Whether you've thought about it much or not, I'm urging you today to attempt to engage. Don't engage as if in warfare like arguing who is right, is going to make much difference, engage with the super-love Jesus force which will either sicken them or scare them, but it will be sure to make an impact either way.
Now it's a difficult task and you may feel ill equipped but is that any reason to put it off? The Watchtower Society was founded by Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916) and according to The Age website there are now about 64,000 active 'disciples' in Australia. In the relatively small place where I live on Australia's East coast, we have quite a sizeable Jehovah's Witness community and that should be a scary prospect. They hold information nights, they go door to door and they prey on the lonely.
An ex-Witness Ted Dencher wrote once of how "Jehovah's Witnesses find many people who have some gripe against their church, some persons' feel neglected within their church. They want attention and no one seems to be giving it to them. Then along comes a Jehovah's Witness, who seems to be keenly interested in them, and who showers them with attention."
We have failed so they might succeed…
What are we doing wrong? When we are just 'Sunday Christians' and leave visiting churchgoers to their own devices during the week, not insisting they join us for a Bible study or a cup of coffee when they have free time, other people will pick up the slack. The Jehovah's Witnesses will and we shouldn't wonder when these organisations begin sucking people in like a vacuum cleaner, because it's us Christians leaving jilted people in our wake, ready for the taking.
These are often the people that will come knocking on our doors, people that have been sucked into the Society because Christian churches have not been teaching defence of the faith, have not been acting overly concerned and have been relying on emotionalism too much in services. Yes, encounters with the true and living God will be emotional but we need to balance it with strong convictions based on real information.
Eight steps for you to try
Let me make things easy for you. Here's what I'm going to do when the JWs come to visit me. But keep in mind that you must be insistent as they have a set presentation that they want to get through, and they won't relax until they've done it. You might need to negotiate to speak in turns but don't let the chance pass without asserting yourself. And don't start engaging without praying first!
1) I'm going to tell of my personal testimony of how Jesus has and is changing me. In her (extremely ancient) book Valerie Tomsett said if you did this "more than likely they will tear down the garden path, screaming for an ambulance for you, declaring you are mad or demon possessed! But if every Christian did this, in the end they would have to listen."
2) Defend the Trinity from nature. If I use the Bible verses to defend it they will come back with all the Bible verses twisted for the Unitarian position. But the tri-nature of the universe shows how the Trinity works in nature and how it makes sense for God who created things in His own image to be a trinity too. I wrote more about this on 101 Arguments if you want to prepare beforehand.
3) Keep on the point of true freedom found in salvation compared to the bondage of having to jump through hoops to be saved. Jehovah's Witnesses often focus on the fear of the Lord more than the love of the Lord. Their Jehovah fails "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" because he sent Jesus to die who in their view is not God. But we must remind them that God shed His own blood to forgive us, not someone else's.
4) I will mention the lack of love in the demonstrated response of Witnesses. As The Age article points out: "Former members say shunning can involve bullying, threats, harassment and stalking to lure the 'apostate', or lapsed member, back." It is well known to bring hate into families and takes children from parents. Of course the Watchtower Society officially claims this as a "myth" but there are hundreds of testimonies to the contrary.
5) Point out that the date 1914 has no foundation in Scripture; nor does it have anything to do with the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ. The issue of the whether Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 can affect your salvation according to them.
6) Use the "First and Last" proof of Jesus' deity. Revelation 1 verses 17-18 claims Jesus is the first and last, Isaiah 44 verse 6 claims God (Jehovah) is the first and last. Can there be two firsts and two lasts? The scripture shows Jesus is not a "little god" especially by Revelation 22 verses 12 and 20, therefore He must be one with Jehovah.
7) Be sweet. Offer them cookies but don't invite them to stay all afternoon – you may have things to do! And by all means don't give money to their Organisation. But cookies, a tract or a Bible are something nice to show the love of Jesus. Though they probably will tear up a tract or 'inferior' Bible translation, but who can reject a biscuit?
8) Only engage on doctrine if you are an expert at that particular doctrine. Therefore if you want to defend the deity of Christ know it back-to-front. I myself am reasonably versed on eschatology therefore I may find myself discussing the 144,000 (and also how these 144,000 are the only ones allowed to partake in communion according to them). Otherwise don't go there and don't let them indoctrinate you!
But don't expect it to work
There are a whole list of things you could bring up with regards to failed prophecies or bizarre teachings. It's very likely according to another ex-Witness with a book Kevin R. Quick that your attempts won't make any demonstrable difference whatsoever as "his loyalty to the Organisation will force him to put up a front of impenetrability".
Even if you are not a new Christian and you're attempting this and are finding them persuasive, do know that there are Christian answers out there to every objection they have toward Christianity in the Christian apologetics field. Look up these answers if you're having doubts yourself but don't expect your pastor to be able to answer all these doubts – some of these deeper issues are for trained apologists only.
We must be as united as the Watchtower Society are, so share this article and other material around at your church and be ready to prepare against the invasion which has been largely ignored for far too long. Our only weapon is love and if you can't love on these people who desperately need it then you need to be reminded of the true love that Jesus has brought into your life.
That's the love we're meant to be sharing and there is a prime opportunity for this at our doorsteps. This is the day that the Lord has made, and so get ready and be prepared for when opportunity knocks to share the true gospel and rebuff the cult gospel.
Bridget Brenton has been researching apologetics, philosophy and the paranormal for years. You can check her apologetic effort out at www.101arguments.com.
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html