How I answered a Jehovah's Witness

"Thank you for your PowerPoint presentation. I am helping give a presentation on Jehovah's Witnesses in my college Religious Traditions class. Your outline has been so helpful to me and my group. My family members were Jehovah's Witnesses at one time. Your slides were wonderful . . . and were sensitive to the plight of these people who are being misled." -- Rose S., Florida

Excerpts from an email exchange I had with a Jehovah's Witness over a period of several months

Watchtower Society interchange: Recently a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses initiated an exchange of email messages about beliefs and doctrines. Below are the questions he asked and the responses I gave him. These pages are like a blog of our conversations.

One of the sad things about our email conversation is that my Jehovah's Witness friend rarely responded to my answers or asked me follow-up questions. He would ask me a question and I would answer. Without responding to what I wrote either to ask for clarification or rebut what I wrote, he would then ask a question on a different topic. Thus, we had very few real "conversations" discussing anything in-depth. I felt like he was trying to find a question that I could not answer and therefore would have to admit that the Jehovah's Witnesses are right and every other Christ-follower is wrong. The impression I got was that he felt that winning an argument was more important than following Jesus.

"As usual, Paul entered there and . . . discussed the Scriptures with them." -- Acts 17:2 (International Study Bible)

Jehovah's Witness question: I've been browsing your site and noticed that although you talk a lot about God, you never mention His name. Why?
My answer: Your question puzzled me. So, I did some searches on my site. I found the word "God" used on more than 500 pages. The word "Lord" appears . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Where in Scripture does it say God is triune?
My answer: My favorite passage in terms of understanding God as triune is the baptismal celebration phrasing in Matthew 28:19-20 (the Great Commission as it is sometimes called). The invocation "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" uses the singular word "name" -- onoma in Greek -- rather than the plural word "names." While some will argue that onoma should be translated as "by the authority of," . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Doesn't Matthew 28 prove that Jehovah and Jesus are totally separate beings since it lists them separately?
My answer: Don't read into Matthew 28:19-20 things that aren't there. First of all, Jehovah isn't even mentioned in Matthew 28:19-20. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Where in the Bible does it say that we are going to heaven?
My answer: What about the great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language in Revelation 7 that are standing before the throne in God's temple? Put that alongside verse 5 of chapter 15 where it says, "I looked and in heaven the temple." . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Why would God want a Great Multitude from the earth to take to heaven when he already has millions and millions of angels there? Does that make any kind of sense to you? If so, explain. For the Great Multitude to be in heaven, wouldn't that mean that Jehovah God had to kill them in order for him to have them in heaven with him?
My answer: You're not making sense by asking why God would want a Great Multitude from earth in heaven. Doesn't God want to be with us because He loves us? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Where in Scripture does it say that Jesus is the same as Jehovah?
My answer: Well, take a look at what Jesus said about Himself and what was said about Him in Scripture. There are Bible passages that clearly indicate Jesus was Yahweh incarnate. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: How could the Word be with God and be God at the same time? When you find a sensible answer to this question, let me know.
My answer: You've asked an excellent question. John 1:1 is one of the most finely crafted verses in the entire Bible. Can you see how its three statements build to a climax? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Since Jesus died and you are teaching that Jesus is God, isn't that saying God died? So, if that's the case, who resurrected him? Did a dead person resurrect himself?
My answer: It's my understanding that Jehovah's Witnesses are among those who believe that human beings cease to exist at death, that "resurrection" means to be recreated from Jehovah's memory. . . Let's look at some scriptures that show that our Lord Jesus Christ did not cease to exist when he died . . . [ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Did you know that God no longer speaks to us today now that we have the Bible to read? Why would He need to repeat Himself by speaking to us directly?
My answer: I am sorry you think God has gone deaf and dumb these days. He does still speak . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Didn't the religious leaders execute Jesus because he said he was God's Son? Look at John 19:7: "The Jews answered him: 'We have a law, and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself GOD'S SON.'" What part of this scripture don't you understand?
My answer: The First Century Jews would have understood the phrase "Son of God" to be referring to his nature rather than to an ancestral relationship (just as "Son of Man" refers to His nature as a human being and not to his ancestry). Scripture is clear: Jesus was crucified because He identified Himself as God. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Didn't you know that the cross is an idolatrous symbol borrowed from paganism? Another reason why true Christians should not use the cross is because too many non-Christians use it for their personal use.
My answer: The cross isn't "borrowed" from anywhere. It's what the Romans used to execute Jesus. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Did you know that Jesus wasn't executed on a cross? He died on a stake.
