An Old Jehovah’s Witness Doctrine Makes a Comeback

Back in March of 2017, I wrote a post in this blog called, “Ever Heard of The Vindication of Jehovah’s Sovereignty”? Here’s a link to that post: Click! In that article I made a prediction, and now I think I might be a prophet, because my prediction is coming true! If I’m not at prophet-level, at least my track record of predictions is better than that of the Watchtower Society.

(Snarky Snicker!)

Here’s my prediction from that March 2017 post:

It will be interesting to see renewed emphasis given to this old doctrine in upcoming congregation meetings, regional assemblies, and district conventions. I’m sure the catchphrase “vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty” will soon become part of the “theocratic language” of the common Jehovah’s Witness.

And where is the fulfillment of my prediction, you ask? See the article “Let Your Name Be Sanctified” in the June 2020 Watchtower (Study Edition), starting on page 2.

There’s an interesting shift in the precise terminology being used. The older language is, as quoted above, “the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty.” The latest Watchtower article acknowledges the legitimacy of that language, but also equivalates it with what I sense is their preferred terminology, “the sanctification of Jehovah’s name.” In paragraph 2 the author(s) say, “God’s name must be cleared of reproach.” Other ways are used to express the same concept, that Jehovah’s “name,” “sovereignty,” “way of ruling,” or “right to rule” must be “cleared of reproach,” “sanctified,” or “proved to be best.”

There’s another place where this concept is taught. In the Insight book (the JW equivalent of a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia), volume 2, under “Jehovah,” there’s a paragraph headed “The Sanctification of Jehovah’s Name.” Check it out for the official word on the subject! The Insight book is available on JW dot org, in the Online Library.

My recent discovery came about because of my long-time JW friend Mark. He had invited me to one of the JW zoom meetings, and when I tuned in, there was mention made of the recent article (June 2020) that they had just gone through in the previous section of the meeting. My reaction was “What?” And I checked out the article. There it was, the old doctrine, all polished up shiny and presented to a new generation of JW’s.

(Or is it still the same generation, because of the “overlapping generations”? See what I did there?)

I’m finding this all so very fascinating. But I still have a big question, which maybe someone out there can help me with. What is the history of this doctrine? Prior to whenever the JW’s adopted it, that is. Where did it come from? Who made it up in the first place? Don’t say the writers of the Bible, because it’s not there.

(Unless the concept is there in the Bible, but not the literal wording. Kind of like, oh, I don’t know, maybe, the Trinity? Oh, snap!)

I know that some doctrines were adopted and adapted from the Adventist, or Millerite movement. Is this one of those? If you have any insight on the history of this doctrine, please share with us in the comments! Thank you!

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My Jehovah’s Witnesses Youtube Channel

So, I started a Youtube channel a little while back. Check it out!

My goal is to develop a website to unify all my efforts; this blog, the youtube channel, and my author/speaker information. Meanwhile, all these things are still separated. But hopefully within the next month or so, I’ll get that goal achieved!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy both this blog and my Youtube channel.

The Youtube channel is called jehovahswitnessesquestionsanswered, and is designed to field questions from Christians and non-Christians about JW’s, as well as questions JW’s may have about Evangelical Christians or others. The title is purposefully ambiguous, so the questioning can go both ways. If you have a question for me about JW’s, or if you’re a JW with a question, let me know either at the Youtube location, or in the comments here. Your question might be the subject matter for my next youtube video!

Thanks for reading, and may the Lord be at work in your life!

#jehovahswitnessesquestionsanswered

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Using Repetition to Reach Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Jehovah’s Witnesses use it, so why shouldn’t we?

Repetition, I mean.

Watchtower articles, Watchtower studies at meetings, public talks, conventions, assemblies, videos, website, and more are all repetitive ad nauseam, going over the same 5 or 6 themes again and again. It doesn’t take a fierce opposer with an agenda to recognize the mind-control technique.

