For Catholics dialoguing with Jehovah's Witnesses


#1

As some on this forum know, I was a JW for about 25 years. I wanted to share with you all some things to present to JW’s in conversation. Below are quotes from Watchtower magazine articles:

The anointed and their other sheep companions recognize that by following the lead of the modern-day Governing Body, they are in fact following their Leader, Christ." Watchtower 2010 Sep 15 p.23

“Beginning with Pentecost, 33 C.E., and continuing through the 19 centuries since then, this slavelike congregation has been feeding its members spiritually.” Watchtower 1981 Mar 1 p.24

You see, JW’s believe that the servant/slave mentioned in Matthew 24:45 is their teaching authority, known to them as the “Governing Body”. As you can see in the above quotes, they claim that this authority has been around for 19 centuries. This is a claim that cannot be supported by any historical evidence whatsoever.

I liken it to this analogy:

Suppose the year is 1450. A non-Christian interested in following Christ runs across these passages: (New World Translation) Matthew 18:15-17

15 “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.

To be obedient to Christ’s commands, what congregation would this person go to?

This point cannot be stressed enough. The onus falls upon JW’s to prove who the faithful and wise servant was before Russell, the servant that fed “true followers” of Jehovah the food at the proper time. If they have “the truth”, then it should be no problem in identifying who this congreagtion was that Christ was speaking about before the Watchtower came along.

Regardless, dj dave, Riddle Me This and any other JW’s that happen to be lurking. Here’s your chance. Who was this slave that the March 1st, 1981 Watchtower article was referring to throughout the last 19 centuries? Who was the congregation that Christ wanted us to take our problems to in Matthew 18 before Charles Taze Russell came along?


#2

[quote="T_More, post:1, topic:284824"]
As some on this forum know, I was a JW for about 25 years. I wanted to share with you all some things to present to JW's in conversation. Below are quotes from Watchtower magazine articles:

The anointed and their other sheep companions recognize that by following the lead of the modern-day Governing Body, they are in fact following their Leader, Christ." Watchtower 2010 Sep 15 p.23

"Beginning with Pentecost, 33 C.E., and continuing through the 19 centuries since then, this slavelike congregation has been feeding its members spiritually." Watchtower 1981 Mar 1 p.24

You see, JW's believe that the servant/slave mentioned in Matthew 24:45 is their teaching authority, known to them as the "Governing Body". As you can see in the above quotes, they claim that this authority has been around for 19 centuries. This is a claim that cannot be supported by any historical evidence whatsoever.

I liken it to this analogy:

Suppose the year is 1450. A non-Christian interested in following Christ runs across these passages: (New World Translation) Matthew 18:15-17

15 “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.

To be obedient to Christ's commands, what congregation would this person go to?

This point cannot be stressed enough. The onus falls upon JW's to prove who the faithful and wise servant was before Russell, the servant that fed "true followers" of Jehovah the food at the proper time. If they have "the truth", then it should be no problem in identifying who this congreagtion was that Christ was speaking about before the Watchtower came along.

Regardless, dj dave, Riddle Me This and any other JW's that happen to be lurking. Here's your chance. Who was this slave that the March 1st, 1981 Watchtower article was referring to throughout the last 19 centuries? Who was the congregation that Christ wanted us to take our problems to in Matthew 18 before Charles Taze Russell came along?

[/quote]

I already know from experience most JW's I encounter are not very good historians. They like to dance around the direct challenges.


#3

I suspect they would say that there were always true Jehovah believing "Christians" out there, but they were in hiding. So one would have to seek out that small sect of Jehovah worshiping, Trinity rejecting "Christians". One they come again, I will mention it to them.

They have been coming over regularly for the past 8 months. I'm just not the type of person to throw people out, and I'm usually not in the mood to fight with them. They have given me the "What Does the Bible Really Teach" book and occasionally, they read through some of it with me. I have been getting tired of their visits, so lately, I have been getting more aggressive with them. For example, last time they were here, I asked them if they have seen the pyramid near Charles Russell's grave yet. They of course had no clue what I was talking about and said I shouldn't believe anything that comes up in Google searches. But they always say that although Russell visibly restored their faith, it had always existed secretly through the centuries.

I mentioned John 8:58 to them. Jesus said to them, "Amen, Amen I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." They brushed it off saying Jesus has existed for a long time and was a extremely important person. He was just letting the Pharisees know how important He was, and that is all.

Anyways, I love reading the Jehovah's Witnesses threads on this form. I'm so glad you found your way to the C.C., T More.


