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The one thing we mustn’t do is be intimidated by the seeming knowledge that the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) have of Scripture.   Remember, they are given a ‘script’ to follow, much like a telemarketer does when he rings you on the phone.  They have limited selling points to push: a small selection of Bible verses to discuss with you.  This is why those Christians who really know and understand the Bible are able to successfully debate and defeat the arguments which JWs put forward. Here is what to do if you wish to engage in discussion with JWs.    

They use one or more of these openers:   

“Hello. We’re visiting everyone in this neighborhood with an important message. No doubt you are a busy person, so I’ll be brief.”    

“I’m glad to find you at home. We’re making our weekly visit in the neighborhood, and we have something more to share with you about the wonderful things that God’s Kingdom will do for mankind.”  

“May I ask, do you believe what we teach from the Bible, namely, that we are living in ‘the last days,’ that soon God is going to destroy the wicked, and that this earth will become a paradise in which people can live forever in perfect health among neighbors who really love one another?”   

‘We’re encouraging folks to read their Bible. The answers that it gives to important questions often surprise people. For example: . . .’     

“We’ve been talking with your neighbors about what can be done to assure that there will be employment and housing for everyone. Do you believe that it is reasonable to expect that human governments will accomplish this?”    

They follow up with:       

“It is right here in the Bible. . . . ”   

“That is an appealing thought, isn’t it?”   

Strategies you can adopt:   

– JWs rely on getting your opinion, so a simple, short statement will do.  Don’t get emotional about it.  

– Be able to tell the difference between a theological difference, which they will lead with, and revealed religious truth, which you will show them.     

Remember, JWs:       

– Believe we will have Paradise on Earth.     

– Do not believe in Hell.  Unbelievers will be annihilated and cease to exist. 

– Do not believe in salvation unless one becomes a JW. 

– Do not believe Jesus was nailed to a cross but on a torture stake.

– Deny that Christ rose from the dead.    

Refuting JW teachings with the Bible:   

If (or when) you are confident with Scripture, you can use the JW visit as a Christian witness work of your own.  Politely and stoically point out their errors using the following suggestions: 

Ask if they are ‘prophets’, because they believe that they are in some way.  If they deny it, mention the April 1, 1972, Watch Tower article on page 297, which states clearly that they are prophets. Cite Deuteronomy 18:20-22.  As Patrick Zukeran’s article for Probe Ministries, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses: Witnessing to the Witnesses’, explains, ‘A true prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and predicts future things which come to pass. A false prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and predicts future things which do not come to pass. Make sure they understand this, for this is the most critical step.’  Then, cite their lack of accuracy in predicting Armageddon: 1914, 1925, 1975, 1985 or 1989.     

Discuss the name ‘Jehovah’.  It is a false derivation of YAHWEH:

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: “Jehovah” — False reading of the Hebrew YAHWEH

Encyclopedia Americana: “Jehovah” — erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel.

The Jewish Encyclopedia: “Jehovah” — a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible.

The New Jewish Encyclopedia: It is clear that the word Jehovah is an artificial composite.

Encyclopedia Judaica, p. 680, vol. 7: “the true pronunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH was never lost. The name was pronounced Yahweh. It was regularly pronounced this way at least until 586 B.C., as is clear from the Lachish Letters written shortly before this date.”

Examine the Crucifixion.  JWs are perhaps alone among Christians (I use the term advisedly) in believing that Jesus died on a torture stake.  You can cite these verses:

John 20:25 states that ‘nails’ — plural — were driven through his hands.  If He were crucified on a stake, these would have been unnecessary.

All Greek Bible scholars translate the word stauros as ‘cross’.

Ask the JWs why their founder believed Jesus died on a cross and why their doctrine was changed in 1936 to the torture stake?

Explore the Resurrection.  JWs believe that Christ’s body disintegrated following the crucifixion and was no more.  They do not believe in His bodily Resurrection but say that He came back after the Resurrection as a spirit appearing in human form. Cite these verses:

Luke 24:36-43, which clearly states that Jesus was flesh and bone who ate food

John 20:24-27, where Thomas touches Jesus’s wounds

John 2:19-21, Acts 2:26-27

1 Peter 3:18 does not mean that Jesus was turned into a spirit but was raised up to life by the Spirit of God

Romans 8:11 says He was raised to life by the power of the Holy Spirit

If JWs cite 1 Cor. 15:50, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” mention Luke 24:39, which says Christ had a glorified body when He ascended into Heaven 

Colossians 2:9 says “For in him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” — emphasise the present tense in ‘dwells’

State that Jesus and the Archangel Michael are not the same:

1 Timothy 2:5 says, ‘There is one God and one mediator, the man Christ Jesus.’  Emphasise the present tense — ‘is’.

Discuss the Holy Trinity, especially the Holy Spirit:

1 John 5:7 clearly states ‘There are three that bear record in Heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one’

Acts 5:3 says Peter accuses Ananias of lying to the Holy Spirit.  How can the Holy Spirit, therefore, be a ‘force, like electricity’, as the JWs say?

Acts 5:4 states that Peter asks Ananias “You have not lied to men but to God.”  This verse should be the same in the JW’s Bible translation.  So, the Holy Spirit is a person, one of the Triune God.

Acts 13:2 says that the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’  How can electricity or a force speak?

Ephesians 4:30 states “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”  How can one grieve an impersonal force?

Gary Hand of On Doctrine has a list of verses on the Holy Spirit’s attributes and characteristics from the Bible to use in discussions with JWs.

Discuss the Deity of Christ:

John 20:28 states that Thomas said, upon touching Jesus’s wounds, ‘My Lord and My God’, not one or the other

John 1:1: ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God’, not  ‘a god’.  (You may have to have your Bible handy for this one, as their translation will differ.)  Tell them that theirs is the only translation that says ‘a god’. 

Revelation 22:12-13 quotes Jesus as saying He is coming quickly (at an unnanounced time, but suddenly).  He goes on to say, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’  How can he be other than God?

Revelation 22:16 says, ‘I Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.’

Compare with them Isaiah 44:6 (‘This is what Jehovah has said, ‘The king of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, I am the first and I am the last.’) and Jesus’s words in Revelation 1:17-18 (‘Do not be fearful; I am the First and the Last, and the living one; and I became dead but look! I am living forever.’)  Jesus and God are the same persons.

ChristianAnswers.net has more verses on the subject of Christ’s deity to use when discussing the Bible with JWs.

Patrick Zukeran of Probe Ministries says:     

These are my favorite verses, and I have never had Witnesses refute these arguments. Remember, the Witnesses at your door won’t convert right then and there. The key is to get them to start thinking and questioning the organization, and down the road, maybe in several years, they will seek answers and that will lead them out of the organization. Don’t give up or be discouraged when sharing with Witnesses. Though they may be rude and show no signs that they are thinking, the Word of God is powerful and is working in their hearts even if we can’t see it.

Remember Dr. Walter Martin (author of Kingdom of the Cults) went fifteen years without a convert, but he never gave up. Today we know of hundreds he pulled out of the organization. Continue to study the Word, and God bless you as you defend the faith.

Tomorrow: How witnessing works

For more information, read:   

‘Strategies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’   

‘Jehovah’s Witnesses: Witnessing to the Witnesses’

‘Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Trinity’

‘How do Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings about Christ compare with Scriptures?’

‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’

 

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