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Principles for sharing the gospel with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons

Reaching members of new religious movements may not be something your church has ever really considered; after all they have their own beliefs and are almost impossible to reach. Right? So how can we share the good news of the gospel with those in this forgotten mission field? This article outlines the key principles to consider.

Why bother?

  1. Because, though very sincere, they are lost people for whom Jesus died.
  2. Because they are trusting a leader/group/system that cannot save them.
  3. Because only Christians can share with them the true gospel that can set them free.

Who are these people?

What do you know about Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons? The majority are genuine, upright citizens whose zeal puts most Christians to shame. They are on our streets, in our town centres and online, fervently seeking converts – and they are having success.

What do you know about Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons? The majority are genuine, upright citizens whose zeal puts most Christians to shame.

Many of them are born into the group and so know nothing else, whilst others are converts, several of which may have been in our churches at one time. Because they do not know the gospel of grace, they are striving to please God with the hope that they will do enough to be saved.

Where?

Where can we find these people? Though they are increasingly to be found online, we usually see them when they knock on our doors or when they are talking to people on the streets. My experience is that, usually from a fear of not knowing what to say, most Christians avoid them like the plague. Sadly, because of this, many Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons will never hear the real gospel and so continue in their falsehood.

My experience is that, usually from a fear of not knowing what to say, most Christians avoid them like the plague. Sadly, because of this, many Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons will never hear the real gospel and so continue in their falsehood.

What?

What can we say to them? I’m afraid there is no silver bullet. There is no one thing that I can tell you that will guarantee that they will fall on their knees on your doorstep and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. But it is possible to put a stone in their shoe. What do I mean by this? My experience of sharing the gospel with members of new religious movements has taught me that which I already knew – salvation is of God. These people cannot be reasoned, convinced, or coerced into the kingdom; they need the Holy Spirit to open their eyes, and He often does this through a loving Christian. The Holy Spirit can take what we share and trouble them. Just as a stone in the shoe irritates until it is removed, so the light and truth of the gospel can disturb those trapped in falsehood. Giving a defence of what we believe with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15) will cause them to think and potentially lead them to freedom.

The Holy Spirit can take what we share and trouble them. Just as a stone in the shoe irritates until it is removed, so the light and truth of the gospel can disturb those trapped in falsehood.

Do

  1. Pray – pray for your local JWs/Mormons. Pray that they would not gain converts in your area. Pray that they would knock on your door and that they would come to saving faith in Christ.
  2. Open the door – this seems obvious but it needs to be said. Every time we hear that knock at the door, we have a glorious opportunity to share the gospel with them.
  3. Be kind and loving – smile and say that it is good to see them. Ask their names. Be in control. Tell them that you will listen to what they have to say if they will allow you to share for a few minutes afterwards.
  4. Listen – as they are speaking, listen intently, but also be in prayer. Ask God to use you and speak through you.
  5. Share your testimony – after acknowledging common ground (e.g. I also love God and His Word), share your testimony and really emphasise that you have a relationship with God through Jesus (John 14:6). Your sins have been forgiven (Ephesians 1:7) and you are assured of eternal life (1 John 5:11–13).

    Be aware that our Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon friends want the same things we do: hope, love, forgiveness, assurance. Your testimony will greatly challenge them. JWs may suddenly have to leave at this point, but do try to get some contact details and invite them for further discussion. You can arrange a time and place convenient for you. Mormons are usually keener than the JWs to meet again.

6. More Prayer – when they have gone, pray for them. If you have their names or are going to meet again, pass details onto others in your church and ask them to pray. There is much power in prayer.

Things not to do

  1. Don’t be unloving – put yourself in their shoes and represent Christ well.
  2. Don’t be unkind – don’t tell them they are going to hell or that they are in a cult.
  3. Don’t allow them to take you down rabbit holes – keep bringing them back to the gospel and what Jesus has done for you.
  4. Don’t invite them into your home if you are struggling in your faith (2 John 7–11) – though I do not believe these verses are a prohibition from sharing the gospel with JWs and Mormons in your home, do not invite cult members into your home if you/others are struggling in faith or young in the faith. Hospitality is a good method of befriending JWs and Mormons, but don’t put yourself or family at risk. They are more than happy to meet on neutral ground (like a coffee shop). I have found that Mormon missionaries love hot chocolate.

Be aware

  1. The JWs have a changed Bible and the Mormons have other writings that they consider Scripture.
  2. Both these groups will use Christian terminology, but often mean something different when they use these words.
  3. This is spiritual warfare, so make sure you have prayer covering you.
Tony Brown

Tony Brown is an itinerant evangelist to New Religious Movements. He is actively involved in the work of Reachout Trust, a counter-cult apologetics ministry. He is the author of Sharing the Gospel with a Jehovah’s Witness.

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