Thursday, November 11, 2010

Engaging JWs

Today, I saw the Jehovah's Witnesses walking around my neighborhood as I was coming back from getting an oil change. As I pulled up in my driveway, there were two men standing in the street in front of my house exchanging information. I carry photocopies of their old literature in my car where they predicted the end of the world five times (1914, 18, 25, 45, 75), and so I grabbed that lit. and my Greek NT, and walked out into the street to respectfully engage the man standing in front of my house.

I walked up, introduced myself, and asked him this question:
I have photocopies of your literature from the early to late 20th century, and in this literature your organization predicted the end of the world five times. Can you please explain to me why I should believe your organization's teachings about Christ when they can't get their prophecies right about the end of the world?
The man stammered a bit and then eventually told me that he knew about this information, yet it didn't affect his faith in what the Watchtower teaches. I then asked:
If the headquarters for your group can't get its dates right about the return of Christ, who's to say that they got it right about the nature of Christ?
He wanted to then get away from that as quickly as possible by throwing out some irrelevant issues (i.e., no man knows the day or the hour, JWs are unified in doctrine, etc.) and I calmly said,
Sir, all of that is irrelevant; the Mormons are unified too, but they worship a polytheistic idol. The issue is again, how can I trust your organization about Jesus' nature when they can't get the timing of his return right? Your New World Translation tells me in 1st John 4:1 to test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
At this point several JWs were walking down the street past us and the man I was speaking with asked another JW to come over to help in this conversation. After explaining my objections to him, this man said that the "society" has openly admitted that they were wrong. I then asked,
But have they ever repented of their false prophecy. There's a difference in apologizing and repenting. Apologizing is saying you're sorry. Repentance, in this context, is doing a complete turn around wherein you reject those the very doctrines or practices that led up to the false prophecy in the first place. Has the "society" ever done that?
This man didn't respond, but tried to redirect the conversation to issues about Christmas, Easter bunnies, and Halloween, and I redirected the conversation to why this issue is important:
Jesus said that you'd know a false prophet by the fruit that he bears, and the fruits that the Watchtower has borne are false prophecies rooted in a false Christ (Matt. 7:15-16).
They then what I believe about God and so I forthrightly confessed my Trinitarianism and commitment to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. One of them then asked, "So when Jesus died on the cross, did God die" and I responded, "Sir, by making a statement like that, you show that you do not understand the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity." I then gave the following brief definition of the Trinity with subsequent Scriptural proofs:
Within the one being that we call God, there are three, distinct, co-eternal persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that the Father is God (Eph. 1:3), the Son is God (John 20:28), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:4; 2 Cor. 3:17).
At this point I then said,
Look, the false prophecies I hold in my hand produced by your organization are only a fruit; a fruit of idolatry. The real issue is which God are you serving, the one True God, or an idol. Idols will lead to everlasting destruction (2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 21:8) whereas worshiping the one true God leads to eternal life (John 17:3).
The first gentlemen I talked to then said this, "In all my 50 years as a Jehovah's Witness, I've never ran into a guy like you. Why is that? Why aren't people that hold your doctrine knocking on my door" I said, "For starters, professing evangelicalism is apostatizing from the truth of the Scriptures, secondly, there are plenty of people around like me that can explain these things much better than I can because they are more qualified than I, but you aren't allowed to talk to them because your organization says that you are to avoid reading literature from 'opposers'. Finally, because of your doctrine of avoiding information from 'opposers', you are looking for guys like me about as much as a crook is looking for a cop."

With that last statement, the second gentleman said something like this, "If we could show you that you are mistaken about the false prophecies ruining the credibility of the Watchtower because they have apologized (viz., repented), would you become a Jehovah's Witness?"

My response: "Absolutely not, because you worship an idol rather than the One true God revealed in Scripture."

His response: "I'd like to continue this conversation in the future, but for now, we have to go since our group is waiting for us. It is clear that you are convinced of your position and we are comfortable with ours, so we probably aren't going to make any more headway today."

My final response: "With all due respect, that's your problem. You are 'comfortable' with your position, a position that will lead you to the very Hell that you deny. The ultimate issue is this: Who is God? The answer to that question matters forever and Jesus said that if you don't believe that He is the great 'I AM', you will die in your sins (John 8:24); that's what I'm concerned about for you and you ought to be concerned about it for yourself."

Conclusion: Bible-believing Christians need to be willing to do for the truth what the cults are willing to do for a lie. Why not give up some creature comforts and memorize some Scripture, do some study, and get equipped to engage these Hell-bound people rather than ignore them when they knock on your door?