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« Challenge Response: The Gospels Were Selected for Political Reasons | Main | Witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses – Part 2 »

September 11, 2015


Thank you, Tim for your post. I understand your constraint of keeping your thought to one main point for a blog post, however, and for the benefit of others, I would like to suggest an amendment to 1(A) as an additional retort to the Jehovah’s Witness teaching.

While your argument supports the conclusion of Jesus’ divinity using Ps.102 and Heb.1, the first objection I expect to hear to your 1(A) reasoning is this: Jehovah created Jesus and used him to create everything else. That, if true, removes the need to assign divinity to Jesus. One justification cited is Col.1:17 (NWT) “…by means of him all other things were made to exist …”, referring to Jesus. The word ‘other’ in the NWT is of course key. Yes, Jehovah made everything. Second, Jehovah is ‘one’ and there cannot be another (Deut.6:4, Is.45:5, etc.). Third, since it’s absurd to have made yourself, Christ must be made by someone else – Jehovah. So the passage puts the Son making everything, or rather, as they argue everything else. Hence we have the objection to your 1(A) argument: the clarity we need to understand Hebrews 1:10 is found in Colossians, not by importing Trinitarian teaching into the text. Despite the common misunderstanding of the Trinity (in perceiving a logical problem of both Jesus and Jehovah being God) there is scriptural response to that without needing to “explain” the Trinity, which I have found to be a road-block; it tends to appear to have been “derived” and not explicit in the text.

(1) Now the retort to that objection, found in Isaiah chapter 44. Jehovah spends the first 22 verses comparing Himself to false gods, repeating that there’s actually no other God and, really, mocking idols that can’t do anything. Then in verse 23 it changes, and in 24 it states, “This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, Who formed you since you were in the womb: ‘I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, And I spread out the earth. Who was with me?’”(NWT) Note all the parties involved in the making of creation. How many were there according to this? If Jehovah was by himself when he made everything, and then rhetorically asks ‘Who was with me?’ – implying no one else – then how could Christ be there making everything else in the presence of Jehovah? How could Jehovah make Jesus, and then through whom make everything else (ref. Col.1:17 NWT)? How can “by myself” mean also that He wasn’t by Himself?

(2) Furthermore, John 1:3 states, “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”(NWT) Where’s the ‘other’ there?! Wouldn’t that be needed to prevent the disastrous and heretical misunderstanding that Christ was somehow Divine? Shouldn’t it be translated “All other things …”? Forget the John 1:1 debate for now, if ‘other’ was included in Col. 1:17 what about all the other ‘other’s?

The retort to their objection is Is.44:24. If Christ was there why was Jehovah alone?

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, And he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; That stretcheth forth the heavens alone; That spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;” (Isaiah 44:24)

Jesus is the redeemer;

Jesus redeemed all who ever were redeemed, both in the Old Testament and in the New.

“For in Him (Jesus) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:9–10)

I have to agree with the other commenter. You will get objections even to a perfectly laid out, coherent, flawless argument. There are no silver bullet arguments. The JW has to be pushed back onto their heels at least three times before their mind will start to open to reason. Their corrupted Bible makes it so much harder and the next version may corrupt even more holes that they've left.

I've become fond of a different strategy that also works with Mormons, Catholics and others. I ask if they ever pray to Jesus? Sometimes they will confidently say they do but they actually just pray 'in Jesus' name'. I ask them if they don't speak directly to Jesus then how do you have a mediator you never talk to? (1 Tim 2:5) How do you have a personal relationship with someone you never talk to? Why don't you obey Jesus when he says to ask Him directly in your prayers. (John 14: 13,14) Jesus also said to come to Him for eternal life. (John 5:39,40) "Have you ever done what He said and came to Him for eternal life?" You can tell them that you know why they don't, because the Watchtower society tells them not to. I would then make it very personal and ask, "If Jesus were standing right here and telling you to call upon his name, to come to him for eternal life, to ask him for what you most deeply need, to give Him honor just as you honor the Father (John 5:22,23), are you saying you wouldn't bow before him and ask Him to forgive you of your sins? Are you saying you wouldn't ask Him for the gift of eternal life? Are you saying you wouldn't honor Him as you Honor the Father. Are you saying you would totally ignore that He's there because the Watchtower Society tells you to? Jesus said to ask Him, to come to Him, to call upon His name, to honor Him and you can be obedient to Jesus right now and ask Him for the deepest need in your life, the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life!!! What can be more important for you to do right now than that?"

I see this as a way to bypass the barriers in their mind and go straight to their heart in a way that is perfectly consistent with scripture but gets to the true gospel message, their answer to their sin problem is in Christ alone.

(John 14:6)Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(John 20:17) Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’”

Obviousely the Son and Father are different.

Of course the Father and Son are different. No orthodox believer denies this. It is actually considered heretical to deny this.

They are different persons. The Holy Spirit is a third distinct person. But He is also fully God.

All three persons are one substance.

Three Persons, One Substance.

That is the orthodox position, and John 14 and 20 don't count against it.

Tim, do you think it's a good idea to press the deity of Jesus with Jehovah's Witnesses? From all the testimonies I've read of people who left the Jehovah's Witnesses, that seems to be the most difficult point for them to come around on. They always leave the organization for some other reason, and while they're adjusting their theology in other areas, they struggle with this one the most.

I think it is good to have a strong case for the deity of Jesus and the Trinity, but no Jehovah's Witness is going to hang around and let you spell it all out. I think if you want to press the issue, it might be best to first make sure they understand what we are saying in the first place since their literature sometimes misrepresents the Trinity, and most of them are confused about it. Then, maybe bring up one or two scriptures for them to chew on, then hope it wasn't so overwhelming that they won't come back.

Every time I talk to Jehovah's Witnesses, I feel like I'm doing a balancing act between wanting to get in a good point or two on the one hand, and on the other hand not wanting to lay it on so thick that they never come back.

I spoke to two JW women who came to my door recently. I asked them to look at Isaiah 44:6, in which God calls Himself the first and the last. Then we went to Rev. 1:8 and finally to Rev. 1:17-18. Then I asked them to tell me if God ever died. They did not have a good reply and ended up leaving without resolving this between themselves. I'm praying that a seed of doubt was planted and will take root in them.

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