When Catholics talk to Jehovah's Witnesses about the Trinity.....


#1

...they immediately start in with the divinity of Christ, and, with good reason. To be sure the subject needs to addressed with them eventually. Too often, however, it never gets past this point, and the Catholic is left frustrated.

As a former JW, allow me to make a few observations.

We tend to forget sometimes ( and this is particulary poignant with Pentecost fast approaching) that there is a third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

JW's believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person at all, but rather is God's "power" or "electricity". To them, there is certainly no basis of personification.

And yet, from their own New World Transaltion (bold mine):

John 14:25-26

25 “While remaining with YOU I have spoken these things to YOU. 26 But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, **that one will teach YOU **all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU.

John 16:12-14

12 “I have many things yet to say to YOU, but YOU are not able to bear them at present. 13 However, when that one **arrives, the spirit of the truth, **he will guide YOU into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to YOU the things coming. 14 That one **will glorify me, because **he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to YOU.

Acts 13:2

2 As they were publicly ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Of all persons set Bar´na·bas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 5:3-4

3 But Peter said: “An·a·ni´as, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit **and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? 4 As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, **but to God.”

As we can plainly see, there is someone that Christ is speaking about, and there is someone giving commands and being lied to. Can my "power" or "strength" be lied to? Give commands on it's own? Am I called an "it" or am I called a "him"?

When discussing the Holy Trinity with JW's, before diving into Christ's divinity, try and discuss the Holy Spirit and His personification.

With Pentecost approaching, let us pray that misguided JW's come to know the truth of "Who", not "what", the Holy Spirit is.

*Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.*

Dominus vobiscum


#2

The first thing I like to discuss with JW's is** Love **in the context of the Human Family, Father, Mother and Child.

Point out God IS Love in His very being, He has a relationship within Himself.

God ** IS **Love is a Trinitarian claim! :thumbsup:


#3

The JWs are a tough bunch. Answers on specific points becomes a cat and mouse game. The question to retort back is why should you trust their interpretation and why would their interpretation be correct. It helps to gain a background on them and know Catholic apologetics very well or else you might find yourself getting a theological smackdown.

They train studying in specific sessions the Watchtower magazine which is their equivilant to the This Rock; imagine if every Catholic in the US went to a once a week meeting to cover what was written in an issue of This Rock and did this for years.

God Bless


#4

[quote="maximus, post:3, topic:284923"]
The JWs are a tough bunch. Answers on specific points becomes a cat and mouse game. The question to retort back is why should you trust their interpretation and why would their interpretation be correct. It helps to gain a background on them and know Catholic apologetics very well or else you might find yourself getting a theological smackdown.

They train studying in specific sessions the Watchtower magazine which is their equivilant to the This Rock; imagine if every Catholic in the US went to a once a week meeting to cover what was written in an issue of This Rock and did this for years.

God Bless

[/quote]

You got that right, the average JW spends a minimum of 4-5 hours a week learning about their theology and how to communicate that theology to those they meet while going door-to-door.

When I was younger and went to the JW services, on Thursday's service, the women would put on a sort of "play" in which one was a JW and the other was from another faith or no faith at all. They taught responses for all sorts of scenarios that might come up while talking to someone of another faith.

Sadly, a VAST majority of ALL Christians stand little chance in arguing theology with a JW. Most Christians don't know their faith well enough or they don't go through the rigorous weekly training that the average JW does.

I've said it time and time again, the best way to reach a JW is to show them the flaws in their "Governing Body," who they claim speaks for God on earth. If you can show them the lies and doctrinal flip flops and faulty sources and history they use, then you stand a chance in getting them to think.


#5

[quote="seanman611, post:4, topic:284923"]

Sadly, a VAST majority of ALL Christians stand little chance in arguing theology with a JW. Most Christians don't know their faith well enough or they don't go through the rigorous weekly training that the average JW does.

[/quote]

Actually, I find it very easy to poke holes in their theology at a very basic level. I don't think it is their theology that makes it difficult but rather their obstinance in critically evaluating their own position in the face of reasonable questions.

The cult aspect of this organization plays a major role in their lack of ability to honestly consider another view. If they leave the "organization" as they call it, their entire life is turned upside down. There is a constant subliminal fear that hangs over their lives. This is the true motivating factor in their seeming evangelical nature. I would submit that very few are out knocking on doors due to a burning desire to bring people to God. If they do not meet their quota for the month they are in trouble with the "organization" and consequently their own community, including family and friends.