#4

More important,if Jesus is just an extremely important person,than how can a mere perfect creature (JW teaching on Jesus) bring redemption to all humanity? How can a mere perfect creature saves us? I thought only God can save and not ANY creature?


#5

I've also thrown some off my brother's lawn when I saw they were just repeating their "overcoming objections" script and didn't really care at all about me or respecting me.

In the hospital, I encountered many JW's. Some were unwilling to receive my help, but would after I showed I would not try to convert them. I had to press, saying that I respected them. A lot of them don't want to mix with me.

Another young man, in front of his family said, "Oh. You're Catholic. You worship statues."

I didn't flinch or change tone and said, "That's a misunderstanding."

After some pastoral care, discussing his illness, etc. before I left he said, again in front of his folks, "I'm sorry about what I said. I apologize."

I of course, accepted his apology. And for me, a rare moment of just knowing things would be OK. I think this is the best way to deal with them. I think a resolute, but patient approach that I accidentally pulled off!


#6

I had two JWs about 3 or 4 weeks ago. We talked about 15-20 minutes. I let them explain things until they mentioned Jesus being less than THE God, but still god. I then asked them questions about Jesus. They replied and then I explained that God is nothing which can be greater. And that if Jesus were god, then there would be two gods, which would be contradictory, whether great or little. Then I listened while they explained it again.

Then I asked them some questions on his humanity. Long story short, the conversation kept going around gods. I did get them to admit a couple of times that they couldn't answer my question at that point. So they asked if they could come back, to which I agreed. But they haven't been back. I was looking forward to it. They were very nice. I thought for sure they would come back since it is there job to get me to come to their meetings and convert me.

I will say as a compliment to them, they did listen to what I said, as I listened to what they had to say. Athough from what I have been hearing, this may be a bit unusual.

As a passing thought, if I had read the bible on my own without the wisdom of the church to guide me, I believe I might have easily come to some of their conclusions.

One final comment. Tho they had an incorrect idea of Jesus, I could see they did love him by what they said and how they said it.

Just a thought.


#7

I think it depends on whether or not they are interested in hearing what you have to say. Most of the time they are trying to convert you, so they are interested in answering your objections rather than researching your claims vs the Watchtower claims and trying to learn something in the process. They are not going door-to-door to share the Gospel message, but to get more people at their Kingdom Hall.

When dealing with JWs, we must remember that they are in a cult.

The Watchtower produces handouts regularly where they ask questions and then post their answers next to them. These answers are often not historically accurate, and they are more about memorization than encouraging their members to research what really happened from different sources. So a lot of JW do not care about historical objections and cite the Watchtower and tell you you’re wrong.

There is also a strong community aspect to the JWs. They do almost everything together and often times all of their family and friends are JW. On the surface, that seems really nice. But the catch is that when someone leaves, their family and friends don’t want anything to do with them. They are being “punished” for leaving the JW community (“apostasy”) and lose their family and friends in the process. The JWs are not allowed to talk to them anymore, and they might be afraid to question their faith for that reason.

You should also know that although the JWs will leave their literature with you, they are forbidden from accepting literature from people of other faith traditions.


#8

Cool. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for when any of them come to my doorstep again. Years ago, a couple of them came to my house, and almost had me hook, line and sinker.:o Eventually they stopped coming after i quit answering the door, and that was the extent of my involvement with them.

What can i say, i was 15 years old at the time, and interested in learning more about their beliefs after reading about a girl in some magazine i read back then who was a Jehovah’s Witness.


#9

Thank you for that info.

I don’t think for one moment tho, that I will convert them. In fact I don’t think I can convert anyone. But I can do two things, are at least try.

I may plant a little tiny seed of doubt. Which down the road may have the effect desired when the moment is right for them.

And it is an opportunity for them to meet someone of another faith who cares for them and treats them with kindness. I’m sure going house to house isn’t always pleasant.

In fact, they are in need of more help than many others.

Just a thought.


#10

I had two JWs at my door this weekend. It was not a convenient time since I was in pajamas at the time. That is my go~to weekend leisure attire. :D

So, I told them, I wasn't interested. I'm Catholic.

Now I'm wondering will they come back?

Forgot to add: they must have missed my BVM plaque on the front door. :)


#11

I heartily agree. To explain, I’m a hospital chaplain, so it is important for me to explain to everyone that I would not try to change their mind or convert them. JW’s were, by majority, pretty closed off.