I propose we use the same strategy. Well, the same, but different. I’m not proposing that we drive by JW’s at their carts, blasting the same message at them daily from a megaphone. (Oh, wait, I hadn’t thought of that until now. Maybe . . . no, never mind.)

What I propose is: Don’t be hesitant to go over the same points with them again and again. I found myself doing just that with my friend Mark. At first it felt awkward. The conversation would naturally bring itself around to the same subject we had covered the last time we met, or something from last year. I would think, “Should we talk about this again? Should I change the subject to something else?” But then I would proceed with the repetitious topic. And I’ve figured out that it’s okay to repeat. In fact, it’s good. Here’s why.

First, Jehovah’s Witnesses are used to repetition. It’s the way they’re conditioned to learn. So while we may feel awkward, to them it’s normal. They almost need something repeated a number of times before they accept it. With Mark, there are several topics we have gone over repeatedly, but I think the most common one for us is the mediator topic. (See my other posts on that subject.) Sometimes it comes up naturally in the conversation. Sometimes he will bring it up out of the blue. Sometimes he brings it up, and sometimes I bring it up again. “Hey Mark, I found another publication that talks about the mediator; have you seen this one?” Whatever the situation, he never flinches. It’s normal for him to talk about something again, and again, and again.

As we have discussed the mediator over and over, I have seen him become more and more firm in his disagreement with the Watchtower view of this subject. He actually says that they’re wrong to say that Jesus is the mediator for only the anointed class of 144,000. This last time I said to him, “You could get into trouble for saying that.” And he agreed. “Yes, I could get in trouble.” I assured him that his secret was safe with me. (I would never rat him out to his elders. His coming out needs to be his decision, not theirs. I want to empower him, not defeat him.)

The mediator issue is not the only topic we have repeatedly discussed. The deity of Jesus is another, and salvation by faith, apart from works, and also the 2-class system of believers. We have been over these topics many times each, and I must be willing to go over them with Mark again. And again.

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12) That’s a verse out of context for us. But I’m claiming it anyway. Lord, give me patience as I talk with Mark and other Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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My New Youtube Channel

Hey readers! I’m excited to announce that I started a new Youtube channel! It’s called JehovahsWitnessesQuestionsAnswered. You can click here to view it, or click the pic above to see the first video.

I’m planning to continue posting on this blog, so if you’re more of a reader than a viewer, I’ve still got you covered.

The purpose of the Youtube channel is many-fold (manifold–don’t you like that word), as seen in the purposefully ambiguous title. Who is asking the questions about whom? Well, here’s the explanation. You might be:

  1. A Christian with questions about Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  2. A Jehovah’s Witness with questions about those in “Christiandom,” AKA Evangelical Christians.
  3. Neither of the above (atheist, agnostic, other religion, philosophy, or world view, or nothing) with questions about Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  4. A Jehovah’s Witness with a question about your own doctrine, wanting the opinion of an outsider.

Here’s the important part: This requires participation. By YOU! Submit your question(s), either at the Youtube site in the comments beneath each video, or here in the comments below. I need questions to respond to! Your question may become the subject matter of an upcoming video!

Also, please if you would, visit my Youtube channel, watch a video, and click on the “like” button and the “subscribe” button. Clicking “subscribe” twice will ensure that you get ALL the notifications rather than just occasional ones.

If you’re afraid to ask a question because you want to preserve your anonymity, please be assured that I will not share in my video or its comments anything that might identify you. I understand that there are those JW’s who are still in the organization who don’t want to get reported to their elders for visiting “apostate” websites. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

So, let’s have fun with this! Ask your questions, and I’ll answer them as well as I am able. Please always be respectful of others; no name-calling or ridiculing. Thank you!

#jehovahswitnessesquestionsanswered

 

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Two Conversations from the 2020 Jehovah’s Witness Memorial

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From Carlo Salvarenga on Pixabay

The Jehovah’s Witness annual memorial (Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Communion) was actually less strange this year than in the past, because this year visitors (such as myself) could not see what makes it so strange. What we could see at first was a number of JW individuals and families on screen in the 4-pane Zoom conference format. Many of you sheltered-in-place during this current pandemic know how it looks, especially those working from home.

