Tag Archives: God’s Name

A Christian in a Jehovah’s Witness Bible Study: Part 4

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The fourth lesson in my “Bible study” with my Jehovah’s Witness friend “Craig,” from their primer Enjoy Life Forever! is called “Who Is God?” Oh, this should be good, right? Let’s get right to it!

Point #1 was “What is God’s name, and how can we be sure that he wants us to know it?” That’s a leading question, isn’t it? They’re telling the student right up front what they expect him/her to conclude. The blatant manipulation is comical. I used this paragraph as an opportunity to talk about my preference for using the name Yahweh rather than Jehovah, because Yahweh is more accurate, which even Watchtower admits. Somewhere in my ramblings I included that God’s name means “I am that I am,” or the one who is, the source of all existence. This is contrary to the JW belief mentioned in the paragraph that God’s name means “He causes to become,” but I didn’t present the facts as a contradiction; I just laid it out there as assumed truth on my part. Craig affirmed everything I said, so I asked whether, if I became a JW, I would be allowed to use the name Yahweh instead of Jehovah. Craig said that it would be allowed, and I responded with exaggerated surprise. “Oh really? I wouldn’t get in trouble?” Craig hemmed and hawed about that, and I let him off the hook and we continued on.

Point #2 asks “What does the Bible reveal about Jehovah?” Most of this paragraph is true, so I agreed with it. I did bring up the point about creation, that Isaiah says that he alone created everything. “Who was with me?” asks God, implying that no one else was involved. I just let that float in the air for future reference, if and when we get to Jesus’ involvement in creation. Oh, and I continued to use Yahweh rather then Jehovah.

I also agreed with point #3, “God has many titles, but one name.” But I kept using Yahweh rather than Jehovah. I think that Craig was surprised that I so readily agreed with this paragraph. I honestly did agree, that God has a name, Yahweh. The next section though . . .

Section #4 was “Jehovah wants you to know and use his name.” Oh boy, here we go. When Craig asked me the question from the study “How important is it to use God’s name, Jehovah?” I paused and said, “Well, honestly, I don’t think it’s vital.” I explained how a child can love his dad and have a deep relationship with him without knowing his personal name. In fact, if I were to call my dad by his first name, that would be disrespectful, wouldn’t it? Craig got noticeably uncomfortable, so after a short while I gave him an out. Looking ahead to the next section, I commented that I liked what it said there, and considered it more important.

Section #5 was “Jehovah wants you to get closer to him.” We talked about that concept, without referring much to the printed material. We watched the video, and I expressed my empathy for the woman who had the harrowing experience of being a refugee, and acknowledged that churches failed to meet her need for a personal relationship with God. We talked about the importance of knowing God personally, “apart from any organization” I added, explaining that we as individuals can know him personally and don’t need any dependence on any priesthood, elders, or other humans to get to know him. I mentioned how wonderful it was to me to have God as my “Abba, Father.” We left on a good note, and looked forward to the next study next week.

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Is Attendance Down at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Conventions?

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JW Convention, Cow Palace, 2017

Is Convention Attendance Down?

On a recent Saturday I attended part of the 2017 convention entitled “Don’t Give Up!” My intention was to attend the full day, like I usually do, but circumstances made me arrive at lunchtime and leave before the sessions of the day were over. Here are some of my experiences and thoughts from the day.

I wondered whether attendance would be down as others have been reporting. I believe it was down a little, but not greatly. It seemed there were more gaps between people than there had been in my past experiences. Take a look at the pic above and compare it with my pic from last year, below. It’s difficult to discern any difference from my blurry pics, but my experience was that there were slightly fewer people this year.

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JW Convention, Cow Palace, 2016

 

A Conversation

Upon arriving at lunchtime, I met my friend Mark, and we and walked out to Marla’s car (the sister he had ridden with), where we all ate together, enjoying the cool, sunny day outside of the Cow Palace (San Francisco). Because I have been recently experiencing less willingness on the part of JW’s to interact in any meaningful way (see my previous post, Preparing Jehovah’s Witnesses to Listen – A New Strategy), I used my new approach with Marla. She began asking me about whether I liked reading the Bible, and what translation I used. I could tell where she was going, but I didn’t let on. I told her I liked New American Standard and New International Version, and that I have them side-by-side in columns in my Bible app. To my surprise, she said she liked the NIV too. But then, sure enough, she began claiming the superiority of the New World Translation, because of its inclusion of “Jehovah” for God’s name, where others have substituted in the title “LORD.” I told her that I also liked a version that used the name “Yahweh” in the Old Testament, and explained that it was more accurate to the original language than the name “Jehovah” which was not invented until the 14th century.

Before that point could loom and spoil our relationship, I expressed my joy at being able to join with Jesus in calling God “Father,” and even something like “Dad” according to Romans 8. I was going to be kind and not drop the bomb that Watchtower teaches that adoption as sons (according to Romans 8) is only for the anointed 144,000, but then Marla did it herself. (She knows her doctrine better than most JW’s.) My cheerful response was: “Oh, I believe I have been adopted as Jehovah’s son, and when that happens, we’re free to address him as Jehovah, Yahweh, Father, Dad, or any of his other names. It’s fantastic!”

Then I changed the subject, mentioning the great weather Jehovah had provided for us that day. And we remained friends, chatting all the way back into the arena! (Actually, Marla did most of the chatting, which was essentially “humble-bragging” about the Jehovah’s Witness organization.)

Comments on One of the Talks

One of the most bizarre talks, in my opinion, was one among the four in the symposium “Imitate Those Who Have Endured,” specifically the talk on Jephthah’s Daughter (Judges 11:36-40). If you read Judges 11, it says that Jephthah (foolishly) vowed to offer as a burnt offering “whoever comes out of the door of my house.” The speaker then went on to assume that Jephthah’s daughter was not killed by her father, but lived the rest of her days a virgin in the temple, perhaps playing a part in raising Samuel. He (and I assume the Watchtower leaders) completely overlook that the Bible says that Jephthah “carried out the vow he had made regarding her.” The NWT even gives a biased translation of verse 40, saying that “from year to year, the young women of Israel would go to give commendation to the daughter of Jephʹthah,” in contrast to all other translations which say something like “each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate (or lament) the daughter of Jephthah.” I was amazed at the Watchtower’s sanitizating of the biblical story, and wondered what was their motive for doing so. I would appreciate your thoughts and insights about this in the comment section below. Yes, you, whether you’re a Jehovah’s Witness in good standing, faded, disfellowshipped, or a non-JW (or some other category I haven’t thought of). Remain anonymous if you need to. Jehovah loves you, and wants to adopt you as his son or daughter! (Read Romans 8.)

 

 

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