I thought I’d give an account of one of two encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses. We chatted on Facebook, which is better suited to me, since I have more time to think about certain things I can say. Perhaps this is of sone interest to you, and if you have any comments (esp. apologetic-related ones. The encounter I will recall was with a guy named Eric, who said he was an atheist, and has been studying on-and-off with the Witnesses for four years, but now believes.
We got talking about the Bible and interpretation thereof. He said Jehovah’s Witnesses view the Bible as the authority for Christians. My tactic is to go down the route of authority. Firstly because it gets straight to the point, and second because I need to practice and understand it better. My first point was for him to prove sola scriptura from the Bible alone. He named numerous verses, mostly the classic ones like 2 Tim 3:16-17, but also things like John 5:39-41; 17:17; and Matthew 21:23-27. I kept asking him to show me where these verses said Scripture alone was the authority, not an authority. That resulted in Eric dodging the question and accusing me of following men “because if the Bible is not the authority, then the only thing left is men”. In the end, he blocked me from contacting him for a while.
About two days later, he unblocked me, saying he was sorry and wanted to continue talking. I thought I would take a different approach for the time being, because the last one had caused trouble. So, I asked him how he knew the JWs were interpreting the Bible correctly, since Saint Peter says that “no prophecy of Scripture is not of private interpretation”. He said “the Bible interprets itself”, and thus the Bible was their only authority. To be honest, I was not sure how to deal with that, so I replied: “Protestantism has failed at that, splitting into 30,000 denominations because everyone thought they were understanding it correctly. So, really, how do you know you’re right?”
Throwing back red-herrings of “you guys have tradition that teaches the immortality of the soul and hell”, it was quite a temptation to drift off and talk about those, rather than stay on the topic of authority. I told Eric that the Church gets her authority from Jesus and the Apostles, and asked where the JWs got theirs. He repeated that they took their authority to interpret the Bible from the Bible, obviously without seeing the circular reasoning.
Then, it all ended rather abruptly: My comment about the Catholic Church caused him to say “See, you worship men, I told you so”, and I immediately found myself back on the “Blocked” list. :rolleyes:
I hope this is just a phase, and we can return to talk sensibly soon. Meanwhile I have another conversation going. But for this thread: Perhaps you have some ideas about what I said, some recommendations or corrections. Feel free to comment.