I don’t particularly like to be burdened by controversial topics. I know the risk I run when I start talking about things that people get upset about. So out of the gate I’d like to say, the Bible is clear. If I do not have love, I am bankrupt. I’d like to note that standing up for Truth does not have to mean the absence of love. In fact, it shouldn’t ever mean the absence of love. We all have the right to be treated with kindness and respect, and to voice what we believe. (Thank you America) We do not, however, have the right to not be offended. With that being said, here are some thoughts I have following my recent visit with two Jehovah Witness women that knocked on my front door.
I love honest speculation. I love questions. I love understanding the entirety of the story, not just bits and pieces. I love knowing why you believe what you believe. I’m also interested to know if you know why you believe what you believe. Because I know for certain that I’m not the only Christian who has been a part of these conversations and walked away with more questions (and a little confusion I might add) I dug a little into what felt like semantics in the conversation that took place. I’ve learned a lot and I want to share with any Christ follower that is interested. My hope is that if need be, you will find yourselves a little more prepared for the next drop in. Here are some things you might hear your Jehovah’s Witness friend say, and what they actually mean.
“If you consider yourself a Christian, then we believe the same things.” False. What they actually should say to you is, “We have rewritten the narrative to say what we want it to say, but we are experts on packaging it to sound like it’s the same.”
“We read the same Bible.” This is also false. What they actually should say is, “At one point we used the King James Version of the Bible. Over time, we moved to the NIV translation, and now we use the New World Translation.” For those of you who are not familiar with the NWT, this is not a translation of the Bible. This is a translation of their version of the Bible. Much of the wording has been changed and even in some cases when the Greek of the New Testament is translated, there are words added that actually do not even exist in the Greek language. (See their John 14: 10 -11 for an example) This is done to fit their agenda of holding that Jesus is actually not who He claims to be, or at least not entirely. To add to this, there’s also a very high chance they will come with a tablet or phone of some kind. It felt like a ploy to hide under the “translation” facade. They’re sure to show you scripture, especially those that you’ll recognize from the actual Word of God. At first glance, their “bible” looks much likes ours. Ask them to show you John 1:1. Their version is fundamentally different than what God’s Word actually says. Again, to meet their agenda. Interestingly, Revelation 22:18-19 is the same. I’ll let you check that one out.
These were the two big statements I took from my conversation that I felt to be incredibly misleading and deceitful. Here are a few other thoughts I’ve wrestled with and would encourage you to do the same.
So why? Why, if we believe the same thing, are you still standing on my front porch trying to persuade me? The “why” behind the Jehovah Witness faith is to be apart of the 140,000 chosen people of God. The better you are, the more converts you gain, the better your chances are of being in that (uncomfortably) small number of people God has chosen. I can’t help but recall Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.” (That’s my emphasis.)
Additionally, no one of this religion wants to talk about who actually wrote, or a better word I guess would be, translated their “bible”. Go back and objectively investigate the origins of these ideals. When taken into account in it’s entirety, there has been major deception from the start. Look for information regarding William Miller, Charles T. Russell, and Nelson Barbour as a few examples. Research The Watchtower of 1884. Speaking of 1884, it’s interesting to note that this religion isn’t really even that old! When they start talking to you about ancient transcripts and scrolls, (which they will) that’s a good point to make.
When asked what the difference between what I believe and what they believe, the biggest contrast I found to be was they do not believe in the Trinity. Hints why all the scriptures regarding Jesus as fully man and fully God have been re translated. (Is that a word?) I was told on multiple occasions that “the word Trinity isn’t even in the Bible”. To which you can respond, neither is Jehovah’s Witness.
Lastly, something to consider. In the cases where people choose to leave these types of beliefs, there’s a high price to pay. They are utterly outcast. Ostracized, and abandoned usually by their entire family. This can be seen in Scientology and Mormonism as well. Many who are in these situations are born into them. It’s all they’ve ever known. This would be a big reason why conversions are few out of these types of scenarios. For many, they lose everything. To me, this is an astounding price to pay on the bases of faulty theology, and blatant inconsistencies. This, in all honesty, breaks my heart for these people.
I must say, I have to give serious kudos to those that are willing to go knock on a complete stranger’s door for the purpose of sharing what they believe. I respect it. I don’t know too many Christians that are willing to do that, and I would probably lump myself in that category most days. However, my strong advice to you would be, don’t mistake someone’s sincerity for their accuracy. Do your research and practice some honest speculation and inquiry. I’ll leave you with this last thought. None of these people or belief systems are the enemy. We have a real enemy and his plan is always to steal, kill and destroy. When Jesus was in the desert being tempted, (See Matthew 4, or Luke 4) Satan exposed himself in a big way. He shows us that he is keenly aware of God’s Word and he is a master at deception, twisting and falsifying truth. He did it then, and he continues that in our world today. When conversing with these people, remember that. Love them and be gracious with them. They just don’t know the Truth… yet!
“Don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3 MSG