How Can You Share Your Faith When the Jehovah’s Witnesses Come Knocking?

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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 160 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

What result would I get if I were to ask any church audience, “How many have had the Jehovah’s Witnesses Come a Knocking on Your Door or have seen them witnessing on the streets?” There would be a high 90% that would raise their hands in 235+ lands around the world. All Jehovah’s Witnesses have a personal obligation to spend at least a few hours each month spreading the good news and talking about God’s Word as they understand it. Each year, they spend about 2 billion hours evangelizing their communities around the world in 357 languages. Here is what you need to know to effectively share your faith with JWs when they come knocking. I have only two words for you, BE PREPARED. You need to understand who they really are, what their life mission is, how they carry out their ministry, and to what extent. This article offers that and much more.

Just how effective are these Witnesses in their ministry? There are some Christian apologists on social media that like to boast about how they undermine and debunk the Witnesses that come to their door. Many times they are being disingenuous or even downright dishonest. Let’s look at an online example of what I believe to be a severe case of exaggeration. I will quote a REAL online person who thinks he is an apologist. I will insert bracketed [ … ] comments within what he is saying and response after.

INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation

Jehovah's Witnesses at Your Door_02Steve the Apologist, as we shall call him, says, “On one occasion I invited two Jehovah’s Witnesses into my house and the rookie girl began her spiel. [Notice the disrespectful tone]  After a few minutes of discussion, the man knew I was too strong for her, so he took over. [Notice the haughty spirit]  I challenged him with a passage in John 20:28 concerning Thomas when he called Jesus Lord and God. [The verse says in the JW Bible (NWT), In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God! Notice, it is the same, so there would be a ready answer by any Witness] The gentleman refused to answer this verse as he continually tried to get me to leave John and look at other passages. [This is doubtful, as they have an answer right there in their book that they use when evangelizing, the Reasoning From the Scriptures. I will give you the answer he would have had below in my response.] I asked him politely can we stay on this verse and not hop around?  At that moment, the young girl agreed with me and said to her partner we should answer John 20:28. [Again, not likely that the girl would interrupt the more experienced Witness, especially to publicly disagree] Almost immediately the man leaped up angrily and said we are going. [Very like untrue, Witnesses do not get angry in their ministry. They have had urine thrown on them, attacked by dogs, beaten, and much worse and never angered.] They both hurriedly went out of my door. I am certain the young girl was chastised for her agreement with me. [Never would that happen, ever.] You can bet the next time a situation like this arises, she will keep her mouth shut and obediently follow his lead. [Hardly]

RESPONSE: The above is nothing more than a boasting session of, ‘see how smart I am’ from Steve the apologist. Here is what the Witness would have had right there for him to respond to the John 20:28 verses. Read it and see if you think he had no answer. Moreover, the Trinity verses are dealt with thousands of times in their literature. Judge for yourself just how honest Steve the Apologist was being to his online readers.

Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 213 Jesus Christ

Does Thomas’ exclamation at John 20:28 prove that Jesus is truly God?

John 20:28 (RS) reads: “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”

There is no objection to referring to Jesus as “God,” if this is what Thomas had in mind. Such would be in harmony with Jesus’ own quotation from the Psalms in which powerful men, judges, were addressed as “gods.” (John 10:34, 35, RS; Ps. 82:1-6) Of course, Christ occupies a position far higher than such men. Because of the uniqueness of his position in relation to Jehovah, at John 1:18 (NW) Jesus is referred to as “the only-begotten god.” (See also Ro, By.) Isaiah 9:6 (RS) also prophetically describes Jesus as “Mighty God,” but not as the Almighty God. All of this is in harmony with Jesus’ being described as “a god,” or “divine,” at John 1:1 (NW, AT).