Once the speaker began his talk, though, all other video and audio feeds were blocked, so that we could only see the speaker. When he got to what other churches would call “the blessing of the elements,” what we could not see was that virtually no one was eating the bread or drinking the wine. The fact that even the speaker himself did not eat or drink should have been a tipoff that something was askew, but a visitor would probably not have thought much of it, thinking that the speaker was just wanting to keep his voice clear. Those of us who have visited physically in years past know that the JW members pass the plate and the cup without eating or drinking, unless they are one of the rare (endangered?) 144,000 anointed believers.

I share this in case you were a guest (invited or otherwise) to this year’s memorial, and were unaware of the strange practice that it is. What you did not see was families at home passing bread and wine to one another, without ingesting either. It’s truly bizarre to an evangelical Christian like me. I also wonder what individuals who were alone did. Pick up the plate and set it back down again? Weird, weird, weird. I asked one of my JW friends, Gary, what they do with the bread and wine after the meeting, and he said that they eat it later. “As a snack,” he added. Wow. Just wow. “At least you don’t waste it,” I said.

Which leads me to reporting on the two post-memorial conversations I had. I talked by phone with my long-time friend Mark, and we had a long conversation about both our personal lives and doctrine. (I consider him a good friend, so we talk about a lot of things. I’m constantly praying that God will continue to protect us from his elders squelching our relationship.) We talked about the two-class system, Jesus as mediator, salvation through faith and not works, having a relationship with Jehovah and Jesus rather than “taking in knowledge,” and several other doctrinal topics.

My other conversation is with Gary, and is ongoing, because we’re conversing by text. I asked him about the speaker saying that the Bible talks about “two hopes,” but I only find the Bible talking about “one hope” (Ephesians 4:4). He told me that “this hope spoken of here [in the Ephesians verse] is the hope of everlasting life, shared by the ones with heavenly or earthly hope.” I think he found that double-speak somewhere in the JW literature, but he didn’t say where. I have texted back asking about the two-class system, and whether he thinks it has been imposed on the Bible rather than being taught by the Bible. My phone says that the text has been read, but so far he hasn’t responded. Here’s hoping and praying that he continues to interact and doesn’t shut down on me.

Lord Jesus, use the strange memorial meeting of this year to draw JW’s to yourself. Help them see the hypocrisy of rejecting you, and then calling themselves “Christians.”

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I Attended the Jehovah’s Witness Virtual Memorial

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From David Weber on Unsplash

In my previous post, I lamented and gave a pep talk to myself (and you, I hope) about God being at work even when we’re being ghosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the time, it seemed like I was waiting for something to happen.

Well, something happened.

The Covid virus happened.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ annual memorial this year was done on Zoom video chat. Out of the blue I received an invitation from a JW acquaintance who attends the kingdom hall that my long-time friend Mark attends. This acquaintance (whom I’ll call Gary) offered to help me download the Zoom app, and provided the meeting access code on the day of the event.

So here’s what happened.

I thought I would be able to observe people passing the elements, whether where the speaker was located (Florida), or with the people and families I saw on screen. But no. While I could see people on screen before and after the talk, they were all blanked out during the talk. All I could see was the talking head. And he gave people hardly any time to pass the elements among themselves. In fact, it was unclear when they were supposed to pass the bread. Passing the elements seemed like almost an afterthought.

The talk was the same that I have heard every dang time I have been to the memorial. Same four questions. If I remember them correctly: (1) How is the ransom provided, (2) Who benefits from the ransom, (3) Who should partake of the bread and wine, and (4) What more can we do to show our appreciation for the ransom. Point number 3 is always a thinly veiled warning against anybody but the anointed 144,000 taking the elements. Point 4 is an appeal to attend meetings, participate in ministry, and take in Bible knowledge.

