Since moving to Maidenhead, I have been amazed at how many Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs from this point on) I have seen. They are regularly on the High Street with their book stalls, and several have knocked on my door (all really nice folks may I say). I have also heard from other church members that they too have had regular contact with JWs.

This drove me to buy Tony Brown’s fantastic little book “Sharing the Gospel with a Jehovah’s Witness” when 10 of Those came and ran their book shop here. After reading it I thought I would write a review, firstly because I want to encourage people to buy it. Secondly, because even if you don’t I want to help you feel a little bit more equipped the next time you hear the door bell ring and find out you have a JW on your doorstep.

What I liked?

Tony Brown’s book is informative, accessible and very practical. Informative because I knew very little about the JWs and I now feel like I have a better (if still basic) understanding of how they are different from Christians. Accessible because I am not a fast reader and I got through this book in two sessions (result!). Practical because of the many tips that were given on how to have a conversation with a JW that I actually feel equipped now to speak more confidently to them.

What I learned?

I’m actually embarrassed about how little I knew concerning JWs, but I’m so grateful for what I have now learnt:

  • JWs do not believe in the Trinity as the word is never mentioned in Scripture (true, but the idea of God being one in three persons is found everywhere)
  • They instead think that Jesus is created and is one of the angels (even though Hebrews 1:8 clearly states he is not)
  • The Holy Spirit is not a person but a physical force (the only problem being that when you read about the Holy Spirit in Scripture, he sounds more like a person than a force, Acts 13:1-2)
  • The resurrection of Christ was only spiritual and not physical (Luke 24:36-39 seems to imply the opposite)
  • Heaven will be filled with 144,000 people who rule over a “great crowd” on earth (only problem being that the crowd is said to be in heaven and 144,00 on earth in Revelation 6:12 – 7:16)
  • God’s name is Jehovah (this ignores the fact that the Hebrew writers wrote YHWH out of reverence to God and did not add any vowels. The JWs have added the vowels. It also ignores the reality that the New Testament writers used “Lord” and not “YHWH”; plus, Jesus himself tells us to call God “Father”)
  • Salvation is by faith, but not faith alone, as it has to be demonstrated by works (meaning if I believed and then died suddenly, I would be in trouble because I never had a chance to demonstrate that faith)
  • They have a different translation of the Bible (a translation that both adds words that are not found in the original language and takes away words that deny their theology)

My three takeaways:

  1. I need to care about JWs. The last time a JW knocked on my door I found the whole thing a bit frustrating. Didn’t they know that I have things to do! But I need to remember that they are people made by God and loved by him, and that they need to hear the good news of Jesus! I found the concluding prayer of chapter 13 in Brown’s book ‘How do we reach JWs with the gospel’ very moving: “Lord, help us to bear fruit in this forgotten mission field.”
  2. Read the verse in context. The few times I have spoken to JWs they often quote many Bible verses to prove their point. However, Brown encourages us to slow down and read the verse with them in context as often once you realise the context you realise the error of their claims.
  3. Be ready! Brown’s book is filled with tips for how to engage well with a JW and proof texts to refute their claims. I wish I could remember them all. But I can’t as I’m a simple man with a limited mind. So, what I decided to do was to write on a post-it-note lots of verses that point to the deity of Jesus Christ, and stick that note in my Bible. Now I feel ready to at least talk about that!

Where to get the book