A Step-by-Step Guide for Christians Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses
WHO ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their door-to-door proselytizing efforts and the Watchtower and Awake! magazines that they distribute to private homes, public facilities, and individuals on street corners. Although they claim strict adherence to the Bible and do not regard any other book as “Scripture,” they rely on their own version of the Bible called The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and additional publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society that they use to interpret the Bible. While Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be “Christians,” their true authority is the Watchtower organization that demands full devotion to its teachings and policies. Their denial of key Christian beliefs, such as the Trinity, heaven for all believers, hell fire for unbelievers, immortality of the soul, and the cross, has caused many Christian churches to denounce this group as a heretical movement. Likewise, counter-cult experts criticize this group for its prohibition against blood transfusions and critical literature, and its strict “shunning” policy against those who leave the group. 1.
Although every Jehovah’s Witness is expected to “publish” their message by consistently engaging in “field service” (proselytizing door-to door and conducting “bible studies” with potential converts), most spend between 10 to 70 hours per month in these activities depending upon the level of “publisher” they have committed to perform. Each month, they are expected to report their field service time and studies to the local Kingdom Hall (Jehovah’s Witness meeting place). Weekly meetings and semi-annual assemblies constantly emphasize the need to increase field service activity and to be faithful in meeting preparation and attendance.
A strong motivating factor for Jehovah’s Witnesses is the belief that at any time, Jehovah God will unleash His vengeance against wicked mankind through the prophesied “Battle of Armageddon” that will destroy earthly governments and establish the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth. Jehovah’s Witnesses are told that when this battle occurs, Jehovah God will reward or condemn them based upon their faithfulness to perform consistent field service and their loyalty to the beliefs and practices of the Watchtower Society. Therefore, throughout the history of the organization, when false dates for the “end” of the world have been speculated, many lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been ruined because they sold their homes, gave up the pursuit of higher education, marriage and children in order to prepare for the end. While Jehovah’s Witnesses today still hold to the idea that Jehovah God will destroy this world at any time, they do not attach a date to this belief, but work to maintain a perpetual state of readiness for the “end” to come at any time.
HOW TO WITNESS TO THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AT YOUR DOOR:
Despite their cordial smiles and happy appearances, most Jehovah’s Witnesses you meet at the door are under stress and have no spiritual peace. Because of their belief that Armageddon will occur at any moment, they feel constant pressure to perform and have no assurance that they have been doing enough to be acceptable to Jehovah God. Love in the organization is conditional upon performance. If they do not perform or are caught doing an unapproved act (such as reading anti-Jehovah’s Witness literature), they will be “marked” as a spiritually “weak” person to be watched or avoided, and if the act is serious enough, they will even be “disfellowshipped” (kicked out of the organization) and “shunned” by all of their friends and family members in the organization. There is simply no way for a Jehovah’s Witness to experience true unconditional love in the Watchtower.
If you are prepared, you can show them a different way. Demonstrate the unconditional love of Christ in your words and actions. Let them know that regardless of whether they agree with your beliefs, you care about them and want to be their friend. When you’ve finished a tough discussion with them, always let them know that you love them and will be praying for them. This will plant a seed of truth and love that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Remember, Jehovah’s Witnesses are bound to the teachings of the Watchtower organization. So, until they are ready to leave their religion, do not expect them to agree with you on the doctrinal differences that come up in conversations. Just plant seeds of Scriptural truth with love and let the Holy Spirit drive it home in their hearts. Someday, you may even have the privilege of seeing the Holy Spirit open their eyes to His Truth (John 14:6). So, be patient and do not pressure them into agreeing with you.
1. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO TALK…
If you don’t have time to talk, you can hand Jehovah’s Witnesses copies of our business card tracts. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses are warned against reading literature critical of the Watchtower organization, we designed these small card tracts to aid you in planting seeds of truth in a way that is less threatening than the normal full-size, three-fold tracts and pamphlets that are produced by Christian evangelical tract ministries. Due to the size of these cards and the photos that look like images from Watchtower publications, the Scriptures and the questions on these cards can be read before the Jehovah’s Witness knows what he is reading. By the time he finishes the card, even if he discards the card afterward, the seeds of truth from God’s Word have already been planted in his heart for the Holy Spirit to bring back to his mind.