Love is the only thing that works. I wish you luck with the doubt. Having spent one and a half years with people of all faiths, I can say with some experience that intellectual discussions of any kind really don’t work when it comes to religion. Being yourself, a decent Catholic acting on our command to love others, will probably impact them.


#12

This is a very trenchant point, fred. And it gives the Catholic a huge apologetics lead when dialoguing with JWs, as compared to Bible-Alone Christians who are trying to evangelize JWs.

The JWs love to pointedly ask, “If a bible were dropped into the middle of a desert and someone picked it up and read it, would they conclude that God was a Trinity?”

I think they’re correct–nope, you can’t glean the dogma of the Trinity from the passages of the Bible.

Now, to a Catholic this question about dropping the Bible into a desert and having someone glean a doctrine from it is quite absurd. Why would someone be expected to use only the Bible to come up with some really difficult concepts such as the Trinity, the hypostatic union, the 2 natures of Christ, etc etc etc. We don’t claim that this is the way Scripture should be read. Or doctrine extracted. We have the kerygma, and from it the Scriptures developed.

But to a Bible-only Christian, the JW’s question is a pointed one, and one that cannot be refuted. **They are right: if a bible were dropped into the middle of a desert and someone picked it up and read it, there’s NO WAY he would conclude that God was a Trinity. **

But, thankfully, we don’t have to read the Bible as if it were dropped into the desert with no one to guide us. That’s what Tradition is for; that’s why we have the Church.


#13

[quote="PRmerger, post:12, topic:284824"]
This is a very trenchant point, fred. And it gives the Catholic a huge apologetics lead when dialoguing with JWs, as compared to Bible-Alone Christians who are trying to evangelize JWs.

The JWs love to pointedly ask, "If a bible were dropped into the middle of a desert and someone picked it up and read it, would they conclude that God was a Trinity?"

I think they're correct--nope, you can't glean the dogma of the Trinity from the passages of the Bible.

Now, to a Catholic this question about dropping the Bible into a desert and having someone glean a doctrine from it is quite absurd. Why would someone be expected to use only the Bible to come up with some really difficult concepts such as the Trinity, the hypostatic union, the 2 natures of Christ, etc etc etc. We don't claim that this is the way Scripture should be read. Or doctrine extracted. We have the kerygma, and from it the Scriptures developed.

But to a Bible-only Christian, the JW's question is a pointed one, and one that cannot be refuted. *They are right: if a bible were dropped into the middle of a desert and someone picked it up and read it, there's NO WAY he would conclude that God was a Trinity. *

But, thankfully, we don't have to read the Bible as if it were dropped into the desert with no one to guide us. That's what Tradition is for; that's why we have the Church.

[/quote]

This works against the JW as well. For example:

Can someone read Revelation chapters 7 and 14 and come to the conclusion that the 144,000 is a literal number? If so, then would not these same literal 144,000 be male Jewish virgins? If not, why not? How do we tell?


#14

Mark


#15

[quote="PRmerger, post:12, topic:284824"]
Now, to a Catholic this question about dropping the Bible into a desert and having someone glean a doctrine from it is quite absurd. Why would someone be expected to use only the Bible to come up with some really difficult concepts such as the Trinity, the hypostatic union, the 2 natures of Christ, etc etc etc. We don't claim that this is the way Scripture should be read. Or doctrine extracted. We have the kerygma, and from it the Scriptures developed.
But to a Bible-only Christian, the JW's question is a pointed one, and one that cannot be refuted. *They are right: if a bible were dropped into the middle of a desert and someone picked it up and read it, there's NO WAY he would conclude that God was a Trinity. *
But, thankfully, we don't have to read the Bible as if it were dropped into the desert with no one to guide us. That's what Tradition is for; that's why we have the Church.

[/quote]

JL: If a bible were dropped into the middle of a desert and someone picked it up and read it. We would have exactly what we have today THOUSANDS of denominations.

Actually I think the Trinity could be concluded from the bible with a great deal of study. I think with some study. The first thing one would concluded is there are two or three gods or conclude modolism. One God acting in different modes.

I’m supprised the Watchtower would teach such a thing. What does the Watch Tower teach will be concluded if one reads the bible on their own?

…. From among the ranks of Jehovah’s people … haughty ones … say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago … WT 8/15/1981, pp. 28-29.]

Evidently the WT doesn’t want bibles falling into deserts. They know reading the bible on one’s own will lead people away from the WT.


