I’ve been intent on trying out a couple of new apologetics on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and lo and behold a couple knocked on my door on Saturday. It was definitely the friendliest conversation I’ve ever had with a JW. While I’m sure I have matured in my witnessing abilities, the guy seemed to be especially good humored.
My sister, a Christian, has been approached to have a theological discussion with a JW friend of her husband’s family, and she was reluctant to agree, but I urged her to agree so I could attend. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the guy who was on my doorstep on Saturday was that friend. (We live in a small town.)
He was very talkative, but I got a chance to ask him about John 12:40–41. I recently learned that this passage completely blows the Watchtower teaching that Jesus is not God out of the water. (See my previous post for an explanation.) The guy didn’t really have an answer. He said the Bible has many illustrations in it and changed the subject. I don’t think he was prepared to answer this objection. I didn’t press him on it, because I know he would never admit that it bothered him. I can only hope and pray that he goes home and does an in-depth study with his wife.
We went on to discuss why he believes Jesus returned invisibly to earth in 1914, and why Protestant churches are so terribly divided. I admit that even though I knew JWs believed Jesus returned in 1914, I didn’t know how to refute it, so that’s something I will have to study for his next visit. As far as how divided Christianity is, I told him that while it may appear that it is divided, all born-again Christians agree on certain principles, and we’re free to go to different churches if we disagree on how long the pastor should talk, what kind of music should be played, or whether we should speak in tongues.
I also asked him whether he’s born again, and he said that since he hopes only to spend eternity on earth rather than heaven, he doesn’t need to be born again. I explained to him that he was born dead in his sins, and he agreed. I said that if he’s not born again, he’s still dead in his sins, and he disagreed, but couldn’t explain any further and, again, changed the subject. I tried to press him a little bit on this, and said that he’s either dead or alive, and that I’m really not aware of any in between on the matter. He said he thought there was an in between, but he just said we could talk about it next time. We looked up a couple verses:
• “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
• “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).
He assured me that he is led by the Spirit, and he believes Jesus is the Christ, but he said that “everyone” was not to be taken literally because of the context. (Ironically, context is what blows many of the JW proof texts out of the water.) I just told him that he’ll have to assure himself of the context.
We talked for more than an hour. At the end of our conversation, I took his invitation to the Kingdom Hall and a fairly thick booklet, “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” I’ve heard taking what JWs offer makes them less inclined to remove you from their list of homes to visit. I certainly didn’t want to close the door on an opportunity to share the truth. After he gave me the literature, I asked if he’d take something of mine. I told him it’s mostly just a list of verses on a ½ sheet of paper. At first, he said he couldn’t take it, but then he agreed. I gave him one of the tracts I recently wrote; I jotted down John 12:40–41 on the bottom of it.
Please pray for Gary and his wife. We parted as friends. He asked when he could come back, and I expect that he will return. I have a few things to study, and I hope that he’ll study the things I presented to him.