because I am weak in understanding and there are more intelligent people than myself.
Is there any good sources that you may know for defending this topic against the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view on this?
Of course I continue to research and try to defend the Church but it would probably be best to ask for all the help I can get! I have posted other things like this before asking for help and maybe I have posted it in the wrong section but, please, I am asking for help.
And, I want to explain the Truth for love’s sake; to convert with kindness and prayer; not just to prove myself correct.
This footnote from the Navarre Bible edition of The Gospel of St. John should help:
"Jesus speaks of the equality and also the distinction between Father and Son. The two are equal: all the Son’s power is the Father’s, all the Son does the Father does; but they are two distinct persons, which is why the Son does what he has seen the Father do.
"These words of our Lord should not be taken to mean that the Son sees what the Father does and then does it himself, like a disciple imitating his master; he says what he says to show that the Father’s powers are communicated to the Son thorugh generation . The word “see” is used because men come to know things through the senses, particularly through sight; to say that the Son sees what the Father does is a way of referring to all the powers which he receives from him for all eternity."
One of the things that I think is you can’t just use one line out of the Gospel of John the truth does not come from one line out of the Gospel…
Jesus clearly says in Johns Gospel “I am” and from what I have read about JW is they take it as I was and don’t recognize “I AM” as who spoke to Moses and that Jesus is a reincarnation of someone else - I can’t remember who.I could be wrong and if I am I appologize - I don’t know much about their faith.
I don’t think you can or should focus on one line in the Gospel - it is not the way it is meant to be taken - the whole Gospel has to be taken as a witness to Christ. A lot of these groups only take lines that fit their faith and omit the rest.
FWIW, I’ve been doing Catholic apologetics for 30 years. I have never had any success whatsoever with JWs. The ones I have talked to seem completely immune to reason. They are “programmed” almost in a cultist fashion - they are expected to memorize books such as the ironically-named Reasoning from the Scriptures (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, First Edition, 1985, 445 small-format pages), where it literally instructs, “If Someone Says this, you might reply that.” The “might” is deceptive - they are expected to recite the scripted response (sometimes they have more than one response to choose from). Any topic that deviates from the script is simply ignored, because they are not allowed to respond to anything that Watchtower has not approved.
It’s great that you want to explain the Catholic view on the matter. But before all else you must prepare yourself by expecting that they won’t believe you. This doesn’t mean that the information you will share is wrong or that they are maliciously being stubborn. Nobody wants to be or is comfortable with admitting they are wrong, and we all seem to instinctively attack any suggestion that we are wrong. Just as you want to hold on to your convictions with all your might, expect that your JW counterpart will do the same–even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
That being said, the argument the Witnesses use for John 5 is based on their reading the text as if it were describing false charges raised by those opposing Jesus. They claim that it was these particular Jewish authorities who were making the claim that Jesus was equal to God. But is that so? Note John 5:18:
This saying made the Jewish authorities all the more determined to kill him; not only had he broken the Sabbath law, but he had said that God was his own Father and in this way had made himself equal with God.
It isn’t a false charge where we read that Jesus “said that God was his own Father,” is it? No. Is it a false change that Jesus broke Sabbath law? Not really. He had told someone to do work that was forbidden by most Jewish authorities to do on the Sabbath (in fact, carrying an object like this any distance would be forbidden today for most Jews). So are these the statements of the Jewish authorities or the narrative of the author?
Well what about the first part of the statement: “This saying made the Jewish authorities all the more determined to kill him.” Was this false? Was this an admission of these people who had murderous thoughts against Jesus? No. These men really wanted to see Jesus dead, but I am sure none of them would have admitted it openly if you had asked them.
So whose narrative and views are we reading at John 5:18? It is the narrative of the inspired writer. He writes that some people wanted to see Jesus dead for making himself an authority who could tell others what to do or not do on a Sabbath. Being such an authority meant that Jesus was greater than all the other Jewish religious authorities. By doing so, the inspired writer stated that Jesus “had made himself equal to God.”
The following texts only prove this the more.
Jesus answered them, "I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does…Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, in the same way the Son gives life to those he wants to. Nor does the Father himself judge anyone. He has given his Son the full right to judge, so that all will honor the Son in the same way as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.–John 5:19-23.
Did you notice that the Son is doing exactly what the Father is doing? True, he “can do nothing on his own,” but apparently the Father doesn’t either. “What the Father does, the Son also does.” They both do the exact same things.
Just as “the Father raises the dead and gives them life, in the same way the Son gives life to those he wants to.”
The Father has even “given his Son the full right to judge.” This doesn’t mean that the Son is lesser than the Father. On the contrary it means that the Son is the Father’s equal for “all will honor the Son in the same way as they honor the Father.”
And how do we honor the Father? We worship the Father as the one and only true God.
Are we expected to honor the Son in the same way? Yes! For Jesus said: “All will honor the Son in the same way as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
Now you are not likely to have success with the JW. There is more going on than mere discussion of texts. The reasons for their adherence to their doctrine is highly psychological, and more than often religious debate will only cause them to stick to their beliefs all the more. Only offer a reason for your faith if you must, but if not necessary it is better to give a testimony of love and tolerance and respect instead.
There is a very good booklet “Beginning Apologetics Volume 2: How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons”
The purpose of this booklet is to help Catholics identify and charitably refute the foundational doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. Instead of getting bogged down in unimportant side issues, we show you how to focus objectively on their main beliefs. Our step-by-step approach uses Scripture, history, and common sense.