By: Don Maes
In searching for a home almost two and a half years ago, my wife found a small community of houses in East County San Diego. I passed by this community daily on my way to work not thinking this would be a place we would ever settle down in. The Lord opened doors that allowed us to purchase a home in this area, and since then we have come to love the community we live in.
Over the past few months I started noticing Jehovah’s Witnesses setting up brochure stands on the sidewalks around our community. As I drove to work, the grocery store, gas station, post office, etc., I counted a total of four areas Jehovah’s Witnesses were consistently setting up stands, all within a mile of our home. Also within that mile, we have one high school, two elementary schools, four bus stops and a community park. Our housing community alone has over 800 homes. As I thought about them in passing, I was struck with how many people potentially the Jehovah’s Witnesses had contact with daily.
The Lord began to stir my heart. Do I truly love my neighbor? Am I not only loving my neighbor next door, but am I thinking of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in my community as my neighbor too? I felt convicted that I have not been. I should be. All Christians should be. Jehovah’s Witnesses are image bearers of God. They’re walking in darkness, being deceived and believing in a lie. They need the saving power of the gospel.
After a few weeks of prayer, reading God’s Word, and studying the history of the Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, I began meeting with them on the street. My first interaction with two younger adults started by immediately addressing their false doctrine. I found myself reading scripture proclaiming the deity of Jesus, addressing the heresy of works based salvation, and so on. The conversation was heightened at times, and after going back and forth with the two Witnesses, I felt frustrated and exhausted. The mutual exchange came to a screeching halt as the couple refused to engage any further. I thanked the couple for their time and left. As I prayed afterward, the Lord reminded me that it is the gospel that saves, (Romans 1:16) not my attempt to defend my faith, or by disprove their doctrine. He reminded me to be more patient, slower to speak.
Early the next morning on my way to work I came across three other Jehovah’s Witnesses around the corner from a bus station. I parked close and walked up to their brochure stand just as they were getting out of their truck to pack up. I asked one of them their name and said I would like to speak with them. He told me his name and that he was leaving for work. I asked when he was usually at this spot and he said “5am,” I replied back “5am?”, “Yes, every day” he said. Wow. Here is someone proclaiming a false gospel to this community, here daily, at 5am. Hours of dedication, all for not. I left for work wondering if indeed he would be there tomorrow at 5am.
My alarm went off just before 5. I spent some time in prayer and the word, leaving for the same location as the day before to see if the Jehovah’s Witnesses would indeed be where they said they would be. As I pulled out of the driveway, it was very dark. Just the musky orange glow of the street lights, and a few front porch lights were on around our street. I thought to myself that there was no way they would be out in the dark. As I drove down the street, I noticed the corner where they were located the day before had no street lights, and was barely lit by the lights from across the street. But I could barely make out what seemed to be two small flood lights shining downward. Yep, they had spot lights for their stand.
As I waked up to their truck, an older gentleman got out of the truck and introduced himself. He had a strong accent. I introduced myself and asked about his name and expressed my curiosity of what nationality he was given such a strong accent. He told me he was Jewish. Two others, one whom I spoke with the day before, came out of the truck. They asked me what it was that I wanted.
I began the conversation asking what they were hoping to accomplish out here at so early. The older gentleman began explaining the reason, and started discussing Watchtower doctrine. I felt lead to not interrupt and let him finish speaking knowing exactly where he was going, but giving him my time and my full attention. After he was finished, I thanked him for explaining that to me and asked in return to give me equal amount of time to share the truth of God’s word. With the full attention of all three Witnesses, I went through the full message of the gospel. After I was finished with sharing the gospel, we then engaged in further discussion and I had additional time to address many points of contention of their false belief. Looking back at the previous encounter, I spent too much time trying to immediately disprove their beliefs, and walked away without fully sharing the gospel. As vital as it is for us to be equipped and have solid apologetic understanding of our faith (1 Peter 3:15), it is not a substitute for the gospel.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, remember, all those devoting themselves to the Watchtower are on the wide path headed to destruction. If we wait for Jehovah’s Witnesses to walk through the doors of our church on their own, we will be waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I know it can be intimidating speaking with cults, and false religions, especially ones that twist scripture, remove scripture, and seek to lead the conversation down seemingly a never ending road. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and suited with the full armor of God.
We, as Christ’s church, must step out of the confines of our church doors and take the gospel to the front line. We must bring the good news, the saving gospel, directly to the lost (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:13-17).
Pray and ask God to strengthen you. Pray that He fills you with courage and a heart for our Jehovah’s Witness neighbors, and the next time you cross paths with them, stop and take the time to share the truth. We are merely messengers, heralds of the gospel. Our duty as Christians is to share the gospel in love, truth, and grace, and let the power of Almighty God to do the rest.
Equip yourself for the task:
1) First and foremost seek the Lord in prayer, immerse yourself in His Word.
2) Seek the counsel of your local Pastors and Elders to help you prepare.
3) Read other commentaries of seasoned soldiers in the faith that have experience witnessing to false religions: The School of Biblical Evangelism, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort
4) Watch videos of other experienced evangelists witnessing to false groups: apologiaradio.com livingwaters.com
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:6-9