Helping Jehovah's Witnesses Find Freedom in Jesus (John 8:36)
- The Goal
- JW Theology
- First Meeting
- Second Meeting
- Third Meeting
"Thank you so much for your article about Helping Jehovah's Witnesses. I have had 2 JW coming to my door for the past 2 years. We finally met for the first time this afternoon (by the way, I should mention I am a committed Christian). I used your guidelines for the first meeting with the Jehovah's Witnesses and they worked like a charm! It was wonderful to be able to ask questions that really pushed them to think." —Heather
"Jehovah's Witnesses are not really interested in spiritual truth or intellectual honesty. The evidence for that is their persistent refusal to study contrary views. It is incredible how strong a hold the Watchtower has on them in this regard. This repression by the Watchtower is itself more than enough to consider them a dangerous and sad cult." —Editor
Many Christians tend to shun Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's) when they come to the door. We plead guilty too! However, it is a golden opportunity to share the truth. After all, how often do you have someone come to your home and want to talk about the Bible? JW's so desperately need to hear the gospel. This article offers a step-by-step strategy for the Christian to effectively witness to JW's.
Top of page The Goal
It is easy to stump JW's. There are numerous flaws in their theology. But it is important to understand where they are coming from. They claim to spend hours each week studying "the Bible", but much of their time is spent studying what their Watchtower organization says about the Bible, and not the Bible itself. So a prepared Christian can use Scripture to point out the weaknesses in Watchtower theology.
The Watchtower organization is truly a mind-control organization. They maintain control of their people by various means. One way is to firmly forbid them from looking at any theological literature except Watchtower publications. (Non-Watchtower materials are called "apostate literature.") It is forbidden to challenge the Watchtower organization in any way. So it is considered wrong to even ask challenging questions at JW meetings, or to even think thoughts contrary to their teachings! If you are guilty of bucking the system, you can be "disfellowshipped." If that happens, even your family will no longer speak to you!
So, when they are in your home, do not expect them to visibly give much ground in the discussions. Your main goal is to get them to begin to worry about what the Watchtower has been teaching them. Pray that you could be used to plant seeds of doubt, and then pray that the Holy Spirit will lead them to the truth.
When JW's come to your door, politely say that you would be glad to hear what they have to say at a later date. Make an appointment for a few days later. Then re-read this article to prepare yourself.
We also suggest that you have available some other books. The JW's use 2 different Bibles published by the Watchtower—the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures ("NWT") and The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures ("KIT"). The NWT is a deceptive translation of Scripture, as it has been fraudulently altered in key areas to try to cover up problems with their theology. Note: We suggest referring to the NWT as "the Watchtower Bible." It seems to give it too much credit to call it a translation. The KIT has the original Greek side by side with the English, which can be helpful to sometimes to expose translation errors.
Since the JW's will not fully honor other translations, or even look at any religious material that is not from the Watchtower, you should use their own materials to raise doubts. You can get their Bibles at used bookstores or online at such places as www.abebooks.com or www.bookfinder.com. Since, they may be somewhat difficult to find, we recommend that you get copies of these now, so that you will have them available when they come to your house.
There are several other very useful resources. We found a book by Ron Rhodes entitled Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses to be very helpful. You might want to have this book in your home now as well. (By the way, Rhodes has several books, including Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons. You might get this one too while you are at it!) But the information in this article is enough to get you through a couple of meetings with them.
Try to meet at least 2 times with the JW's. If you are able to meet 2 or 3 times, it will be a great achievement. When they realize that you have too many tough questions for them, they will most likely leave and not come back. The Holy Spirit may use others later to continue speaking the truth of the gospel to them.
If they do get up and leave before you have gotten into the stuff you want to cover, ask them if they would do you one favor—would they try to put the Watchtower aside for just two weeks and read the New Testament for themselves in its entirety?
Top of page Jehovah's Witness Theology
Here are a few of their core beliefs:
- Jehovah is the one true God.
- They deny the Trinity.
- Jesus was an exalted man that God used to create the earth, but Jesus himself is a created being—not God.
- Jesus has divine attributes, but is only god-like.
- When Jehovah raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus was a spirit-being, not a physical being.
- The Holy Spirit is not a person, but a force.
- Only 144,000 people will go to heaven—in general this includes only JW's alive in 1935.
- Other faithful JW's will have eternal life on paradise earth. All others disintegrate at death.
- There is no hell.
