Question: A few weeks ago a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses came by the house. I have had one meeting with them. I don’t have very much material on them other than the Josh McDowell and Don Stewart’s Handbook of Today’s Religions. Do you have any material where I could ask them some biblically sound questions that would cause them to see their organization/religion in a different light? I have already told them of my faith and trust in Jesus Christ and in His death, burial, and resurrection. Do I need to discontinue meeting with these guys, am I wasting my time? Because they can’t influence me and I most likely can’t influence them.
Answer: I have come to the conclusion that attempting to argue with them from a purely doctrinal stance is likely to produce exactly the stand off that you described. I believe what alone will suffice to make an impact in someone’s life is genuine friendship. That means getting to know someone on a personal basis, not just a doctrinal basis. What are their personal concerns, who is their family, how do they need a neighbor’s help, what problems are they facing that I have insight into, what problems am I facing that they have insight into, what is the real hope or lack of hope they experience, are their hearts wrenched with fear over whether they will have God’s approval, etc.
This situation is somewhat artificial because the JW has not necessarily come from your neighborhood and you would have no relationship with them otherwise. But it is possible that if they are willing to come on a week to week basis and really enter into relationship with you that you might have a chance to develop this friendship that might lead to their being willing to trust that you might have answers to life’s bigger questions.
What you don’t know about JW’s you can always find out by asking them questions. And ask them how they feel about what they believe. If they believe that they cannot receive blood transfusions, how does that make them feel in an emergency situation? Are they scared? Does this only serve to activate their faith? Even if their faith is wrongly placed it might be commendable from the standpoint of trusting God despite what appears to be a hopeless situation. Aren’t we called to have that kind of faith? You will learn a lot in this fashion if you can suspend judgment on what they believe until you have fully understood it and your probing questions might help them to reconsider it and actually want to know what you believe. You will also undoubtedly be required to do some study to figure out why you believe what you believe.
I am attaching a correspondence I carried on with a JW relative of a member of our congregation. I did it in the exactly wrong way of keeping it doctrinal and eventually gave up. But it will help clarify one issue for you, i.e., the JW view of the trinity and Jesus’ deity.