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Jehovah's Witnesses rebuttals?

Discussion in 'Ask a Calvinist' started by kj7gs, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. kj7gs

    kj7gs Junior Member

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    Got into a discussion with a Jehovah's Witnesses recently, and I discovered that they hold Arian beliefs. Sorry, I can't let go of what the Council of Nicea has already defined as our Trinitarian beliefs, along with the Son of God meaning God the Son, not Michael the Archangel.

    Anyway, what I got back was , "If Jesus is God, then Manoah & his wife would have seen him, thus making John 1:18 incorrect." Of course he has his Arian answer, and my Reformed study Bible doesn't really go into that aspect of a pre-incarnate Jesus. So I'm asking for a little help here other than "it's a mystery."

    Also another rebuttal from him, "By the way, you didn’t explain Rev 3:12, Jesus worshipping his God."

    I don't see his side of it at all because of all the other texts that support Jesus being God, but the text that he quotes does confuse me a little. What I get out of Revolution 3:12 is that "God worshiping God" is really just a parting out of the Trinity to show distinctive personalities while remaining a mystery of unity within the Godhead. And as Jesus as a man was subject to God the Father, so we see a mirror image here without losing the deity of Jesus Christ.

    Is this what y'all get out of it?

    I keep telling him that there is no way that we are going to convince each other of the truths of our positions. He is locked into Jehovah's Witness theology, I'm locked in to Calvinism, and we will be discussing meanings of verses until we are blue in the face. And I would do the same thing with Arminianism, I know that I will not be able to convince anyone outside of Calvinism of the truth of this position, except only in rare circumstances. But I ain't gonna budge.

    There are a couple of other issues that he discussed, and I'll get to them later, this is enough for now. I would appreciate some Calvinist inputs to refute what he's trying to tell me.
     
  2. GrinningDwarf

    GrinningDwarf Just a humble servant

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    Witnessing to JWs can certainly be a toughie. They really are locked into their own interpretations of the Greek. I sat down with one for a long time and we went over John 1, where their New World Translation says "In the begining was the word, and the word was with god, and the word was a god...". I thought I had demonstrated pretty conclusively that they have a mistranslation there, that it really should be translated "and the Word was God..."...and made not a bit of headway with the person, who insisted they have the correct translation even though I had just demonstrated that it could not possibly be translated their way.

    I think another approach, that I have not yet tried but am eager to try at the next opportunity, would be to focus on Total Depravity and the fact that there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. They really are big on salvation-by-works.

    One important point, I think, is that our goal in evangelism is not to win arguments. It is simply to present the truth and let God change the hearts. Surely, we want to present God's truths as clearly as we can, but even if we can back the other person into a corner with our arguments, and they merely concede that they cannot beat our arguements without experiencing a change of heart, we havn't really won anything. We need to be responsible to present God's truths and rest assured that God will use that to His glory however we perceive our words' effectiveness to be. Your job here might simply have been to plant some Gospel seed and doubts in his/her current system.

    Oh, BTW....the person's question about Rev 3:12 demonstrates the main problem with a lot of people who deny the Trinity...the don't really understand it. I'm having an ongoing discussion with some neighbors who follow Gwen Shamblin's views against the Trinity. I can't make then understand that the arguements Shamblin presents against the Trinity are largely arguements against 'modalism'...which is not the Trinity. I found a great pamphlet at our local Christian bookstore that really helps explain what the Trinity is and what it is not. I usually buy three or four every time I go to that bookstore and pass them out almost like tracts, mostly to other believers. Check this out.
     
  3. Monergism

    Monergism Guest

    I don't know what the Jehovah's Witness was trying to prove. It is apparent that in Judges 13, it is the angel of the Lord (see 13:3, 9, 13, 16, 17, 18, 21).

    That's not what the Text says. Yes, Jesus says, "my God," but that's not worship.

    I wouldn't go with this assumption. The verse isn't even about worshiping.
     