On the backside of each card, we list our website that is easy for a Jehovah’s Witness to remember and study on his own when no one is looking. If he visits the website version of each of our cards, he will find links to other articles on our website that provide more research on each topic. Since these cards are small, you can place them in your purse or wallet and have them ready to hand out to the next group of Jehovah’s Witnesses who visit your home or neighborhood. You are welcome to view and print these cards free from our website at the following link:
How to present the card tracts to Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Since Jehovah’s Witnesses never visit homes or neighborhoods alone, they can be seen walking down the street in groups of 2 to 4 people and may be accompanied by their children. If you are prepared, you can hand several different cards to each adult in the group, and in so doing, plant many seeds of truth. For best results, we suggest that you hand the first adult who seems to be the leader of the group, two or three different cards that you randomly select from your pile of cards and include the card entitled, “Are You a True Witness of Jehovah?” placed at the top of his or her stack. Next, hand the second person in the group the card entitled, “Did The Early Christians Call God By His Personal Name?” at the top of a different set of two or three cards. For other adults that may be in the group, hand stacks of two or three cards of whatever else you have left in your pile. This way, when they see that each received different cards, curiosity may encourage them to read each other’s cards and more seeds will be planted. When you hand them these cards, be prepared for the following sample dialogue:
CHRISTIAN: “Hi! Are you Jehovah’s Witnesses?”
JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: “We sure are. Are you a Jehovah’s Witness?”
CHRISTIAN: “No, but I’m a Christian who loves to witness for Jehovah. I wish I had time to talk, but I really must go. Here are my cards about Jehovah God. I hope you like them.”
JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: “Thanks!… [glancing at the cards] Oh, this doesn’t look very positive… It’s probably ‘apostate’ literature… I don’t know if I want these…”
CHRISTIAN: “Oh, don’t worry! These cards are positive, vital messages from the Scriptures. I hope you’ll find them encouraging. Feel free to visit me again sometime so we can talk, but I really need to go now. Thanks for coming by!”
With this statement, it is best to walk away or close the door because if you spend too much time talking about the cards, it won’t take long before the Jehovah’s Witnesses will decide that these cards are too critical of their beliefs for their comfort in reading them. You must understand that Watchtower policy strictly prohibits Jehovah’s Witnesses from reading anything critical or their beliefs and practices. The Watchtower Society has even published articles explicitly warning Jehovah’s Witnesses not to accept literature from the people they meet at the door. Thus, if a Jehovah’s Witness is discovered to possess “apostate” (anti-Jehovah’s Witness) literature, he runs the risk of being disfellowshipped. Therefore, it is best to let the Jehovah’s Witnesses read the cards to make their own determinations about them so that the seeds of truth will be planted before cultic-mind control and fear will have a chance to take over.
2. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO LEARN HOW TO DEFEND YOUR BELIEFS…
If you desire to share your faith one-on-one with Jehovah’s Witnesses, but you do not have time to prepare for an in-depth discussion on the differences between beliefs, you may want to invite them to read a photocopied documentation packet of Watchtower literature that you can obtain from our website under the “STEP BY STEP QUESTIONS FOR JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES” link. If presented tactfully, you may be successful in getting them to commit to an hour to read the photocopied Watchtower documentation with you so that you can discuss your concerns about the organization without presenting any “apostate” (anti-Jehovah’s Witness) literature. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses are sometimes hesitant to look at photocopies of their own publications because they are told that the photocopies are nothing but “lies” about the Watchtower, you will need to be tactful in how you explain why you need their “help” to verify whether or not these photocopies are authentic and to obtain their perspective so that they can “help” correct any “errors” or “lies” you have come to believe about Jehovah’s Witnesses from viewing this documentation. For advice on how to present a documentation packet like this to Jehovah’s Witnesses, see the following article:
The best way to witness to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who show up at your door is for you to invite them into your home for a friendly conversation on the differences between Biblical Christianity and Jehovah’s Witness beliefs. While it may be tempting to argue with them by saying: “You are wrong because the Bible says…” Avoid this temptation because you can win an argument but lose the heart of the person. As the old saying goes: “Convince a man against his will and he is of the same opinion still!”
Rather than you telling them what you believe, it is far more effective to challenge their beliefs by asking logical and Scriptural questions in a gentle and loving way. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses pride themselves in being able to answer anyone who challenges them on their beliefs, if you know the effective questions to ask, you can raise serious doubts in their minds that the Holy Spirit can use to convict them of the truth. So, be patient and do not force them to agree with you when they cannot answer your questions right away. Allow them to save face by humbly acknowledging their struggle with the contradiction you raised and then let the issue rest. You can do the same if they ask you a tough question that you can’t answer right away. Just say:
“That’s a good question. I never thought of it that way before. I would like to do some research on this subject this week and the next time we get together, can we talk about this?”
They will almost never say: “No!” to your request. By giving each other the opportunity to save face in this manner, you will be able to keep your discussions from turning into a debate.