- All "religions" besides JW are of the devil.
Top of page First Meeting
Remember that JW's are people first, and JW's second. Be really, really nice to them. People who come out of this cult say that they were led out more by love, and less by the arguments. Provide them snacks when they come for the appointments!
You might use a FaithFacts bookmark as a quick reference (available upon request). Also, you can print portions of this article and tuck it in the back of your Bible. It is best to only refer to Scripture, but this quick reference will help keep you focused. You may want to copy the pages, and tape them over pages of the Concordance in your Bible. Rather than hammering away with facts or questions at the beginning, ease into the conversation. It may be offensive to your guests if you come across as "too prepared."
At the beginning of each meeting, ask them how long they can stay. You might say, "Can you stay until 8:30?" That way, they will be less inclined to leave early when your questions begin to challenge their beliefs.
Also, get their full names and phone numbers. You might explain to the JW's that it would be helpful to have their phone numbers in order to coordinate possible future meetings (which is true). They may ask for your name and address when they first call on you, which is the perfect time to get theirs. Or you can look up their addresses in the phone book and then have witnessing materials sent to them at their home. An organization called MM Outreach will do this for you for a small charge. Just email email@example.com for details.
You may want to begin with prayer. In the prayer work in such things as: how thankful you are that the Bible has taught you that you have freedom in Christ (John 8:36; 2 Corinthians 3:17), that you so appreciate that you have been saved by God's grace and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9); that inspite of nobody being good enough to get to heaven (Romans 3:10) God in his mercy has chosen some since before the foundation of the world for salvation (Ephesians 1:4), that anyone who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11), that there is no condemnation for those that are in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1), that you know you will be with Jesus forever (John 14:1-6), that you pray that your new JW friends will find freedom in Christ, etc.
Early on, ask if you could all agree that you are seeking the truth. Ask them what their source is for the truth. Agree with them that the Bible is the final source of truth. But as the Bible teaches, it is healthy to "test everything" (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). It is good to test each "religion" against Scripture.
Let them go into teaching mode for awhile, allowing them to get comfortable. Your tact should be to ask pointed questions that you know the answer to—and that you believe will give them problems. Whenever possible, avoid making statements. Turn statements into questions. Ask them to read targeted passages out loud from their Bible, then say, "Doesn't this sound different from Watchtower teaching?" You will have to play as dumb as possible if you want to avoid them getting up and leaving. Saying such things as "I just don't understand this passage. Will you help me understand this?"
At the end of each question, pause. Let each question sink in. Be sure to give them enough time to consider the problems your questions create for their theology. If they do not answer, ask them again. And when you are discussing an important topic, don't let them get you off track.
Create doubt in their minds whenever possible. But if you do not know the answer to something, acknowledge it, and say that you will research it before the next meeting. In fact, it is best, especially at first, to give them the benefit of the doubt. If you come on too strong, they will get up and leave and not come back.
Don't go off on tangents. And don't ask questions not in this article. If you do, you risk getting stuck.
They are trained to have answers to the common questions that unprepared Christians ask. This article has some powerful tools for which they are generally not prepared. Stay on task so that you are sure to get in the important issues.
You might begin with some of the questions from this website: Intro Questions.
Now, here are more specific questions to ask:
- John 1:1. How many Gods are there? The most famous distortion in the NWT is John 1:1. The NWT inserts the word "a" in front of the second God in this verse. So the NWT reads "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." Obviously this is to denigrate Jesus. They will be prepared to defend why they put "a" into the text. There are ways to debate them on this. But a much more powerful approach, one that they will not be prepared for is the following. Sort of scratch your head and ask them, "How many true Gods are there?" Get them to agree that there is only one true God by going to such passages as Isaiah 44:6, 8. (There are several other pertinent passages, including Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Isaiah 43:11, and John 17:3-5.) Then ask, "Can we agree that something that is not true, is false?" They should agree. Then say, "I understand that you have a strange wording for John 1:1. What does the Watchtower Bible say?" After they read it out loud, ask them, "OK. Is Jesus a true God or a false God?" They absolutely cannot answer this. If they say Jesus is a true God, then there are 2 Gods. But they cannot say he is a false God either, because John says he is (in their Bible) "a" god. (Jesus cannot be a false god like the golden calf or like the "so-called gods" mentioned in 1 Corintians 8:5.) They might say that Jesus is "lesser god." If so, then ask, "Is Jesus a lesser true God or a lesser false God?" Emphasize this point as many times as you can in the meetings. Even if they do not bring up this passage, be sure that you do.