After the meeting, attendees were allowed to greet each other, which was actually a really nice, casual affair, everyone saying hello to each other. They’re obviously lonely and bored, and this was a much-needed connection time for their members. At least the control-freaks allowed it. Thank God. I actually heard a couple of hellos directed toward me; I don’t know who it was, but several members of the congregation know me. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have yet to talk with Mark and Gary about the meeting. That will be the big payoff—the talking points that came from the experience. I’ve already asked Gary what they do with the bread and wine that serve as props for the meeting. He said they eat and drink it later. That’s so bizarre. But at least the bread and wine are not wasted. (I read somewhere that those who believe in transubstantiation, like the Roman Catholics, have to pour out unused wine onto the ground, because it has actually become the literal blood of Christ. That’s bizarre too.)

My planned talking points include: The opening song, “A Special Posession,” (song #25) which is the perfect example of so much that is wrong with the Watchtower doctrine. The whole song applies exclusively to the 144,000. That means that my friends are actually singing about a group they’re not a part of. The song goes on and on about the anointed being a new creation, spirit-anointed sons, a holy nation, God’s people, etc. The whole thing borders on idolatry, praising the anointed class of believers. Ugh, it’s so annoying. What’s also annoying is that visiting evangelical Christians would have no clue about the song’s true meaning, thinking it’s just a nice song about all believers. Again, Ugh. BTW, a fun thing to do if you’re at a meeting and they sing this song: Substitute in the word “we” for every place the song says “they.” Instant evangelical hymn! Watch for reactions of those around you.

Another talking point might be that the speaker specifically said that the Bible talks about “two hopes,” a heavenly hope and an earthly hope. Nowhere does the Bible say “two hopes.” In fact, it says that there’s “one hope” at Ephesians 4:4. Only. One. Hope.

The speaker also talked about the anointed being “in contract” with Jehovah, as Jesus expressed during the Lord’s supper, when he said “this cup is the New Covenant in my blood.” He did not say the rest of the sentence, where Jesus adds “for many for the remission of sins.” If the Great Crowd believers are not in the New Covenant, what covenant, if any, are they in? What is their “contract” with Jehovah?

Finally, the speaker mentioned Romans 8 to answer how the anointed know that they’re destined for heaven. Paul says that “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Verse 16) Watchtower applies this blessing exclusively to the 144,000. I hope to read all of Romans 8 with Mark and Gary and express to them my sadness, anger, and offense at how the governing bully denies all the blessings from virtually all their disciples. They are, however, expected to live up to all the exhortations in the Bible. Harumph.

I look forward to talking with Mark and Gary. Please pray that their hearts and minds will be open to the truth and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.

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Is Your Ministry On Pause?

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From Pixabay

Have you ever felt like your ministry was put on pause? Nothing seems to be happening? That’s how I have felt recently. What I have learned, though, is that’s simply not true. I should know this by now; it has happened before.

Maybe you’re “between ministries.” Maybe you’ve been sick. Maybe you have had a crisis, whether due to circumstances or your own mistake(s). Whatever the cause, you feel like your ministry is on pause.

In my case, I have been banned from the local kingdom hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. While I haven’t experienced anything with nearly the intensity of being disfellowshipped and losing all contact with my family and friends, I do feel like I have been given a hint of that reality. I have not felt the gut-wrenching pain of being disowned by those closest to me. I’m sorry if you have. I have only been cut off from those whom I consider dear friends, even though I had known them for only a short time. There’s “George,” a high-schooler whom I suspect is questioning the trustworthiness of the organization. (See my post about him here and here.) There’s “Billy,” a young adult whom I suspect is struggling with his identity as a man. There’s “Dinah,” one of the nicest ladies you’ll ever meet, with a genuine smile that goes deeper than the “love bombing” JW’s are trained to do. That’s just a few of the friends I’m missing now.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I have a life outside of those I’ve met at the kingdom hall. I’m not writing this in my pajamas eating ice cream. Okay, maybe I am. But it’s not because I’m lonely or in despair. It’s just that I grew fond of those people. They’re real people, and I care about them. Until I run into one or more of them outside of their fortress, my ministry with them is on hold.

