The simple answer is yes. But when they show up at your door ask yourself, how much should I talk to them? Should it be a polite greeting or more extended?
I’ve heard many stories from folks about what they did when these well-dressed men and women showed up at the door. Some have told me they hid in the garage to avoid them. Some have turned out the lights like no one was home. Some have chased the dog after them. I’ve even heard someone say that he sprayed him or her with the pressure washer, as he happened to be washing the tractor at the time. I wouldn't recommend the last two approaches to anyone.
As Christians, we all know that we have the duty to respect the dignity of all humanity no matter their background. My suggestion to most of you, especially those who do not have apologetical skills, to simply give them a polite greeting saying you cannot talk at length. If they insist on giving you material, don’t feel bad to politely deny it or after closing the door to throw it in the garbage.
If you clearly are strong in your Catholic faith and feel the Lord is calling you to talk, I would say go for it. You may even invite them into your house for a cup of coffee. Being hospitable to others and treating others with great respect is one of the hallmarks of our faith. Thus, your showing hospitality will quietly tell them that you’re credible. Ask them if they would be willing to pray with you. Prayer brings God into the picture, and by leading the prayer you will undermine the authority they claim to have as “the true witnesses of God.” Pull out your Bible; after all, Catholics were the ones who compiled it. Likely they will not convert, but at least they will see that you can defend true Christianity.
If they have showed up at an inconvenient time for you to dialogue—it was usually when we were butchering chickens when I was young (no joke)—ask them to come back at a more convenient time. Set up the possible meeting right away if you can, but remember to get their phone number if you need to cancel.
Here are a few pointers of what to expect about their beliefs. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus is God. Thus, they say we cannot have a conversation or a personal relationship with Jesus avoiding the fact that St. Stephen talked to him while being stoned, as did St. John throughout the book of Revelation (Acts 7:59, Rev. 21).
Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own translation of the Bible. They will stress that one must love God above all things and love one’s neighbor as oneself, which is true. They will point out the importance of God’s kingdom to come with the new heavens and new earth, but deny that everyone who choses God at death will be with God for all eternity. For them heaven is only for a 144,000 and the rest have to live on the new earth away from God. The reality of hell doesn’t exist for them as well as the immortality of the soul. They deny the celebrations of Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
If you are looking to dive more deeply into what they believe, Catholic Answers offers some great help. Search “History of the Jehovah's Witnesses,” “Strategies of the Jehovah's Witnesses” or “Stumpers for the Jehovah's Witnesses” in the search engine at www.catholic.com. You will find a vast amount of resources.
Finally, if it is clear that you should talk at length with them be sure to speak about the importance of knowing Christ as laid out in the Scripture writings of St. John. But most of all, allow the dialogue to cause you to grow more deeply in your relationship with Jesus Christ and his bride—the Church. Only Jesus can grow our hearts, and you might be the one who plants a tiny seed in another’s.
Fr. Evinger is parochial vicar at St. Joseph in Williston. If you have a question you were afraid to ask, now is the time to ask it! Simply email your question to
with the “Question Afraid to Ask” in the subject line.