Dropping a Rock in the Shoe of a Jehovah’s Witness
It was a Saturday morning this past summer. I had just put on my running gear for a three and a half mile run and stepped out the front door, when I saw them – a grown man, a middle school-ish aged young man, and a young girl. They were all dressed nicely, and they seemed to be finishing at my next door neighbor’s home.
My first thought was to hit the pavement and get going, avoiding the conversation. But I quickly processed the situation: My wife was gone, my 9th grade daughter was the only one up (and would not or at least should not answer the door), my other 2 kids were still sleeping. If the door was closed, these three people would ring the doorbell, and wake up my sleeping children on a day when they needed a bit of rest.
There was only one option – I needed to wait and talk to these folks now approaching my front porch.
With a smile, they engaged me in conversation by saying hello, and asking me a question about a current event or the state of our society today (which they portrayed in a very negative light). In my mind, I quickly put together two objectives: 1 – I don’t want to be here all day long. 2 – Can I put a rock in the shoe of these precious, eternal souls who God loves, and are sincere…but sincerely believe the wrong things about some very important (as in eternal destiny altering) issues?
The issue that I targeted (in a kind manner, and with a smile on my face) was what I would say is the primary fork in the road between a Bible believer and a Jehovah’s Witness, the identity of Jesus Christ. I proposed that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God (greeted by an enthusiastic “yes!”), and then that Jesus Christ was and is God (greeted by an unapologetic “no!”).
Here are a few of the uncomfortable rocks that I worked to slip into their shoes:
1. Ask them why, in John 20:27, Thomas, upon seeing Jesus after the resurrection, says to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” (And if Jesus was not God, why did He not correct Thomas, but instead received that worship?)
By the way, the response of my new acquaintance was simply, “That’s a good question.”
2. Ask them why, in John 8, Jesus told the religious leaders that He KNEW Abraham (who lived hundreds of years before Jesus was born), and why He made the clear statement in verse 58, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (Check Exodus chapter 3 – “I AM THAT I AM.) Jesus said essentially – “That was me.” (And they understood what He was claiming to be – God – because the next verse says that they were ready to stone Him.)
3. Ask them why, in Mark 2, when the scribes thought Jesus blasphemous for forgiving the sins of the paralytic (Their thought: Who can forgive sins but God only? By the way, they were right.), Jesus did not shy away from claiming the power to forgive sins?
4. Ask them why, in Hebrews 1:8, the statement is made, in fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture, “But unto the SON He saith, Thy throne O GOD, is for ever and ever.”
5. Ask them why in Revelation, the statement is made by the angel to “Only worship God”…and in Revelation chapter 5, the twenty four elders, and the angels, and every creature in heaven, earth, under the earth, the sea and everything in them worships the Lamb, who is undoubtedly Jesus (John 1:29).
6. Ask them why their translation (and FYI, they will be ready to attacks yours – I only mentioned the KJV, and I was greeted with the fact the King James was a pervert…which really is irrelevant to this discussion for a variety of reasons) alters the wording of John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In John 1, John’s point clearly is to announce and argue the deity of Jesus Christ – He was and is and forever will be…God. In verse 3, it is said that He created all things, and verse 14 makes a clear statement about His deity. There are certainly others (you may have had some pop into your head now – good!).
Some other tidbits:
1. Be ready to discuss Philippians 2:5-8, a tremendous statement about the deity of Christ, which they argue says that Jesus was not God, but inferior to God.
2. Be ready to hear about some form of the statement about “inheriting the earth,” which they argue is solid ground for why you won’t be in heaven… (Psalm 37)
3. Be ready for them not to let you park on any of the verses mentioned above (I would encourage you to not let them off the hook!).
4. Do not close by asking them if you can pray for them (of course pray for them, but I asked if I could pray, and that didn’t sit very well…probably not a good idea).
II Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Written by Bob DeAngelo, Pastor of Youth and Outreach