The context helps us to draw the right conclusion from this. Shortly before Jesus’ death, Thomas had heard Jesus’ prayer, in which he addressed his Father as “the only true God.” (John 17:3, RS) After Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus had sent a message to his apostles, including Thomas, in which he had said: “I am ascending . . . to my God and your God.” (John 20:17, RS) After recording what Thomas said when he actually saw and touched the resurrected Christ, the apostle John stated: “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31, RS) So, if anyone has concluded from Thomas’ exclamation that Jesus is himself “the only true God” or that Jesus is a Trinitarian “God the Son,” he needs to look again at what Jesus himself said (vs. 17) and at the conclusion that is clearly stated by the apostle John (vs. 31).

REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS CONVERSATION EVANGELISM

Below I will let you know who you are going to meet at your door and how well they are trained in their evangelism. Mind you, they expend much time and effort in learning how to effectively evangelize and to know when to walk away. What is their goal, purpose, mission? They seek to start a conversation with you wherever possible. They are trained to stimulate interest in current affairs, world affairs, the Bible, life, the life to come, hopes, and dreams. Once they have your interest, they are well-trained in motivating you to want to learn more.

Jehovah's Witnesses at Your Door_03Do not live in denial, their ways are charming and interesting, and their literature is overwhelmingly designed to draw you into what they call, the truth. Once they have you motivated, they seek to start a Bible study with you, where you will study a book in conjunction with the Bible, like The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life in 1981; then, in 1989 they move to You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, and in 1995 Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. In 2006, they began using What Does the Bible Really Teach? Once they have you fully interested and growing in knowledge as they know it, they want to get you to their congregation meetings at the Kingdom Hall, what they call their church. They also want to get you to their website, https://www.jw.org/en/. Use the language drop-down on their website, and you will see, that it is available in hundreds of languages. It is one of the most visited sites in the world. How should we talk about and to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in person or on social media?

Young Christians

1 Peter 3:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being prepared to make a defense[26] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect;

Colossians 4:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Let your speech always be graciousseasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Search for Truth WatchtowerJWs base their practices on the biblical interpretations of Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916), founder (c. 1881) of the Bible Student movement, and of successive presidents of the Watch Tower Society, Joseph Franklin Rutherford (in office 1917–1942) and Nathan Homer Knorr (in office 1942–1977). Since 1976 practices have also been based on decisions made at closed meetings of the group’s Governing Body. The group disseminates instructions regarding activities and acceptable behavior through The Watchtower magazine and through other official publications, and at conventions and congregation meetings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses endeavor to remain “separate from the world,” which they regard as a place of moral contamination and under the control of Satan. Witnesses refuse to participate in any political and military activity and limit social contact with non-Witnesses. Members practice a strict moral code, which forbids premarital and homosexual sex, adultery, smoking, drunkenness and drug abuse, and blood transfusions. A system of judicial committees maintains discipline within congregations, exercising the power to expel members who breach organizational rules and to demand their shunning by other Witnesses. The threat of shunning also serves to deter members from dissident behavior.

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Evangelizing Work

Members are expected to participate regularly in evangelizing work and to attend all congregation meetings, as well as regular large-scale conventions – highly structured events based on material from Watch Tower Society publications.

JW Unbaptized Publishers (UP) are persons who are not yet baptized, but who have requested and been granted approval to join in the congregation’s formal ministry. … To qualify as an unbaptized publisher, an individual must already be “an active associate of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” who regularly attends congregation meetings, participating in those meeting (answering questions in the Book study and Watchtower study. These ones are not left alone, as they are in training. When Witnesses meet to go out and evangelize, they will pair the up with the most experienced person working that day, a pioneer or an elder.

Jehovah's Witnesses Bible Study

JW Baptized Publishers (BP) are members who have been publicly baptized following conversion to the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Witnesses do not practice infant baptism, and previous baptisms performed by other denominations are not considered valid. Prior to baptism, they are required to respond to a series of questions to assess their suitability and to make a personal dedication to serve God. Baptisms are typically performed at assemblies and conventions. From the moment of baptism, the organization officially considers the person to be a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, an ordained minister, and a publisher. These are not as experienced, and they too will work alongside the more experienced. It depends on how long they have been a Witness on whether you can draw them into an interchange of ideas or a deeper Bible discussion. Do not be misled, if you are not well-grounded in the Word of God yourself, they will be the more knowledgeable and the more experienced. They do not fear other Bibles other than their New World Translation (NWT).

