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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Apologetics and Evangelism: JW's part 1

The thing that has been most on my mind lately is the health of the church today. This has been overwhelming me to the point that I have made that passion supersede the practical outworkings that I’ve been so disappointed not to see in the Church today. Since I’ve been made aware of this problem, I’ve decided to attempt to share some of the things that I think necessary for us in the Church to be aware of in order for us to have a more effective witness with those around us. So I’ll be sharing some of the things that I’ve gleaned from my studies and the experiences that I’ve had with members of false religions in my future posts along with the issues that I believe are important in the Church today.

When I got saved, I was pretty anxious to tell people about Jesus, and I’m sure that this was the case with most upon their conversion as well. I, however, had the urge not only to tell others whom I knew didn’t know Christ, but I was also very interested in telling others from false religions. I began arguing with Roman Catholics and their priests before I got saved, but after I came to know the Lord I began to notice the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) leaving for their Saturday morning rounds as I was delivering newspapers. This introduced me to a unique evangelistic opportunity.

The first few encounters I had with JW’s were slightly confusing. I once had the opportunity to meet with two JW’s at the local Kingdom Hall to discuss their beliefs. I was hoping that it would be a good witnessing opportunity, but one of the two guys was overzealous and my head was spinning dizzily by the time we were through. Since this time, I’ve had encounters with JW’s in discussion forums (an incredible place to learn) and on my front door step. I have been blessed to listen to and read informative resources on JW’s and put that learning into practice. Now I feel quite comfortable speaking to them and find myself hoping to get a knock on my door on Saturday mornings but they have decided not to grace me with their presence anymore.

I’d like to encourage all born again believers to never avoid an opportunity to speak with a JW who shows up on your doorstep. This is a straight to your doorstep delivery of a potential convert. We should be anxious for these opportunities, right? And if a JW or two shows up at your door, consider these tips:

  1. Whichever text he attempts to persuade you with, take the time to read through the immediate context with him. This is something that he will most likely not appreciate because the context generally will cause his argument to crumble.
  2. Do not allow him to move to another verse to attempt to back up his claims. Make sure that he concedes to the fact that the passage he is hoping to use to prove his position does not in fact teach what he’d like you to think it means.
  3. Inform him of the fact that Jesus is God and that he is commanded to repent of his sinful denial of Jesus’ position and his attempts to achieve and maintain a right standing before God by knocking on peoples’ doors to tell them about his religion. Inform him that God has commanded that he trust in Christ alone for his salvation. He will inform you that he believes that Christ is the savior, but he must also conced to the fact that he is hoping to maintain his “salvation” by his works.

I just wanted to add some initial encouragements and pointers, but I plan to add more as time goes on. One text I would encourage you to take your JW friend to is Philippians 2:1-11 focusing mainly on verses 5-7:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Php 2:5-7 ESV)

Point out to your friend the fact that Paul is encouraging the Philippian church to have a humble attitude in the first 4 verses, and then he uses Christ as an example. The example that Christ gave them (and us) was in humbling Himself by not grasping the position that He had “in the form of God.” Then ask your friend if an angel (which is who they think Christ to be) would be considered humble by not attempting to usurp the position of equality with God. It doesn’t seem as if that would be considered as humble; it would rather be something to be expected, right? The only way for this passage to make sense is if Christ was actually humbling Himself by stepping down from a position of “equality with God” that He had the right to have in the first place

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Dramatized Exegesis