HOW SHOULD MY CHURCH MINISTER TO PRISON INMATES WHO ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES?
“We have a prison ministry in our church. Last week, our team talked with a Jehovah’s Witness inmate who seems to be open to the Word of God. We offered to do a Bible study with her and she is open to this, although she still believes that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the truth. How can we minister to her in a way that will help her see the fact that Watchtower doctrine is wrong on the key essentials of salvation? Our ministry team is scheduled to visit this lady again next weekend. Do you have suggestions of what we can share with her?”
We are excited to see you and your church are reaching out to this Jehovah’s Witness prisoner with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the reasons Jehovah’s Witnesses are able to gain so many converts among inmates is due to the fact that they actively pursue prison ministry, offering their “free bible studies” to prisoners on a regular basis. In reality, these “bible studies” turn out to be nothing more than a study of one of their Watchtower publications that explains the Bible from their perspective (actually twists the meaning of Scripture to fit their unbiblical doctrines). For a quick comparison chart that contrasts the basic beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses against true Christian doctrines taught in the Bible, see this article:
To minister to this Jehovah’s Witness, it is important to be sensitive to the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been warned not to talk to anyone who has left the Jehovah’s Witness religion or read literature that is critical of Jehovah’s Witness beliefs. So, if you give her any literature to that is considered “apostate” (Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses) literature, she may panic and may even refuse to meet with you because the cultic “fear of apostates” trigger will jump in her mind if she has been a Jehovah’s Witness for very long. So, you must approach her with the facts about her religion in a very cautious way.
We suggest that you go through the Bible study that you are planning to do with her and as opportunities arise where you get into discussions on the unique beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you can share the information you research on those topics from our website without telling her where you researched this information. For a list of topics covered on our website see:
In order to get her to the place where she would be willing to read the Bible and consider its teachings apart from the dictates of the Watchtower organization, you will need to FIRST deal with the mental programming that she has embraced in the Watchtower teachings. We recommend that you have everyone in your church prison ministry team that is ministering to her read the following article from our website, so that they will understand what they are dealing with when they talk to her. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses have a love for the Bible, so this is a great tool to connect on, but if your team doesn’t understand the cultic fear triggers that go off in the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses when certain Christians words (like cross and trinity) are discussed, you could end up going nowhere in your discussions with her. So, this next article is JUST FOR YOUR PRISON TEAM to read:
Our website has a number of articles that would be excellent for you to share with this Jehovah’s Witness lady once she is beginning to question the false doctrines she has been taught in the Watchtower, but until you sense that she is ready to look at anti-Jehovah’s Witness literature, you will need to start her out with something that is not as likely to trigger her fears.
To this end, we recommend our CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES – Biblical Answers to Questions Jehovah’s Witnesses Ask book series. Most of this series is a compilation of simulated dialogues between a Christian named Karen and her Jehovah’s Witness friend Cindy. All of the dialogues (except the first one between a Father and a Son) focus on study of the Watchtower brochure entitled, “What Does God Require of Us?” that Cindy and Karen discuss. We suggest that you read the Cindy and Karen dialogue portion of this series and save first dialogue listed (the Father and Son dialogue) until the very end when the Jehovah’s Witness is planning to leave the Watchtower organization.
Underneath the question title of each Karen and Cindy dialogue in our “What Does God Require” series, we reference the “Lesson” number in the Watchtower brochure that is being discussed. To help you follow along in the dialogues with the Watchtower lesson that is being discussed, you can print the Watchtower brochure off of the Watchtower Society’s official website at: http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/require/how-to-use-this-brochure/. Then, print each of the discussions in our series off of our website (or order the book). For the complete “What Does God Require” series, see the following link on our website:
- CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES – Biblical Answers to Questions Jehovah’s Witnesses Ask
You can conduct each lesson with this Jehovah’s Witness by first reading the Watchtower brochure lesson and then reading the corresponding dialogue from our book series. We suggest that you break the reading up by having the Jehovah’s Witness read the Christian response under the name “Karen” and you read the Jehovah’s Witness argument under the name “Cindy.” By reading each other’s arguments, this will stimulate discussion between both of you on the differences between your beliefs. Be careful not to force the Jehovah’s Witness to accept the Christian position stated in each dialogue. Rather, your goal is to get her to understand your position and to plant seeds of doubt that the Holy Spirit can use to convict her about the truth in the Bible.
Although it is unlikely that the Jehovah’s Witness you are studying with will read the Christian side of the dialogue without commenting on what is being said, there is a slight possibility of this happening if you get a person who is not very strong in the Watchtower way of thinking. If this occurs, the team person conducting each study with the Jehovah’s Witness should stop periodically and ask:
“What do you think about the perspectives each person shared in this dialogue? Do you agree or disagree with the Christian’s responses to the Jehovah’s Witness’ claims?”
It would also be beneficial to take the time to look up each verse referenced in the dialogues as you read the Karen and Cindy’s discussions. There will be times when the dialogues discuss documentation from official publications of the Watchtower. Your Jehovah’s Witness friend will likely want to see this documentation to ensure that these claims are not being made up. If you do not have access to official Watchtower literature to verify the quotes referenced, you can obtain photocopied documentation from us by purchasing the complete book series on our website. Seeing proof of these claims will help break down the barriers she may have against reading “anti-Jehovah’s Witness” literature.
Depending on how she responds to each “Lesson” in this book series, you will see how open she will be to considering the other resources on our website that more directly counter Jehovah’s Witness beliefs. If you get all the way through this “What Does God Require” series with her and she seems to be open to doing more “studies” with you, we suggest that you follow-up by giving her the following articles to read from our website:
ARTICLES TO SOLIDIFY A JW’S DECISION TO LEAVE THE WATCHTOWER:
ARTICLES TO ANSWER THE INITIAL QUESTIONS AN EX-JEHOVAH’S WITNESS WILL HAVE:
After she has read the above articles, I highly recommend that you get a copy of the book Reasoning from the Scriptures with Jehovah’s Witnesses by Ron Rhodes and have her read it. It will open her eyes to all of the ways the Watchtower twists Scripture to support its false beliefs. You can order Ron’s Rhodes’ book from www.amazon.com.
Finally, I would recommend that you print the Ex-Jehovah’s Witness testimonies from our website for her to read and if the prison allows to you play audio CDs and DVDs for her, we have a few good ones from Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses that would be encouraging to her:
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