Resources for dealing with JWs


#64

WT 4/1/72 p. 197 "A third way of coming to know Jehovah God is through his representatives. In ancient times he sent prophets as his special messengers. While these men foretold things to come, they also served the people by telling them of God’s will for them at that time. People today … have at hand the Bible, but it is little read or understood. So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? This prophet was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as lnternational Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses …"

These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? … He had a “prophet” to warn them. This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses …"

WT 15/01/94, p. 16 In the past, Jehovah ruled and revealed truths through individuals, such as prophets, kings and apostles. Jesus said that during his royal presence, he would identify a faithful body of followers, a ‘faithful and discreet slave’. In 1919 this slave was identified as the remnant of anointed Christians. Since then, as represented by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it has been the center of theocracy on earth.

I mean, how much clearer would the WT have to be to get the point across?


#65

Here are three:

Jesus is the Archangel Micheal.

Christians are to go by the Bible alone.

The Holy Spirit is a “force”, not a person.


#66

I’d be happy if we could discuss this in person because it’s faster, but I would just like to point out the term Jehovah is not mentioned once in the New Testament. Not to mention the name Jehovah is a latinized term of the four letter name of God. It was a catholic dominican who came up with the name Jehovah so for an organization to try and break their ties to all things catholic, your name is pretty much a catholic invention.


#67

That’s right. I wrote about this a bit in my book, but if Jehovah is the personal name of God that he wants all of us to use in addressing us, wouldn’t at least one person - probably Jesus - have mentioned that in the New Testament? It’s a point so important that I see the mention of “Jehovah” as God’s personal name reiterated in nearly every WT publication I’ve come across, but nobody thought to bring it up during the ministry of Christ and the apostles.


#68

Yikes - You’ve got me there! :grimacing: I had better be careful when saying: “We’ve never claimed to be prophets” - Because the word is used.

However, the word “prophet” is not only used in regard to predicting the future (as we are all using it here.) That quote above from the 1986 Awake even clarifies the term as “Witness”.

I haven’t had time to look up your references to see the context of the articles they are taken from, (I’m at work now) but I suspect that is the meaning being used there. That of a spokesman
telling others what God has said. (a witness) Below is a definition of the word “prophet” from our Bible encyclopedia. I’ve italicized some phrases that are relevant to the discussion.

Insight on the scriptures volume 2. pg 694.
PROPHET
One through whom divine will and purpose are made known. (Lu 1:70; Ac 3:18-21) Although the etymology of the Hebrew term for a prophet (na·viʼʹ) is uncertain, the use of this distinctive term shows that true prophets were no ordinary announcers but were spokesmen for God, ‘men of God’ with inspired messages. (1Ki 12:22; 2Ki 4:9; 23:17) They stood in God’s “intimate group,” and he revealed his “confidential matter” to them.—Jer 23:18; Am 3:7; 1Ki 17:1; see SEER.

The Greek pro·pheʹtes literally means “a speaker out [Gr., pro, “before” or “in front of,” and phe·miʹ, “say”]” and thus describes a proclaimer, one who makes known messages attributed to a divine source. (Compare Tit 1:12.) Though this includes the thought of a predictor of the future, the fundamental meaning of the word is not that of prediction. (Compare Jg 6:7-10.) Nonetheless, living in harmony with God’s will requires that the individual know what Jehovah’s revealed purposes for the future are so that he may bring his ways, desires, and goals into line with the divine will. Hence, in the great majority of cases, the Biblical prophets did convey messages that were, directly or indirectly, related to the future.

So as I said before - we are trying to explain what the Bible says. (Which includes the prophesies there in) we aren’t writing the prophesies. They are already in the Bible.

