Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses #5: Adoption

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From Pixabay

Here’s another of my favorite topics to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses: Adoption.

Specifically, I like to bring up the subject of adoption as sons (and daughters) of Jehovah, as the Bible teaches in Romans 8:14-16 and Galatians 4:1-6. Here’s how the conversation typically goes:

Me: I’m excited about what I’ve been learning from the Bible.

JW: That’s good!

Me: Yes, lately I’ve been learning about being adopted as sons and daughters of Jehovah. Do you know about that from Romans 8?

JW: [Thinking] Um, yes, I think so.

Me: Oh, it’s really great. Paul says that “you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Isn’t that great? It says that we can be adopted as Jehovah’s sons, and we can call him “Dad!” I have been adopted as Jehovah’s son! Have you?

JW: Yes, I think so.

Me: Well, here’s something that I find disturbing. My JW friend told me that this passage applies only to the anointed 144,000, and not to the rest of the believers. Is that true?

JW: Oh, actually, yes, that passage is about the anointed class of believers, but we can benefit indirectly from it.

Me: What do you mean, “benefit indirectly?” Do you mean you’re like a foster child, or a stepchild? Where does the Bible teach that?

JW: No, that’s not right.

Me: So are you adopted by Jehovah as his son? Because I believe I am, and it’s fantastic! It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me! And I can pray to him, and call him “Dad!” Have you been adopted by Jehovah?

JW: Well, all believers will eventually be adopted as sons, after the final testing.

Me: That can’t be right, can it? I mean, this passage talks about it like it has already happened, doesn’t it? You see, this is what I find to be very disturbing to me. I’m really concerned about my JW friends, that they’re being denied so many of the blessings that scripture says that all believers have. I really have a hard time with this two-class system, don’t you?

JW: I don’t have a problem with it.

Me: Well, I do. I have a big problem with it, because I think that system has been imposed on the Bible, and that the Bible doesn’t teach that. It’s very disturbing to me.

JW: I have to go now. I’m meeting someone.

Me: Okay, but it’s worth thinking about, and researching, right?

JW: Yeah, I’ll research it some more.

Me: I hope you’re not just saying that, and that you will look into it. Romans 8 is a great place to start. Just read it by itself, without any publications telling you what to think about it.

JW: Yeah, okay.

Me: Thanks for talking with me. Have a good week!

JW: You too.

That’s the end of our conversation, but it’s really just the beginning. I pray that they would not be able to forget the scripture that I shared, and that it would continue to bother them. It works! I have had JW friends tell me later that they could not get a verse that I shared out of their mind, weeks later! God says that his word does not return to him empty, but accomplishes what He sends it to do (Isaiah 55:11). I also pray that you, my reader, will come to realize the depth of God’s love for you, as you discover His adoption of YOU. Have you been adopted by Jehovah?

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Anointed Class Sighting at the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial!

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Pic Sourced From Someone’s Instagram

We interrupt my list of Top 10 Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses to bring you a special report from Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter (imagine his voice narrating): “We’ve got a rare one here! It’s the very rare member of the anointed class! As you know, there are only 144,000 of these beauties in existence, and most of them have already died! That makes them an endangered species, and here’s one right in front of us! Just look at that one eating the bread and drinking the wine! Crikey!”

That’s right, I attended the recent Memorial at a Jehovah’s Witnesses kingdom hall not far from me, and for the first time observed someone actually eating the bread and drinking the wine! For those who are unaware of what takes place at the JW memorial, read the next paragraph. If you already know, then skip ahead.

Jehovah’s Witness only observe what Christian churches call communion, eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper once a year, and they call it the Memorial or the Lord’s Evening Meal. They also believe and teach that only the 144,000 anointed believers are part of the New Covenant, and so they are the only ones expected to eat and drink. The rest of the “great crowd” believers are expected to respectfully observe the ceremony. Weird, right? It gets weirder. The practical result is a room full of people passing the plates and the cups up and down the rows, with almost no one eating or drinking! It is truly bizarre. Occasionally you hear about one, usually an elderly member, who believes they are of the anointed heaven-bound class, and they alone eat and drink.

So, I have attended perhaps 6 memorial services over the years that I have been interacting with JW’s, and I wondered if I would ever see one of the “anointed” eat and drink the elements. Well, this last Friday, I saw one! An older lady nibbled and sipped, just across the aisle and a couple seats over. After the service, I recognized her as one with whom I had talked with in the past; she seems (then and now) most interested in talking about her medical conditions.

What’s so sad is that one of my favorite passages of scripture, Romans 8:16, which says “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children,” was quoted by the speaker, who then explained how that verse applies ONLY to the anointed 144,000. It makes me seethe inside! The great majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are being denied all the blessings of being in the New Covenant:  Being born again, being adopted as Jehovah’s sons and daughters, being kings and priests, having Jesus as their mediator, the heavenly hope, and more.

