I have just finished a discussion with a Jehovah’s Witness, a very kind lady, and would like to summarise it here and post a few questions.
I was going to try and stay on one topic, but I failed baaaaadly. The topic I chose (she offered me to choose!) was Jesus Christ. However, we quite often drifted off into the Canon of Scripture, the authority of the Church and the Witnesses’ changed teachings.
The reason I chose Jesus as a topic was that I was wanting to get her to rethink the Divinity of Christ. It didn’t turn into Bible ping-pong, however the verses I had picked in support of it, focussing on the application of Old Testament passaged about Got to Jesus, didn’t go as well as I thought they would. The only exception to the OT passages was Jesus’ role as Creator: John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:15-19. from those I set out to show her that Jesus being created was impossible. Of course, the lady didn’t say “Oh wow! Jesus is obviously God!” But she couldn’t offer any answer to it.
So, the Old Testament passages I chose were these:
John 12:36b-41 — Isaiah 6:1,5
John says: “These things Jesus spoke: and he went away and hid himself from them. And whereas he had done so many miracles before them, they believed not in him: That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he said: Lord, who has believed our hearing? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted: and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him. However, many of the chief men also believed in him: but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, that they might not be cast out of the synagogue.”
Isaiah says: “In the year that King Ozias died, I saw the Lord [Jehovah] sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple. …] And I said: Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that has unclean lips, and I have seen with my eyes the King the Lord of hosts.”
My point was that John was clearly saying that Isaiah had seen God the Son, who is called Jehovah in the New World Translation. But that didn’t go as I thought it might. I personally have not changed my mind, but the lady just would not let this come true. Here is was she said.
“Well, look. Jesus is being spoken of in the first part. Then, John jumps back into Isaiah and is obviously speaking about Jehovah God. And after that he comes back into Jesus’ time.” The parts in blue are what she made refer to Jesus, while the red is what she says is the jump back into Isaiah, speaking about Jehovah. My response was something like this: “Well, but look, Joh is always saying ‘he’, creating a linked context that obviously refers to Jesus, because it says that the Pharisees did not confess him!”
The lady just continued saying: “There is no connection there. John is writing of two different times!” I must admit, I have no idea what the first quote from Isaiah is talking about. Did Jesus make them blind and harden their hearts?
The second Old Testament quote I used was this one.
1 Pet 2:3-4 — Ps 34:8 (Quoted from NW)
Peter: “provided YOU have tasted that the Lord is kind. Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen, precious, with God”
Psalm: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good”
Again my point was to show that Peter was applying something about God to Jesus. The Witness lady replied: “That doesn’t mean Jesus is God. First of all, there are two different words ‘kind’ and ‘good’. Therefore it is not a quote. And after all, why can’t Jesus be kind?” I couldn’t go further on that.
Some of the other things she said were:
The Bible was persecuted by the Church in the Middle Ages. It was forbidden to own one then, and people were burned with Bibles around their necks.
The Church is not of relevance to knowing the Bible is inspired. Its characteristics like scientific accuracy, prophecy and claims to inspiration are enough to know.
World War II wouldn’t have occurred without the Church. Priests blessed the weapons, Christians fighting and killing Christians. That’s not “good fruit” as Jesus said his followers would produce!
Priests should not be called Father. The Pope is called Holy Father.
The Pope is venerated!
I didn’t go into those claims, except for saying that point 2 wasn’t possible as not all of the books meet that criteria, stating that the Pope’s office is deeply biblical and that he is not venerated as well as that there is support for calling priests Father.
We also touched upon the history of changed doctrines and where the Witnesses were before the 1800s. Her responses were, respectively: “Changed doctrines don’t matter to me, they don’t change the way I live!” and “Modern day witnesses started in the 1800s, but there were people who taught the Bible’s message all along. In fact, they were persecuted! That they didn’t have all of our beliefs is irrelevant, as light gets brighter.”
Please feel free to comment, especially on the two Old Testament —*New Testament thingys.