In a previous post, I lamented about the recent phenomenon I have noticed with Jehovah’s Witnesses: their reluctance to engage in dialogue with anyone who doesn’t seem like a “humble, teachable one,” (easy mark), and their eagerness to refer people to their website (ostrich-like avoidance). See that previous post here.
While driving home the other day, I thought of another (related) strategy that I’m eager to try. Rather than using clever baiting tactics, or posing as a humble, curious Bible student (not that there’s anything wrong with those strategies), my new approach will be more up-front, genuine, honest, and transparent.
Side note: I have been wrestling lately, at least on the back burner of my mind, about the ethics of my “undercover” strategies, where I pose as a naive Bible student to keep them interested. But I have resolved the issue, at least in my own mind. If Jehovah’s Witnesses can justify their use of “theocratic warfare,” that is, the use of deception with outsiders, then so can I. And actually, I liken my strategy less to deception, and more with that of Nathan the prophet, who told a story to king David, lowering the boom at the end with the revelation: “You are the man.” (See Second Samuel 12:7.)
Back on topic: Here’s my new strategy, represented by the following imaginary dialogue:
Me (approaching JW’s doing cart ministry): Hello! Are you the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
JW: Yes we are!
Me: Oh, I love you guys!
JW: Oh, good. Have you been studying the Bible with someone?
Me: Yes, I have several JW friends, and I love y’all so much. I just want all of you to experience what I have experienced, being adopted by Jehovah as his son, and having Jesus as our mediator, and being in the New Covenant.
JW: Oh yes, of course Jesus is our mediator.
Me: Oh, you don’t know, do you?
JW: Know what?
Me: You don’t know that Watchtower teaches that Jesus is the mediator for only the 144,000.
JW: No, that’s not right.
Me: Oh, yes, I have checked this out with my JW friends, and we have verified it at the JW.org website. In fact, here’s my printout of the article on “Mediator” in the “Insight” book. You know of that book, yes?
JW: Well, yes. (Pauses to look at the article). Well, I don’t know about this. I think I need to do some more research on this.
Me: Oh, yes, please do, and let me know what you find out. Here’s my phone number and email address. You see, this breaks my heart, because I love you all so much, and I want you to experience the joy and excitement that I have been experiencing lately, and the Watchtower is withholding these and many other kingdom privileges from you. There’s the mediator issue, and being adopted as sons, and the new covenant, and being born again, and . . .
JW: Well, we know that being born again is only for a special set of people.
Me: Oh, I know you believe that. In fact, I have a favorite scripture about that. Can I share it with you?
Me: Can you look it up in your New World Translation? I want to see if it says the same thing as mine. I usually read from the New American Standard. It’s First John 5:1.
JW: Here it is.
Me: Can you read that for me? Especially the first half.
JW: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God.”
Me: Yes, that’s what my version says too. So, do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, or Messiah?
Me: So therefore, you have been born again.
JW: No, it says “has been born from God,” not “born again.”
Me: But the cross-reference in the online version of the New World Translation at jw.org connects this verse with John 3:3, where Jesus says that you must be born again.
JW: Um, I’m going to need to research that some more.
Me: Please do, because it grieves me that the ones I love so much are being denied these kingdom privileges that the Bible says are available to all believers.
And we hopefully go on from there, if Mr. JW doesn’t shut down the conversation. But I do think this will make the dialogue last at least a few minutes more than if they sense I’m trying to be clever with them. This way, they know up front that I have no intention of becoming a JW, and that I’m sharing with them my genuine concerns about the organization. Hopefully they will sense that I’m not an evil, Satanic, deceptive opposer, but rather a concerned, yea even burdened genuine believer in Jehovah. That’s my hope, and I’m ready to give it a try, and will report hopefully in an upcoming blog post. I would love it if others try this, and let us know (in the comments below) how it went.