How to Share the Gospel With a Jehovah’s Witness
The Jehovah’s Witnesses were started in the early 1870’s, by a man named Charles Taze Russell.
Jehovah’s Witnesses identify themselves as Christian and there are over six million people in this religion. Their name comes from their belief that God’s personal name is Jehovah (which is an inaccurate name for God. It is properly translated ‘Yahweh’).
They are also called The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, mainly because one of their primary missions is to go door-to-door and hand out millions of Jehovah’s Witness versions of the Bible and various informational tracts.
Questions You Can Ask
- What’s your spiritual background?
- What are the core beliefs of the Watchtower?
- Have you ever been mocked for your door-to-door work as you spread the message of the Watchtower?
- Do you feel marginalized by the rest of society because of some of your practices and beliefs? How does that make you feel?
- Is your faith a result of your own choice, or based on what your parents believe?
- What do you believe about Jesus Christ?
- What do you think of Jesus’ claim that He was God and the way back to God?
- How would your friends and family in the Watchtower react if you converted to Christianity? How does that make you feel?
- Would you be willing to pay the price of being rejected if you were convinced that what I shared with you was true?
- Do you think there’s a difference between a “religion” and the “relationship” with God that Jesus talked about?
Areas You Can Admire
- Their belief that there is one true God.
- Their belief that Jesus Christ existed.
- Their belief in a Judgment Day.
- Their dedication to knowing what they believe and sharing those beliefs with others.
What A Jehovah’s Witness Believes
About the Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe their religion is the only true religion, and all other religions and Protestant denominations (Baptist, Lutheran, etc.) are false. This is why they are so passionate and go door-to-door trying to convert others to their view of God.
A Jehovah’s Witness believes there is one God Almighty – a Spirit Being with a body, but not a human body.
About the Trinity:
They believe there is no Trinity, because they believe that Jesus Christ is a god, but not the God of the Bible, and that the Holy Spirit is an active force (rather than a real Person).
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ is not ‘Jehovah’ God, but the first son that ‘Jehovah’ brought forth. He is a god, but inferior to the only Father God.
Note: John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The translators of the New World Translation misinterpret the end of this verse by adding an “a” as in “the Word was a god.” According to the vast majority of Greek language scholars, this is a poor translation.
About the Bible:
A Jehovah’s Witness generally prefers to use their own version of the Bible, the New World Translation, because it more consistently incorporates the Hebrew translation of God’s divine name, “Jehovah” (in English).
About the Afterlife:
They believe that no soul remains after death. At some point in the future, Jesus Christ will return to resurrect the dead, restoring soul and body. There will then be a judgment day, and those judged righteous will be given everlasting life on a paradise earth (not in heaven). Those judged unrighteous will not be tormented, but will die and cease to exist (i.e. annihilated).
They believe that salvation is granted to those who had a combination of faith and good works (as defined by the Watchtower organization).
What the Bible Teaches
God identified Himself as “I Am” (Exodus 20:2), meaning He is the self-existent (has no beginning or end) eternal Creator of the universe.
About the Trinity:
There is one God and yet three Persons (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19).
Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is not a god. He is the God of the universe (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58 ; 10:30. Compare Titus 2:13 and Isaiah 45:21), and He is equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
About the Bible:
The Bible alone is the word of God. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20).
About the Afterlife:
Those who trust in Christ alone as their only hope of salvation spend eternity in heaven; those who reject Christ spend an eternity in hell (John 5:24-30; Revelation 20:11-15).
Salvation is by faith in Christ on the basis of His death on the cross. Good works have nothing to do with being saved (John 3:16-17, 36; 6:29,47; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Things to Remember
- Remember that you are not necessarily trying to convert your Jehovah’s Witness friend to a different belief system or even defending your own. Rather, you are trying to help them understand that salvation comes through a relationship with Jesus, not through a religion. Ask them questions that will help them think more critically about their knowledge of Christianity and the integrity of their church’s leadership, like:
- Can someone be saved without being a Jehovah Witness? If so, then how were people saved before the organization was formed?
- If I were examining Mormonism or another belief, would it be a good idea to read testimonies from ex-members? (This puts them in a quandary, because if they say, “No,” show how easy it is to be deceived by a cult that you haven’t fully examined. If they say, “Yes,” then ask them why they haven’t read books by ex-members of the Watchtower).
- Remember when asking questions about their beliefs, it’s better to leave the questions ‘third person’ (or hypothetically apply them to yourself) rather than applying them directly to their life or their organization. Instead of saying, “Does your organization…?” you might say, “What if an organization…?” or “What if I…?” This approach may help your friend be less defensive.
- Remember that while God Himself does not agree with the Jehovah’s Witness belief system, He loves them, so be gentle and respectful at all times. Your friend may be deeply entrenched in their false beliefs because of their upbringing, so be open to developing a long term relationship if you want to be able to effectively witness to them.
For Further Research