Bill & Dawne – never JWs but touched by their plight
Never Jehovah’s Witnesses, but touched by their stories…
Bill: Up until I was 42 years old, I guess you could say I just wanted about $3.00 worth of God for fire insurance against the possibility of life after death, but had no interest in Bible study. And then one day, in about 1982, there were several things that happened all in one month.
A Jehovah’s Witness elder knocked on our door …
I was flying for a major airline and I had a crew member who was a Jehovah’s Witness, a Jehovah’s Witness elder knocked on our door, and, unbeknownst to me, the heavy equipment operator reworking our farm driveway was a follower of Christ. He invited us to his church.
I was an atheist …
Dawne: I was raised in a liberal Christian church were I learned the basics of the Christian faith, but nothing of a personal relationship with Jesus. As I grew into my teenage years, I became a confirmed atheist, a belief I held until sometime in college when I realized that, intellectually, atheism is an untenable position. From then on, I considered myself an agnostic until a series of events brought me face to face with the realization that the Bible was a trustworthy series of books and letters.
The Jehovah’s Witness elder motivated me to seek the truth …
Bill: My theological journey began. As we were attending the non-denominational church that Ed, the heavy equipment operator, had invited us to, we were receiving conflicting Biblical information between them and the Jehovah’s Witness with whom I was speaking. This motivated me to seek the unvarnished Biblical truth regardless of where it was found.
I had in previous years explored many different religions claiming to have “the truth.” I finally decided to prayerfully read the Bible and let it speak for itself. After many visits from the Jehovah’s Witness elder, our visits to the Christ-centered church, and after researching the validity of scripture, I came to the realization that salvation is a gift offered by God through faith in Christ alone and that salvation is not a matter of works.
These church folks just needed a crutch …
Dawne: I was attending this church only to be a good wife and support my husband. I figured they were nice people who needed the crutch of religion to get through life. I, on the other hand, needed no such crutch. Little did I know that the Holy Spirit was drawing me to Jesus.
I had a newborn son Will, my step-daughter Chris had moved in with us full time, and I quit my job as a flight attendant to be a full time mom. My mind was awash with these responsibilities as well as the weekly conversations between Bill and this JW elder, among other things.
Bill allowed the Bible to speak for itself; the elder could not …
What struck me about Sunday afternoons when this elder would spend two or three hours at our kitchen table discussing scripture, was that my husband allowed the Bible to speak for itself, but this elder simply could not. If the passage read, “The sky is blue,” he would insist that it really meant “the sky is pink with purple polka dots.”
Also, this elder only referenced a few scriptures, over and over again, where Bill was ready and willing to use any Scripture anywhere in the Bible. This happened so frequently that I began to research the trustworthiness and veracity of Scripture.
Josh McDowell, a former fellow atheist, wrote my favorite research books, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volumes 1 & 2. I was blown away by his and his students’ research and by the testimonies of those who had accepted Christ in the back of the book(s).
The turning point for us …
Bill: The real turning point for us in terms of helping former Witnesses was the Witnesses Now for Jesus Convention in New Ringgold, Pennsylvania, in October of 1983. We listened to many testimonies of people who had been involved with the Watchtower and subsequently discovered that Jesus Christ was “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and not an organization.
The realization of the suffering that these people endured because their commitment to Christ was awe inspiring. I then came to the realization that the Bible was true, Jesus was real and was indeed God in the flesh, and that salvation is the gift that He offers through the shedding of His blood on the cross.
We developed a burden for those lost in the Watchtower Organization …
After receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, both my wife and I, realizing the anguish of many ex-Witnesses, developed a burden for these people and became involved in a support group. The support group, Make Sure Ministries, provided a non-threatening atmosphere for former Jehovah’s Witnesses to share their pain and discover that Christ was there for them. They did not need an organization.
I was not yet a follower of Christ …
Dawne: I was not yet a believer in Christ at this convention, but did want to help those lost in the Watchtower Organization. I still was struggling with what to do with all the information I was learning.
Jesus as lunatic, liar, or Lord?
Finally, as I sat in our large country kitchen reading another one of Josh McDowell’s books, More Than a Carpenter, the Lord used the argument that Jesus was either a liar because he claimed to be God, a lunatic for the same reason, or He was indeed Lord.
Hell to shun and heaven to gain …
By now I knew the Bible was God’s Word, I knew that there was a hell to shun and a heaven to gain and I knew that I had to make a decision. I prayed fervently for God to forgive my many sins and come into my life.
I made a decision for Christ!
Different folks have different experiences, but no bells went off, no lightening struck, so I prayed the prayer several times over the next two or three days until I knew that I knew that I had been saved for a life eternal with Jesus!
Biblical Christianity is unique …
Bill & Dawne: Christianity is unique in that salvation is a free gift. Once you recognize your imperfectness and your need for a Savior to be able to live with the Holy God for all eternity, you have only to hold out your hand and receive God’s gift for it to be yours.
All other religions demand works of some type to ingratiate yourself to God, from knocking on doors to be worthy (Jehovah’s Witnesses/Watchtower) to perfecting yourself to become the god of your own planet (Mormonism/LDS). This was made crystal clear to us as we ministered to Jehovah’s Witnesses and other people bound up in various religious groups.
Ask Christ to come into your life today!
God asks that you recognize what His Son did for you in laying down His life once and for all to pay for your sins so you don’t have to. Humble yourself today and ask that Christ come into your life and rule in your heart forever. Talk to Him directly!
Bill and Dawne Nock
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