How do we start a conversation with a JW?

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by rookie, Jul 3, 2011.

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  1. rookie

    rookie Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have a coworker, that is an "elder" at his kingdom hall, (at 28 yrs old) and we are to have a theological debate at some point this summer, which I am praying will lead to his salvation.

    As far as manners, and work ethics, he's spotless, but he downloads just as many movies as anyone else, and brews his own beer for a big inventory.

    My question is, how do I start a discussion with him, and besides being Christ focused (Trinity, Atonement for our sins, Deity and so on), I have never had deep discussions with this cult, and would like to be somewhat prepared.

    Is there any one here that has had some exposure/experience with them, and where to challenge them without being offensive/rude but at the same time, being firm on doctrine.
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    It's important to challenge them on the errors of the Watchtower Society more than getting into theological debates. Their faith is in the Watchtower. Any theological debates you get into will be viewed through that lens, unless that lens is removed by getting them to understand the lies, mistakes and errors of the Watchtower Society.

    Reachout Trust - Building a Bridge of Reason

    There's material at the above site, but the JWs are so suspicious of material from certain sources such as these that they are warned against, that you'd be better memorising your points or printing them out with references to the Watchtower publications they came from for yourself.
  3. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    "How do we start a conversation with a JW?"

    Isn't that kind of like asking how you get a vacuum salesman to sell you a vacuum?
  4. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    In my experience they normally stop talking when the mother Watchtower is attacked. The most success I have had with a JW is to discuss sin and the cross. Try to bring in the law and the ways that we fall short. The way of the master style of evangelism is nice for someone like this because they feel they are saved by their works. It's helps to keep forming the statements in the form of a question so they think they are teaching you. They need the law and the gospel. The think they are safe before God because of their works. Oh, really. So you do all that the law requires. The bible says cursed is everyone who doesn't fulfill all that is in the law. It also says if you fail in anyone one point you are guilty of it all. An honest person can't say they have fulfilled the law. And they can't say that their works are perfect enough to keep saving them. The side arguments aren't necessary. I had a guy that told me Jesus died a stick instead of a cross. I told him it was more important to discuss what was accomplished and what it demonstrated than it is to argue over whether or not his arms were over his head spread out to the side. The same with the trinity. I'll say alright, but what about your sin. In my experience, arguing the trinity with a JW is a complete waste of time because they will keep going back to a text that has been changed. As far as I can tell they have not changed what the Bible says about God's law and man's failure to live up to the law. The trinity is important, but it's not normally how someone comes to faith. Their gospel is more like, "Hey, the Christians got all of this stuff wrong, but we know the real answers. Do what we say and you can live on the new earth." Keep bringing it back. Keep asking, I don't understand how your sins are forgiven by doing good works. It's up to God to open up their eyes so they can see they can't.
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I believe that for most laymen in a false religion, a debate style of evangelism is less effective than prayer and reaching out through caring first. Starting with an initial tactice of debate seems to cause a person to dig in his heels, whereas praying for someone and going through a bible study together and starting from commonalities allows the person to be able to receive you as a person so that he can then receive your message (both are important, we are to win people not merely win arguments).

    Maybe a personal home bible study might be best to start (with you leading).
  6. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    I pretty much agree with Pergamum, they (the JW) tend to evangelize via bible studies themselves.
  7. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    This person is not a layman, though, correct?
  8. rookie

    rookie Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hahaha, I agree, but I think you know what I meant, lol.

    And I agree with the posts, that debates don't work, I didn't mean necessarily that I would be debating him, but I wanted to make sure that I was hitting topics that wouldn't just fall in the water with him. I know there are somethings that are strong on their side, and just like us, they are warned of "heretical" teaching.

    So with that common thread in the scriptures that hasn't been changed (Sin and forgiveness), I think that's a great start.

    Thanks all, and don't stop posting more suggestions, and if you remember me in your prayers, that would be a blessing.

    To my knowledge, we are to get together within the next couple of weeks.
  9. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    If you're planning to have a debate with him at some point in the future, but not yet, I'd suggest asking a lot of questions. Most people like talking about themselves to an interested listener, and since you're genuinely interested in learning about Jehovah's Witnesses, I don't think he'll mind. Just don't try to cross-examine him and make him mad. =)
  10. Steve McNutt

    Steve McNutt Puritan Board Freshman

    I have had some limited success in challenging their doctrine of Christ and their interpretation of John 1 (that the Word is a created being acting as a "subcontractor" for the Father in the act of creation) by comparing John 1 with ISA 43:10 "...before me no God was formed, nor shall their be after me" and ISA 44:24 "... I am the LORD who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.".
    The point is that the LORD can declare these things truthfully in Isaiah and still be reconciled with John 1 only by our recognition that it is the triune LORD declaring those things, not merely the person of the Father.
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