[Throwback Thursday reproduces blogposts either from this blog or other blogs I’ve had over the years that may be helpful today. This was originally posted August 23, 2011 at my previous blog.]
One of the more difficult things for orthodox Christians to do is speak with Jehovah’s Witnesses (also known as the Watchtower Society). Their Awake! magazines have a total worldwide printing of 39 million per year. Why do we struggle? For one, we often do not know how to approach them or what to say to many of their presentations (they are very studious, studying hours per day on their own beliefs and countering the beliefs of orthodox Christians). They get more converts from Southern Baptists than any other religious group.
They use a different version of the Scriptures (the New World Translation), have different meanings of salvation, heaven, eternal life, forgiveness. More importantly, they view the Trinity, and especially the person and work of Jesus far differently. To the JWs, Jesus is merely the Archangel Michael in human form—a created being, not the creator and sustainer of all (Colossians 1:15-17).
Options are available as to how to treat them. You can:
- Slam the door in their faces—not knowing that they believe they have suffered for Jesus in this mode of persecution;
- You can engage them on the front doorstep with your Bible and them using theirs;
- You can bring them in, almost assuring they will continue to come back for the next few weeks or so.
A member of my church has engaged in speaking with JWs at her home. They have come back three weeks in a row and are now back for Week 4. Here is some information I shared with her on how to deal with JWs on this particular issue of the deity of Christ from their own Scriptures!
In regards to the deity of Christ, the Jehovah’s Witnesses removed every connection between Jesus and Him being worshiped, since only Jehovah can be worshiped. But even so, you can use their Bible (as deviant and perverted as it is) to show them that Jesus is fully God. The following is something very simple you can do with them when they come by… but first, some ground rules.
- They study hours per day not only to help them know what they believe, but to counter any arguments from orthodox Christians, so you will have a hard time (as do I, to be honest) fighting them on their ground. They will bog you down in particulars and get you confused. So going through this stuff with them line by line will not change their minds nor yours.
- If you go in there trying to win and be right like I used to, you will risk the opportunity like I did to share the gospel. There’s a difference between proving someone wrong for the win and winning them to Christ.
- Keep it simple. Here are some steps using ‘their’ Bible (the New World Translation) that can be used to show them the key to the whole thing: Jesus. They believe he is the incarnation of the archangel Michael rather than the second person of the Trinity.
Let’s begin. First, start with Hebrews 1:5-6 from their version:
“For example, to which one of the angels did he ever say: “You are my son; I, today, I have become your father”? And again: “I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son”? 6 But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: “And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.”
[NOTE: the word obeisance in our Scriptures is worship… this is a passage that says Jesus is to be ‘worshipped’ as God, not simply respected or paid obeisance. They changed the word, but don’t bring that up. Even with this, you can make your case.]
Then go to Luke 4:5-8:
5 So he brought him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in an instant of time; 6 and the Devil said to him: “I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it. 7 You, therefore, if you do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.” 8In reply Jesus said to him: “It is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”
[NOTE: Jehovah God you must worship. Emphasize that. Tell them they are correct in that. Yes!]
Then go to John 20:25-28:
25 Consequently the other disciples would say to him: “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe.”
26 Well, eight days later his disciples were again indoors, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and he stood in their midst and said: “May YOU have peace.” 27 Next he said to Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing.” 28 In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!”
[NOTE: They will say that Thomas is not worshiping Jesus, but merely exclaiming an expression like we all do. But note to them that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for taking His name in vain. He called him ‘blessed’ in verse 29. But keep going…]
Next, go to Isaiah 44:6:
“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 besides me there is no God.”
[Emphasis there is no God besides Jehovah–the one who is the First and the Last. Now go in for the true point to all this.
Lastly, go to Revelation 1:17-18:
17 And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet.
And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha´des.
[NOTE: Ask them, if it’s true that Jehovah is the first and last and besides him there is no other, tell me: when did God die? Likely, they may stumble for an answer, but they will have none. It is there that you share that Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son who died for our sins. It’s not by what we do to earn favor, it’s by God the Son dying for the forgiveness of sins.]
If they continue to ask questions about this, great. If God is moving, lead them to Christ. Otherwise, I would respectfully suggest that you share the gospel with them as best you can, then say that there is nothing they can say that will convince you to turn from the the gospel you know to be true and ask them not to come back.
What have you used in the past to engage JWs?