  4. Monergism

    Monergism Guest

  5. bradfordl

    bradfordl Veteran

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    My patent response to any JW that clouds my day is to tell them to repent of their blasphemy against my Redeemer and flee that Russellite synagogue of Satan, because all the while they spend there the wrath of God is justly fixed against them. The usual reaction is widened eyes and a stammering retreat, which is fine with me. Rather than engaging in contentions over words and their meanings, I'd rather just leave the blasphemers with a warning, and hope that they may hear it and turn.

    Russell was an arrogant, blaspheming scoundrel with limited education who did what all reprobates who fancy themselves "enlightened" do; created his own false god to which he could ingratiate himself by his own actions. Nothing new under the sun, and nothing to get worked up about. The Lord will redeem His own. Arguing Greek with a JW just doesn't seem to be a productive endeavor to me.
     
  6. Iosias

    Iosias Senior Contributor

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    Hebrews 1:8 "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
     
  7. JMC309

    JMC309 Regular Member

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    Pehaps one way of arguing with them would be to focus on disproving things they believe but do not see as so central, such as whether Christ died on a cross or a stake. They may be more open to persuasion here. Yet them compromising here would lead to less confidence in their other beliefs, once one has been undermined. OTOH this is probably falling into the trap of letting the discussion move away from the really important issues never to return.

    BTW wasn't there a bit in one of Paul's letters in which Paul takes an OT hymn to God and applies it to Jesus? I think it was Philippians, but I'm not sure! Sorry! :sorry:
     
  8. GrinningDwarf

    GrinningDwarf Just a humble servant

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    But isn't that just how you witness to everyone, anyway? ;) (Well...modifying the 'Russellite' part, as necessary.)

    It hasn't been very productive for me so far. It was just another class for me in the School of Hard Knocks, I guess.
     
  9. edie19

    edie19 Legend Supporter

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    I rarely see JW's anymore.

    Several years ago they knocked on my door and, of course, had lots and lots of their Watchtower publications to share.

    I nicely agreed to take and read their publications if, and only if, they took mine - and I handed them copies of the London Baptist Confession and John Piper's The Passion of Jesus Christ.

    Needless to say they weren't interested in what I had to share - and they haven't stopped at my door since.

    edie
     
  10. GrinningDwarf

    GrinningDwarf Just a humble servant

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    Yup...that's a show-stopper!
     
  11. JMC309

    JMC309 Regular Member

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    The significance of this was that the JW's NWT missed screwing with the translation of that bit! They failed to see the large hole it blew in their Christology.

    Beware about playing along with them, though. Remember that they believe that if they get into your house, argue their case and give you literature, they will go up on the great scoreboard in the sky based on which the lucky 144,000 are chosen for heaven! :eek: :( :sick:
     
  12. bradfordl

    bradfordl Veteran

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    Welll.... I tend to be a bit more conversant and willing to reason from scripture with a run-of-the-mill unbeliever than I am with open heretics. I take to heart the instruction that after the first and second admonition to have nothing to do with them:

    1. Repent of your blasphemy.
    2. Flee the synagogue of Satan.

    Two admonitions and I'm done. :cool:
     
  13. sonofvu

    sonofvu New Member

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    The responses here have been spotty at best. I do like the response to the John 1:18 question even though it should be fleshed out a bit more. The OT saints did not exactly see God. They saw and interacted with theophanies and visions. John 1:18 speaks of Jesus revealing God in a more intimate and different way. Christ reveals God like no other human or theophany or vision ever could. I deal with JWs all the time and I'm trying to work through these issues (as they increase my faith in the Trinity). The problem with JWs is that there is an absurdity to their logic that if you deal with everything they throw at you they say that you are twisting scripture or they just don't respond to your arguments. I'm not where bradfordl is. Although I must confess that many a time I've thought of dismissing them with a good "turn or burn" admonition.
     
  14. Ahazmat

    Ahazmat Guest

    Ihave found that asking the JWs to prove the necessity of a human sacrifice or even the permissibility of human sacrifice and to prove the validity of the Doctrine of Atonement using only OT sources scares all of them away. The last one got so worried that he almost ran out of my house. All I was doing was asking questions about two issues I am really interested in learning about.
     