I’m not sure where you are getting your specific quotes from (I’m guessing an anti-JW site)
but here is a link to a similar subject on JW.org.
https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/jw-doctrine-changes/

When I am back infront of my home computer I will dig up some quotes from the Watchtower and our publications where Jehovah’s Witnesses specifically say: "Our publications and statements are not inspired or infallible."
Maybe tonight. :slightly_smiling_face:


#69

Now then Tarsier. I asked ‘omgriley’ that question. :wink:

He was the one who called our beliefs "Totally unreasonable and just plain bizzare."
He must have some unreasonable and bizarre examples he is thinking of.

Would you use the same strong words for your list above?

(I will address them if I get time - I’m just teasing you my friend :slightly_smiling_face:)


#70

Quite right. Many scholars prefer Yahweh for the ancient Hebrew language pronunciation.
We use a latinized version of Jesus name too. His name was pronounced something like Yeshua or possibly Yehoshua.

That’s not our goal.
If the Catholic church is correct on some things (which they are) then we will stick with that. There is so much good research by Catholic scholars it would be very sad for us to ignore it all out of pride.


#71

Actually, I wouldn’t. I don’t believe we should judge another belief system by our subjective reaction to its teachings. After all, if it can be shown that God revealed something as true, and if we an admit that we aren’t in a position to assume full understanding of God’s wisdom, then what appears “unreasonable” or "bizarre’ to us might just be a truth beyond our comprehension.

For example, many non-Catholic Christians would call our teaching on contraception “unreasonable” and our teachings on the true presence “bizarre.”

I’m more interested in if a teaching is true or not, no matter how hard it might be for me to wrap my mind around it.


#72

I’m happy to drop this point for now, but only because I find your response almost equally troublesome.

If the WT is just “trying to explain what the Bible says” and has gotten it so wrong on these three or so predictions (asserted so definitively in the WT), is the final conclusion that the WT has really been striking out on trying to interpret Scripture? Which seriously calls into question other doctrinal assertions, right?


#73

I’d love to.

  1. The denial of Christ’s Divinity.

John 1:1 is a textbook definition of manipulating the text to arrive at a presupposed theology. It not only denies the Divinity of Christ in spite of the text, it claims Jesus is “a god”. Well, what the heck “a god”? If JWs profess belief in one God, then why do we here see them referring to “a god” and what exactly is that? Every single Greek scholar worth his work, religious or not, would look at the JW translation of John 1 and call it erroneous and grammatically incoherent.

  1. The denial of the existence of Hell.

We see in multiple instances (Rev 14:11, Rev 21:27; Matthew 25:41; Luke 16:19: Mark 9:42.) That Hell is a real place inhabited by real people who’s punishments are really everlasting.

“he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur . . . the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus directly instructs the damned to…

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41)

  1. The denial of the immortality of the soul.

Scripture alone can provide us with assurance of the soul’s immortality. In his letters to the Corinthians and the Philippians, Paul refers to the souls of the just as being in company with God.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 2 Cor. 5:1-3

my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; Phil. 1:23


#74

Cool. Thanks Owen.
I’ll have to reply later.

I’m surprised you would consider these. “Bizarre and unreasonable”.
Even some Christians who believe in the Trinity describe it as an “unfathomable mystery” -
And I know a lot of Christians don’t believe all non-Chrisitans will burn forever in hell.
-Yet, it’s for not believing these very things that JW’s are often branded “not Christian” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Anyway - I’ll answer properly later. Thanks mate. :slightly_smiling_face:


#75

Hey, Logically.

I refer to these beliefs (or lack thereof) as bizarre because they fly in the face of enormous Scriptural evidence and centuries of Christian theology. None of these beliefs are found to be held by anyone, at any time in history prior to the late 1800’s.

The rejection of the dogma of Hell isn’t the thing that makes you not a Christian, so I am sorry people have claimed that. JW is not a Christian religion because it denies Christ’s divinity. It denies nearly everything that Christ taught. To be a Christian, one must believe in the central tenant of Chrisitianity, namely the Trinity. One must be baptized “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” which signifies belief in the Triune God. If one believes the Son is an angel, and the Holy Spirit is a “force”, then one is not properly a Christian.