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

JW Auxiliary Pioneers (AP) are the next level up from a publisher. The AP commits to at least 30 hours a month (360 yearly) preaching (used to be 60 for decades), and they are a baptized publisher. This can be done on a one-month-only basis, or Regular Auxiliary (RA) basis, so every month until the Witness decides that he or she does not want to do it at that level anymore. Now, we are entering into the more knowledgeable and the more skilled JW, so you have to really be grounded in the Bible yourself.

JW Regular Pioneer (RP) makes a commitment of an average of seventy hours of preaching activity each month (used to be 90 hours), totaling 840 hours for the year. For the elders in the congregation to recommend someone for the appointment of a regular pioneer, a publisher must be baptized for at least six months and be considered an exemplary member of the congregation. If this person has been a RP for some time, they are going to be highly trained in overturning your argumentation.

Special Pioneers (SP) are assigned by a branch to perform a special activity, such as preaching in remote areas, which may require at least 130 hours per month. Special pioneers receive a stipend for very basic living expenses. Generally, few people run into one of these Witnesses because they are sent to special places but it is possible. This Witness is going to be extremely trained, skilled, and effective.

Missionaries are sent to foreign countries to preach. They spend at least 130 hours per month preaching. Before assignment to a location, missionaries may receive training at Gilead School. Missionaries receive a stipend for basic living expenses. The same holds true here, these will be extremely trained, skilled, and effective.

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JW Elders & Ministerial Servants. Each congregation has a body of elders, who are responsible for congregational governance, pastoral work, selecting speakers and conducting meetings, directing the public preaching work and creating “judicial committees” to investigate and decide disciplinary action for cases that are seen to breach scriptural laws. There are no secular educational requirements for elders; however, training programs are offered for elders within the organization. Elders are considered “overseers” based on the biblical Greek term, ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos, typically translated “bishop”). Prospective elders are recommended from among ministerial servants and former elders by the local elder body for appointment by the circuit overseer. These are going to be very highly trained in evangelism work, and it will be no easy task to evangelize them.

JW Circuit Overseers. This is like Paul was. The Governing Body directly appoints circuit overseers as its representatives to supervise activities within circuits. Headquarters representatives visit groups of branch offices to provide instruction and report the branch’s activities to the Governing Body. These Witnesses are going to be the most trained Jehovah’s Witness you will likely ever come across. Yes, the headquarters has workers that are researchers for their publication, who may contain more knowledge than a circuit overseer but are likely not more skilled at the art of persuasion. This person might have been born to Jehovah’s Witness parents, the mother being a pioneer, the father an elder. They might have been baptized early. They may have become a pioneer as a teenager, a ministerial servant in their early twenties, an elder before thirty, and a circuit overseer in their forties.

When They Come Knocking

JWs Work In Pairs. They will always come to your door in pairs that could consist of any of the combinations above. It could be two publishers, a pioneer and an unbaptized publisher, two elders, circuit overseers, and an elder. Every aspect of their life is to make disciples, to reason, explain, prove, and persuade. Every moment is a learning situation.

JW Literature. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society produces a significant amount of printed and electronic literature, primarily for use by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their best-known publications are the magazines, The Watchtower and Awake! The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom is an illustrated religious magazine, published monthly by Jehovah’s Witnesses via the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Along with its companion magazine, Awake!, Jehovah’s Witnesses distribute The Watchtower—Public Edition in their door-to-door ministry. Awake! is an illustrated religious magazine published every four months (used to be twice a month) by Jehovah’s Witnesses via the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. It is considered to be a companion magazine of The Watchtower and is distributed by Jehovah’s Witnesses in their door-to-door ministry, with a total worldwide circulation of over 93 million copies in 221 languages per issue. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society produces religious literature primarily for use by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The organization’s international writing, artwork, translation, and printery workforce are all baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since 2001, the literature produced by the Watch Tower Society is said to have been “published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Prior to 1931, the Watch Tower Society produced literature for the Bible Student movement. All of their literature is designed for education with a mild leaning toward helping with evangelism to a primary focus on helping their evangelism.

