Hi, I joust found this on the web site of a band called Christafari.
First of all, you must clarify what you mean by the term "Rasta", as not all Rastas would necessarily fit in the cult category. While the most common description of a Rasta is someone who worships Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) as Lord, there are various houses of Rastafari, and many even conflict with each other in doctrine. There is also a growing fringe of Rasta believers that deny the divinity of Haile Selassie and worship Jesus Christ alone. So to assume that all rastas are not saved could be wrong and such a judgment could even hurt your witness.
I am initially reluctant in responding to this question, as one has to be VERY careful not to follow a script when witnessing to someone of a different faith. And often times pride follows preparation. I think that it is better to have a broad knowledge of the Scriptures and several verses memorized then have a specific debate memorized verbatim. It is impossible to follow an outline when sharing your faith.
However, there are many good books on witnessing to people. Most of the concepts in these books apply when trying to witness to a Selassie Worshipper, but be careful when you read any Christian books on cults, many of them grossly misrepresent rastas as racists and hateful people. My favorite book on witnessing is called "How to Give Away Your Faith." Although this writing does not address the subject of Rastafari, it does include profound jewels of wisdom that any evangelist would appreciate. I also love the teachings of Ray Comfort, my favorite evangelist. The following is an approach that I have found fruitful when witnessing to Selassie worshippers.
The best thing that you can do at first is be their friend. THIS TAKES TIME. Get to know them and ask them questions. Don't be afraid to talk about neutral (non spiritual) subjects. As Jesus did, take care of their physical needs first.
ASK THEM QUESTIONS:
Only then can you know what they truly believe. But keep in mind that it is very rare that a Selassie worshipper is instantly converted. It usually takes a lot of time, and many "reasoning sessions." After you have asked them (non judgmental) questions, go to God in prayer before you formulate your answers.
GO TO GOD:
Seek the Lord's heart and pray that He will give you HIS words. Overall, it is not your powers of manipulation, knowledge of apologetics, or skillful debate that will win them over. Salvation is of the Lord--So give this to God. Pray that the Holy Spirit will court this individual. Pray that God will bring others in his life also that will confirm these truths.
GO BACK TO THEM:
Ask them more non-judgmental questions. You should be genuinly curious and remain humble. All questions and comments should be carefully spoken with gentleness and respect from your heart (I Peter 3:15). Just like Jesus, your words should be choice and few. They should be like salt on a listeners tongue, just enough to make them thirsty for God's living water. But remember, too much salt can ruin someone's appetite--so be careful. Just like Jesus did with the woman at the well, your statements should inspire them to ask you questions. When this happens, share with them the reason for the hope that you have inside.
MAKE THEM CURIOUS:
Never try and hide the fact that you are a believer in Christ. To do this would deceptive. However, also be very cautious not to overwhelm them with your Christianese. Be down very to earth. Be careful not to come off too preachy. If you offer up your faith they may not be open to it, but if they inquire about it they will probably be more receptive. So try and make pointed statements that inspire them to ask you questions, then they will be open and more eager accept your response--after all, they asked!! Hopefully they will step out from behind the fortress of their faith to hear your humble opinion. This is the one moment when you have the greatest chance of a spiritual connection.
SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY:
While a Selassie worshipper may be able to debate doctrine with you for hours (and they may know the Bible better than you), what they can't deny is what God has done in your life. Try and stick to your testimony and share with them what God has done in your life. No matter who you are as a Christian, one thing is true--your personal testimony is your strongest witnessing tool. It cannot be forgotten by you, and will rarely be debated or denied by others. If you look at Paul, his personal testimony was the kick off point for most of his evangelical sermons.
THE TEACHINGS OF HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY:
The most useful tool that I have found in witnessing to a Selassie worshipper is "The Teachings of His Imperial Majesty the 1st". This is a CD sold on http://www.lionofzion.com
In these recordings you will hear Haile Selassie (also known as Rastafari) boldly declare that he is a sinful, struggling Christian that needs to read the Word just like the rest of us. This recording and others of Haile Selassie can also be found on various website on the Internet. Anyone can learn volumes from this goldy man's message of faith. But by far, the most amazing statement is the powerful response to the following statement by interviewer Bill Mc Neil: "there are millions of Christians throughout the world, your Imperial Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
Selassie's answer: "I had heard of that idea. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that 'I am a man,' that 'I am Mortal,' and that 'I would be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that the human being is emanated from a deity.'"
If person that you are witnessing to claims to worship Selassie, perhaps you can encourage them that to be a be a true Rastafarian, they should follow who Selassie followed and pray to whom he prayed.
To purchase this CD simple go to: http://www.lionofzion.com/store/albums/78da4b34000000f40092/Haile+Selassie/1968+Interview.html
GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS:
When they talk listen to them attentively, do not interrupt them. You shouldn't be formulating your answers while they are talking--Listen. This is why God gave us two ears that are always open and one mouth that shuts. Remember, most Selassie worshippers love reasoning sessions. They crave a good debate, so be careful not to lose your cool.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND:
Always keep an open mind. Heck, you may learn something! If you do not approach the conversation with an open mind, how can you expect them to? This means being able to say phrases like " I don't know," "Hmm, I never realized of that," and "Wow, your right!" The way I see it, Truth is Truth, and I want to be following the TRUTH wherever it may go. If you keep an open mind and have the attitude of a genuine truth seeker, then you have set a positive example for them to follow.
Again, all of this takes time and persistence. They love to discuss and debate doctrines, but will put up a wall if they know that you are trying to convert them to born again Christianity. I have never heard of a tract converting a Selassie worshipper, so the 30-second spiel of the gospel that many Christians in the U.S. have memorized may not apply.
So start off by getting to know them; Talk about something neutral like music. Ask them whmo they listen to. Ask them what they think about the spiritual lyrics from the likes of Bob Marley. Ask them what their beliefs are regarding sin, salvation, and heaven. Find out who they see God as (i.e. Selassie, Jesus, or themselves). Ask them what their favorite Bible verse is. Ask them if they could show you Bible verses that back up their belief systems.
You should genuinely want to learn about their belief system as one truth seeker to another. "Like one beggar showing another beggar where to get some bread." Then take these verses that they gave you back home and study them. Search the context of each passage and you should find the true meaning. Search other Scriptures that may contradict the Selassie worshipper's belief system. Then spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal the best way to approach this individual. When you finally do go back to them, don't break down the front door with both guns blasting, sneak in through the back window. You are far better off leading someone in a certain direction then pushing them.
Never approach any witnessing opportunity with the attitude of "My way or the highway." They have had enough of Christians trying to cram the gospel down their throats. Their salvation is not found in only attending YOUR specific church, or halting their marijuana use. While these things are good, they are byproducts of salvation, NOT prerequisites.
Remember, They will know that we are Christians by our love-- not by our t-shirt, bumper sticker, Christian jargon or proficient Bible thumping. So love them. You may be the only representation of Christ in this person's life.
There is one verse that I have memorized that has helped me tremendously in witnessing to others. I suggest that you learn it and apply it to all of our witnessing opportunities:
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (I Peter 3:15)
If they appear to be ready to pray the salvation (sinners) prayer, and you have never lead anyone in this prayer before, you may wish to use the outline that I have posted on our website (http://www.christafari.com
). Simply go to "Ministry" from the main page and then click on the "Tell Me About Jesus" icon.