There’s a knock at the door. You open it up to see two nicely dressed people waiting to talk to you. Are they Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses (JWs)? Both groups like to get personal and their drive is admirable.
You stare at each other. What happens now?
That’s what happened to us and I saw a few opportunities in it. One, knowing the differences in our theology, it was a way to pressure test our faith. You do not talk to JWs if you don’t know your Bible, they are well-versed in it and trained evangelists.
Two, counter-evangelism. Most people shut the door in their faces. I let them in, and invited them back, building relationship and pushing back with questions here or there on their beliefs. They have a huge focus on the end times and the Kingdom of God.
We discussed the 144,000, how to know if you are one of the 144,000, and so on over the course of two visits. Like the noble Berean, I checked the Scriptures myself (Acts 17:11). There’s a principle for you, check for yourself in the Bible, don’t take things you’re told at face value. Paul told Timothy to study and show himself approved (2 Timothy 2:15).
My goal was to edge over to an essential piece of doctrine. Who is Jesus? They say he’s Michael the Archangel, and I prepared for them to return to plead their case.
It didn’t go as I planned.
Scripture vs. Scripture, Logic vs. Logic
They wouldn’t move from their position.
Okay, what about this, and I showed them Hebrews 1:5-6.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”?
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
They blew it off. Their whole argument was based on their is only one loyal heavenly army, not two. It can’t answer to Michael the Archangel and Jesus. I replied that while I’m over an entire shift, that shift also answers to the plant manager.
They kept insisting that the heavenly army can’t answer to both Jesus and Michael.
Where it started in love, it became a battle as I got frustrated.
I went to John 1:3, breaking out logic, using a form of this philosophical argument here.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Blew it off too.
Then I showed every verse that I had that showed the deity of Christ, argued for the Trinity, told him his translation was flawed. My speech wasn’t full of grace or seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).
Before they left, one pointed out this verse in 1 Corinthians 8:1.
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.
I can definitely let it.
Arguing theology with JWs is hard and deity of Christ is the theological hill I’ll die on. I was saddened later by how I handled it and their response. Instead of concern for their souls, it became a battle to prove who was right.
My hope is what my friend Eric reminded me of, that something I said will take root and grow. We can only plant or water, evangelize and teach, but God makes it grow or happen.
Next time I may use John Piper’s approach over at Desiring God.