- Revelation 1:8. Alpha and Omega. Take them to Revelation 1:8. Ask them who is speaking in this passage. (The NWT says that Jehovah is speaking.) Then say, "OK. You believe that Jehovah is speaking. We believe that Jesus is speaking. Here is why, and we'd like your opinion." First, emphasize that the speaker is the "Alpha and Omega." Then back up to the preceding verse (1:7), and note that it says "pierced," which obviously means Jesus. Then flip back to the end of Revelation. Ask them to read out loud verses 22:12-13. Point that out the speaker here also claims to be the "Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." Keep your finger in the Bible here and ask them to turn to Isaiah 44:6, and Isaiah 48:12-13—which reinforces Jehovah God as the "first and last." Then go to Revelation 22:16, get them to read it aloud, and proclaim that it is clearly Jesus speaking, since he identifies himself. (The NWT has beginning quotation marks starting with verse 12 and ending after verse 16, which further clarifies that it is Jesus who is claiming to be the Alpha and Omega/First and Last.) Then have them read Revelation 22:20, which again confirms that it is Jesus speaking. Then close the loop by going back to Revelation 1:8, and asking, "Do you see why it is Jesus, the one who claims to be the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, that is speaking? Wouldn't you agree that since this is Jesus who is speaking, there are only 2 alternatives, that Jesus and Jehovah are the same, and/or that the Watchtower has mistranslated Revelation 1:8?" They will be stumped! We recommend putting sequential numbers in your Bible by each of these passages to help you follow them in order. (Put a note in the margin when to flip to Isaiah.) Very easy. All you have to do is remember to go to the first part of Revelation, then to the end of Revelation. (Note: The reason that the Watchtower purposely mistranslated Revelation 1:8 is no doubt because the word "almighty" is used to describe God. They cannot accept Jesus as the Almighty. Also, note that their own KIT shows that the Greek word for God in this passage is Kyrios (Lord), but they arbitrarily substitute Jehovah.)
- Insertion of "Jehovah." They may tell you that the reason for religion is to honor the name of Jehovah. Tell them that you understand that the NWT translation has inserted the word Jehovah hundreds of times in the New Testament even though it never appears a single time in any New Testament Greek manuscript. (They have deceitfully and arbitrarily substituted the word Jehovah for the Greek words theos (God) and kurios (Lord) in the New Testament. If they bring up the Septuagint as using the term Jehovah, remind them that that is irrelevant, because it is a Greek translation of the Old Testament.) Ask them why Jehovah is inserted. They may respond that the Watchtower re-inserted Jehovah because Satan removed it from early manuscripts. Next, get them to show you even one place in their own KIT where the word Jehovah is in the Greek. (It is not there.) Then you may want to draw a diagram on a piece of paper or chalkboard as follows. Draw some circles at the top of the page. Say that these represent the original New Testament manuscripts. Then draw some multiple lines coming under some of these, and then some multiple lines under these down the page. This represents how the manuscripts were copied and re-copied over time.
Explain that the original manuscripts were written by different people at different times and places who did not have email and could not collude. Since they were considered valuable, they were quickly copied and recopied. There are extant some 24,000 ancient New Testament manuscripts, including 5,000 in Greek. Then ask, "How did Satan get to all these?" Then, "What best fits the evidence, that Satan changed thousands of manuscripts, or that the Watchtower deceptively changed the NWT translation?"
- John 8:58. I am. The NWT has deceivingly altered this important text, but you can still use it to show that Jesus claimed deity, and at the same time show them that the Watchtower has tried to deceive. This famous passage in most translations reads, "Before Abraham was born, I am." This is a direct reference to the "I am" of the Old Testament. (Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 44:6, 48:12). (Note: The NWT mistranslates Exodus 3:14, reading, "I shall prove to be." But you can still use Exodus 3:14, as the JW's will probably be aware of the controversy.) In John 8:58, Jesus is clearly claiming both eternal existence and indeed to be Jehovah of the Old Testament. The NWT, in an obvious cover-up, translates it, "Before Abraham came into existence, I have been." You can indict the Watchtower by referring to their own KIT and simply saying to the JW's, "I happen to be familiar with this passage. If you look in your KIT, you will see that the Greek phrase is 'EGO EIMI,' which is the present tense of 'to be.' In fact, please look at how your own KIT translates this phrase in other passages, for example, John 13:19 and John 8:24. Why did the Watchtower translate this phrase differently in John 8:58, unless they were trying to cover-up the truth?"