One of the songs sung at that night’s memorial was their song #25, A Special Possession:

  1. God has a new creation,

His spirit-anointed sons.

He has bought them from mankind;

His approval they’ve won.

(CHORUS)

A special possession,

They’re a people for your name.

They love you. They praise you.

As one they declare abroad your fame.

  1. They are a holy nation,

Who handle the truth aright.

God has called them from darkness

To his wonderful light.

  1. Faithful to their commission,

They gather the other sheep.

To the Lamb they are loyal.

His commandments they keep.

 

This is the only JW song that I sing with them. But I change one thing. Every place the song says “they,” I sing “we.” This changes the application of the song’s words from the anointed class only, to all believers. Those standing around me hear me do that. I hope they think about the significance of what I’m singing. I can’t bring myself to do anything disruptive in the service; that’s just not me. But I imagine my little word-changing to be my subtle protest. Ooh, I’m such a rebel. Watch out! But I have to be subtle. Making a scene would shut them down, and they wouldn’t hear anything I had to say. I’m trying to make an impact, softly. It’s like beating on a concrete dam with one of those inflatable squeaky hammers. God, put your miraculous power in my stupid little hammer.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses: #4

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Actual Photos of Members of the JW governing body. (From Pixabay)

My next favorite topic to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses is the “faithful and discreet slave,” (aka “faithful and wise servant” in just about every translation other than the New World Translation). This phrase found in Matthew 24:45 is interpreted prophetically by the Watchtower organization to refer to someone in the last days who would have the sole authority to interpret the Bible, providing spiritual food to Jehovah’s people. In answer to “Who then is the faithful and discreet slave,” since 2014 the Watchtower literature claims it is the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Prior to that, since the late 1800’s, the phrase had been attributed to individuals or large groups of anointed believers, depending on what part of their history is being considered.) The problem with their fanciful interpretation is that the passage of scripture is not a prophecy, but a parable. Here’s the conversation I had recently with a young man at one of the JW carts.

JW: When interpreting scripture, you have to take into account the context.

Me: Yes, that’s vital. And it seems that recently the Watchtower is doing that more, except for certain passages.

JW: Like which passages?

Me: Like the one about the “faithful and discreet slave.”

JW: Yes, from Matthew 24:45.

Me: Yeah, you know that’s a parable, not a prophecy, right? It’s in a group of parables, all of them about all believers being alert and ready for Jesus’ return. That’s the context.

JW: Yes, but it has a second meaning too.

Me: There’s a second meaning?

JW: Yes.

Me: You mean, for the first meaning, the context is important, but then there’s a second meaning, where you ignore the context? Is that what you’re saying?

JW: (Laughs uncomfortably.)

Me: And why don’t any of the other parables in the context have a second meaning?

JW: (Laughs again.)

Hopefully this made my JW friend think. We went on to talk about several other things, some of them doctrinal, others just friendly talk about life in general. We left on very good, friendly terms. I’m praying that my cart friend will remember what we talked about, and that it’s the beginning (or ongoing process) of his escape from the Watchtower.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses: #3

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Here’s the third topic I like to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially at their literature carts. The topic is the gospel, or good news of the Bible. Recently I discovered that with this topic, I can keep my JW friends engaged for longer than with other subjects. Here’s the typical dialogue:

Me: Hello! Are you out here preaching the gospel today? Are you sharing the good news?

JW: Yes, we are.

Me: So, what’s the good news, or gospel, that you’re sharing with people?

JW: Well, it’s the good news of Jehovah’s kingdom. We can see that the kingdoms of this world system of things have not been able to bring about peace. The Bible teaches about the coming kingdom where Jehovah will bring about a time of peace on the earth.

Me: So that’s the gospel, that Jehovah’s kingdom is coming?

JW: Yes, Jesus said that “this good news of the kingdom will be preached throughout all the earth, then the end will come.”

Me: So why is your gospel so different from the one that’s in the Bible?

JW: What do you mean?

Me: Have you seen where Paul spells out what the gospel is, in First Corinthians 15?

JW: Um, yeah.

Me: I have my Bible here. Do you have yours? Let’s take a look at it.

Then we either read the passage together (First Corinthians 15:1-11), or if they’re not willing, I summarize it for them. (I once had a JW lady who would NOT look at the Bible passage. She literally would not look at it.)

The JW will usually make the claim that Paul’s gospel is “part of” the gospel, and that the good news of the kingdom has been added in the last days. (When I ask them whether they believe there are two gospels, they are quick to deny it.) They use Jesus’ phrase “the good news of the kingdom” to support their claim. I then take them to the account of exactly what Jesus preached, at Matthew 4:17, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’”

Me: It says that this is what Jesus preached “from that time on.” That would be the “good news of the kingdom” that Jesus preached. So again, why is your good news different from the good news in the Bible? Are you aware of Paul’s harsh words about anyone who preaches a different good news?

