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Jehovah's Witnesses are very sincere about their beliefs and well versed in
them. When they come to your door, invite them in. Be cordial and patient.
Remember Peter's instruction "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,
always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an
account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and
reverence" (1 Peter 3:15). Unfortunately, most of the Christians JW's
encounter are unprepared and become extremely defensive and unpleasant with
them. This just encourages the JW's to believe they are on the correct path.
Why would they change unless someone soundly shows them their error? That
someone may be you. Dare to be different by having a response, which
is both biblically sound and loving.
It is easy to become upset with someone who disagrees with you on so important
a subject. A few years ago, I blew it with a JW who knocked on my door. She was
going around the neighborhood with her teenage daughter and I invited them in.
We discussed the deity of Christ. It turned into a heated discussion and I
eventually asked her to leave. Although she initially became quite unpleasant
when I let her know that I disagreed with her on the issue, my attitude was bad
to begin with. I was more excited about "winning an argument" than
compassionately sharing the truth and patiently attempting to reveal Watchtower
error. I thank my wife, Debbie, who pointed out my attitude problem to me. Do
we listen with an open mind when someone angrily or arrogantly tells us that we
are wrong? We shut off our minds to whatever that person tells us. JW's are
people too. If your attitude is bad, they will shut off their minds as well.
You will get nowhere and mistakenly blame their unreceptiveness on their
disinterest in truth. Remember that it is the Watchtower that has led its
followers down the wrong path. Lead them to the right path. These are sincere
and committed people, just the kind you want in your church!
When you begin talking with them, limit your conversation to the question, "Who
is Jesus?" This is the most important difference between their beliefs and
historical Christianity. You may say something like this, "I admire you for
being so diligent about your beliefs. However, we disagree on a major point,
the deity of Christ, and I would like to discuss this with you." They will
agree without hesitation.
Tell them you would like to hear their reasons for believing Jesus is a
creation of God; then you would like their responses to your reasons for
believing He is God. Then dialogue with them. When everything has been said and
done, you can tell them that they have not provided any good reasons for
believing Jesus was created and that you have provided five reasons why He is
God, one which even exposes some inconsistencies in their own translation of
Watch out for detours. JW's may try to answer arguments for the deity that you
never raised. This can create an illusion that you stand corrected on the deity
issue. For example, once I was having a discussion with the JW's who had come
to my home. I asked them for Scriptures which in their opinion indicated that
Jesus was created. They cited Colossians 1:15. I showed them that the word
"firstborn" could not possibly mean "first created" in this passage. They
responded that earlier in the same verse it says that Jesus is "the image of
God," and since the Bible also says that we have been created in God's image I
could not interpret the statement that Jesus is "the image of God" to indicate
that he is God. I could have said, "Hmm. You're right." A series of those and I
may end up attending their Bible study group because they answered all of my
questions. However, it was not my questions that they answered, but theirs! I
actually responded, "I did not say that the verse calls Jesus, God, only that
it does not say that he was created as you initially indicated."
When they perceive the conversation is not going their way, they may try to
detour you into other issues such as the earthly kingdom of Christ. Insist that
you stay on the issue of who Jesus is, because its importance is far greater
than whether eternity is spent in heaven or on a heavenly earth ruled by
Christ. Belief in these other issues will not determine where one spends
eternity. Where one stands on who Jesus is, however, may.57
Your efforts can prove to be fruitful. You may be surprised at how God may
work. Several years ago while visiting my wife's family in Nebraska, I was
asked by one of her aunts to talk with her daughter who was a JW. I agreed and
scheduled a time to go over to her home. My wife and I had a cordial
conversation with her and her husband. We left and did not hear anything else.
Four years later when my wife went out to visit her family she talked with her
aunt who told her that her daughter had left the JW's as a result of our
conversation four years prior and both she and her husband are now committed
Christians who are active in their Baptist Church.
Another time two JW's came to my home on a Saturday morning. I usually invite
them in. But this particular time I couldn't because my son was just getting
over a stomach virus he had endured the day before. I explained he was fine now
but didn't want to possibly expose them to getting the virus. I suggested we
drive up to the Hardee's a few blocks away and talk there over a cup of coffee.