- John 10:30-33. The NWT could not cover up all truth in the New Testament. This passage is another of Jesus' many claims to be God. He, says, "I and the Father are one." The JW's will say something like, "Jesus was just saying that he and Jehovah were of "unity of purpose." Your response can be, "The Jews believed that they had unity of purpose with God. Since they already had that, why did they pick up stones to kill Jesus? Wasn't death the penalty for blasphemy, which is what they knew Jesus just committed by claiming to be God?"
- John 20:28. Here Thomas calls Jesus, "My Lord and my God." (Same in the NWT). Ask the JW's, "Who did Thomas come to believe that Jesus was?" Expect the JW's to come up with a lame rebuttal, and then say, "It would have been blasphemy for Jesus to accept the title of God, if he was not God. Wouldn't Jesus have rebuked Thomas immediately for his words if they were not true!?"
- Bible Test. "You think you have the truth. We think we have the truth. How about us taking the Bible test? Please read me what your Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 ("examine yourselves"), and Galatians 1:6-9 ("perverting the good news"). What do you think about what these passages say?"
- Obedience. "You say you are 'witnesses.' Would you read Acts 1:8 out loud? (you will be my witnesses) Who is speaking here? [Jesus] Given this passage, do you think you are being obedient?"
(If these above points are all you get to during this first meeting, and they never come back, you will have created significant doubt in their minds.)
Top of page The Trinity
The JW's have an incomplete understanding of the Trinity. (They refer to orthodox Christians as "Trinitarians.") While there is much to say from Scripture about this, we suggest simply explaining what Trinitarians believe: We do not believe in 3 Gods in one person. Rather, we believe in 3 persons in one God. You might explain to them that there are many examples of trinities in nature. For example, water comes in 3 forms—solid, liquid, and gas. But water is still the same chemical substance regardless of the form.
You can also point to Matthew 28:19 and ask, "Can you see that because 'name' is singular, that plurality within unity is indicated?" (name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
They may say that the word Trinity is not in the Bible. Respond by saying that neither are the words millennium, theocracy, or rapture (which are common terms in their theology).
They may say that the Trinity was a concept that was not formulated until the Fourth Century. You might respond with, "Is that what the Watchtower organization teaches?! Of course, that is not true! Many early church fathers discussed the Trinity, such as Clement of Rome in 100 AD, Ignatius in 107 AD, and Melito of Sardis in 180 AD! Why would the Watchtower promote that when they know it is not true? Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself on the internet." (They won't check it out, but you will have again created doubt in their minds. A book about this, which they will not read either, is The Forgotten Trinity by James White.)
Top of page Humanity/Divinity of Jesus
The JW's will use various passages to show that Jesus is just a man, and is a lower/separate being from the Father. For example, they will point to passages such as when Jesus prayed to the Father, or when Jesus said "The Father is greater than I," etc. Indeed, this is a valid observation. But, they simply do not understand the nature of Jesus. They do not understand that Jesus, according to the Bible, was both true man and true God. When they bring up these passages, say something like, "I can see how you would feel the way you do looking only at those passages. But let's look at Philippians 2:7-8. The Bible makes it clear how Jesus could be both true God and true man by voluntarily humbling himself to be a man. Have you ever thought about that? (Or, has the Watchtower ever discussed this with you?)" Then pause, and let this sink in.
You can also honestly acknowledge, "That is a good point." Then explain that even some Christians do not understand the Trinity very well. Explain to them that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are a bit like light and heat from the sun. They have the same nature and essence as the sun, but are distinct from the sun. They emanate from the sun, and are eternally of the same essence as the sun, but in another sense are lower than the sun in role or rank. So when we see passages like these, there is no contradiction with the proper understanding of the Trinity.
They may refer to the passage that says that Jesus is a "mediator" between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). When they do, they will say that Jesus could not be God if he is a mediator. Respond by saying, "By that same reasoning, he could not be man either, could he? (If they are consistent in their interpretation of that passage, they must admit that they are saying that mediator is equa-distant between both God and man.)" Then explain that Jesus can only be both 100% God and 100% man. Only God could do the things he did and claim the things he claimed. But Jesus had to be man as well, in order for his painful death to be meaningful as payment for our sins.