Or is it?

I don’t know whether any of them are sneaking looks at one or more of the Facebook groups I’m a part of. Have any of them seen the videos of me speaking at the Witnesses Now For Jesus (WNFJ) convention? (Here’s the link to that, if you’re interested: Click!) You never know who may be sneaking peeks at the evil internet. Even if not, the ministry goes on with others who interact with me online. Many believers and I are planting seeds with JW’s who are secretly carrying on conversations with us “apostates” and “opposers”.

There’s also my friend “Mark.” Conversations with him are still ongoing. Last year I attended the Memorial with him, and he and I are planning to do the same this time around—it’s coming up soon, in April.

I also hope to get into the city (San Fran) soon for some cart ministry—interacting with JW’s at their carts, that is.

Here’s your (and my) dose of reality: A ministry on pause or hold is really a matter of our perception. Jesus said in John 5, “To this very day My Father is at His work, and I too am working.” God is always at work, even when we can’t see it. Therefore, we need to keep working, and keep trusting. Keep planting those seeds, wherever you’re planted!

Update: Later on the same day that I wrote the above, I ran into my friend Mark near my workplace. We had a friendly chat, and we both expressed our anticipation of attending the upcoming memorial. How’s that for confirmation? God is at work indeed!

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Types of Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses: Questions That Appeal to Their Logic

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From Pixabay

I know that I said in my previous post that it would be the last in the series, but I thought of another, and felt compelled to share it.

What triggered my thought was a surprise visit from my Jehovah’s Witness friend, Mark. He showed up unannounced at our door, saying he was in our town for a smog check on his car and some other errands, and thought he’d come by to see how we were doing lately. My mind skittered over the possible real reasons for his visit like a rock being skipped on a glassy lake. Was he there to try to persuade me about one of the JW doctrines? Was he there to challenge one of my pet doctrines? Wanting a debate? Needing more ministry hours for his report card? Or was he lonely and needing a friend? I still don’t know which of these was his motivation. And it doesn’t matter. God brought him to our home. We invited him in at once, explaining that we had just eaten dinner, but he was welcome to some of the food that was left, which he accepted.

The conversation I had with him reminded me that logic is very important to JW’s. Yes, I know that their doctrines are wacky, and many things they say make no logical sense. But that’s the point. Their leaders constantly appeal to logic, presenting their illogical ideas as if they are logical. JW’s love logic. Their whole diatribe against the churches of Christiandom hinges on their argument that our doctrines, such as the Trinity and eternal punishment, are illogical. And some of their doctrines are logically consistent, within their illogical system. Even though they’re so logically illogical, we can leverage their valuing of logic and appeal to their sense of logic. Sharing scripture with them should be our first priority, because it will be more effective than our logic. (It’s God’s Word, duh!) But appealing to their logic can help us gain a lot of traction too.

Here are some examples:

“I’ve read that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah didn’t foresee man’s fall. The explanation given by the Watchtower is that Jehovah chooses what not to know. Can you explain that to me, because to me it’s a logical absurdity. I mean, in order for Jehovah to choose what not to know, he would first have to know everything, to then choose what to un-know. But maybe I’m missing something. Can you explain it to me?”

“The Watchtower has made a lot of doctrinal changes over the years, correcting wrongs and fixing errors. They call it “new light.” So, my question is, do you expect that there will be more “new light” coming in the months and years to come? If that’s the case, then some things they’re teaching right now are wrong and are errors, am I right? What do you do when you find an error in the teachings? To whom do you report it?”

“How is it that Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that they have no leaders, but they also teach that you should respect “those who are taking the lead”? Can you explain to me the difference between “leaders” and “those who are taking the lead?”

“Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the churches of Christiandom are divided, having no unity, but only confusion. But I got to thinking, what are the doctrines of the churches that JW’s disagree with? Can we list some of them? I think of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by grace apart from works, all believers going to heaven, eternal soul of man, and eternal punishment (aka hell). These are the teachings that Watchtower says all the churches of Christiandom are teaching. So, aren’t these the things that unite the Christian churches? Aren’t these the things that unify us?”