Remember, your goal is not to win the argument, but to win the person. Don’t expect them to change their beliefs and accept yours right away. They are representatives for the Watchtower organization, so even if they desire to change their beliefs, they can’t without leaving the Jehovah’s Witness religion altogether. There isn’t an honorable way out of the Watchtower. Jehovah’s Witness who leave the organization (“disassociate” themselves) are “shunned” by their friends and family the same way as those who are “disfellowshipped” for wrongdoing. Therefore, your goal is just to plant seeds of truth that God can use to convict their consciences. When they understand the point you made (whether they agree with you or not), you have accomplished your goal.
How to start a meaningful conversation with Jehovah’s Witnesses:
To be effective in witnessing, you must first recognize that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not interested in debating or arguing with you about your beliefs. Since, they believe that Christianity has “apostatized” from the teachings of the Bible, they do not believe that you have anything to offer them. They also believe that their leadership has been appointed by Jehovah God to “channel” truth to His people, so Jehovah’s Witnesses will not accept an interpretation of the Bible that disagrees with the official teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Finally, they are trained to avoid people who know a lot about their history and beliefs and who attempt to get them to leave the Watchtower organization. So, if you come across as too knowledgeable, they will immediately reject anything you say and mark their records so that you will not receive any more visits from their Kingdom Hall. Thus, to avoid coming across as being too knowledgeable, we suggest that you preface any discussion about their beliefs with a question like this:
“I’ve heard that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe… Is this true?”
If you plan on taking the time to dialogue in depth with the Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to your door, it is best to exchange names and phone numbers right away and to schedule a time when they can come back and visit you in your home for at least an hour. Since you will be getting them to agree to meet with you at an appointed time for a specified length of time, this will help avoid the common Jehovah’s Witness excuse of, “We have to go right away…” when you ask them a tough question that they cannot answer.
Beware that when they come for their first or second appointment, they will try to get you to agree to do a “bible study” in one of their publications. While you can use their publications to witness to them (and we recommend that you do if you are prepared in the way we will describe below), it can be difficult to get very far in your discussions with them because they will watch your response to the beliefs that are discussed in each of the chapters of their book in hopes of seeing signs that you are accepting their beliefs. If you continually indicate that you will not bend on your beliefs and that you refuse to accept what they are trying to “teach” you in their “studies,” they will accuse you of “not progressing in the Truth” and refuse to study with you further.
Another objection that can occur when you agree to allow them to use their Watchtower publications is an excuse of, “We will get to that doctrine later on in this book” if you bring up a difficult topic that they have a hard time defending. Then, when they perceive that after a few chapters in the beginning of the book where you are not “progressing” by accepting their beliefs, they will stop meeting with you and completely avoid the difficult topic that you had brought up earlier because you never “progressed” to that chapter in the book before they “gave up” on you.
What to Say if Jehovah’s Witnesses Question Your Motives:
When Jehovah’s Witnesses sense that you are strong in your Christian faith and that you are not going to convert to their beliefs, they may object to continuing their studies with you by questioning your motives for meeting with them. They may say something like this:
“I sense you are not being humble, hungry and honest with us about your reason for inviting us to study with you. You’re not ‘progressing’ ‘in the Truth’ at all! Why? Are you trying to convert us to your beliefs? If you were interested in becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, why are you refusing to accept our beliefs? I feel like we are ‘wasting our time’ studying with you!”
If a Jehovah’s Witness questions your motives in this way, you can reply with something like the following:
“You are right that I am comfortable in my faith and will likely not become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, I invited you to talk to me because I wanted to learn more about what you believe. I have discovered that a person stops learning truth the moment he thinks he cannot learn anything from others. We both are learning from each other, aren’t we?”
By answering in this way, you have put the Jehovah’s Witness in a tough position. If he answers “no” to your question about learning from each other, he has just admitted that he has stopped learning and doesn’t want to learn more truth from you. If he answers “yes” to your question, he has to then agree to allow you to share your beliefs and perspectives.
Pros and Cons of Studying with Watchtower Publications:
There are two ways you can handle a “study” with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The most common way is to allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to study with you using one of their Watchtower publications. While you do run the risk of the Jehovah’s Witnesses giving up on meeting with you after only a few chapters in their publication when you don’t agree to the doctrinal points they are making, they do tend to be more tolerant in listening to your concerns and staying with you longer if you base your questions upon the topics you are studying in their publication, and you don’t raise too many arguments against their beliefs in one setting.