We sat down at a table and began to talk. I told them that I admired them for
zealously proclaiming their beliefs to anyone who would listen and that I
wished more people at my church were like that. They were appreciative of the
comment. I then said, "I find that we disagree on several issues, particularly
one which is very important to both of us, the deity of Christ. You believe God
created Jesus. I believe that He is God. So I would like to discuss this issue
with you." They agreed. I continued, "Now I must admit, I don't know all the
answers and I suppose I am wrong on some things. Certainly no one is 100
percent correct. We do our best. So why not show me why you believe Jesus was
created and I'll respond to that. Then I'll show you why I believe Jesus is God
and I'd like to hear your responses." Nothing opens a cordial dialogue better
than admitting you could be wrong. This will encourage open-mindedness on their
part as well. This is far different from the grumpy response of many Christians
who gruffly say, "I am not interested!" and then slam the door on them.
Remember Peter's admonition to defend the faith "with gentleness and
reverence." Another great reference which was cited earlier is 2 Timothy
"The Lord's bond servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able
to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in
opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge
of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of
the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."
Our conversation went well. I listened with great interest and patience as
they presented their case. Their Bible texts were virtually a mirror reflection
of those presented in Chapter 8. One by one, as I answered their arguments,
they would simply go on to their next text, "Well, what about this one?" Our
discussion continued to be cordial. I began my case for the deity of Christ.
They had no answers at all to a few of the texts. The others elicited the
anticipated responses discussed in the previous chapter. I answered them as
The remarkable thing about this conversation was that about thirty minutes into
it a stranger walked up to us, politely apologized for interrupting and said,
"I've been overhearing your conversation. Would you mind if I sat in and
listened?" We invited him to join us. He listened attentively for a good 45
minutes, injecting a comment here and there. Approximately 15 minutes after he
had joined us, I noticed two others trying their best to listen in without
appearing obvious. One was an employee on break. When he saw that I noticed
them listening, he looked somewhat embarrassed and said, "Can we listen too?"
We now had three strangers listening. After about another 15 minutes, the
employee stood up and said, "My break is over. Thanks for allowing me to sit
in. I learned a lot!" Then he looked right at me and asked, "Would you pray for
me?" I said I'd be happy to. Then he walked away. Shortly after, our first
stranger thanked us and left.
The JW's and I continued to talk a little longer. In summing up, I said, "We've
talked a while (3 hours and 15 minutes!) and here's how I see our conversation.
You haven't provided a single good reason from Scripture why I should believe
Jesus was created. On the other hand, I have provided several texts that
strongly indicate Jesus is God. You have been unable to provide a
plausible alternate explanation for these texts.
"I appreciate your zeal and recognize your sincerity about your beliefs. I hope
you appreciate mine as well. It's unfortunate that one of us is wrong. The
apostle Paul and Nicodemus were very sincere about their Jewish beliefs. When
they were faced with the truth, however, they inquired further and changed,
even though it cost them their fortunes, their status, and in Paul's case, his
life. The deity issue is worth an independent investigation on your part, isn't
it?" They nodded in agreement. "I encourage you to consult scholarly works
outside of the Watchtower. Think through this on your own. If you come to see
the Scriptures teach that Jesus is part of the Godhead, it will cost you as
well because your Kingdom Hall will not tolerate it. I pray you will have the
courage of Paul and Nicodemus and make that change."
Your knowledge may overwhelm some JW's, because some of the information you now
have is technical. I once had a JW tell me that there was no way for her to get
into the languages as I could, so she could never know if what I said was
correct. She also said that God is not the author of confusion and that we
should be able to read our English translations and understand his Word. These
are valid points. Maybe some readers are feeling as she did. So let's spend a
moment with each of her points.
1."I don't know the languages, so I can't know what's
You may not desire to invest the time to learn Greek and Hebrew. However, you
do have the same sources available to you for word studies that scholars use.
Although your local library probably will not carry these books on their
shelves, you can obtain them by using inter-library loan. Your local library
will borrow the book(s) from another library. You may have to pay a small fee
for the service (usually less than $10). If there is a seminary or Bible
college nearby, you will probably be able to locate them there. Your local
bookstore will also be happy to sell them to you. (They are a worthwhile
investment if you enjoy in-depth Bible study.) For New Testament Greek words, a
few good sources are Gerhard Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament (10 volumes). This is the most exhaustive source available.
