Jehovah’s Witness Encounter

I frustrate with my lack of Bible knowledge.

I frustrate with my lack of Bible knowledge.

Yes, this was my first good and proper battle with a JW. I have come across them before, but never had a real debate.

I feel like I’ve been going round in circles for the past two hours, I also feel very tired.

Is it better to simply not talk to them? I felt like the both of us had good arguments, but neither of us were persuaded either way.

He was stumped a couple of times though.

Allow me to explain:

The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God. This is a doctrine which is extremely clear in The Bible, however it seems that the translators of the New World Translation have carefully checked to make sure all those references are changed (with good excuses to allow those changes).

But, I did manage to find a verse which they had not changed. I’m sure this verse is a favourite with those who find time to argue with these people:

John 20:28 (New International Version)

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

This was one that stumped him, and he spent at least 20 minutes trying to find an explanation in his little magazine. But failing.

At first glance, I thought we had a lot of beliefs in common, but the more he spoke to me, the more I disagreed with him. It’s so frustrating! Firstly, not knowing the Bible well enough, and secondly not being able to show him anything from my Bible anyway because so much of his Bible has been warped and obscured.

This strange translation of the Bible is what lets them down for me, it would be one thing to show me holes in my faith from my own Bible, but when it becomes clear that their Bible has clearly been changed, I begin to wonder.

This was a good experience for me, he was someone who probably knew ‘The Bible’ better than me. Coming face to face with such a challenge of my own beliefs was scary.

We prayed together and asked that God would show us himself. I have no idea of God’s plan for this man, or his plan for myself for that matter, but I know he will answer such prayers; be it sooner or later.

I learned that I need to a) know my Bible better, b) read up about the faith of these interesting people and c) pray more for my composure and patience in such situations.

If I learn anymore interesting things about this sect, I will be sure to blog. Also, anyone who has any info on these issues, whatever you actually believe – please comment.

9 thoughts on “Jehovah’s Witness Encounter

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Many are afraid to test their “beliefs” and just “accept” what they are told. The lessons you convey are exactly right. If everyone was honest with themselves and others it would be an better world.
    Just to clarify our beliefs though, we DO believe Jesus was a god, the first-born son of the Almighty God, Jehovah, created in his image, as all sons reflect heir fathers. So the scripture you quote is correct, as are all the scriptures which describe Jesus as a god. However, NO scriptures in any translation call Jesus “Almighty God”. The reason is that Jesus was created by his father, as all sons are. Then, together with his father, all other things were created, as the NIV you use states. “Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV)-15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him”.
    It is a big subject that requires study and takes time. I commend you for your determination to continue your search and for inviting others to do so. There are so many on the internet who just mock or ridicule or misrepresent the truth, so your thoughts are refreshing.

    • Thanks Sean.

      I’m not going to get into a debate now, as I’m sure you can appreciate – but I will continue to research. At the moment the signs are pointing to Jesus being God. A little bit further down from the verses you quoted, Colossians 2:9 – “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”. Which I believe you translate as “in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily” In the original Greek the word is ‘Theostos’ meaning deity or divinity, it does not mean ‘divine quality’!

      Now I am sure you have a great reply, please do post it if you feel the need, however I will not be continuing a discussion purely based on formulaic rebuttals.

      Like I said, personally I find it impossible to escape the facts staring at me from the true Bible.

  2. Just a further comment on the bizarro comic; it really relects the “perception” of some people we call on which is why some immediately assume an adversarial stance. However, it does not at all reflect OUR thoughts. Perhaps you could replace the two Witnesses at the door with a depiction of Jesus, who commanded all Christians to do our work (see Matthew 28:19,20) or his apostles who obeyed that command (see Romans 20:20). Wouls the comments be the same? There is NO personal or selfish gain and none of our ministers are paid, just as Jesus and his followers were not financially compensated. Our only goal is to preach “the good news of the Kingdom.” Jesus stated this as one of the signs of the last days of human rulership of the earth. This message would be preached “as a witness to all nations and THEN the end will come” (see Matthew 24:14) . We have been doing this for most of the last century so that our neighbors can have hope. The good news is that soon the Father and the Son will take action against human rulers to replace the divided selfishly motivated human organizations with their rulership of earth under one government by Christ Jesus, our King. Isn’t that what we all pray for? ( see Matthew 6:9,10) Why would Jesus tell us to pray for it, if he never intended to answer the prayer?

