I went to Glasgow this week for a meeting and, coming out of the train station en route, walked past two young girls stood at a Jehovah’s Witness stand doing their thing. (passively standing to attention hoping that someone might stop so that they can ‘witness’ and earn some credits or even an eternal get-out-of-jail-card).
To Tell or not to Tell
In a minuscule fraction of a second, what occurred to me before I turned back to tell them about the reality of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was that something was obviously pulling on the hearts of these two young women, in a powerful way, for them to give themselves to the JW cult…
…This is certainly not the risen Yeshua Whom they deny.
Herein was the immediate challenge for me as a testifying believer in Christ: managing my offence at the forces of darkness that breed the species of deceit like this, leading people to ‘believe’ in a jesus who is simply not historically accurate, AND a deep, gut-wrenching awareness of the need to love these two people.
In conversation, we quickly came to a sticking point of disagreement about their jesus and mine (that the Trinity doesn’t make sense to them and that the Bible is spurious) but they were nevertheless trained and seemed very genuinely happy to ‘respectfully disagree’.
Church, we must wake up!
The devil is more than happy for them to ‘respectfully disagree’ with Jesus as long as he sends them to hell.
Good, Mad or Bad
This is the point (as CS Lewis smashed a few decades ago):
Both a Christian and a Jehovah’s Witness can’t be right. Equally, both a Christian and Muslim can’t be right or a Christian and any other faith-based claim. This is why Christians, claiming a monopoly on the truth, have been accused of arrogance for millennia.
Either Jesus Christ is God and Lord and Saviour of all or He is nothing – a madman or a bad man because He is either mental (to unwittingly make the claims that he did) or evil (because he knew he was a fraud and made them anyway).
Read the Bible! Is Jesus portrayed as being either mad or bad?
Not Good Enough
But, dear JW friends, let’s not respectfully agree to disagree because one of us is deeply deceived and eternally lost. That matters to me and it should matter to you otherwise your witness is hollow and unloving.
Here’s the thing for street-side witnessing:- rather than getting caught up in the issues of the Trinity, or Jesus as the Son of God, or how the historicity of the Bible’s original manuscripts aren’t genuinely within the orbit of most people’s ordinary lives, let’s make it about this:
What We Say We Believe
In the Bible, in Romans 8 v 11, the historical and legendary Paul of Tarsus (formerly a violent persecutor of the Christian Way – see Acts 9), writes that “the *same* Spirit Who raised Christ from the dead…” (the same Person of The Trinity who formed part of the Genesis 1:26 God-conversation about making humanity) “…will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
So, because He lives in me by His Spirit, I have authority (the only authority) to introduce all people to Jesus…no less demonstrably than when He allowed Thomas to poke the evidence of the wounds in His side.
When you bump into people talking about Jesus, but in a way that is false, remember that you are possessed by the living, loving Christ. Don’t get caught up in endless debating about the Trinity or the authority of the Bible (that will rarely be worked out on the street in 5 minutes) but rather ask if they will allow you to introduce them to Him.
Then have the courage of your convictions.
God willing, pray and lay hands on them and trust that He will emerge in the moment to convict and reveal His true nature.
Not the Real Jesus
Why is the jesus of the JW’s not the real Jesus? Because Jehovah’s Witnesses have not received the uniquely Christian gospel of reckless, extravagant grace and mercy that offers to fling every believer into the limitless, unending freedom of constant jubilee and peace with God. The gospel is clear: we can never make ourselves right with Him of ourselves; we can only bow the knee, receive Him in faith, declare with our mouths and allow Him to make us right.
This is the joy of the gospel in surrendering to Jesus. Not earned or contrived; freely given as a gift from a loving Father.
Preach Christ, oppose Satan, honour the King