Tag Archives: Questions

Questioning My Motives

After the kingdom hall talks, I approached one of the speakers to ask a question about the scripture he lectured on. The passage was Galatians 4, which he gave as an example of a legitimate usage of type and anti-type in biblical interpretation. I agree with him (and with the Watchtower teaching he was parroting), because the typology of the passage is clearly spelled out in the very passage. Paul, the author, explains that Hagar symbolizes the Old Covenant, and Sarah symbolizes the New Covenant.

My question was about verse 27, where it says that the barren woman (Sarah) would rejoice, because “more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” My question would have been “Since this verse indicates that there would be more believers in the New Covenant than in the Old Covenant, doesn’t that indicate that there are more than just 144,000 in the New Covenant?”

I say that my question “would have been,” because I didn’t get a chance to ask it of the speaker. One of the elders (in past posts I called him Carl, see Donkey Incident), ushered me away from the speaker, and took me over to my other friend Aaron. Then he left us. I told the perplexed Aaron, “Carl brought me over to you, but I don’t know why.” Then Carl came back. (I assume he had gone back to Mr. Speaker to warn him of my ways.) I was then able to ask the question of Carl and Aaron.

Trouble was, Carl kept interrupting and wouldn’t even listen to the question. And he questioned my motives, saying things like, “It sounds like you already have your opinion about the matter,” and “What is your purpose in asking the question?” It was annoying, but I kept my cool, giving him my usual explanations when confronted this way, namely:

I’m seeking the truth.

I have been brought up in a different system, for a long time, and I have questions about your belief system.

I want to understand clearly what Watchtower teaches.

I’m like the little kid in the “Bible Teach” book, asking questions repeatedly until they receive a satisfactory answer.

These answers are all truthful. But obviously it’s not the full truth. I am trying to influence the ones I’m questioning.

So here’s the tough part. Carl’s challenges made me think deeply about my motives, even while I was talking with him and Aaron. Now, I know I’m not the demon Carl imagines me to be in his mind. He thinks I’m merely sowing seeds of doubt, leading people away from “the truth” and toward paganism, atheism, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Not so, Carl. Yes, I’m sowing seeds of doubt, and I want to lead people away from the Watchtower, but more than that, I want to lead people toward Jesus and The Truth of scripture. But Carl’s probing made me question my motives in my own mind.

Do I take pleasure in stumping my JW friends?

Am I addicted to the adrenaline rush that I get when I’m challenging my JW friends?

Am I in this for the fun of being a “secret agent” for Jesus?

Does outsmarting my JW friends make me feel proud and smug, and intellectually superior to them?

And finally: Is it right for me to be secretive about my agenda with my JW friends?

I have to admit that sometimes the first four are true. I am praying that Jehovah will work those flaws out of me.

That last question, though; I don’t yet know what to think about that. Do I need a more up front and honest approach? If I did that, would they not talk or listen to me at all?

Am I just overthinking all of this? Perhaps. But, I will continue to take this to the Lord. He’s having me think about this for a reason. (Unless it’s the enemy trying to attack me with doubts, but I don’t think so. There’s no condemnation attached to it.)

I do know for certain that I need to change my strategy with that particular congregation from this time forward. No more questioning of congregation members. I think I just need to be a friend to the people, and let them (hopefully) sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in me, and see what the Lord does with that. I will let you know what comes of it.

If you have experience or insight into these issues, please feel free to comment. Thank you!

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When They Ask You . . .

There are a number of questions that JW’s have asked me when I visit their kingdom halls, assemblies, and conventions. At first I thought the questions were innocent enough, but after being asked the same questions numerous times, I figured out that they were actually probing for specific information. I’m not saying the motivations are sinister, but I am saying it’s a little bit sneaky. So here are their questions, along with their actual meaning, and my “safe” answers, designed to satisfy the ask-er without giving any real substantial information to them.

“Did you enjoy the talk/meeting/assembly/convention?” Translation: “Are you a sincerely interested potential convert, or a skeptical potential opposer?” My answer: “I’m glad I came!” Which is true, but not for the reasons that they think. What I’m really thinking is that the talk was either excruciatingly boring, or annoying, or both. But I’m glad, even excited, to be there because of the opportunities for conversations with JW’s before and after the talk.

“How long have you been studying the Bible?” Translation: “HOW are you studying the Bible? On your own, or reading websites, or studying with a Jehovah’s Witness, or in one of the churches in the evil religious system, or not at all?” My answer: “I have been a student of the Bible for years. I love studying scripture. Can I share one of my favorite Bible verses with you?” Hopefully this will distract them from their probing, and gives an opportunity to share about how God has changed your life with his word. I like to go to First John 5:13 and talk about the assurance of salvation, something they don’t have.

“Who are you studying with?” Translation: “Are you studying JW materials with a JW?” My answer: “I have been studying on and off with my friend, Mark, who I have known since I was in high school. I have also been keeping up on all the magazines on jw.org. One recent article I read there sparked a question in my mind. Can I share my question with you?”

“Are you attending a Kingdom hall?” Translation: “Are you on your way to becoming hooked, or do you have other motives for being here? If the former, all I have to do is encourage you to keep attending. If the latter, I’m going to try to walk you over to one of the elders right now so they can probe you further.” My answer: “I have been attending pretty inconsistently, when I can. I have also attended 3 conventions and about as many assemblies. Recently I heard a talk on topic x, and it sparked a question in my mind. Maybe you can help with it. Can I share my question with you?”

And finally, concerning any topic at hand, “The truth is x, don’t you agree?” My answer when I don’t agree: “I understand that’s what Watchtower teaches. But here’s my concern. What do you do with this passage of scripture that would seem to indicate something different? Am I missing something here? Help me to understand.”

Concerning all my answers, I’m trying to be truthful. But in all honesty, I am withholding information as well. Am I being deceptive? I prefer to think of it as evasive. When I use any of these answers, I also pray that Jehovah will protect my relationship with them, so they don’t write me off as an opposer. My aim is always to keep their willingness to dialog with me open as long as possible.

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