My answer: There is some debate on what the cross of Christ looked like. It is true that this instrument of execution used by Assyrians, Persians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans was originally just a stake. However, there's archaeological evidence . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Crucifixion was just a horrible way to die. Why do you spend so much time talking about it? Shouldn't we concentrate on what Jesus said and what did when he was here on earth?
My answer: I'm sorry that Jesus' crucifixion is an object of horror and loathing for you. Doesn't the New Testament say that is the pagan way of thinking. . . . ?[ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Did you know that when you celebrate Christmas, you are celebrating a pagan holiday? Did you know that Jesus wasn't born on December 25?
My answer: Yes, some pagans did celebrate an event on December 25. Pagans also celebrated an event by naming Monday after the moon god, naming Saturday after Saturn, naming Thursday after Thor, and so on. Does that mean you are engaging in pagan worship every time you use those words for the various days of the week? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: If you know Jesus wasn't born on December 25, why do you promote that as Jesus' birthday?
My answer: We're not promoting December 25 as the actual day on which Jesus was born. I was born on November 21. Rarely does my family celebrate my birthday on that day. They usually pick a day closest to that day when we can all get together. Does that mean that this year we were saying I was born on November 19? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Isn't it wrong to use a mythical figure like Santa Claus to celebrate Christmas?
My answer: I'm not sure why you put Santa Claus into the picture. I don't remember bringing him up. Santa Claus wasn't part of the Lord's Supper celebration that we did together in our church service during a recent Christmas season. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Why do you go around singing carols at Christmas? Why don't you go around teaching the truth instead?
My answer: Don't you think singing is a wonderful Christian act of worship as well as a teaching event? [ story of "Silent Night" ] Yes, I am a happy celebrator of the coming of the Messiah. Both Matthew and Luke give two entire chapters to the event. . . . [ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Don't you believe this way simply because that's the way you were brought up?
My answer: I am sorry that you think I believe this way because I grew up believing this way. I made a conscious decision . . . [ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: If Jesus was God, how could God have raised him from the dead? That doesn't make sense.
My answer: It's not a problem for me to say that God raised Jesus from the dead any more than it's a problem for me to say that God created the universe out of nothing. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Who do you think the archangel Michael is, according to Daniel 10:13, 21, Daniel 12:1, Jude 9 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16? Did you know that Jesus is the archangel Michael?
My answer: The archangel Michael is simply who the Bible says he is. He is the archangel Michael. There's not a single verse of scripture . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Why are you so critical of the New World Translation of the Bible? Isn't it superior to other translations because it uses the real name of God whereas the others do not? Don't you agree that it stays close to the original Greek?
My answer: You say that the New World Translation is the only Bible that has God's "real" name in it. That is just not true. Who gave you that false information? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: What proof do you have that the name Jehovah is the wrong pronunciation?
My answer: That's a good question and certainly an important one because I know that correctly pronouncing God's name is very important to you. For instance, my name is Howard. Once in a while, someone will call me Harold. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Do you know what the Scriptures say about the soul?
My answer: A good place to start is with the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:28: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Do you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord? If so, that means you are saying He is separate from Jehovah.
My answer: Do I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior? Yes, I do, and because of that, I have had to acknowledge him as Yahweh. As Paul said, for believers, there can be only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5). . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Doesn't "only begotten" clearly mean that Jehovah created Jesus?
My response: The Greek word translated as "only begotten" is monogenes. That word is used several times in Scripture, of Jesus in John's writings. Monogenes is a compound word made up of two other words. The King James Version translators liked to translate word-for-word when it was possible. So when they came to the compound word monogenes they translated mono as only and genes as "begotten." There's no question about monos being the equivalent of "only." It's the genes part of that word which needs some reflection. . . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Did you know that Jesus is the only thing God actually created? According to John 1, it was Jesus who then created everything.
My answer: I'm glad you agree Jesus is the Creator of everything. Having established that, then we need to look at the following . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: How do you explain 1 Corinthians 8:6 ("Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live")?