However, if you are not comfortable allowing Jehovah’s Witnesses to use one of their Watchtower publications to study with you, you can insist that they study with you using only the Bible. The benefit of studying this way is that instead of their books dictating what topics they will and will not discuss with you, you can take control by asking them to discuss with you a specific set of topics that you have “questions” about and would like their “help” to “understand” using the Bible alone. While they may be hesitant at first to do this type of “study” with you because they are not trained in this method and it is not part of the Watchtower program for making new converts, most will agree to this type of study for a short time if you explain that you have heard some negative things about Watchtower publications and are not sure that you can trust their literature at this point.
QUESTIONS TO ASK JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES DURING THE STUDY:
To prepare to become an effective witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have briefly summarized (below) each of the major doctrinal differences that will come up when you “study” with them. Even if you decide not to allow them to use their publications in your study, it is important that you are prepared to ask the following questions when these topics come up because they will come up at some point in your discussions with them if they study very long with you. After each of the suggested questions we list below, we have provided additional links to relevant articles on our website that you can read to learn more about each topic.
Each time that you meet, we suggest that you ask only one or two of the series of questions listed below, because you don’t want to make them feel like you are arguing and debating with them. If you stick with only a few questions that they are not able to answer in each session, these questions will stay in the minds a lot longer than they would if you barraged them with a LOT of questions all at once.
One word of caution as you engage in dialogue with Jehovah’s Witnesses: Stay on the topic that you or they bring to the table for discussion. It is common for Jehovah’s Witnesses to try to distract their “student” (you) with unrelated Scriptures and arguments in an attempt to keep an edge of superiority over you when you ask them a question they don’t know how to answer. If you allow them to throw you off track, you can easily become frustrated. So, do not let them change subjects when you ask a question they do not know how to answer. Neither should you try to divert them from a topic that they want to discuss with you by bringing up an argument or question that is irrelevant to the topic being discussed.
For example, if they’re discussing their belief that this earth will one day become a paradise, it may be easy to divert them by bringing up the false prophecies of the Watchtower organization and expecting them to change subjects by arguing with you on why they believe the Watchtower is still God’s organization in spite of its past prophetic failures. Resist this temptation! Changing topics like this from what they want to discuss with you is the quickest way to convince them that you are not really interested in hearing their message. A better way to handle a diversion topic like this is to share that you have some “questions” about the “rumors” you’ve heard concerning “false prophecy” in Watchtower history and you are wondering if it would be alright to discuss this topic the following week. If they agree, the door is open for a cordial discussion.
It is in this way that both sides show respect for each other. If you expect the Jehovah’s Witnesses to listen to you without interruption, you must show the same courtesy and respect to hear them out as well. Again, if they bring up a topic you don’t know much about and feel unprepared to discuss, you can always ask if they would allow you time to research this topic and discuss the following week.
1. GOD HAS A NAME – God’s name is spelled יהוה (YHWH) in Hebrew letters rendered as “Jehovah” in the New World Translation Bible of Jehovah’s Witnesses:
“IN YOUR copy of the Bible, how is Psalm 83:18 translated? The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures renders this verse: ‘That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.’ …many translations leave out the name Jehovah, replacing it with such titles as ‘Lord’ or ‘Eternal.’ What belongs in this verse? A title or the name Jehovah? …In replacing God’s name with titles, Bible translators make a serious mistake. They make God seem remote and impersonal …when people are kept in ignorance about God’s name, Jehovah, how can they become truly close to God?” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, 2005, pp. 195-196
ASK: “If it is so important that people read God’s name in the Bible in order to have a ‘close’ relationship with God, why did God chose NOT to reveal His name to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 6:2-3)? If these Godly men could know God just by calling Him ‘God Almighty,’ why can’t we? How would you feel if your children started calling you by your first name instead of calling you ‘Dad’ (or ‘Mom’)? Wouldn’t you question why they were treating you so impersonal by calling you by your formal name? Since Christians are called ‘adopted’ children of God (Galatians 4:5-7), can you see why Jesus taught His followers to pray ‘Our Father’ instead of praying ‘Our Jehovah’ (Matthew 6:9)?
2. THE BIBLE IS A TRUSTWORTHY GUIDE FOR LIFE – It is scientifically, historically accurate and reliable, and its principles apply to all people.
“Because the Bible is inspired of God, it is ‘beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.’ (2 Timothy 3:16) …The Bible’s principles apply to all people, and its counsel is always beneficial.” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, 2005, pp. 21, 23
ASK: “I can tell that you have a lot of respect for the Bible’s principles, as do I. However, I’m wondering: Are you as a Jehovah’s Witness allowed to believe the Bible when it disagrees with something you read in the Watchtower? For example, I’ve heard that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus raised His physical human body, even though the Bible says that Jesus promised to ‘raise’ the ‘body’ that the Jews destroyed (John 2:18-22)? As a Jehovah’s Witness, are you required to believe false Watchtower teachings like this that disagree with the Bible? Or are you allowed to let the Bible teach you the truth?”
3. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE EARTH IS TO BECOME A PARADISE.
“God’s purpose for the earth is really wonderful. …it was God’s purpose that humans have children, extend the boundaries of that garden home earth wide, and take care of the animals. …what God purposes he will surely do! …the Bible answers: ‘The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.’ —Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:3,4 …By using lies and trickery, Satan the Devil caused Adam and Eve to disobey God. (Genesis 2:17; 3:6) As a result, they eventually died… The Bible reveals that the time is near when God will eliminate the wicked world during his war of Armageddon. This will make way for a righteous new world. …Jesus promised that in the coming new world, those approved by God would receive the gift of ‘everlasting life.’ (Mark 10:30) …It was to the coming Paradise on earth that Jesus pointed when he promised the evildoer who died alongside him: ‘You will be with me in Paradise.’ (Luke 23:43)” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, pp. 27-29, 32-33, 36
ASK: “If ‘paradise’ is something that will happen to the earth in the future, how was the Apostle Paul able to go to ‘paradise’ in the ‘third heaven’ (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)? How could the evildoer who died alongside Jesus be ‘with’ Jesus in ‘paradise’ if the evildoer will be on the earth and Jesus will be in heaven? Don’t these Scriptures indicate that God is planning to make heaven the place of ‘paradise’ instead of the earth (Luke 23:43)?”
ASK: “I agree that if Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would have lived forever on the earthly paradise that God had created for them. There was no heavenly hope at that time because Jesus didn’t prepare a place in heaven for His followers to dwell until AFTER he was resurrected (John 14:2-3). However, since God promised us a “new heaven” and a “new earth” (2 Peter 3:7, 10-13), why would He make both places for us to enjoy if we would be stuck living on earth and would not be able to go to heaven? Wasn’t Jesus able to travel back and forth between heaven and earth in His resurrected body (Acts 1:9-11)? Since we will be resurrected with a body similar to Christ’s body (Philippians 3:20-21), why won’t we be able to travel between the new heaven and the new earth once we are resurrected with our new bodies?”
ASK: “How will Jehovah’s Witnesses clean up the earth after God’s war of Armageddon? The Bible book of Revelation describes that God’s judgment will result in half of the earth’s population (3 billion people) dying (Revelation 6:8; 9:15-18). Will Jehovah’s Witnesses have to witness the bloody flesh of these people rotting and being eaten by birds and wild animals and then work to bury the bones of these 3 billion people? The Bible says that the sky will vanish and every mountain and island will be completely destroyed through great earthquakes (Revelation 6:14; 16:19-20) and hail stones 60-100 pounds each (Revelation 16:21). How will Jehovah’s Witnesses rebuild roads and houses without the heavy machinery, lumberyards and cement equipment that will be destroyed through these plagues? Where will they get the lumber to build houses since hail and fire, mixed with blood will burn up a third of the trees and green grass (Revelation 8:7)? How will they cut down the remaining trees and transport this lumber without roads and heavy equipment? Where will Jehovah’s Witnesses get clean water to drink since the rivers, springs and 1/3 of the oceans will be turned to blood (Revelation 8:8-11; 16:4)? How will they use polluted water to clean up the dead sea creatures and ships that were destroyed through these judgments (Revelation 8:8-9)? This sounds like hundreds of years of very difficult work and stress! Does this sound like ‘paradise’ to you?”
ASK: “What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe I have to do to be saved and have the assurance of eternal life? If I endure through the battle of Armageddon, am I saved? Since I won’t be “perfect” until the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ, what assurance do I have that I won’t fail and loose my salvation at some point during this time? Even though I will finally become perfect by the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ, how can I be sure that I will pass the final test of Satan if Adam wasn’t able to do it and he was perfect!?”