Depending on how open the JW is, we can discuss this for some time before they shut down. But no matter how brief or long the conversation is, I always pray that the Lord will not let them forget what the Bible says, and that it will bother them.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses: #2

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My second top topic to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses is the New Covenant. The Watchtower teaches that only the anointed 144,000 are in the New Covenant. So here’s my approach, this time in dialogue form. This is typical of the conversations I have had regarding this topic:

Me: I have a question. If only the 144,000 are in the New Covenant, as Watchtower teaches, what covenant are the Great Crowd, that is, the rest of the believers in?

JW: Oh, they must be in a different covenant.

Me: What covenant is that?

JW: I don’t know; maybe the covenant with Noah, or one of the other covenants. But they benefit indirectly from the anointed being in the New Covenant.

Me: I read an article in the Watchtower, that listed all the covenants, including the Noahic covenant and the Abrahamic covenant, and all the rest, and it said that the great crowd believers are in none of those. It seems to me, in the Bible, that there are only three possibilities. Either they are (1) in the New Covenant, (2) still in the Old Covenant, or (3) they’re in no covenant at all. What do you think?

JW: Um, I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. They benefit from those being in the new covenant.

Me: That’s not how the Bible presents it. Do you know what a covenant is? It’s God’s arrangement with his people. What is Jehovah’s arrangement with you? Have you seen the description of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31?

JW: I think so.

Me: In Jeremiah 31, Jehovah says he would put his laws on our minds and hearts, and that he would be our God and we would be his people, and that they would all know him, from the least of them to the greatest, and that he would forgive our iniquities and remember our sins no more! Doesn’t that sound great? It’s fantastic! Don’t you want to be in on that? I have experienced this, have you?

JW: Um–

Me: Have you seen the alternative, if you’re not in the New Covenant, in Ephesians two?

JW: Um–

Me: It says that if you’re not in the New Covenant, you’re “without hope and without God in the world.” That sounds pretty serious, right?

JW: Um, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Okay, they don’t say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” But at that point they almost always use some kind of conversation stopper, whether it’s polite (“I just remembered somewhere I need to be”) or rude (“I think you’re an apostate”). In either case, I give them an “out,” to help them save face. Something like, “It’s worth thinking about,” or “Thanks for talking with me,” or “Look at the bluebird!” They’re usually relieved when I change the subject, and will chat with me a little longer.

Have you used the topic of the New Covenant in talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses? What was their response? Let us know in the comments.

Or, share with us one (or more) of your top ten topics!

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses: #1

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Whether you’re at their cart, in their kingdom hall, or at your door, what are your top subjects to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses, hoping to help them “wake up”?  Please submit your favorite(s) in the comments, and yours might appear in an upcoming blog post!

Please nothing caustic, abrasive, insulting, belittling, etc., you get the idea. We’re looking for topics that will actually be helpful in getting them to think. Oh, and if you’re able, please include a scripture (or two) to go along with your topic.

Let’s try to bump their carts out of their Watchtower ruts!

So here’s my first: Jesus as our Mediator. Watchtower teaches that Jesus is the mediator for ONLY the 144,000 anointed believers, and not for the rest of the “great crowd” believers. (For proof of this, because many JW’s don’t know, and will question you about it, use the entry under “mediator” in the Insight On the Scriptures publication, available in the “online library” section of their official website.) The Bible teaches that Jesus is the mediator for all believers, as seen in First Timothy 2:5. I love talking about this with Jehovah’s Witnesses! It’s my favorite topic, so it has earned the #1 spot on my list. They long to have Jesus as their mediator–you can see it in their eyes.

 

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I’ll be Speaking at the “Witnesses Now For Jesus” conference in April

WNFJWestCoast2019And now for a bit of self-implemented fanfare (tooting my own horn):
I’ll be speaking at the Witnesses Now for Jesus conference in Sacramento this April. Why am I speaking at an event about Jehovah’s Witnesses? Well, as some of you know (and some of you don’t), for about a dozen years now I have taken an interest in talking with people caught in the mind-control of the Watchtower organization (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and other “high control religious groups.”
If you are a current Jehovah’s Witness who’s questioning, or a former JW, or know and care about someone who is a current or former JW, you simply must come to the conference. Registration is free! You can even just show up, and yes, you can be anonymous if you need to. (Your expenses would be getting there, food, and lodgings.)
I spoke at last year’s convention also. You can watch the video of my talk and many others on Youtube. See my video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y0WAWCKBXA, or search “WNFJ2008”.
Here’s hoping you can be there!

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