That last one is the one I sprung on my friend Mark during his visit. He was noticeably affected by it. He had both the lightbulb-coming-on, and the mind-gears-turning looks at the same time. I can tell when something makes him uncomfortable; he laughs it off without actually responding to it. I gave him an “out” too, changing the subject. It doesn’t matter how your JW friend responds to your logical point–they have been presented with it, and will have to wrestle with it internally. Our job is to plant the seeds; the results are up to Jehovah.

How have you appealed to your JW friend/family/acquaintance logically?

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Types of Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses: Questions That Attract Them to Authentic Christianity

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From Pixabay

Here’s my final post in my series “Types of Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

(Or is it? If you have suggestions or ideas for other types of questions you have found effective in discussions with JW’s, please share them in the comments below. Your idea might become my next blog post!)

In this post we’re considering questions that seek to attract JW’s to Authentic Christianity, that is, the real thing. We could also call it Organic Christianity. Or perhaps non-genetically modified Christianity. (Wait–Did I just coin a phrase?) Restorationists (including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-Day Adventists) claim that Christianity went off the rails soon after the apostles died in what they call The Great Apostacy, and that their particular expression of faith has recently (in the late 1800’s) restored what was lost. We evangelicals contend that the church’s kernel of truth has endured, even though correction was needed in the form of the Reformation, and that the Restorationists are the ones who have gone off the rails.

Boy, do I digress. Anyway, we believe that authentic Christianity has endured, and as Christ’s ambassadors, our calling is to make Jesus and the gospel attractive to unbelievers, which would include religious people who claim to be Christians.

Part of our calling to “make disciples” is to share the real Truth, as found in the Bible (rather than the fake “truth” taught by the Watchtower). And we’re also wanting to make authentic relationships with Jesus and Jehovah attractive to those who are in bondage to high-control religious groups.

With that in mind, what kinds of questions can we ask that will (hopefully) attract Jehovah’s Witnesses to an authentic relationship with Jehovah and Jesus, and the authentic truth of scripture? Rather than just bashing their doctrine, let’s ask ourselves, “What do we have to offer?”

Here are some examples of questions that show them what we have to offer:

  1. “Lately I’ve been learning about adoption in the Bible. I’ve come to learn that I’ve been adopted by Jehovah as his son, and I’m really excited about it. Have you read about that in Romans 8? Can we take a look at that right now?”
  2. “Have you seen the description of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31, starting at verse 31? Let’s read it together. [Read the verses, or have them read.] That’s fantastic! Don’t you want to be in on that? I am! Can I tell you how that began for me?”
  3. “Did you know that the Bible says we can know for certain whether we have eternal life? Look at this verse (First John 5:13). I’ve come to know, for certain, that I have eternal life. Have you?”
  4. “Are you a citizen of the Kingdom, as described in Ephesians 2 (verse 19)? As a believer, I believe what it says here, that I’m a citizen of the Kingdom. Do you? Or do you go along with Watchtower teaches, that this is only for the anointed class?”

There are many more examples we could use (see my past posts). Please share your favorites in the comments section below!

As you share these with JW’s, keep in mind that no matter what their response, whether favorable to further discussion or off-putting, you have shared the truth of scripture, which will accomplish what God sets it out to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). And God is at work by his Holy Spirit, drawing people to Jesus (John 6:44). The seeds you sow can sprout and grow unseen below the surface–pray that it may be so!

#AuthenticChristianity

#OrganicChristianity

#NonGeneticallyModifiedChristianity

 

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Types of Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses: Questions that Strengthen Their Commitment to Their Doctrine

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From Pixabay

I know, you’re re-reading that headline, trying to make sense of it. I know it’s counter-intuitive, maybe even crazy. Why would we want to strengthen a Jehovah’s Witness’s commitment to their own doctrine? Don’t we want them to be set free from their doctrines? Well, yes, of course we do. But I have a theory that sometimes we, as humans, have to become more strongly bonded to a delusion before we can be set free from it. This is probably not an original theory, and there’s probably a name for the process. If any of my tens of readers know of some psychological or sociological category that fits this concept, let us know.