4. WHO IS JESUS CHRIST? – As the first created “Son” of Jehovah, Jesus is not equal to God.
“Jesus is Jehovah’s most precious Son… He is called ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ for he was God’s first creation. (Colossians 1:15) …Jesus is the only one directly created by God. Jesus is also the only one whom God used when He created all other things. (Colossians 1:16)… Is the firstborn Son equal to God, as some believe? That is not what the Bible teaches. …According to the Trinity doctrine, …the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there is only one God. …Consider what was written by Matthew, …he quotes Jesus as saying: ‘Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.’ (Matthew 24:36) …Jesus says that the Father knows more than the Son does. …Yet, some will say: ‘Jesus had two natures. Here he speaks as a man.’ But even if that were so, what about the holy spirit? If it is part of the same God as the Father, why does Jesus not say that it knows what the Father knows?” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, pp. 41, 201, 203-204
ASK: “While I agree that Jesus is not the same ‘person’ as the Father as we see throughout Scripture that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct from each other (Matthew 3:16-17), and operate with their own separate minds (1 Corinthians 2:11, 16; Romans 8:27) wills (Matthew 11:27; 26:39; 1 Corinthians 12:11) and emotions (Zephaniah 3:17; John 11:35; Ephesians 4:30).Yet, the Bible is clear that there is only ‘one’ true God (John 17:3; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 46:9; 48:12). If Jesus is a lesser ‘god’ created by Jehovah, the Almighty God, is Jesus the ‘True God’ (John 1:1; 20:28; 1 John 5:20) or a false ‘god’ similar to Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4)? If Jesus is a false ‘god,’ how can He save anyone? Is a human ‘son’ any less human than his father is? If a human ‘son’ is just as much human as his father is, how can Jesus as God’s ‘Son’ be less ‘God’ than His Father is? Can you see why the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy, of claiming to be ‘equal’ to God, when He claimed to be the ‘Son of God’ (John 5:18; 19:7)?” 2.
ASK: “If Jehovah created Jesus and used Jesus to create everything else, how could Jehovah say at Isaiah 44:24: ‘I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me?’ 3. If no one was ‘with’ Jehovah when He created the world, how could Jesus be a created ‘god’ who worked ‘with’ Jehovah? Jehovah proclaims at Isaiah 43:10: ‘You are my witnesses …understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none.’ If no ‘God’ was ‘formed’ after Jehovah, how could Jesus be ‘a god’ created ‘after’ Jehovah? Why does the Bible call Jesus the ‘everlasting Father’ at Isaiah 9:6, if Jesus is not from ‘everlasting’? How could Jesus ‘give eternal life’ to His followers if He is created and doesn’t own eternity (John 10:28)?”
ASK: “It is true that when Jesus was on earth, the Father was in a ‘greater’ position (John 14:28) because Jesus operated under the limitations of His humanity (Philippians 2:5-9), so He didn’t always ‘know’ everything the Father knows, such as the day or the hour of His return (Matthew 24:36). However, in His God nature, the Bible proclaims that Jesus ‘knows all things’ (John 16:30). If the Holy Spirit is not a person but is just God’s ‘active force’ as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, why would Jesus be required to mention whether or not the Holy Spirit ‘knows’ what the Father knows at Matthew 24:36? If the Holy Spirit is just God’s ‘force,’ how could ‘it’ ‘know’ anything? But if the Jehovah’s Witness belief that the Holy Spirit is a ‘force’ is incorrect, what would you accept as evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person who ‘knows’ everything that the Father knows? Would you accept 1 Corinthians 2:11: ‘…no one has come to know the things of God, except the spirit of God.’ If the Holy Spirit ‘knows the things of God,’ how can it NOT know everything the Father knows?”
5: THE GIFT OF THE RANSOM SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
“How could one man serve as a ransom for many, in fact, millions of humans? …Recall that by sinning, Adam lost the precious possession of perfect human life. Hence, he could not pass it on to his offspring. Instead, he could pass on only sin and death. Jesus, whom the Bible calls ‘the last Adam’ had a perfect human life, and he never sinned. (1 Corinthians 15:45) …By sacrificing, or giving up, his perfect life in flawless obedience to God, Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin. …by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, we can receive ‘the forgiveness of our sins.’ (Colossians 1:13, 14) To gain that forgiveness, however, we must be truly repentant. We must also humbly appeal to Jehovah, asking his forgiveness on the basis of our faith in the ransom sacrifice of his Son. – 1 John 1:8-9” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, pp. 50-51, 53
ASK: “If we can receive forgiveness of sins through the ransom, does this mean that you believe that Jesus died not only to pay for Adam’s sin and the sin nature we inherited from him, but also for each of our own personal sins—like the times we lied, stole, cheated, lusted, or coveted something someone else owns (1 Peter 2:24)? Since Jesus paid for all of our sins, what sin can we do that He did not pay for that would cause us to lose the gift of ‘eternal life’ (John 10:28)? At John 5:39-40, what did Jesus say we must do in order to have our sins forgiven and to receive eternal life? Have you ‘come’ to Jesus by praying to Him for forgiveness and the gift of eternal life?