On a side note, I’d really like to commend you for coming to this forum to discuss your beliefs. It is the very first time I’ve seen a JW do something like that and I have to respect that. God is pulling you to the Catholic Faith my friend. :wink:


#76

I agree in principle. Can I put it this way?: To be a Christian one must believe the truth about God and Jesus Christ.
After all, if we don’t have the basics about who God is, what hope is there?

As you probably know, the word Trinity isn’t in the Bible. Neither is there any verse that says “God is three” or “God is Triune” or “The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all God.” or anything similar.
This is because the doctrine of the Trinity slowly crept into the church and was finally adopted among much controversy about three hundred years after Jesus walked the earth.
The only scripture that said anything vaguely like that was 1 John 5:7 in the Vulgate Bible.
(Embarrassingly, that has now been exposed as a 9th century addition by someone trying to fake Biblical support for what was by then considered “the central doctrine of Christianity.”)

In fact, not only does the Bible not mention the Trinity, what it does say about God and Jesus often contradicts the teaching that they are the same or equal.

Jesus taught his followers to pray to “our Father” (Matt 6:9)
He said “the Father is greater than I am” (John 14:28)
That the Father knew things the Son didn’t (Matt 24:36)
That Jesus was sent by the Father (John 6:38)
He prayed “Let not my will but yours take place” (Luke 22:42)
To Mary: “I am ascending to the Father and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)
and the Disciples understood the same
Peter said: “You are the son of the living God” (Matt 16:16
Paul wrote: "The head of the Christ is God"
Stephen saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand (Acts 7:56)

and we could go on almost indefinitely.

Against mountains of scriptural evidence showing Jesus was not God but his son, there are only a handful of statements that provide circumstantial evidence. A few comments that can be read two ways.

it is therefore understandable,believers of the Trinity hold on desperately to John 1:1 - where in most English translations it says: “the Word was God” (the word being Jesus of course)
(This verse doesn’t teach the Trinity either since only two people are mentioned)
And they are horrified to see JW’s have had the audacity to print “a god” in the New World Translation.

What gives the JW’s the right to change the Bible like that? :angry:


#77

Of course the Bible wasn’t written in English. It was written in ancient Koine Greek.
All we have to do is look at how John 1:1 was written in ancient Greek to check what should be translated here.
Below is a photo from the Emphatic Diaglott by Benjamin Wilson of 1864.
It has greek with the literal English below it on the left - and the common English translation on the Right.

I have circled the relevant words.
As you can see, the words for god are slightly different. When it says who Jesus was with it is the definate form of God. ho Theon, Literally “The god” which the New testament writers used almost always to clarify they were talking about God Almighty.
But when John wrote who Jesus was he used the indefinate form of god theos.

Bible translators know very well that the theos should be translated “a god”. They even write it as “a god” underneath in the literal translation.
But as it goes into common English something funny happens!
The translator “corrects” Johns error and explains what he really meant to write. God with a capital G all three times! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
The English reader is totally unaware John used different words here and the question of “how is Jesus a god?” vanishes before it can be asked.

That amazed me when I first saw it.
My question changed from “Why have JW’s put a god here?” to
"why haven’t the other Bibles translated it correctly?"


#78

@Logically,

Logically, this isn’t correct. I’m not a master of Koine Greek, but I did successfully finish the intermediate year of it - easily far enough in to know how the noun endings work. The difference in theos and theon has nothing at all to do with definite or indefinite.

These are case endings. Theos is in the nominative case (because in this instance, the word is used as a subject of the sentence) and the article (in Koine) is also often left off of subjects (notice how this translator did the same thing to “beginning” in the Greek, even though the writer isn’t saying “in a beginning” (unless you believe there were multiple beginnings) - beginning is also in the nominative case, but in the form for a feminine noun). EDIT: Reading over what I wrote, I realize it isn’t technically proper to refer to Theos as the “subject” of the sentence, as word order is less relevant in Greek than English. It’s in the nominative, though, so it functions as either the subjective or predicate nominative in this sentence. In either case, the same explanation.

