My friend and fellow Hope Chapel evangelist Tony Yu has a special burden for the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are lost in this works-oriented cult. As a result, he makes a special effort to witness outside their meeting places called Kingdom Halls by preaching, sharing one-to-one and using special Gospel tracts. Here’s a report of what went down at Easter when he actually attended a JW “church” service.
Jehovah’s Witnesses passed out fliers all over my neighborhood inviting people to attend [“Easter”] service today at their Kingdom Hall. Steve Pivovaroff, Carlos Ramos and I went inside the service thinking that it was primarily intended to attract new members. We thought we would be presented with their beliefs and given a chance to ask questions. We wanted to use the question phase to ask some questions and share the True Gospel. To our surprise, it was a full-on service to commemorate Jesus’ death. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus so they do not call it Easter or Resurrection Day.
There was no appropriate time in the service to ask questions or to challenge their beliefs. It would have been extremely disrespectful and would have done more harm than good. So, we waited until the end of the service, we went outside to a public sidewalk and passed out Gospel tracts made specifically for sharing the Gospel to Jehovah’s Witnesses. At this point Luz joined us to pass out tracts too.
At first people gladly received the tracts because they were designed to look like Watchtower and Awake literature (Jehovah’s Witness material). A few minutes passed and a few people gave some tracts back. A few more minutes passed and the Kingdom Hall officials caught on and started to warn people not to take our tracts. On several occasions, they said something to the effect “Don’t take it. It’s apostate garbage.” I even heard one person tell another something to the effect “Get rid of that or you might be dis-fellowshipped.”!
Nonetheless, we passed out all of our tracts (we had a limited number of quickie prints because the printer didn’t finish the print job in time). The reception ranged from friendly curiosity to someone ripping up the tract in front of me. At one point, Steve went to the street corner adjacent to their parking lot and started open-air preaching. It was so encouraging to see Steve preach when we saw so many reject the tracts out of fear (more about that in a moment). They were still able to hear the truth. One gentleman in a suit came out and yelled “shut up” at Steve just as he was quoting Acts 17:30-31 (it’s NOT about happiness but it’s about righteousness). Steve was completely unfazed by it. He kept right on preaching.
After I ran out of tracts I engaged as many people in one-on-one conversations as possible. Most tried to resist what I was telling them but I have a gut feeling that many of them looked up the passages I referenced later – when other Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t watching. It was clear that some were much more able to defend their doctrine than others. However, I am confident that given enough time none of them would ever be able to withstand a close look at their beliefs.
As we were walking to our cars after it was all over, an SUV pulled up, rolled down a window and the driver asked us what we were doing. The two occupants were a couple from Ethiopia who apparently went to the service because of the Jehovah’s Witness flyer they received. They didn’t know what Jehovah’s witnesses were all about. They were looking for a Christian church because they were Christians and they didn’t know that Jehovah’s Witnesses were NOT Christian. We warned them about the false doctrine and explained where the Jehovah’s Witnesses departed from the Truth. We then pointed them to Hope Chapel and gave them a tract with the Churches website on it. Perhaps they were the main reason God sent us there tonight. This really made my day.
Here are a few impressions that I took away from this experience.
When we went inside their church and I saw the people, my heart broke. They were (as you’d expect) very normal people. They were kids, elderly, middle-aged, families, all races, all walks of life. I sense that they sincerely wanted to worship God and they really thought they were doing the right thing. But, they were deceived into worshipping a lie. I wished I could talk to them all and plead with them and tell them about the True Jesus.
Their doctrine is VERY close to true doctrine. Anyone who is only superficially familiar with true doctrine (like a casual believer) will get sucked in. A firm grasp of sound doctrine is so important. It’s spiritually dangerous out there. The enemy does go around like a lion looking for whom he may devour.
To my surprise they served communion. The three of us looked at each other and shook our heads meaning “There’s no way we’re taking communion HERE!”. The next surprise was what they did with the bread and the wine. They passed the plate and the cup but they NEVER ate nor drank. The symbolism was immense to me. Because of their false doctrine, they never really fellowshipped with the real Jesus and His sacrifice was of no affect for them. As such they really shouldn’t eat nor drink and they didn’t. It was almost as if God prevented them from sharing in this sacred ritual because they were not in fellowship with Jesus (Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.)!
When I overheard one member warning another of the possibility of being dis-fellowshipped for simply accepting a Gospel Tract, I was reminded that they were not allowed to read or even receive Christian literature. This is total mind control. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society knows that light always overcomes darkness and they don’t stand a chance. They know that they must intimidate their members into shutting their eyes, ears and minds or they will utterly fail. This is where we Christians come in. We need to proclaim the truth. We need to find ingenious ways of getting the message out to them. This may include open-air preaching, signs and one-on-one conversations. But, as always, we must do it in love. http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/jw-2.html
It is my desire to get custom tracts for Jehovah’s Witnesses into the hands of as many Christians as possible so they can have something to give the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they come to the door. I wanted to give the even most unprepared believer a powerful way of sharing the Gospel to the most well-trained Jehovah’s Witness who knocks. My idea was for anyone to be able to simply hand a tract to them. However, because of the mind control issue (above), I believe there is a good chance they will not accept it or they will throw it away without reading it. As such I feel we must be ready to read at least one point from the tract to them before giving it to them. They’ll probably stick around long enough to hear one point if they think they can talk to you about Jehovah’s Witness doctrine.
I am very encouraged by this event. I know there is much ground to be covered here (Jehovah’s Witnesses). God willing, I intend to make sure every Kingdom Hall in the Los Angeles area is visited at least once by Christians who will share the True Gospel with them. I sensed that many seeds were planted and we may be very surprised later by how much fruit will come from this labor. I sensed that we were in pursuit and they were in flight. I sense they (the Kingdom Hall officials) were panicked.
The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. — Proverbs 28:1