6. THE DEAD ARE UNCONSCIOUS.
“What happens at death is no mystery to Jehovah …in his Word the Bible, he explains the condition of the dead. …When a person dies, he ceases to exist. …Not even one part of us survives the death of the body. We do not possess an immortal soul or spirit. After Solomon observed that the living know that they will die, he wrote: ‘As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.’ …Jesus told his disciples: ‘Lazarus our friend has gone to rest.’ …Jesus explained: ‘Lazarus has died.’ (John 11:11-14) Notice that Jesus compared death to rest and sleep.” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, pp. 58-59
ASK: “If there is ‘not even one part of us [that] survives the death of the body,’ what did Jesus mean when He said: ‘And do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy 4. both soul and body in Ge·hen´na.’ (Matthew 10:28)? Doesn’t this Scripture indicate that the soul is not ‘destroyed’ when the body is killed? If you regard Solomon as an authority on death and the afterlife, do you believe Solomon’s words at Ecclesiastes 9:6: ‘…they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun’ 5.? Do you believe that when you die, you will have ‘no portion’ FOREVER ‘in anything… done under the sun’? Wouldn’t believing this verse remove any possibility of resurrection after death? What about Ecclesiastes 9:2 that proclaims the righteous and the wicked have the same end? Or Ecclesiastes 3:18 that states ‘there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity’? Do you regard these Scriptures as accurate depictions of life and eternity? Since you do not, can you see why many believe that Solomon is merely portraying a ‘vain,’ humanistic worldview, not a God-centered eternal perspective? Jesus compared ‘death to rest and sleep’ in the case of Lazarus at John 11 because He regarded Lazarus’ body as sleeping prior to Jesus resurrecting him. There is nothing in this passage that indicates that the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ of a person sleeps at death. Rather, at Luke 16, Jesus told a story of a rich man who was in ‘torment’ after death while a poor man named Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom. How could Jesus tell such vivid stories that equated ‘Ge·hen´na’ (hell) with a ‘fire that cannot be put out’ (Mark 9:43, 47-49), if He believed the souls and spirits of people sleep in an unconscious state in the ‘Ha´des’ (grave) or ‘Ge·hen´na’ (hell)?”
7. THE RESURRECTION
“What about all the people who did not serve or obey Jehovah because they never knew about him? These billions of ‘unrighteous’ ones …will be resurrected and given an opportunity to join faithful humans on earth in serving Jehovah. It will be a wonderful time. This period is what the Bible refers to as Judgment Day. Does this mean that every human who ever lived will be resurrected? No. …He will never resurrect those whom he judges to be wicked and unwilling to change. The Bible also refers to another kind of resurrection, one to life as a spirit creature in heaven. …God resurrected Jesus, but not as a human. The apostle Peter explains that Christ was ‘put to death in the flesh, but … made alive in the spirit.’ (1 Peter 3:18) …Jesus was alive again as a mighty spirit person! … Yes, Jehovah really will defeat our enemy death, and it will be gone forever! …According to Acts 17:31, the apostle Paul said that God ‘has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed.’ This appointed Judge is the resurrected Jesus Christ. …Judgment Day is not some hurried event lasting a mere 24 hours. It lasts a thousand years. …Judgment Day will give billions of people their first opportunity to learn about God’s will and to conform to it. This means that a large-scale educational work will take place. …However, not all will be willing to conform to God’s will. …These wicked ones will be put to death permanently during Judgment Day.” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, pp. 72-74, 214-215
ASK: “I’m confused! How can the Watchtower Society teach that at the resurrection, God ‘will defeat our enemy death, and it will be gone forever!’ (Bible Teach, p. 74) if Jehovah will ‘put to death’ the ‘wicked ones’ who were resurrected but who refused to learn Jehovah’s ways during what the Society describes as the 1,000-period of ‘Judgment Day’ (Bible Teach, p. 215)? If the wicked ones are going to be ‘put to death’ during the 1,000-year period, how can the Society claim that death is ‘gone forever’ at the resurrection? How can the Watchtower Society claim that Jehovah ‘will never resurrect those whom he judges to be wicked and unwilling to change’ (Bible Teach, p. 74), and in the next breath claim that Jehovah will resurrect people who will not ‘conform to God’s will’ during the 1,000-year period in order to put them to death permanently (Bible Teach, p. 215)? Since Jehovah knows all things, wouldn’t He know the ones who will not ‘conform’ to His teachings a head of time, so that there would be no reason for Him to resurrect them to ‘death’ during the 1,000-year period?