And hopefully they may also ask, "Who raised Jesus from the dead?" (as if that proved Jesus could not be God). Agree that God (the Father) raised Jesus from the dead. But ask them to read John 2:19 (I will raise it in 3 days) and John 10:17-18 (I have authority to take it up again) from the NWT out loud, and ask, "Don't you agree that it is clear that Jesus raised himself?" Thus Jesus = God. (This should cause them considerable trouble.)
Other Doubt-Creating Questions
- "Did God not have any witnesses between the time of the New Testament and the late 1800's when the Watchtower organization was formed?" or "How did people understand the Bible for 1800 years prior to the Watchtower?" (JW was started in the late 1800's by a man named Charles Taves Russell.)
- "Do you believe in Jesus' resurrection? Do you believe 1 Corinthians 15:17, that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is in vain? Does it seem that Jesus is the central point of the New Testament?"
- "What would you do if you ever discovered that the Watchtower taught something different from the Bible?"
- "I understand that The Watchtower magazine differs from the NWT on Romans 10:13, which says, 'everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.' But The Watchtower magazine, May 1, 1978, p.12, says this refers to Jesus! I do not have the magazine, but could you look that up for me by the next meeting to see if that's true?"
- "Isn't it true that The Watchtower magazine has given changing, contradictory statements about whether to worship Jesus? Would you check these old issues for me: I understand that certain passages say that you should worship Jesus (March 1880, p. 83 and 8/15/1941, p. 252). But other passages say we should not worship Jesus (1/1/1954, p.31 and 11/1/1964, p. 671)."
- "Why don't you, instead of focusing on what the Watchtower says about the Bible, take a week or a month to let Jehovah speak to you directly from the Bible?"
- They say that Jesus is the archangel Michael. Ask them to show you where in the Bible this idea comes from. (They cannot.)
- When practicable, work the term "historic orthodox Christian faith" or "orthodox Christian faith" into the conversation in order to create doubt that their group is not the true Christian community.
Top of page The Gospel
JW's have no concept of grace and have probably never heard a good news testimony. Be sure to work yours in. You might even ask them to agree to share testimonies. You may also want to read them the "good news" (the NWT uses this phrase instead of "gospel") in 1 Corinthias 15:1-7. This passage most clearly in the Bible tells us what the gospel is. Then ask, isn't this wonderful that we are saved by Christ's death and resurrection?
Top of page Second Meeting
There are many issues that you could explore. But we suggest staying on Jesus. Below is a chart of how Jesus and Jehovah are the same. Try to go through each one of these examples. You might tell them that you have put together a list of Scripture passages that suggest that Jesus and Jehovah are the same. Say that you would like their opinion on each one.
You might be able to place this chart in front of them. (Don't hand it to them. Remember, they are not allowed to even touch apostate literature.) When you give it to them, explain that this list is not "apostate literature," only a list of Bible passages with notes from their own New World Translation. Try to get through each example below. But seeing the sheer length of the list should impress them, even if you cannot get to each example. This is a great Bible study for any Christian. (The language from the text is from the NWT.)
Top of page Worthy of the Same Status
Isaiah 12:2, 43:11
|the savior/only savior||Titus 1:4, 2:13
|Isaiah 43:10||we are to be his witnesses *||Acts 1:8|
|John 14:1(a)||have faith in||John 14:1(b)|
|Isaiah 45:22-23||knees bend/ tongues swear to||Philippians 2:9-11|
|Revelation 4:11||worthy to receive honor and glory||Revelation 5:12|
|Acts 16:34||believe in to be saved **||Acts 16:31|
|Joel 2:32||whoever calls on his name is saved||Acts 2:21|
|Joshua 24:24||serve him||Colossians 3:24|
|is worshipped by angels||Hebrews 1:4-6|
Revelation 5:13-14, 11:16
others worship him
(gave obeisance to him)
|Matthew 14:33, 28:9
|"Thus saith the Lord."
(used dozens of times)
|speaks with divine authority||"Truly, I say to you..."