Colin Brown's The New International Dictionary of New Testament
Theology (4 volumes), is also a great source and is much more friendly to
the non-Greek reader. The fourth volume is an index which keys the Greek words
to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible (a book most Bible
students have). Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich's A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature is a good source, but not
at all friendly to the non-Greek reader. If you want to see how a Greek word is
used throughout the New Testament, Wigram and Winter have a Word
Study Concordance. They will list the Greek word and then every verse
where it appears. For Old Testament Hebrew words, a great source is
Willem VanGemeren's New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology
& Exegesis (5 volumes). Like its New Testament sister, the
fifth volume is an index which keys the Hebrew words to Strong's in order to
make it easy for the non-Hebrew reader to find. Harris, Archer, Waltke have
produced the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (2 volumes). This is an
excellent source and is friendly to the non-Hebrew reader since it is likewise
keyed to Strong's.
Finally, when you study the Bible in-depth, a simple system will be of great
1. Study the word. First look
up the definition in one of the references listed above to see how it is used
throughout the ancient world.
2. Study the verse. Now that you know the meaning(s) of the word, what
is the verse saying?
3. Study the chapter. Now that you have a good idea of what the verse
is saying, how does it fit in the overall chapter or context? Sometimes a verse
may have a few different possible meanings. Many times the context will allow
you to determine its correct meaning.
4. Study the Bible. As we saw in Revelation 3:14, sometimes the
chapter does not tell you what the author is saying about a particular verse or
word. In times like this, look to see if the same author touches on the subject
in other parts of his writings. For example, the author of Revelation, John,
has much to say about the deity of Christ (see John. 1:1; 20:28; 1 John 5:20;
Revelation 22:6, 16; Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and End
passages). John's writings indicate he believed Jesus was God. In light of
these teachings, an interpretation of Rev. 3:14 saying God created Jesus is
2."God is not the author of confusion. We should be
able to read our English Bible and understand it."
I agree. God is not the author of confusion, man and Satan are. What do you do
when confusion exists between opposing views? You can retreat by saying, "My
pastor (church leaders, denomination) believes it, so it must be true." This is
fine if your pastor is right. But what if he isn't?
It may be helpful to bring them back to your least technical points such as
Watchtower misinterpretations of certain verses outlined in Chapter 8. For
example, ask them: "What do you think of the Watchtower's interpretation of
Proverbs 8:22 now?" Many times they will say, "I'm not sure." Take them through
the context, chapter, and book again. Then ask, "Given Solomon's purpose in
writing Proverbs, his style of writing, and what he is saying in Chapters 7-9,
what do you personally think he means by wisdom and why?" Make them think. Put
yourself in their place. What would you be thinking if someone showed you
something that seriously challenged your beliefs? Invite them to go home and
look at the issue with an open mind and come back next week to discuss it
Finally, remember that your only responsibility is to plant the seed. It is the
Holy Spirit who works the change (see 1 Corinthians 3:6-7). The purpose of your
discussions with the JW should be to reveal the truth with love, patience, and
compassion. That is the role, which God has given every Christian (see 2
Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Peter 3:15-16). The person who does not care about the truth
will not change. The person who does care about it will think about what you
have to say and engage in further study. But ultimately it is the Holy Spirit
who brings a person to the truth.
We have come to the end of our study on how to answer Mormons and Jehovah's
Witnesses. If you are a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness, I pray you will
prayerfully consider what has been discussed. Run the information by the
leaders of your Ward or Kingdom Hall. Get their response and think through it.
Ask yourself, "Did they really answer my questions?" It is your own
soul and no one else's. Do not let someone else's error cost them their soul
and yours. Eternity is a long time to feel regret. Have the courage of Paul and
Nicodemus. Remember, you never have to be afraid of the truth.
If you are not a Jehovah's Witness, I hope this book has been helpful.
Master the information, make sure your attitude is pure, and go for it. I am
proud of you for choosing this book and I wish you God's best!
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