#16

[quote="jlhargus, post:15, topic:284824"]
I’m supprised the Watchtower would teach such a thing. What does the Watch Tower teach will be concluded if one reads the bible on their own?

[/quote]

Just to clarify: I didn't propose that the Watchtower taught this. I simply meant (and perhaps was unclear) that in my frequent dialogue with JWs that is often a point they will argue.


#17

JL: Thanks PR. I would guess if JW’s are using something frequently it came for the WT. I don’t mean as a doctrine just as an apologtic tactic. Come to think of it I don’t know why I would be supprised the WT would teach something contradictory.


#18

After reading the threads from the start all the way through, I have found this disscusion very interesting. I have had a reasnable amount of experiance with those who prescribe to the teachings of the Watch Tower Society as my wifes sister has been a Jehovahs Witness for thirty years and she and her husband have tried very hard to convert me over the last 12 years, and bring me out of the “Apostate Catholic Church” and into the “Truth”.
As a result of this I have made myself cognisant with the littreture of the society form Charles Taze Russell’s “Studies in the Scriptures”, Rutherfords writtings and theology,
the publishers hand book “Reasoning from the Scriptures” and just about everything in between.
Like a lot of different groups the Watch Tower Society claim to follow the word of God as found in the Bible and are bassicaly litteralists.
With this in mind I have a few Scriptures that I like to read to Jehovahs wittnesses about Christs Divinity or if you like so we dont become confused, about Christ being God.
I like to read these Scriptures out of context as a narrative ( I know this is not good biblical exergee).
I will do these Scriptures one at a time and wait for comments on them by any intereted person.
The first is the very first words of the Bible.
Gen 1:1
"In the begining God made the heavens and the earth"
According to Watch Tower Theology these very first words of Gods word can not be taken littraly and need interpritation. To follow WTS theology this first verse should read either " In the begining God made Michael the Arc Angle". or “In the begining Michael the Arc Angel made the heavens and the earth”.
This first verse of the Bible is a cornerstone to the faith and belief in it as it stands protects us from many forms of error such as the Platonic Philosophy of the one all encomposing universal force creating lessor “god’s” to create the universe etc.
I dont know about anyone else out there but a group claiming to follow the Bible that need to do a quite extensive interpritation to fit the very first verse of the Bible into there teaching
start on the back foot with me and by thier own theology have a very large question mark over them.
Comments Please…


#19

After reading and talking to Jehovahs Witnesses about their understanding of Gen 1:1 I then like to go to the New Testament Creation story Jn1:1-6. we all know that the problem here is the New World Translation of Jn1;1c ( and the Word was a god ) instead of and the Word was God.
At this point I find it more or less a waste of time to talk about the original greek, indefinet articals, predicates, support from Coptic translations and how the academic world views this translation. It just ends up going round and round in circles.
Instead I like to point out the difference with Gen 1:1 because now according to the NWT
it was not God who created the heavens and the earth but "a god" and I then ask the Missionary to please explain this to me. At this point one has to settle back make a cup of coffie and get ready for what becomes a long circutious journey of cross refrences etc.
at the end of this what usually happens is the JW publisher holds two diametricaly opposed positions at the same time i.e. God created the universe through a god. When I point out that the text does not support this we go round and round again.
Next I ask for the identifacation of this "a god". more cross refrencing, etc until hey presto he is actualy Micheal the Arc Angel. once again I point out that the text does not support this.
Next I ask "if your point of view is true, is Micheal the Arc Angel who is "a god" true God or false god because the bible clearly points out that there is only one true GOD and many false gods.
Round we go again, keep the coffie brewing, as it is explained to me that the a god isnt realy a god but an angle.
At this point I point out to the Jehovahs Witness that if we take the two texts Gen1:1 and Jn1:1-6 and accept them the way they have been preserved for us through the church handed down from generation to generation, Farther to Son over the last 2000 years they are in perfect harmony almost sublime harmony they dont need any explination at all, one doese not need a book study to understand them, one doese not need extensive interpritation to grasp the true meaning, I then say that one could almost come to the conclusion because these two texts fit together so well like a hand in a glove that the inspired writter of Jn1:1 meant for it to be this way, that this was his true intention, that we the faithfull are ment to understand it like this, just the way it is written. and that John"s original intention was not for the faithfull to only be able to understand these passages through extensive cross refrencing and "book studies" etc.
At this stage the cognative dissonance kicks in and the logic of this simple argument along with the obviously effortless harmony of Gods word causes a very uneasy feeling.

Hi T More

I would like to get your opinion on these two posts so far.


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