Christian Literature. JWs are not supposed to accept any religious literature that was not published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. This does not mean that they will not consider it in your home. If it is an anti-Jehovah’s Witness book, they almost always will not look at that. However, there are thousands of JWs that are well-educated in Christian literature outside the organization, like biblical Hebrew and Greek, textual studies hermeneutics, theology, and so on. So, do not be surprised if you happen upon the right Witness.

Skilled in the Art of Reasoning, Persuasion, Explain, Proving. All Witnesses are trained in this way. The literature is geared this way. The meetings are designed this way. They are trained to reason with you using logic, and leading questions, and will easily overturn most objections they come across. The more skilled Witness that you come across, the more difficult it will be to cope with their skills. Some might see my tone thus far as showing too much respect for what they feel to be a cult. There is respect just like one military special forces, say the Navy SEALs might have for the Israeli special forces, the elite commando, counterterrorist, antiterrorist, and recon units.

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Overturning Your Objections. One tool they have is the book they have had for decades, Reasoning From the Scriptures. Page 7  of How to Use “Reasoning From the Scriptures” says that “This publication has not been prepared for the purpose of helping anyone to “win arguments” with people who show no respect for the truth. Rather, it provides valuable information that is meant to be used in reasoning with individuals who will allow you to do so. Some of them may ask questions to which they really want satisfying answers. Others, in the course of conversation, may simply state their own beliefs, and they may do so with some conviction. But are they reasonable persons who are willing to listen to another viewpoint? If so, you can share with them what the Bible says, doing so with the conviction that it will find a welcome response in the hearts of lovers of truth.” The Witnesses always see themselves as the teachers and you as the student. It does not matter if you have an MDiv and a Ph.D. As long as you are respectful and show interest, they will keep returning, affording you the opportunity to witness to the Witnesses. I hope this brief insight into the Witnesses will help you not to underestimate them, and push you to dig deeper to evangelism those that come knocking.

This video is from the official Jehovah’s Witness website (jw.org). It may seem like such a video would be highly edited to make things seem better than they are, but this is reflective of what it would really look like. This video will give you a deeper insight into the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses and why they are so well-prepared.

JW Personal Study, Family Study, & Meetings. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold meetings for worship twice each week. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) At these meetings, which are open to the public, they examine what the Bible says and how we can apply its teachings in our life as they understand it. Most of our services include audience participation, much like a classroom discussion. Meetings begin and end with song and prayer. You don’t have to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to attend their meetings. They invite everyone to come along. Seats are free. No collections are ever taken.

This video is from the official Jehovah’s Witness website (jw.org). This video will give you a deeper insight into the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses and why they are so well-prepared, enabling you to be better prepared to discuss your faith with them.

Meetings for worship and study are held at Kingdom Halls and are open to the public. Witnesses are assigned to a congregation in which “territory” they reside and are expected to attend weekly meetings as scheduled by the Watch Tower Society and congregation elders. The meetings are largely devoted to the study of the Bible and Witness doctrines. During meetings and in other formal circumstances, Witnesses refer to one another as “Brother” and “Sister.” Sociologist Andrew Holden claims meetings create an atmosphere of uniformity for Witnesses, intensify their sense of belonging to a religious community, and reinforce the plausibility of the organization’s belief system. He says they are also important in helping new converts adopt a different way of life. According to The Watchtower, one role of the frequency and length of meetings is to protect Witnesses from becoming “involved in the affairs of the world.”