My answer: First, let's look at the whole chapter. To really understand any Scripture verse, we need to see it in the original context in which it appears. This chapter, 1 Corinthians 8, discusses . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Would you like to know the truth about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?
My answer: I'm not sure what you mean by "the truth about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." There is a question I'd like to ask in return: Why don't you accept what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit? . . . [ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: If Jesus was God, don't you think we would be able to pray directly to Jesus?
My answer: Good question. The answer is simple. We can. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Look at Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:46. Was Jesus asking himself why he has forsaken he himself?
My answer: Do you really want to know what Jesus was saying in those Scriptures? First of all, it must be noted that Jesus is here quoting words from Psalm 22. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: What does this scripture mean when it say we have a helper with the Father, giving us the name of that helper, Jesus Christ? (1 John 2:1) "We have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one."
My answer: You picked a Scripture that clearly illustrates the truth that, while there is only one God (Yahweh), He exists in three persons and each of those persons is fully God. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: If Jesus was God incarnate, wouldn't that mean that there would not be a father for Jesus to go to if Jesus was already there in the flesh existing as the father?
My answer: Aren't you misunderstanding what I'm saying? God is one and yet He is also three separate persons. The Father is not the Son. . . . [ rest of answer ]
My answer: This scripture appears in a letter that Paul writes to a church in tumult. The larger passage in which this verse appears is about order and authority. One key question is: What does Paul mean by the word "head" in this scripture? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Didn't Jesus say in John 3:13: "No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man"? Doesn't that clearly mean that no other person has gone to heaven?
My answer: Do you know what John 3:13 really means? To know the answer to that, you need to realize that the first 21 verses of John 3 are all one unit. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Why don't you look up the origin of the word "trinity"? Did you know that it is a pagan teaching?
My answer: The word "trinity" was coined by a Christian named Tertullian. Tertullian was born in North Africa about 60 years after the death of the last Apostle, John. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: If the Holy Spirit is something that controls our minds, how could it be a person? If we are being filled in the sense of being controlled, isn't it a force that is controlling us rather than a person?
My answer: No, unless you are reducing the definition of personhood to only what human beings are. . . [ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Where in the Bible did it speak about Jehovah being everywhere at the same time?
My answer: First of all, are you reducing God to the limits of time and space? Did you know that God created time and space and that He is not limited by them in the ways that we are? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Jesus is divine in essence, but he is not God. Do you know what essence means?
My answer: "Core" is a good start at a definition of essence. However, we need to build on that. . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: I hear people say "Christ lives in me." How can Christ live in you?
My answer: That's a great question. You have hit on the very heart of what being a Christian means. Did you know that when believers use that phrase, they are quoting Galatians 2:20? . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness Question: Do you have the original manuscripts? You make it sound like you do.
My answer: I have on my bookshelf a Greek New Testament which New Testament scholars say is most likely the text of the original manuscripts. [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Did you know that in the Bible a woman is not permitted to teach in the congregation on the platform?
My answer: If you're saying women should not be in leadership roles, then what do you do with Deborah? What do you do with Priscilla . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: How did Jesus include you to be in His new covenant? What scripture told you that you were in that new covenant?
My answer: You're asking about a very important subject: Assurance. We can know that God has saved us and made us part of His Kingdom. . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: This is a simple question, Who is God the Father? You don't have to give me the long explanation. Give me the short one. God the Father does have a name.
My answer: The short explanation is that Scripture calls God "Yahweh." Scripture declares that the one true God ("Yahweh") has revealed Himself as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: Where in Acts 2:42 and 2:46 did it say that the meal they were taking was the Lord's evening meal?
My answer: The phrase "breaking bread" was a particular one. When used by the Early Church in the context of a congregational meeting, "breaking bread" always meant the Lord's Supper. Look at that phrase in its context . . . [ rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: You also said that you take communion every month. Do you do this in remembrance of Jesus' death or as the Lord's evening meal? I hope not!
My answer: Yes, I take communion in my church congregation every time it is served (about once a month) . . . . [ read rest of answer ]
Jehovah's Witness question: What do you think the Bible says about hell?
My answer: There are three words translated as "hell" in various English versions: Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna. . . . [ read rest of answer ]