  15. wnwall

    wnwall New Member

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    On John 1:18, I think the answer is as simple as saying that often the Bible refers to the person of the Father as "God". "God" doesn't always mean the Trinity. In fact, I don't even think YHWH always means the Trinity (we know when Isaiah said he saw YHWH in Isaiah 6, he had really seen Jesus [John 12:41]). So John 1:18 is simply saying no one has ever seen the Father. We see often where the word "theos" (god) refers to the Father. As JWs are quick to point out, theos can also be used to refer to Satan, so who "theos" is referring to all depends on context. I don't think anyone would deny that when it's used at the beginning of John 1:18 it's talking about the Father and when it's used the second time in John 1:18 it's talking about the Son. The only thing the JWs are going to dispute is whether the G should be capitalized the second time, and we know it should be because scripture interprets scripture, and there are so many other places in scripture where we see Jesus is God. So I don't even see what the problem could be with John 1:18.
     
  16. wnwall

    wnwall New Member

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    And on Revelation 3:12, I like the way Monergism pointed out that verse doesn't say Jesus worships the Father. I mean, it really is that simple. The text doesn't say what they want it to say. It's amazing how the text can say things plainly like "the Word was God" and they act like it says something else and then they go and try to tell you Revelation 3:12 says Jesus worships God and it doesn't even say that. Scripture means what it says.
     
  17. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

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    Robert Bowman's "The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity" is a real good short-outline study. It's posted quite a few places on the web.

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/robert_bowman/trinity.html

    Is one.

    One other proof I find very powerful is the verse about the voice in the wilderness from Isaiah as well as all four gospels. It's talking of John the Baptist preparing the way of Jehovah. If you work through the gospels, especially John's it's clear he is preparing the way for Jesus. It's even obvious if you actually study it in the New World Testament of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Marv
     
  18. GrinningDwarf

    GrinningDwarf Just a humble servant

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    One thing I'd like to point out as a what not to do...maybe it will be obvious to y'all, but I think it's safer not to assume.

    Do not try and discuss theology with a JW using arguements straight from a book on how to witness to JWs. For instance, Ron Brown has a pretty good book on apologetics for witnessing to JWs. Don't use one of Brown's lines of reasoning and say "Well, Ron Brown says..."

    That line of reasoning should backfire on you every time. A smart JW will turn it back on you with, "Well, that may be what Ron Brown says, but it's not what we teach..." regardless of whether it really is or not.

    The way I see it, we have two options:

    1. We can stick with our own theologies and compare what the JWs are telling us with them. I think this is the best route to go for most Christians, and this is why I'm thinking the best way for most of us to go in witnessing to them is to stick with a focus on grace.

    2. We can study the original sources from the JWs themselves so we can go to their own books and demonstrate the falsehoods therein. I think this is better left to those called to minister to JWs. The most effective communicator of the Gospel to JWs I've met was a man I knew who had actually studied under Dr. Walter Martin. This guy could could put holes in JW theology using their own books.
     
  19. AndOne

    AndOne Formerly known as Behe's Boy

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    There are many holes within their own NW translation of the Bible. For example - In John 20:28 the NWT proclaims the same thing every other translation does. It's when Thomas proclaims Jesus his Lord and God. I always ask JW's why Jesus does not correct Thomas in vs 29 if he is not God - but instead affirms the proclamation. Every single time I bring it up they walk away scratching their heads. Probably won't be a deal breaker for them - but it certainly gets one to thinking.
     
    edie19 likes this.
  20. sonofvu

    sonofvu New Member

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    I've had a chance to deal with this passage while speaking to JWs. The responses have been from blasphemous to ridiculous. The blasphemous one was when Thomas exclaimed "my Lord and my God" he was not calling Jesus God. What he was doing was reacting in surprise. This got my juices boiling and I asked this JW if Thomas was actually using the Lord's name in vain then why did Jesus not rebuke him right there on the spot. The ridiculous was they pointed me to John 21:25 which talks about the many things that Christ did that were not written down. I have to admit that I was dumbfounded on that one. But the point still stands. Christ would not have let one of his disciples get away with blasphemy.
     
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