(used dozens of times)
Have Same Names and Titles
Isaiah 41:10, 43:10, 44:6, 44:8, 45:5, 44:22
1 Corinthians 8:4-52
John 1:1, 20:28
1 Timothy 1:17
|Romans 10:12-13||Lord||Luke 2:11|
|Mighty God ***||Isaiah 9:6|
|Almighty God||Revelation 1:8|
Isaiah 44:6, 48:12
|First and Last||Revelation 1:17, 2:8, 22:13|
Isaiah 44:6, 48:12
|I Am||John 8:58, (Same Greek phrase as John 8:24, 13:19, 18:5 per KIT)|
1 Timothy 6:15
|King of King, Lord of Lords||Revelation 17:14, 19:16|
|Hosea 11:9||Holy One||Acts 3:14|
|Psalm 116:5||Righteous One||Acts 3:14
1 John 2:1
|Psalm 23:1||Shepherd||John 10:11|
|Psalm 18:31||Rock||1 Corinthians 10:4|
Perform the Same Acts
|Acts 2:32||who resurrected Jesus||John 2:19
Isaiah 44:24, 45:12
|created heaven & earth/all things||John 1:3
|forgives sins||Luke 5:20-21
|2 Chronicles 7:14, et. al.||hears prayer||John 14:14 (KIT "ask me")|
|Jeremiah 17:10||examines the heart & rewards conduct||Revelation 2:23|
|judges all||John 5:22
2 Timothy 4:1
|Proverbs 3:12||reproves those he loves||Revelation 3:19|
|calms wind & waves||Luke 8:24
|John 5:21(a)||raises the dead||John 5:21(b)|
|Romans 6:23||offers eternal life||John 5:39-40, 10:28|
|Isaiah 41:10||is with us||Matthew 28:20|
Have the Same Attributes
|eternal "from time indefinite"||Isaiah 9:6
|omnipresent||Matthew 18:20, 28:20|
|Isaiah 45:5-13||omnipotent||Matthew 28:18|
|1 Kings 8:39
1 John 3:20
John 2:25, 16:30, 21:17
|Malachi 3:6||does not change||Hebrews 13:8|
|Jeremiah 42:5||true and faithful witness||Revelation 3:14|
|Psalm 27:1||light||John 8:12|
|Psalm 71:5||our hope||1 Timothy 1:1|
|Psalm 46:1||our strength||Philippians 4:13|
|Jeremiah 17:13||source of living water||John 4:14
|Revelation 15:4||righteous||Acts 3:14|
*Ask here, "Given the Bible's instructions to be witnesses of Jesus, do you believe that you are being faithful?"
**Ask here and elsewhere, "Can you see that these references are referring to the same person?"
***Ask, "Since both Jehovah and Jesus are called Mighty God, does this mean that there are 2 Gods in heaven?"
At the end of the second meeting, ask, "Do the JW's claim to be prophets?" They will probably answer no. But their own Watchtower magazine says yes! It is helpful to get them to see this in order for you to demonstrate that the Watchtower organization is a false prophet. Say, "We have reason to believe that the Watchtower does claim to be a prophet of God. Before the next meeting, would you read the article 'A Prophet was Among Them' on page 197 of the April 1, 1972 Watchtower magazine? Could you perhaps even bring a copy of that article with you next time?"
Top of page Third Meeting
If you are fortunate to have a third or more meetings, here are other issues to discuss. Once again, questions are usually the best approach.
Top of page Holy Spirit
JW's believe that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a person. But there are many examples of his personhood in Scripture. Ask: "To qualify as an intelligent person, does one need to think, act, communicate, and have a will? We believe the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit has all these attributes of a person. Could we get your opinion on these passages?"
- Acts 5:3-4 Holy Spirit can be lied to. When you lie to the Holy Spirit, you lie to God.
- Acts 13:2 Holy Spirit speaks and uses a personal pronoun of himself. He can be obeyed.
- 1 Corinthians 2:10 Holy Spirit has a mind/searches.
- Ephesians 4:30 Holy Spirit has emotions/may be grieved.
- John 16:7 Holy Spirit has a will.
- John 14:26 Holy Spirit teaches.
- John 15:26 Holy Spirit testifies.
- Acts 8:29 Holy Spirit issues commands.
- Romans 8:26 Holy Spirit intercedes/prays.
Ask the JW's, "Given these clear examples that the Holy Spirit is more than just a force, but is in fact a person of the godhead, can you see that the Watchtower's teaching about the Holy Spirit is incomplete?"