#6

Bingo, Steve. This is spot on 100% accurate.


#7

I was approached by a JW while at the gas pump a couple of weeks ago. We exchanged pleasantries and she asked which church I go to. When I told her "Catholic", she said "I don't know much about Catholics, but y'all sure do be on the cover of Watchtower magazine a lot!"

Just thought I'd share.:D


#8

.

I've said it time and time again, the best way to reach a JW is to show them the flaws in their "Governing Body," who they claim speaks for God on earth. If you can show them the lies and doctrinal flip flops and faulty sources and history they use, then you stand a chance in getting them to think.

I have tried this technique. Her answer--- The organization is the first one to own up to their(she doesn't think they are lies) MISTAKES they make and quick to correct them. Then she throws some verse at me, which I fail to remember now, something about a light growing brighter. That is the answer to all of their flip flopping for her. It is a sad state of affairs for the JW's.


#9

[quote="T_More, post:1, topic:284923"]
...they immediately start in with the divinity of Christ, and, with good reason. To be sure the subject needs to addressed with them eventually. Too often, however, it never gets past this point, and the Catholic is left frustrated.

As a former JW, allow me to make a few observations.

We tend to forget sometimes ( and this is particulary poignant with Pentecost fast approaching) that there is a third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

JW's believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person at all, but rather is God's "power" or "electricity". To them, there is certainly no basis of personification.

And yet, from their own New World Transaltion (bold mine):

John 14:25-26

25 “While remaining with YOU I have spoken these things to YOU. 26 But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, **that one will teach YOU **all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU.

John 16:12-14

12 “I have many things yet to say to YOU, but YOU are not able to bear them at present. 13 However, when that one **arrives, the spirit of the truth, **he will guide YOU into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to YOU the things coming. 14 That one **will glorify me, because **he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to YOU.

Acts 13:2

2 As they were publicly ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Of all persons set Bar´na·bas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 5:3-4

3 But Peter said: “An·a·ni´as, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit **and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? 4 As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, **but to God.”

As we can plainly see, there is someone that Christ is speaking about, and there is someone giving commands and being lied to. Can my "power" or "strength" be lied to? Give commands on it's own? Am I called an "it" or am I called a "him"?

When discussing the Holy Trinity with JW's, before diving into Christ's divinity, try and discuss the Holy Spirit and His personification.

With Pentecost approaching, let us pray that misguided JW's come to know the truth of "Who", not "what", the Holy Spirit is.

*Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.* Dominus vobiscum

[/quote]

Mark


#10

JL: Thanks T for posting I appreciate your insights. To add my two cents. The WT teaches the Devil is a PERSON. Using the following criteria. Yet the scriptures speak of the Holy Spirit in the same manner. Using their own reasoning they show the Holy Spirit to be a PERSON.

“Is the Devil a personification or a person? … Can an unintelligent ‘force’ carry on a conversation with a person? … only an intelligent person could. … ‘Every quality, every action, which can indicate personality, is attributed to him in language which cannot be explained away.’” Awake 12/8/1973, p. 27 [Index of Watch Tower Errors, David A. Reed, editor. Compiled by Steve Huntoon & John Cornell. Baker Book House Grand Rapids, MI 49516]

What is the difference? A force doesn’t speak, teach, comfort. Nor can you blaspheme against a force.


#11

[quote="Phyllo, post:8, topic:284923"]
.

I have tried this technique. Her answer--- The organization is the first one to own up to their(she doesn't think they are lies) MISTAKES they make and quick to correct them. Then she throws some verse at me, which I fail to remember now, something about a light growing brighter. That is the answer to all of their flip flopping for her. It is a sad state of affairs for the JW's.

[/quote]

The verse they proof text is Proverbs 4:18. From their New World Translation:

18 But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.

The verse is taken out of a chapter that has nothing to do with developing doctrine.

As usual with JW's, it's important to make them demonstrate the context of the entire chapter when they attempt to use verses from scripture to prove a point.

In addition, scripture never cancels out scripture. When they claim to speak for God and and their prophesy fails to happen, note this verse (Deut. 18:20-22, NWT)

20 “‘However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21 And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” 22 when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’


#12

[quote="Phyllo, post:8, topic:284923"]
.

I have tried this technique. Her answer--- The organization is the first one to own up to their(she doesn't think they are lies) MISTAKES they make and quick to correct them. Then she throws some verse at me, which I fail to remember now, something about a light growing brighter. That is the answer to all of their flip flopping for her. It is a sad state of affairs for the JW's.

