When a Jehovah's Witness comes knocking at your door, how do you engage them with the gospel? There is a rather easy way to do this. All it takes is a little understanding of their belief system.
You've seen the TV shows where the villain will attack the hero with a block of wood. It looks so threatening. But then the hero takes the 2x4 out of his hands and bonks his foe in the head with it.
That's really all you have to do with the Jehovah's Witness. Their own beliefs are your greatest weapon. You don't have to be afraid because you can use their folly against them.
What do JW's believe?
Jehovah's Witness believe that God and Jesus are two different spirit entities. Jehovah God is the highest being and Jesus is his firstborn son. To put it another way, Jesus is divine in essence, but he is not God. God is the monarch, and Jesus the first thing God created.
Even though Jesus is not God, the Jehovah's Witness claim that he is the "exact representation of his [i.e. God's] very being" (Heb. 1:3). What's more, they would state that in Jesus "all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily" (Col. 2:9).
Okay, cool. Let's roll with that. Let's take the board out of their hands and begin to clank them with it.
We only need to ask, "What kind of essence does God have?" Once we start poking around Jehovah God's nature, we will find that Jesus is not the exact representation of God nor does the fullness of deity dwell in him.
God is Unchangeable
If you ask a Jehovah's Witness if Jehovah God is unchangeable, he will say yes. They may even cite a Scripture, such as...
Herein we find a contradiction. Jesus was created, which means he changed. He once was not alive, but he underwent a change to become alive.
God is Eternal
If you ask a Jehovah's Witness if Jehovah God is eternal, they will say yes. They may cite a Bible passage, such as...
Again, Jesus cannot be the exact representation of God nor have the fullness of the deity dwell in him. For Jesus is not eternal, being that he at one time was created.
God is Self-sufficient
God is completely complete. We call this his independence or self-sufficiency. What we mean is that the Lord does not depend upon anything else for life (Acts 17:25). He created everything and is independent from all created things.
Smack! Take that board and give them a good wallup: If Jesus is a created being, he is completely dependent on another for his life.
God is Sovereign & Possesses All Power in Himself.
A God who is a king is one who has absolute sovereignty and power. That means he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He is not limited by any other creature, for all power is in and of himself.
But, according to the JW's, Jesus' does not have absolute sovereignty. As a created being, his power is dependent upon Jehovah God. Moreover, he cannot do whatever he wants. His will is subject to a will that is higher than his.
God is All Glorious
A Jehovah Witness will likely admit that Jehovah God is full of glory. They will likely say that Jesus is full of glory too. But Scripture clearly teaches, "I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else." Isaiah 42:8
Obviously, if this is true, God could not share his glory with Jesus. But, if Jesus does not have the exact same glory, he is not the exact representation; neither or does all the fullness of the deity dwell in him.
Here's a real kicker: Jesus even says that he had glory with the Father before the world began. Jesus said, "Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." Jn. 17:4.
That's like a double crack in the head. Yikes!
THE WORD WAS A GOD?
Have you had an encounter with a JW and been given the runaround over John 1:1. The text says,
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word with God and the Word was God."
This passage is a clear proof that Jesus was one with God, very God of very God. But the JW will argue 'til they're blue in the face saying that it really is supposed to be translated like this...
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a god."
Don't let that bother you. You don't have to get into the finer points of the Greek language. You can use that against them! Turn them to Isaiah 45:5 and trap them in their own words. Isaiah announces with the highest bit of prophetical clarity,
"I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no God."
Joel Beeke addresses the topic of the 4th commandment and Sabbath observance in his book Puritan Reformed Spirituality. The discussion comes up under the heading of the "third use of the law" (also called the "didactic use of the law"), which reminds us that the law is to be a guide for Christian living.
I provide a few of the grand quotes from the book below. There are a number of thought provoking words that can be gleaned from this chapter. But I'd like to simply offer a word about how a high view of the Lord's Day is good for the soul.
The principle of setting one day aside for God recenters a person. It forces you to live your life in such a way that it revolves around the Lord, and not your sports, work, kids, or personal inclinations. Taking the Sabbath seriously means putting life in order: I have six days to do everything I need and want; I have one day to dedicate myself and my family to God.
The fourth commandment, then, serves as a time out. It slows you down so that you are not racing here and there, running from this or that activity, and pushing your mind/body with more labor or unnecessary activity.
In sum, there is a peace that it naturally (and supernaturally) affords. When you make it your aim to truly set apart (i.e. to make holy) Sunday to the Lord, you reap a benefit of soundness of mind, body, and soul.
Indeed, the whole family is unified and given some degree of peace as each person is brought together and forced to lay aside their typical pursuits that take them in all the different directions which they normally go.
Those who observe the fourth commandment no doubt find that it fulfills the call of Christ which says, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest."
The following are a few choice quotes from this section of Beeke's book:
"The forces of secularization and the rise of the leisure culture, obsessed with pursuing recreations of all kinds, have extinguished concern for Sabbath observance in the general population."
"Men are destroying themselves because they cannot say no, whether at work or at play. Great spiritual blessings are promised to those who subject themselves to the self-denying discipline of Sabbath observance."
On Hebrews 4.9, which says, "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God," Beeke notes that "because the word he uses for 'rest' is sabbatismos, or 'a keeping of sabbath,' the obligation to observe a weekly Sabbath continues under the gospel."
"Sabbath-keeping became a mark of Christian discipleship in the age of the martyrs, as Maurice Roberts relates: 'One question put to the martyrs before they were put to death was: "Dominicum servasti?" (Do you keep the Lord's Day?).'"
Christ's conflict with the Pharisees must be viewed therefore as a campaign not to destroy but rather to reclaim and restore the Biblical institution of the Sabbath."
"We must engage in those activities which obtain, increase, and express knowledge of the holiness of God, and our own holiness in Christ. [For, as Scripture says,] Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
Speaking on Isaiah 58:13-14 Beeke says, "Here the prophet extends the ban on engaging in labor to include the pursuit of our personal recreations and leisure-time activities. Even the words we speak are to be regulated by the commandment."
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