I’m so excited I dealt with a couple of JWs today!
It was the first time they’ve come to my house. I was actually quite surprised when I answered the door. At first I thought they were canvassers for some political party when they mentioned the gap between rich and poor is growing and whether I ever thought that poverty would be eliminated blah blah blah. At first I thought they were NDP or Communists or Marxist-Leninists or something. Then they started reading some Bible passages and I thought “Mormons,” probably because I had just seen that documentary on PBS.
But then when I saw the word “Jehovah” at the top of the page of the pocket Bible they gave me I knew I was dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Honestly, I was a little nervous at first not knowing what to say. My mind was all confused about the distinctive beliefs of the Mormons and JWs, trying to remember correctly. And when I get nervous I stop making much sense. But then they started talking about the Kingdom of God/Heaven and how it hasn’t been established yet blah blah blah. I thought, “wait a minute” and I remembered Matthew 16.
So I flipped to Matthew 16:18 and started reading from their “bible”:
'I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my…
And I rolled my eyes and groaned and I think I even started laughing. I totally wasn’t expecting it.
So I ran in to grab my iBook and went to BibleGateway.com and picked 5 translations at random did a search on Matt 16:18 and showed them that they all said “church”. And I mentioned that if we were to look at French, or Italian translations or the translation in any other language, they would all say “church”.
So I said it really seemed to me that Christ was establishing a real, physical part of his Kingdom here on earth, his Church, and that Peter was somehow given some authority over it. So I need to look for a Church that goes all the way back to the time of Christ, is present throughout the world, has Peter in it and an authority in it. And we all know there’s only one church that fits that description!
Later they started talking about some alleged prophecy in Daniel, and the passage was, like all prophecies, opaque and confusing and difficult to understand and interpret, and I said as much, and they retorted that the Bible is self-interpreting and I screamed, “What!”
I told them that this was not logical since we were disagreeing right now about how to interpret passages. They told me to ask the Holy Spirit to show me the true interpretation. I said that a couple of Mormons said the same thing, but that they have a completely different interpretation than JWs had. So how can I know the true interpretation?
Then I remembered the line from Peter (or was it Paul?) that ‘no prophecy of scripture is for the private interpretation of man’ (is that close?) but I couldn’t remember where it was. But she said she was familiar with it. And so I asked them why they were engaging in a private interpretation of prophecy, when Peter (or Paul) said not to.
I said that to find the true interpretation of that prophecy I need to find that Church that has Peter in it, and the authority to interpret these difficult passages. Then they started to get a little upset/riled up and said we don’t need a church, we have the bible to tell us the truth and flipped out that passage in Paul about how 'the bible is good for reproof etc…"
I told them that passage is great. I believe it 100%, but nowhere does it say the bible is the only source of truth. And in fact St. Paul said that it is the church which is the pillar and foundation of the truth, not the Bible.
After that they I invited them to come to that church that Christ founded later this evening with me. But they were upset, saw that they were getting nowhere with me, said no and left.
So how do you think I did for the first time out? Was my line of attack a good one? Should I have tried something else? Any advice for next time?
I can’t wait to run into some Mormons now!