To help understand what I’m talking about, think about a giant. You know what “they” say: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” But maybe what we mean is: “The stronger they are, the harder they fall.”

Ooh! I just thought of the Death Star. Once the rebels were able to find a weak spot, it only took a small charge to destroy the whole thing. (I’m not as much a Star Wars geek as you think. Honest. I’m more of a Lord of the Rings guy. Maybe we need to find the one ring that binds them . . . oh, never mind.)

Back to the giant. If you can make him stiffen up, he’s easier to topple, right? That could be done physically (liquor him up), or even better, by talking him up. Tell the giant how impressive he is. He will straighten up with pride, then you can zing him between the eyes with a sling and a stone. (Yes, I went to David and Goliath. I have a soft spot for Bible stories. Deal with it.) Or you could trip the giant with a comparatively small rope.

So how do we do that with our JW friends? Here’s an example.

Me: Do you know about the Watchtower’s two-class system of believers?

JW: I think so. What do you mean?

Me: You know, that a small group of believers go to heaven, and the larger group goes to paradise on earth? They call them the “anointed class of 144,000” and the “great crowd.”

JW: Oh yes. I look forward to living forever on earth. We’re designed for an earthly existence, so it’s going to be great.

Me: Yeah, but do you know about all the rest of it? About how there are so many blessings, or benefits, that are available in this life now, that are not to be enjoyed by the great crowd?

JW: Like what? We enjoy many benefits.

Me: Yes, they do teach that you get the indirect benefit of having Jesus as your ransom, but that’s about all. There’s also being adopted as sons and daughters of Jehovah, being declared righteous, the assurance of eternal life, being Abraham’s seed, part of the body of Christ, being citizens of the Kingdom, having Jesus as your mediator, being sealed with the Holy Spirit, being in the New Covenant, . . .

JW: Wait, back up. We have Jesus as our mediator.

Me: No, Watchtower teaches that Jesus is the mediator for only the anointed class. You can research that in their “online library,” in the Insight book, under M for Mediator. But right now, tell me, do you really believe that all those benefits are not available to you? You can’t be adopted as Jehovah’s son, and you’re not in the New Covenant? That the 144,000 get all those things, and you don’t? Do all Jehovah’s Witnesses really believe that? Do you believe that?

JW: Why, yes I do. I don’t have a problem with it. It sounds like you have a problem with it.

Me: Yes, I do! I have a big problem with it. Have you looked at the descriptions in the Bible of the New Covenant? Can we look at that together? Here in Jeremiah 31 . . .

You can go many directions from here, talking about your shock that the great crowd believers are being denied these benefits, being forbidden so many blessings. You can describe the two class system as having a first class and a second class group. Or you can focus on just one topic, whether it’s mediator or New Covenant or citizenship in the kingdom, or whatever. The important thing is to get them to commit to their own belief system. They may never have fully done so, specifically. Even if they have been baptized and are the most active of members, they may not be fully committed to the scandalous doctrines, keeping them on a back burner of the mind. By bringing them to a front burner, you’re helping them to recognize how absurd they are. Their response doesn’t matter. Notice in the dialogue above, it seems like the JW is unaffected. But they will be effected. On the outside, they’re putting on a confident show for you. But on the inside they’re asking themselves, “Do I really believe that?” You’re “stiffening the giant,” preparing it for a toppling fall. Their doctrinal giant might not even need a rock to the forehead or a tripwire to the foot–it might come crashing down under its own weight.

Ooh, I’m reminded (as I’m writing this) of the coast redwood trees where I attended college, how their far-reaching but shallow roots required only a small amount of under-erosion for the whole, massive tree to thunderously collapse without any warning. Just one more metaphor making my point. Get your JW friend to fully commit to their absurd doctrine, and it might just help them to see how crazy it really is.

 

 

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