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Talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses on the street

Barry Amor from Reachout Trust gives some insight from his experience …

You’ve probably seen them in the streets around your local town, standing there with their carts of literature. They’re Jehovah’s Witnesses and are widely recognised as a cult, following the ever changing theology of their governing body in New York, USA. 

They deny the sufficiency of faith in Christ to give us eternal life, being taught they must work for their salvation, mostly by evangelising door-to-door or on carts.  This need to earn eternal life continues long after the coming Armageddon and on to the end of the 1000-year reign of Christ.  They cannot know they have eternal life because they might ‘fail’ at any time. 

Many Christians are frightened of speaking with JWs who have a different mindset to your average atheist or agnostic. Different tactics are required when evangelising them. 

Here are a few tips to help out when you speak to them in the street:

  • Pray – pray before, during and after your ‘chat’. Paul’s words about being in a spiritual battle are never truer than when dealing with people from these kind of groups.
  • Be pleasant – JWs are taught to expect persecution from Christians, so being chatty and interested in them personally can break down such barriers; introduce yourself.
  • Don’t expect too much – it is extremely unlikely that you will get a JW to openly see your point of view there and then.All you can hope to do is to sow a seed in them that the Holy Spirit can work on.Remember, you are just one part of the Spirit’s plan for that person.
  • Keep it simple – you don’t have long so a good opening question is; “Could you tell me what the Watchtower says about how I can gain eternal life?” You might be surprised by the answer! Be ready to back up your ‘question’ with scripture.
  • Try and stick to one subject at a time – avoid tangents!
  • Play the role of a pupil not a teacher – use probing questions from scripture.
  • If the discussion stalls then just give them your testimony. They don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus so this can be very effective.

Reachout Trust is a UK-based organisation dedicated to reaching out to those trapped in the cults – for more information go to reachouttrust.org.

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