Questions for you to ask a Jehovah's Witness

    -- Howard Culbertson,

We Believe Differently

The Jehovah's Witness organization shares some common beliefs with historic Christianity. These include such things as a belief in the Bible as the revelation of the one true God and a belief in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah promised throughout the Old Testament. However, there are significant differences in key doctrines and practices. Examples of the differences between Jehobah's Witnesses and historic Christianity include:

  1. Belief in the Trinity: Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity as traditionally understood in historic Christianity. They view God as a singular being, rejecting the idea of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as co-equal and co-eternal persons within the Godhead.
  2. View of Jesus Christ: While Jehovah's Witnesses believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior, they do not believe that He was divine in the same sense as historic Christianity does. Instead, they view Jesus as a created being. Therefore, they reject the idea of Christ being eternally preexistent and say that He was the first and greatest of God's creations.
  3. Cross: Jehovah's Witnesses consider representations of the classic Roman cross as a pagan symbol. So, they do not use it. Instead, they argue that Christ died on a "stake" or pole. Their "New World" version of the Bible never uses the word "cross." On the other hand, mainstream Christianity incorporates a Roman executioner's cross as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice and redemption.
  4. Christ's Second Coming: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus' second coming occurred invisibly in 1914 and that he has been ruling from heaven since then. Mainstream Christianity holds various views on the timing and nature of Jesus' second coming, but generally, it is expected to be a very visible and triumphant event.
  5. Translating and Interpreting Scripture: While Jehovah's Witnesses hold the Bible in high regard, they have produced their own translation called the New World Translation, which differs in some key passages from other English translations. They also believe that only the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses has the authority to translate and interpret Scripture.
  6. Salvation and the Afterlife: Jehovah's Witnesses have a different understanding of salvation and the afterlife compared to historic Christianity. They believe in the concept of "earthly paradise," where faithful followers will live forever on a restored Earth, rather than the traditional Christian view of heaven as the eternal dwelling place of all Christ-followers.
  7. Hell: Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in hell. Instead, they talk about annihilationism, which is the belief that wicked people will be completely destroyed and therefore cease to exist.
  8. Heavenly Hope: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only a select group of 144,000 faithful Jehovah's Witnesses will go to heaven to rule with Christ, while the majority of believers will live forever in a paradise on Earth. Mainstream Christianity holds that all born-again believers will go to heaven to be with God for eternity.

Focus on Predicting the Future

Throughout the organization's existence, Jehovah's Witness leaders have predicted several dates regarding the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. None of those predictions have come to pass. One of the most notable instances was the prediction that Armageddon was going to occur in 1914. When that didn't happen, the same event was predicted for 1925 and then 1975. Other predictions were also made, such as the one that said Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be resurrected and come to live on earth again. None of those predictions have come to pass. These failed prophecies have led to disappointment among followers and skepticism from outsiders.

In the face of such setbacks, Jehovah's Witnesses either reinterpret past predictions or else pivot to emphasizing the uncertainty of exact timing while reaffirming their belief in the correctness of their perspective on biblical End Times prophecies.

   Archangel Michael  |   Ascend  |    Begotten  |    Christ in us  |    Christmas  |    Control  |    Creator/created?  |    Cross or stake?  |    Communion/Evening meal  |    Divine essence  |    Forsaken?  |    God's name  |    God speaks today?  |    Headship  |    Heaven  |    Hell  |    Holy Spirit  |    Is Jesus God?  |    Jehovah/Yahweh  |    Jesus and His father  |    Jesus as Lord and Savior?  |   Lord  |    Matthew 28  |    New Covenant  |    New World Translation  |    Original manuscripts  |    Pagan teaching  |    Paraclete  |    Praying  |    Present everywhere  |    Resurrection  |    Saved now?  |    Son of God  |   Soul  |    Trinity  |    With God  |    Women 

You might also like these