The form and content of the meetings are established by the denomination’s Brooklyn headquarters, generally involving a consideration of the same subject matter worldwide each week. Two meetings each week are divided into five distinct sections, lasting a total of about four hours. Meetings are opened and closed with hymns and brief prayers delivered from the platform. Witnesses are urged to prepare for all meetings by studying Watch Tower literature from which the content is drawn and looking up the scriptures cited in the articles. Kingdom Halls are typically functional in character and contain no religious symbols. Each year, Witnesses from several congregations, which form a “circuit,” gather for two one-day assemblies; several circuits meet once a year for a three-day “regional convention,” and every few years the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses holds “international conventions” in selected cities around the world. These larger gatherings are usually held at rented stadiums or auditoriums. Their most important and solemn event is the celebration of the “Lord’s Evening Meal,” or “Memorial of Christ’s Death.”

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

Weekend Meeting

The weekend meeting, usually held on Sunday, comprises a 30-minute public talk by a congregation elder or ministerial servant and a one-hour question-and-answer study of a Bible-based article from The Watchtower magazine, with questions prepared by the Watch Tower Society and the answers provided in the magazine. Members may use their own words to express the ideas in the printed material, though personal ideas derived from independent study are discouraged.

Midweek Meeting

The midweek meeting, typically held in the evening, includes various question-and-answer sessions based on Watch Tower Society publications, Bible reading, and sample presentations of how to use Watch Tower Society literature for Bible studies and public preaching.

JW International conventions

Assemblies and Conventions

Each year, Jehovah’s Witnesses hold two one-day “Circuit Assemblies,” held in each circuit worldwide. Each circuit comprises several congregations in a geographical area. These are held either in Assembly Halls owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses, or in rented facilities, such as public auditoriums. Once a year, Jehovah’s Witnesses gather at larger assemblies called “Regional Conventions” which are usually three days long (Friday to Sunday). These conventions consist primarily of Bible-based sermons, including demonstrations and experiences of their preaching work. They also often feature video presentations and live, full-costume dramatic plays re-enacting biblical accounts—such as Moses and the Plagues of Egypt, and Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah—or contemporary settings based on biblical principles. Every few years, “International Conventions” are held in selected cities, with visiting delegates from other countries. Attendance at some of these international conventions has exceeded one hundred thousand; the 1958 international convention in New York at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds had a peak attendance exceeding 253,000.

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Evangelism of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are under an obligation to God to “give witness” by participating in organized and spontaneous evangelizing and proselytizing work. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Prospective members are told they have a moral obligation to serve as “publishers” by “regular and zealous” participation in the Witnesses’ organized preaching work, disseminating Watch Tower doctrines as evangelists of “the Truth.” Qualifying as an “unbaptized publisher” is a requirement for baptism, and baptism is regarded as an automatic ordination as a minister. Watch Tower publications describe house-to-house visitations as the primary work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in obedience to a “divine command” to preach “the Kingdom good news in all the earth and (make) disciples of people of all the nations.” Children usually accompany their parents and participate in public ministry. In addition to taking part in organized door-to-door preaching, Witnesses are taught that they should seek opportunities to “witness informally” by starting conversations with people they meet during routine activities such as shopping or on public transport and directing the conversation towards their beliefs.

INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation

Witnesses are told that they should put the interests of God’s Kingdom first in their lives, and that other secular and recreational pursuits should remain secondary to spiritual matters. Witnesses are frequently instructed through Watch Tower Society publications, and at meetings and conventions, to increase the quality and quantity of their preaching efforts. Watch Tower Society publications suggest that endurance in public preaching is a requirement for Witnesses to attain salvation, and that evangelizing frees them from blood guilt regarding individuals who might die at Armageddon without having heard about God’s kingdom.

Members who commit themselves to evangelizing for 840 hours per year (an average of 70 hours per month) are called regular pioneers. Those who commit themselves to evangelizing for 50 hours for one month are called auxiliary pioneers, which they may do for consecutive months. Some Witnesses volunteer for missionary service and may be invited to receive specialized training at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. These individuals dedicate, on average, more than 120 hours per month to their work. Members who are not able to ‘pioneer’ are told they may maintain the “pioneer spirit,” by spending as much time as they can in preaching and supporting the efforts of pioneers.

