God has revealed Himself in the new covenant, through the person and work of Christ, with a clarity, glory, and beauty not seen before. He has shown not just the loveliness of His power and justice but has also thrown into yet brighter relief His goodness, mercy, and truth. These glories bind us even more to make known to those dead in trespasses and sins God’s ways of goodness, mercy, justice, punishment, forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, and peace. -Jeremy Walker, The Brokenhearted Evangelist
Convicted after reading Jeremy Walker’s highly recommended The Brokenhearted Evangelist, I prayed that I would be bolder in sharing the Gospel with those whom I came into contact. During a chaotic homeschooling session four days later, my children announced the arrival of a car in the driveway. An elderly man and young woman, both neatly dressed, walked up to the door. Jehovah’s Witnesses! Quickly praying for guidance, I opened the door.
“Hello, ma’am. Do you think people will see their loved ones when we die?” the young woman asked.
“Well, it depends.” I answered.
“That’s right,” she responded. “Let me share with you a passage from the Bible.” She then proceeded to share a verse from Ecclesiastes. “Here is a magazine for you. Would it be okay if I came again?”
Do I continue this? I wondered. Or do I say no and not have to be bothered again for a while?
“That would be fine.” I responded.
Thus began a process of evangelism that has of right now gone on for the past three months. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
- Know Your Enemy…
“Can’t we all just get along?” is the cry of my weak self. Confrontation and I are not best buddies, so when some really nice-seeming people come to the door wanting to talk about the Bible, one of the last things I want to do is cause conflict. Yet these are people who are lost. They are under the dominion of Satan in a cult that has warped the Scriptures and instilled fear in its members. They are enemies of the Christian who desperately need Christ.
After my first encounter, I realized I needed to brush up on my knowledge of what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. I watched this video by James White, listened to these talks by Credocovenant’s own William Leonhart, and read non-Reformed books and websites such as 4jehovah.org . This way I was able to get a good understanding of the heretical doctrine to which this group adheres as well as how this high-control group works.
- …But Know Your Bible Better.
The doctrines that Jehovah’s Witnesses promote, and how they attempt to derive support for these doctrines from Scripture are fascinatingly odd. While it was important to know about the major heretical issues, I had to be careful not to spend too much time digging into other issues that were not essential. My time was best spent in the Word, reviewing what Scripture actually says and major points of Gospel truth. Since I’m a Reformed Baptist, using the 1689 Confession of Faith was extremely helpful in my studies.
If pressed, could you prove the Trinity from the Scriptures? What about the deity of Christ? What about the Gospel? Here is where the Confession with its Scripture references comes in handy. Learning where key Scriptures are located, and knowing the context of such passages, enabled me to interact with the topics that have come up during my meetings with the JWs. You do not need to fear if you don’t have all the answers; yet you should be acquainted with God’s word to an extent that you are able to recall passages that will aid in sharing the Gospel.
- Don’t Go It Alone.
I have been nervous before every meeting with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, I have prayed before they come, remembering that I have Christ. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37, NASB) Not only that, the Spirit intercedes for me (Romans 8:26), not as some impersonal force, but as a member of the triune Godhead. It is not up to me to change anyone’s mind. My duty is to present the Gospel and trust that the Lord will use it to glorify Himself.
Human company is also beneficial when the JW’s come to call, although it is not always an option. My husband was able to be there for one discussion, but for the rest I have been unable to have anyone accompany me. My church knows about what I’m doing, though, and they pray for me and ask for updates. My husband always sends me an e-mail asking for an update on the days I have an appointment. Having this connection is extremely valuable, especially when dealing with such a high-control group. I have accountability and know that I am supported.
- It Gets Personal.
The same young woman, “Misty” (name changed for privacy), has come every time we have met. Through our chatting I have learned a bit about her. Her mother became a Jehovah’s Witness, so Misty grew up as one. Several health issues have ailed her since childhood. She is 27 years old, lives at home with her mother, and works only a couple days a week so that the rest of her time can be spent going door-to-door.
Sometimes it seems that some Christians learn Scripture proofs and apologetics only to show their intellectual prowess or demonstrate their superiority in a theological match. Yet if I can defeat my opponent in a Scripture smack-down, yet have not love, what have I truly accomplished? Realizing that I am interacting with a person with thoughts and feelings deepens my sorrow and concern for them, and stresses the importance of their need for the gospel.
- It Gets Difficult.
The extent of interaction that I have had with Misty and other Jehovah Witnesses is not necessary for everyone to do in order to evangelize. Yet if you do spend more time discussing Scripture with them, realize that requires more preparation, patience and endurance. Carving out time to study up on the next topic for discussion is a must. Attempting to ask questions to make a JW think about what they believe and why they believe it, only to have them use circular reasoning or seemingly not understand the question, can be more trying than teaching a stubborn child to read. And the amount of concentration needed to listen to what they are saying while formulating a response leaves me drained after each meeting.
This should be a reminder to pray for those who are involved full-time in evangelistic and missionary work. For if I get tired just meeting a couple times a month, how much more must those who work at this every day? Apologists, pastors, missionaries all have a wearying task, and need to be sustained through the intercession of our prayers.
- The Blessings Outweigh The Work.
“You seem to be enjoying yourself.” – a Jehovah’s Witness to me during one meeting.
An unexpected result has occurred through this witnessing effort. The studies in the deity of Christ, the importance of His work in salvation, the deity of the Holy Spirit, the assurance of salvation, and the perseverance of the saints were (and are!) exciting and awe-inspiring. My love of Christ and His Spirit has deepened. My time witnessing to the Jehovah’s Witnesses will end soon, and I can honestly say that I will miss sharing with them the glorious Gospel of salvation.
So may this be an encouragement to those who are hesitant to evangelize. Do not fear!
The brokenhearted evangelist reminds himself of the blessings of salvation and keeps them precious in his conscience as he speaks to others who need them. His heart is blessed in the demonstration of his blessings to others. -Jeremy Walker, The Brokenhearted Evangelist