How I answered a Jehovah's Witness
- A Jehovah's Witness initiated a lengthy email
exchange with questions on a wide range of topics, beliefs, and doctrines.
- Responses to the Jehovah's Witness questions revealed
differences on fundamental theological issues and on the meaning of many Bible verses.
- Responses were given as to the nature of God, the Trinity,
Jesus' identity, the future, and the interpretation of various Bible passages.
"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
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
One of the sad things about our email conversation is that my Jehovah's
Witness friend rarely asked me a follow-up question. 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" in
which we discussed 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. Winning an argument seemed more important than following
"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
- 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 those 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 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 said we have a helper with the Father, and it give 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 ]
- Jehovah's Witness question: What do you understand about this
scripture? "The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of
Christ is God" -- 1 Corinthians 11:3
- 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
- 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
- Jehovah's Witness question: What do you think the Bible says about
- My answer: There are three words translated as "hell" in various English versions:
Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna. . . . [ read rest of
Questions for you to ask a Jehovah's Witness
-- Howard Culbertson,
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