Specialized “territory” maps of residential and commercial areas are prepared within the boundaries of each congregation’s territory and distributed to publishers who are responsible for preaching within that area. Witnesses are instructed to fill out monthly report slips on their preaching activity, listing the hours spent, publications placed with householders, and the number of “return visits” made to households where interest had been shown formerly. The reports are used to help measure the “spirituality” of individuals and to establish the eligibility of men as congregation elders and ministerial servants. A Witness who fails to report for a month is termed an “irregular publisher;” one who has not turned in a field service report for six months consecutively is termed an “inactive publisher.”

Sandwhich Boards JW Witnessing

Witnesses have, in the past, used a wide variety of methods to spread their faith, including information marches, where members wore sandwich boards and handed out leaflets, to sound cars (car-mounted phonographs), and syndicated newspaper columns and radio segments devoted to sermons. Between 1924 and 1957, the organization operated a radio station, WBBR, from New York. Since 2011, the Witnesses have engaged in “public witnessing” in metropolitan districts and fairs using tables, carts, and literature displays. The Watch Tower Society operates a website, JW.org, which provides access to Watch Tower Society literature and video streaming.

JWs Literature Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses Literature

Jehovah’s Witnesses make extensive use of Watch Tower Society literature, including books, magazines, booklets, and handbills, to spread their beliefs and to use as textbooks at their religious meetings. The publications are produced in many languages, with a small selection available in 500 languages. Their primary journal, The Watchtower, is published simultaneously in nearly two hundred languages, and along with Awake!, available in audio and electronic formats. Issues of both publications are compiled annually into bound volumes, and are added yearly to the Watchtower Library CD-ROM, which contains many Witness publications from 1950 onward, and is officially available to baptized members only. New books, brochures, and other items are released at their annual conventions. Additionally, a number of audio cassettes, videocassettes, and DVDs have been produced explaining the group’s beliefs, practices, organization, and history. Some of these also provide dramas based on biblical accounts. Since 1942 all Watch Tower literature has been published anonymously.

Publications were sold to the public until the early 1990s, from which time they were offered free of charge, with a request for donations. The change in policy was first announced in the United States in February 1990, following the loss of a case before the US Supreme Court by Jimmy Swaggart Ministries on the issue of sales tax exemption for religious groups. The Watch Tower Society had joined the case as an Amicus curiae, or “friend of the court.” The court ruling would have resulted in the Watch Tower Society having to pay millions of dollars in sales tax if sales of their literature had continued.

Witnesses are urged to prepare for congregation meetings by studying the assigned Watch Tower literature, and are expected to read all magazines and books published by the Society. One analysis noted that each year Witnesses are expected to read more than 3,000 pages of the Society’s publications, according to its suggested program for personal study. Much of the literature is illustrated extensively, with sociologist Andrew Holden observing utopian, post-Armageddon images of happy Witnesses in bright sunshine and pristine environments, often playing with formerly wild animals such as lions and tigers, in contrast to dark-colored images of unfavorable activities such as murders, burglaries and promiscuity that highlight the moral dangers outside the organization.

JW Baptism

Conversion to the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Individuals seeking to be baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to follow a systematic, catechistical Bible study course, usually in their home, for several months. They will be expected to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall and must also demonstrate a willingness to carry out the doorstep ministry. Before baptism, they will be questioned by elders to determine that they understand and accept the beliefs of the Witnesses, and also that they accept Jesus’ ransom sacrifice and repent of sins, and have made a personal dedication to God. Baptisms are normally performed in pools at assemblies and conventions. At these baptisms, candidates make “public declaration” of their prior dedication to God. The speaker asks the candidates the following two questions.

REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS
  1. “On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?”
  2. “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”

After candidates agree to both questions, they line up to undergo water immersion, usually in quick succession, often with hundreds baptized at large conventions.