- Prophecy JW's believe that only144,000 go to heaven, while other Jehovah's Witnesses spend eternity on earth. This latter group is referred to as the "great crowd." Ask them to read Revelation 19:1 and then ask: "From where are those in the great crowd calling?" And here is a tact with prophecy: "If a someone utters prophecy that does not come to pass, is he a false prophet?" First look up together Deuteronomy 18:22, which defines how to know a false prophet. Then say, "Based on the Watchtower magazine article I suggested you look up last time, the JW's clearly claim to be prophets (Watchtower April 1, 1972, p. 197). It is documented clearly that the Watchtower organization has made a number of false prophecies. For example, they predicted the second coming for 1884 (book The Harp of God, pgs. 236, 239-240). Then they set the 'beginning of the end' for 1899 (The Harp of God 1928 edition, pgs. 235-239) Then later they predicted Armegeddon for 1914 (from the book The Time is At Hand, 1911 edition, p. 101). Then Armegeddon was changed to 1918 (book The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 485). Then Armegeddon was changed to 1925 (The Watch Tower magazine, July, 15, 1924, p. 211). Then they predicted the return of Abraham and other prophets of old in 1925 (book Millions Now Living Will Die, 1920, p. 89-90). Next they said that 1914 was really the 'starting date for the last generation before Armegeddon,' (The Watchtower, November 1, 1950, p. 419.) Then, 6000 years of human history come to an end in 1975 (Awake! magazine, October 8, 1966, p. 8). Then they said that 'anyone born by 1914 will see Armageddon' (The Watchtower, May 14, 1984, p. 5). Then they said that 'anyone who sees the events signaling the End, regardless of any relationship to 1914, will see Armegeddon' (The Watchtower, November 1, 1995, pgs. 17-20). May I give you a list of these prophecies for you to check out on your own?" Then, "Given that the Watchtower organization has changed many dates and doctrines through the years, what happened to those JW's who believed the Watchtower's earlier predictions? Are they going to heaven?"
- 144,000 "Will women be among the 144,000?" (They will say yes.) Then, "What does Revelation 14:4 mean? Doesn't this passage clearly indicate than only men who are celibate bachelors or faithful husbands are among the 144,000?" Here are some other questions: "Where does Scripture indicate that entrance into the so-called 'little-flock' of anointed believers would be closed in the year 1935?" "If becoming 'born from God' in 1 John 5:1 is open to 'whoever believes'—and if the requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven is being 'born of God' or 'born again' as in John 3:5—then isn't the kingdom of heaven open to 'whoever believes' and not just 144,000 people?" Also, "What justification is there for switching methods of interpretation —from literal to figurative—right in the middle of Revelation 7:4?"
- Believers in heaven now? "What does 2 Kings 2:1-11 say in the Watchtower Bible?" (Elijah ascending into heaven) "What did Jesus mean in Luke 23:43 when he told the thief on the cross that 'today he would be with him in paradise'?" "How do you reconcile the Watchtower teaching that Old Testament saints look forward to an earthly destiny, with the scriptural evidence that says Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., are with God in heaven (Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:28)?"
- Creator "Genensis 1:1 and Isaiah 44:24 say that Yahweh is creator of all things...all alone. How do we reconcile John 1:3 that states Christ is the creator of all things?"
- Translations "What do you say to the fact that 4 of the 5 translators of the NWT had no Hebrew or Greek language training whatever, and the fifth Frederick Franz admitted in a court of law in 1954 that he could not read Hebrew?" (They may say that no one knows who translated the NWT. You might ask whether they use the internet, and tell them that there is lots of information about their organization that they might not know about on the internet!)
In closing, remember that the Holy Spirit changes hearts, we do not. He may use you as a planter of a seed of doubt or as one who harvests. Our interaction may be summed up by 1 Peter 3:15-16:
"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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."
Note: Faith Facts has some of the Watchtower magazine articles mentioned. Contact us if you would like copies. You can also search the internet for lists of false prophecies of the Watchtower.
- How to Respond to Jehovah's Witnesses, Revised Edition by Howard Kern, Concordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118-3968, 1995. 1-800-325-3040.
- The Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin. Available at www.equip.org.
- The Forgotten Trinity, by James R. White. Available at www.aomin.org.
- Video Series of Former JW's
- God and Science
- Alpha and Omega Ministries
- Tower Watch
- False Prophecies
- JW Info
- Larry Wessels
- George Zeller
- MM Outreach
- Revelation 3:14
- John 1 and Revelation 3:14
- Stumpers from Catholic Answers
- More Stumpers from Catholic Answers
- Tough Questions Videos
- JW's in Crisis
- Got Questions and JW's
- Christian Research Institute
- Christian Answers
- printed resources
- Doctrine of the Trinity by Walter Martin
- Russell's Pyramid Grave Stone