Walking in a Witness Wonderland
Fri., Dec. 23. 2005 2:03pm EST
If you encounter any Jehovah's Witnesses during this Christmas season, keep in mind that this world really is a witness wonderland; there are all kinds of opportunities for us to witness to our faith in Christ and to share the Gospel with Jehovah's Witnesses, many of whom never encounter a Christian who really knows his stuff AND really cares about them as people and not just potential converts.
Here's a personal testimony regarding that from J. Jackson, lead singer for ApologetiX:
I've done quite a bit of witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses. I have a special place in my heart for them, because I used to work with (and was friends with) a young woman who was one, and I once dated a girl who was studying with them. Her name was Kelly. At that time, I didn't know that they are a non-Christian sect that denies most of the foundational doctrines of Christianity and does not wish to be associated with the rest of what they call "Christiandom." I wasn't a born-again Christian at the time, and I just thought they were some fundamentalist branch of Christianity.
At one point in our relationship, Kelly said, "Prove to me they're wrong, J. I don't want them to be right, but they're the only people that have ever been able to give me answers to my questions about God." At the time, I thought, "Man, I know they're wrong about some of this stuff, but I'd have to read the whole Bible to prove them wrong, and I'll never be able to do that." (That's pretty funny looking back on it now, because I've read the Bible cover to cover many times, about once or twice a year for the past 18 years!)
So, Kelly and I eventually broke up. Once I became a born-again Christian and realized there were books exposing the false doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses, I couldn't read enough of them. God just placed them on my heart. To make it more interesting, I ended up working and eventually living on Pittsburgh's North Side (formerly Allegheny, Pa.), which is where the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society got started in the late 1800's, before they moved to Brooklyn, NY, and its members became better known as Jehovah's Witnesses. Its founder, Charles Taze Russell, is buried just a few miles from my home, and you can still see the massive stone pyramid monument near the grave.
Anyway, I was witnessing to a lot Witnesses, sometimes on street corners, sometimes in one-on-one or two-on-two sessions at the kitchen table ... and it was a very frustrating experience. They weren't convincing me of any truth to their doctrines. (Once you see how faulty their logic and research is and how their organization has twisted the truth over the years, it's pretty hard to fall for their lies, but their eyes have been blinded.)
One night, I was feeling very frustrated, and I did the old "Bible roulette" thing where you open up the Bible and read wherever your finger lands. Yeah, I know that's not a good thing to do, but what can I say? I was young. Anyway it opened to Psalm 126 and this passage:
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."
Well, you know what sowing seed is about in the New Testament sense. It's sharing the word of God. And I was sowing my seed with tears, because it looked like there would never be a crop. But this verse said there would be, and it's probably where the old hymn "Bringing in the Sheaves" comes from.
Anyway, the cool part is next. I decided that I'd read a book to get my mind off things. I'd only been a born-again Christian for about two years, and I had a whole bookshelf full of Christian books I'd accumulated but had never had time to read. On a whim (or so I thought), I decided I'd start reading one, "The Cross and the Switchblade" by David Wilkerson. I'd never read it before and knew nothing about it.
Well, in the very first chapter of this autobiography, David Wilkerson (and I don't agree with everything the man says today, so don't take this as my official stamp of endorsement of everything David Wilkerson does) explains how he felt led as a young preacher to go to another state and witness to a young criminal who was being tried for attempted murder.
David made the long journey with a friend, and the trip turned out to be a seeming waste of time -- and David wondered how he could have been so wrong about doing what he felt God had called him to do. This is just the first chapter of the book. On the drive home, he told his friend (I'm paraphrasing here) "I'm going to ask you to do something I ordinarily don't do. I want you to open up the Bible and whatever verse your finger lands on, I want you to read it to me."
Well, his friend's finger landed on that exact same verse in Psalm 126! This is all in the first chapter of that book -- and I'd only started reading it about an hour or less after I'd had the SAME experience with my finger landing on the same verse in Psalm 126! Now, what are the odds of my picking out a book out of all the books on my shelf that I still hadn't read -- and almost surely the only book in the world that tells of an experience identical to the one I'd just had an hour or less before!
Ready for the happy ending? Remember Kelly? Well, a lot happened to her after that (her next boyfriend committed suicide the day after she broke up with him, her dad died, and her sister was struck by a car). But we stayed in touch somewhat, and I tried to share my faith with her numerous times. And I sowed with a LOT of tears ... she was VERY resistant ... partially because of all the terrible things that had happened to her but even more so because of all the indoctrination she had received while studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Finally, a couple years later, Kelly did ask Christ into her life and renounce the Witnesses. Still, there was much sadness in her life, because of all the tragedies she had gone through. A couple of years after that, however, she called and left me a phone message thanking me (and another close friend who had shared the Gospel with her) for all the efforts we had made to reach out to her. She sounded extremely happy with her life and her relationship with Christ. And that's the happiest ending anybody could ask for, right? Merry CHRISTmas!