Sociologist James Beckford reported two significant distinguishing features of the conversion process when related by Jehovah’s Witnesses. He said they typically spoke of their conversion experience as a steady progression of mental states in which Witnesses “’work for’ their conversion by a methodical confrontation with intellectual obstacles and by a deliberate program of self-reform. Conversion is not represented as something which happened to them; it is framed as something that they achieved.” Beckford noted that those he interviewed regarded sudden, emotional upheavals in religious consciousness as suspect: “Experiences which smack of sudden or idiosyncratic illumination/revelation cannot be reconcilable with either the tenor of God’s historical practice or the nature of his special covenant with the Watchtower Society.”

He also found a striking contrast with other churches in the common attribution of responsibility for conversion to “a spiritual guide … the person who acted as the intermediary with the Watchtower movement and who supervised the initial process of learning and reforming.” Beckford cited an interview “representative of many” in which a convert recalled initially resisting the Watch Tower Society’s teachings until he was “talked into making a serious study of the scriptures … I had plenty of objections and was sure the Witnesses were wrong, but (the Witness leading the personal Bible study sessions) showed me how the facts of the Bible could not be faulted.”

This video is from the official Jehovah’s Witness website (jw.org). This video will give you a deeper insight into the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses and why they are so well-prepared, enabling you to be better prepared to discuss your faith with them.

Construction

International and regional building teams frequently undertake constructions of Kingdom Halls over the course of one or two weekends, termed “quick-builds”. Larger construction projects, including building regional Assembly Halls and Bethel offices, factories, residences, warehouses, and farm facilities, are also performed almost entirely by volunteer members.

Funding of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses fund their activities, such as publishing, constructing and operating facilities, evangelism, and disaster relief via donations. There is no tithing or collection, but on exceptional occasions, members are reminded to donate to the organization; Witnesses typically provide an opportunity for members of the public to make donations as they encounter them in their preaching work. Donation boxes labeled for several purposes are located in Kingdom Halls and other meeting facilities. Generally, there are contribution boxes for local operating expenses, a Kingdom Hall fund for helping Witnesses around the world to build Kingdom Halls, and a general fund for the “Worldwide Work”, which includes the printing of literature, organization of conventions, supporting missionaries and disaster relief, and other operating expenses of the organization.

The accounts (including donations) and the financial operation of the local congregation are reviewed monthly and posted on a congregation notice board. Donations are also accepted via mail, and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society can be named as a beneficiary to an estate, and also accepts donations in the form of life insurance policies, pension plans, bank accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate, annuities, and trusts.

REASONABLE FAITH FEARLESS-1

Spiritual Warfare

Watch Tower Society publications teach that Witnesses are engaged in “spiritual, theocratic warfare” against false teachings and wicked spirit forces, they say try to impede them in their preaching work. Based on their interpretation of Ephesians 6:10–20, they believe their “spiritual war” is fought with truth, righteousness, the “good news of peace,” faith, the hope of salvation, God’s word, and prayer. They have advocated the use of “theocratic war strategy” to protect the interests of God’s cause, which would include hiding the truth from God’s “enemies” by being evasive or withholding truthful or incriminating information from those not entitled by law to know. The Watchtower told Witnesses: “It is proper to cover over our arrangements for the work that God commands us to do. If the wolfish foes draw wrong conclusions from our maneuvers to outwit them, no harm has been done to them by the harmless sheep, innocent in their motives as doves.”

Conclusion

In a future article, we will tackle some of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For now, this article and the two below should suffice in giving the reader an unbiased, non-dogmatic, objective look into the Witnesses’ organization, enabling the reader to be better prepared in their quest to witness to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you have an appreciation of just how prepared the Witnesses truly are; then, you will not come to the door unprepared when they come knocking.

See also HOW CAN CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTS EFFECTIVELY WITNESS TO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES?CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM: WHAT WILL YOU SAY TO A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS?

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