ASK: “Rather than redefine the Bible’s view of Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15), why doesn’t the Watchtower Society teach what the Bible says about there only being ‘one resurrection’ at the beginning of the 1,000-year period consisting of only the righteous (Revelation 20:4-6)? Did the Watchtower Society forget about Revelation 20:5 that says: ‘the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended’? Since the Bible says that there will be NO resurrections during the 1,000-year reign of Christ, how can the Watchtower Society claim that people who died will have a second chance to come back to life and learn Jehovah’s ways through a ‘large-scale educational work’ during this period of time (Bible Teach, p. 215)? Doesn’t the Bible say: ‘And they will by no means teach each one his fellow citizen and each one his brother, saying: “Know Jehovah!” For they will all know me, from [the] least one to [the] greatest one of them.’—Hebrews 8:11? What need would there be for a ‘large-scale educational work’ if the resurrected ones already know Jehovah?”
ASK: “Regarding Jesus’ resurrection, how can the Watchtower Society teach that Jesus ‘raised’ as a ‘mighty spirit person’ who is no longer ‘human’ when the Bible says that Jesus raised as a ‘man’ (Acts 17:31; 1 Timothy 2:5) with his ‘body’ (John 2:18-22) of ‘flesh and bones’ (Luke 24:39)? Wouldn’t it be better for the Watchtower Society to teach that the phrase in 1 Peter 3:18 means that Jesus was put to death in the power of the flesh, but raised in the power of the spirit?”
8. GOD’S KINGDOM
“God’s Kingdom is a government established by Jehovah God with a King chosen by God. Who is the King of God’s Kingdom? Jesus Christ. …Although God’s Kingdom is in heaven, it will rule over the earth. – Revelation 11:15. …Who are those 144,000? John himself tells us: ‘These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.’ (Revelation 14:1, 4) Yes, they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000. …The fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that in 1914, Christ became King and God’s heavenly Kingdom began to rule.” —What Does The Bible Really Teach?, pp. 77-79, 85
- ASK: “At John 3:3, Jesus said that we must be ‘born again’ before we can see God’s Kingdom. Are you born again? 6. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach about a Kingdom that they will not be able to see?”
ASK: “Where in the Bible does it say that ONLY 144,000 people will be in heaven? Revelation chapters 7 and 14 are the only passages in the Bible that describe the group of 144,000. Yet, nowhere does Scripture say that this group of people is the ONLY group in heaven. In fact, Revelation 7:2-4 states that the 144,000 are ‘sealed’ on earth during the ‘great tribulation’ (see verses 1-4, 14). Has the ‘Great Tribulation’ come upon the earth yet? If not, how can Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God started ‘selecting faithful Christians’ to be part of this group ‘since the days of the apostles’ if this group is supposed to be ‘sealed’ on earth during the ‘great tribulation’? Why would God need to ‘seal’ the 144,000 to protect them (Revelation 9:3-4) if most of them would be dead and resurrected to heavenly life before God’s tribulation wrath has even come upon the earth?”
ASK: “If Jesus did not receive His authority as King of God’s Kingdom until 1914, why did Jesus claim that after His resurrection: ‘All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.’—Matthew 28:18? If ‘all authority’ was given to Christ at his resurrection, what authority was left for Him to receive in 1914?
9. OTHER TOPICS TO BE PREPARED TO DISCUSS WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
While we covered the essential doctrinal beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses that affect salvation, there are other topics that one should be prepared to discuss and defend if they arise in conversation. These are a Christian’s participation in war and politics, the acceptance of blood transfusions, and holiday and birthday celebrations. For resources to help you defend and discuss these beliefs intelligently with Jehovah’s Witnesses, see the following articles:
A PAGE-BY-PAGE RESPONSE TO THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY’S CURRENT STUDY BROCHURE:
1. For more information on the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses listed here, see: WHO ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES? – Their History, Beliefs and Practices and Watchtower Doctrine Exposed.
2. Jehovah’s Witnesses often argue that Jesus must be the “Son” of God by creation and not by nature because Adam (Luke 3:38) and the angels (Job 38:7) are also called “sons of God.” If they raise this argument, point out that while Adam and the angels are called “sons of God” because they are created by God, Jesus is called the “only begotten” Son of God (John 1:18; 3:16) because He is “God” by nature (Hebrews 1:5; Galatians 4:8), and not by creation (John 1:3).
3. All Scripture is quoted from the Jehovah’s Witness Bible, The New World Translation.
4. Although Matthew 10:28 states that the “soul” can be “destroyed,” the Greek word ἀπολέσαι (ἀπόλλυμι – apollymi) translated“destroy” does not mean annihilation, but rather “to perish” in the sense of “ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being”—Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1977, p. 164
5. Ecclesiastes 9:6 immediately follows the verse quoted in the Watchtower publication, Ecclesiastes 9:5: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.”
6. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses will say ‘No’ to this question because they believe that unless they are part of the 144,000 who will be going to heaven, they do not need to be ‘born again.’ See The Watchtower, February 15, 1998, p. 13.