing a person’s life over the written law. It had to do with the woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years. Under the Mosaic Law a running discharge made her “unclean”, and anyone even touching her would also have to wash and be considered unclean until evening. However, she went even further than this by actually touching Jesus garment secretly in hopes of getting healed without anyone knowing. Jesus as we know, perceived that power went out from him and realized what she had done. Others too were watching. Notice though, that rather than condemn this woman for what she did, Jesus instead compassionately tells her: “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, be in good health from your grievous sickness….” Once again we can see the spirit of the law (and the value of a human life) taking precedence over the supposed letter of the law, which the woman had clearly broken.”

    there above paragraphs were the words of an elder from the freeminds website

    somehow I understand why they have to abstain from the things of the world[people from other religions included].I mean U will do what it takes not to be disfelloshipped because the friends and family you have is in the cogregation,the verysame people who will not talk or associate with you for being a sinner.

    “The committee(elders and overseers) takes the role of prosecutor, judge and jury when handling its cases”…who are they to judge,I thought they were preaching about the coming of Christ and Chrst being the only one who will judge.
    i sound like a judge myself right now but my point is, Before we put faith in something, we must make sure it is the “right thing” by investigating the available facts with our sense of reason.

    God is the only one who can Judge.I admire thier dedication,i often wonder if what we are doing is for jehovah or our Organisation.

    Comment by PK — November 20, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  6. Bill asks whether they are doing it out of love for the one true God and for people, or are they doing it to be in good standing with their religion?

    Would not the two go hand in hand?

    A group ought to be able to share Christian faith in a public door-to-door way without having their motives challenged, especially by those who do not carry on such a ministry. I appreciate TOL’s honest commendation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons for their activity, even though he does not agree with the views they espouse.

    Comment by tom sheepandgoats — November 24, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  7. Bill, You have probably heard that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Most people (because Christendom doesn’t believe) don’t understand the difference between being born again and putting on the new (Christ like) personality. There are two classes of Christians. One’s who go to heaven and those who live on the Earth. (Mt. 5:5) Those who go to heaven (become spirit beings)
    need to be born again of the spirit but all Christians need to repent and put on the new personality.

    Comment by Daniel7 — November 27, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

    • Hi Daniel,

      You didn’t answer my objection. All who believe Jesus is the Christ are born of God (1 John 5:1). All who are born of God are children of God (John 1:12-13). The Watchtower teaches that the non-144,000 JWs are not children of God.

      There are many problems with this. If you’re not a child of God, you’re a child of the devil (1 John 3:10); you’re dead in your sins (Eph 2:1); you’re not lead by the Spirit (Romans 8:14).

      Thanks,
      Bill

      Comment by Bill — December 5, 2009 @ 12:15 am

  8. I am a disfellowshipped Jehovah’s witness..I have beed Dissfelloshipped 3 Times…It is very difficult to return. I’m working on my 4th Return.
    Getting Disfellowshipped has Nothing to do with a group of crazed Religous people living in Darkness..Its rather a VERY Loving and Kind way That Our
    Holy and Clean Father helps 1ST of all the congregation By keeping it clean…and then the sinner..
    I read a portion of these comments,,about how Christians are the one group That trully don’t know there own sacred teachings.
    WOW how true…with exception of course of the true worshippers…Jehovah God has Not Changed one Bit, and His earthly organization is easy to NOTICE.
    They DO NOT MIX with Jehovah’s enemies..Politics. War. And Pagan Teachings…I get asked By My Mother when I will write my letter to get reinstated…I respond By continuing
    To assist the Meetings…assisting those meetings IN JEHOVAH’s Clean House is so very important for all..Thanks To Jehovah for allowing dissfelloshipped people to continue congregating
    . We would really be in trouble then…Those of you who think its mean to Diss a person…I remind You..IT IS!! And that is why we who keep practicing these Sins Must learn ro STOP
    RE HANGING our Lord everytime we commit the same sin..That’s a Bit Meaner..NO? True Christians KNOW something and I will mention a quote from a leader of The Beast.
    Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.
    Abraham Lincoln

    Comment by Neftali — January 10, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    • Jesus intended for the church to be a “community of the broken.” Instead of “disfellowship,” the church should be reaching out to people caught in habitual sin. “Reinstated?” Here’s what the Bible actually says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 10, 2010 @ 10:20 pm


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