Allow me to start off by saying that I’m not claiming that there is a “best” way to witness to a Jehovah’s Witness, but I have been able to rescue some from their organization. So in that, I’ll share what I’ve learned in the process. Perhaps some of these ideas will be helpful to you. This discourse is written with the real time face to face encounter in mind, but it can also be used for internet witnessing. However, due to certain dynamics via the internet, there are other methods that I employ just a little differently, and from another approach.
Unwarrantedly Watchtower Society’s Translation Committee added “Jehovah” in 237 places in New Testament. By doing so, New World Translation (NWT), Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible, blurs many passages that depicts Christ Jesus as Lord (Kyrios) of Old Testament.
In Journal of Biblical Literature, Kurt Aland showed that the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, does not appear in any of the 5,255 known New Testament Greek manuscripts (Aland 1968: 184). The Tetragrammaton is also absent in the writing of the early Christians. For example, Clement’s epistle to the Corinthians written ca. 100 A.D quoted Joshua 2 cf. Heb. 11:31(“I[Rahab] know assuredly that the Lord(“κύριος”) your God hath given you this city [...](1 Clement 12), Ezekiel 33:11 “For as I live, said the Lord (Ky′ri·os), I do not desire the death of the sinner so much as his repentance”.(1 Clement 8). NWT’s unwarrantedly added “Jehovah” in front of “Lord”. Continue reading
As any Christian apologist knows, there are vast differences between orthodox Christian and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) beliefs. The biggest difference that marks the Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter JW, or plural JWs) is their teachings on the nature of God. According to Dr. William Lane Craig from his “Defenders” (Series 1) podcasts the historic plumbline between orthodox Christianity and heresies has been the Trinity. The JWs do not hold to a trinitarian God while we Christians do. However, in my discussions with JWs, I have found it to be too difficult of a jump to go right into a discussion of the Trinity, just like it is nearly pointless to get into a circular discussion of eschatology with them. Going too far down these roads only delays talking about substantive issues and ultimately getting to the Gospel. Instead, I have found it more effective to present two items of orthodox Christianity to which JWs do not hold- the personhood of the Holy Spirit and the divinity of Jesus. These two doctrines are better starting points because they provide immediate clear differences that can be exposed in the JWs’ own Bible translation.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that Jesus is archangel Michael (Jude 9) since He speaks “with the voice of archangel”. Watchtower’s “Aid To Bible Understanding? ” claimed:
Scriptural evidence indicates that the name Michael applied to God’s Son before he left heaven to become Jesus Christ and also after his return. Michael is the only one said to be the “archangel” […] At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the voice of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is described as being that of an archangel, suggesting that he is, in fact, himself the archangel. This text depicts him as descending from heaven with a “commanding call.” It is only logical, therefore, that the voice expressing this commanding call be described by a word that would not diminish or detract from the great authority that Christ Jesus now has as King of kings and Lord of lords. (Watchtower 1971:1152)
Going alongside this understanding of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Jehovah’s Witnesses point out that Michael is called “the archangel” (Jude 9). “This suggests that there is only one such angel. In fact, the term “archangel” occurs in the Bible only in the singular, never in the plural.”(Watchtower 2005: 218-9) Hence Jesus is Michael. Continue reading
In Watchtower’s “What Does The Bible Really Teach?” Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that “the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth.”(Watchtower 2005: 218) They maintained:
While there is no statement in the Bible that categorically identifies Michael the archangel as Jesus, there is one scripture that links Jesus with the office of archangel. In his letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul prophesied: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) In this scripture Jesus is described as having assumed his power as God’s Messianic King. Yet, he speaks with “an archangel’s voice.”(Awake! 2002: 17)
Does the Bible really indicate that Jesus is archangel Michael? Contra to Watchtower’s theology, I contended in this series of articles that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 does not indicate that Jesus is an archangel Michael but the Lord God himself (Psalm 47:5; Micah 1:3; Zech. 9:13; Isa. 27:13;). I explored the meaning of this text, how early Church(ca. 30- 325 A.D.) understood it to mean and Angelology. Continue reading
In the official Watchtower publication, Should You Believe in the Trinity, Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaim that:
- Jesus had an existence in heaven before coming to the earth…the Bible plainly states that in his pre-human existence, Jesus was a created spirit being, just as the angels were spirit beings created by God. Continue reading
Back From The Grave
In a list of harmful teachings by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the one I’m about to speak about is the most harmful one concerning the Christian faith. It’s about the resurrection of Jesus. As Paul declares, that if Jesus had not risen, then our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14). Though the Watchtower say they teach that Jesus resurrected from the dead, but here’s what they actually believe:
It was a bright and cold December morning and I was up to my elbows in bread dough when my doorbell rang. The dog barked at full volume, and my preschool daughter zipped past me as I brushed the flour from my hands and followed her to the door. There waited a tall, professionally dressed, blond young woman, smiling confidently as if she were arriving for a job interview. She offered me some free literature on the Bible and asked if she could read me a Bible verse or two. I put the dog out, forgot about my bread, and said, “Sure!”
I saw from her pamphlet that she was associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I quizzed her a little. “Oh yes, we believe salvation is totally by grace – there is nothing we could ever do to earn it.” She came across as sincere and earnest, used all the right words, and we agreed on most everything we discussed in that short exchange. I found that I liked her. But I knew there were problems with the message she was bringing to my home. “Is it Jehovah’s Witnesses who teach that Jesus is the same person as Michael the archangel?” I asked. I knew one of the aberrant groups taught this, but I wasn’t sure which one.
“Yes!” her face lit up as this connection was made. Continue reading
Arianism is a doctrine that was taught by Arius of Alexandrian (ca. 280-336), which viewed preexisted Son of God as a first created creature before and above all other creatures. He is not out of the essence but the will of God the Father.
Arianism perceived pre-existed Son of God as the perfect image of the Father and the executor of God the Father’s thoughts. Thus preexisted Christ Jesus is “capable of being called in a metaphorical sense God, and Logos, and Wisdom.” (Schaff 1997: n.p)
Shedd and Gomes explained that “Arius taught that God created a rational spirit creature called the ‘Son-Logos.’ At the incarnation the created Son-Logos assumed bodily form.” (Shedd & Gomes 2003: 952) Continue reading
Almost everybody has been visited at home by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and most people probably wouldn’t hesitate to call the group crazy. It’s difficult to reach any other conclusion when they start conversations with, “Do you think God punishes people with natural disasters?” Nonetheless, I’ve found that when given an opportunity to speak, they’re willing to discuss their beliefs, and they can do so quite thoughtfully. What I find even more interesting, however, is that this seemingly strange approach to evangelism actually works. There’s a valuable lesson here for Christians.