Theon is written in the accusative case because (in both examples) it is the object of a preposition. Articles are often included with objects of a preposition.

The Emphatic Diaglott by Benjamin Wilson of 1864 was published by the WT association and for a specific reason. So the following isn’t really true:

This is true of the Emphatic Diaglott, but not a mainstream truth among translators. And if one looks at the committee that translated the New World Translation of the Bible and sees their (lack of) background in Hebrew and Greek, it points to a group of men who weren’t really qualified to judge a strong translation.

We can discuss this more, if you like, but first I have to ask how much training you’ve had in Koine, as your explanation is not at all accurate.


#79

These are great points, Logically, and worth discussing, along with verses that are problematic for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Trinitarians have answers for all of the above (at least I do), as I know the JW apologists have answers for any problematic verses an upstart like me might throw at them.

Which is why the conversation probably needs to turn to interpretive authority, right? At least in my experience, that’s where the strikes start punching right into the catcher’s mitt past whichever Jehovah’s Witness is at bat in the conversation.


#80

Sure, so long as you are then baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19-20) Only then you would be a Christian.

What’s your point here? The word “Bible” isn’t in the bible. The word “Jehovah” isn’t in the bible. Phraseology develops over time and we come up with new words to describe old Truths. The word “Trinity” doesn’t need to be explicitly written down in the bible in order for it to be true. Trinity is the word Christians use to describe the inner nature of God who exists as Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Because the word which humans came up with to describe the nature of God, which is implicitly (arguably explicitly) described in Scripture, is not itself found in Scripture is not a valid argument against the Trinity.

Embarrassingly? Tone it down. No one was trying to fake anything. I find it very funny that JWs would accuse anyone of manipulating Scripture to prove a theological opinion. No Christian disputes that 1 John 5:7 was not part of John’s original text. It was imported into the Greek from the Latin Vulgate, where it appeared nearly universally. I’m not even sure why you bring it up because most translations at this point omit the passage. In any event, it was declared by the Church at the Council of Trent (long before the JWs were on the scene) to be an authentic representation of the Church’s faith and allowable in doctrinal disputations. So to infer that the Trinitarian’s best defense of his beliefs is 1 John 5:7 is a straw man argument.


#81

Every single passage here makes perfect sense to a trinitarian and can be reconciled with the original text of John 1:1. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Therefore it makes sense for him in his humanity to defer to the Father. His human nature certainly was lower than the Father. However, Christ reveals in other instances his Divine nature (John 10:30, John 8:58, I could cite more but these are off the top of my head). The Watch Tower must twist these passages to mean something no Christian (or Jew) ever took them mean in order to arrive at their theology.

Most English translations? Try every translation except for the NWT. I go back to my original point. The translators of the NWT were completely unqualified for the job, as they received almost no formal education in Biblical Greek. It seems the desperation is on the side of the JWs.


#82

I agree in principle. Can I put it this way?: To be a Christian one must believe the truth about God and Jesus Christ.
After all, if we don’t have the basics about who God is, what hope is there?

I must admit I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, it’s always nice when I’m able to read dialogue between Catholics and Witnesses and you have certainly conducted yourself with class and respect. Not to imply that other Witnesses do not, but you certainly seem more willing to step into enemy territory, where others would just as easily avoid it. Lol

My in-laws and the majority of wife’s extended family are practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I’ve come to learn and experience many different aspects of their faith and not simply what I can read from an anti-JW website. I’ve attended conventions, memorials, meetings and bible studies and it’s been great to see firsthand what takes place at these events.

My in-laws have never been ones to push their faith on my Wife and I, but they have nonetheless been eager to share a magazine or two with us. :wink:

I guess my concern has always been about the need to discern the truth and as you said above, if we don’t have the basics of who God is, what hope is there?


#83

The best way to deal with JWs is to call the Kingdom Hall and get yourself put on a list of people NOT to visit.


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