  3. I also can understand the difficulty such conversations can present, especially when it is that both sides have points to be made and when it is not always that both are really listening to the other side.

    It may interest you to know that, for the past 20 years or so, I’ve been working on a study project touching on the very issues being discussed, that of the question of whether, within the Bible, there is any clear evidence that any of the inspired writers had ever attempted to teach, explain and/or defend the teaching that Jesus is God or that God is, indeed, a Trinity.

    Although there is, in my opinion, still so much work to be done, thus far, it has reached over 1,000 pages, over 525,000 words, all on 8 1/2 X 11″ pages. At present I am in search of some (including Trinitarians) who may have an interest in providing me with some feedback, that is, as to its current theme contents.

    For this, you (or any looking on) may contact me directly; and, even though I may not be willing to have just anyone take a look, I’d certainly be interested in giving consideration to what any might have to say about such a project.

    Agape, Alan.
    john1one@earthlink.net
    http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

    • Alan, this project sounds wonderful. I think it’s always good to study what God’s word really has to say, instead of just blindly accepting it.

      Please continue to stay in contact if there is any pressing questions on your mind.

      I am of limited knowledge, but am always willing to help. I don’t know if your book is finished yet, but I hope and pray that it’s going well, and that the book would be of great help to anyone considering this vital issue.

  4. No, I mean reliable translations.

    Most other translations of the Bible (NASB, ESV, NIV, RSV, HCSB, KJV, NKJV – representing over 400 translators from different Christian denominations) do not miss out on such monumental doctrinal issues as ‘is Jesus really God?’. It just happens that the New World Translators, of whom I believe there are five, holding no theological qualifications, have changed the text to suit their own theological bias in many places.

    Returning to the Colossians 1 issue, if we are making this a debate:

    * First: Jesus was not the “first created” since Colossians 1:16 states he created all things. If he himself were created he couldn’t have created all things. (that is why the NWT inserts the word “other.”)
    * Second: In fact Scripture teaches that Jesus created all angels, and all worship him. (Hebrews 1:6) (JW believe Jesus is the archangel Michael.)
    * Third: In Scripture the word “firstborn” carries the meaning “supreme” or “preeminent,” not first created. The firstborn son usually had this special status. In Col. 1:15, “firstborn of all creation” means he is supreme over creation since all things were created by him (1:16). Jesus is supreme over creation because he is its author and creator. (see also John 1:3)
    * Fourth: “Firstborn” is also used in relation to Christ’s preeminence or supremacy over death since he was the first to conquer death by his resurrection from the dead. (Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5)
    * Fifth: “Firstborn” doesn’t necessarily mean “first.” King David is referred to in Scripture (Psalm 89:27) as the “firstborn,” though he had 7 older brothers! David was not “first-created;” David was preeminent. In fact Scripture teaches David was “firstborn” over all the kings of the earth. (Psalm 89:27) Clearly he was preeminent over all kings, not the first-created king.
    * Sixth: Israel is the LORD’s “firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22). Israel was by no means the “first created” people of God. There are many nations that precede Israel. Similarly in Jeremiah 31:9 the LORD says, “Ephraim is my firstborn son.” Ephraim was not the LORD’s “first created” son. He was one of Joseph’s sons and became the name of the northern kindom.
    * Therefore it is abundantly clear that in Scripture firstborn does not mean first created. This is a clear misunderstanding.

    [Source: http://www.evangelicalbible.com/jw.htm%5D

  5. Well, I wasn’t planning to come back to this post but somehow I did. You said you didn’t want to debate or engage in a “formulaic response” ( I’m just a dumb Canadian, so I’m not even sure what that is :-) ; I just expressed my thoughts as they came to me. However, I have to commend you again for your thoughtful and respectful comments. I can see you are sincere, so I just wanted to acknowledge that. I don’t have time to respond today but thank you; I will try to get back to you soon (if you don’t mind) with an equally thoughtful reply. Have a nice evening!

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