[/quote]

That is exactly what they said to me after I mentioned Charles Russell's pyramidology practices and how he has a miniature pyramid built by his tomb. :p

"The light gets brighter; we were wrong back then but Jehovah has revealed more to us over time."

I hope they don't come over this week; I'm really getting tired of it. :(


#13

I've been eating them for lunch for years, the last 2 years at my last condo they actually avoided even coming around....
...They are "very weak" in their history and everything they know is because someone else told them what to believe.
...In other words rare is it that you will meet a JW that has their own faith about what they believe.

Like the poster above said - they participate in a form of theololgical martial arts...
...If they say this then the JW is trained to say such and such.
...For the average Christian who simply goes through the motions of Church a JW can be devastating for them.


#14


#15

[quote="T_More, post:1, topic:284923"]
...they immediately start in with the divinity of Christ, and, with good reason. To be sure the subject needs to addressed with them eventually. Too often, however, it never gets past this point, and the Catholic is left frustrated.

As a former JW, allow me to make a few observations.

We tend to forget sometimes ( and this is particulary poignant with Pentecost fast approaching) that there is a third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

JW's believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person at all, but rather is God's "power" or "electricity". To them, there is certainly no basis of personification.

And yet, from their own New World Transaltion (bold mine):

John 14:25-26

25 “While remaining with YOU I have spoken these things to YOU. 26 But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, **that one will teach YOU **all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU.

John 16:12-14

12 “I have many things yet to say to YOU, but YOU are not able to bear them at present. 13 However, when that one **arrives, the spirit of the truth, **he will guide YOU into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to YOU the things coming. 14 That one **will glorify me, because **he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to YOU.

Acts 13:2

2 As they were publicly ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Of all persons set Bar´na·bas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 5:3-4

3 But Peter said: “An·a·ni´as, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit **and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? 4 As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, **but to God.”

As we can plainly see, there is someone that Christ is speaking about, and there is someone giving commands and being lied to. Can my "power" or "strength" be lied to? Give commands on it's own? Am I called an "it" or am I called a "him"?

When discussing the Holy Trinity with JW's, before diving into Christ's divinity, try and discuss the Holy Spirit and His personification.

With Pentecost approaching, let us pray that misguided JW's come to know the truth of "Who", not "what", the Holy Spirit is.

*Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.*

Dominus vobiscum

[/quote]

I have brought some of these things up to my friend. Her answer is some sort of Greek grammar that I am sure even she doesn't understand but was drummed into her. She parrots what they tell her. She talks about if it is such and such the Holy Spirit is called it, if it is something else the HS is called Him. When she spouts this stuff I turn off.
It is not east getting through to her.


#16

I just had a visit last week, and tried this approach. I said that I can pick any point in history after Jesus death and find writings that agree with the Catholic point of view but not so with JW. Then saying that of all the English translations of the Bible, theirs is the only one that translates John 1 the way they do. I asked if Jesus was “a god” was he a false god because there is only one true God (if someone could explain to me how they could believe that Jesus is “a god” if there is only one God, please do). Finally, I asked why they don’t take the phrase “this is my body” in a literal sense, but they do with the 144,000 in Revelation.

I don’t think I got anywhere, but I stopped trying to go verse vs verse, try to stay at a higher level. sadly, both of them came from Catholic backgrounds. The younger one said her parents converted because as Catholics they were taught that everybody goes to heaven and that is not scriptural. I thought they would have me on their “do not call” list by now, but as long as they keep ringing, I’ll keep answering.


#17

You are a great inspiration to me and many others T More. I’m in a long term relationship with an unbaptized person who congregates with the JW’s (how they word it,) and I have taken many things that I have learned and attempted to help show them the way during our studies together.

My understanding is that their Governing Body is their interpreter of doctrine, and to publically speak out against a theological belief could result in a public “correction” or even disfellowshipping? I have seen the control that they have over my significant other, who of course won’t admit it; it is truly a sad situation that they were raised in. With that said, I personally try to look for verses that equate Jesus with YHWH during our discussions. Particularly Old Testament verses that are, and can only be referenced to Almighty God, and then they are applied to Jesus.

Pslams 102:25-27, Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.

Cross Reference this with **Hebrews 1:10-12, ** which just so happens to be God the Father talking to the Son, who he just called God (not in their NWT of course.) Psalms 102 is a prayer to Almighty God, who laid the foundation of the earth, etc…The inspired author of Hebrews takes this Psalm, and shows the Father speaking and revealing to humanity that this Psalm was written about his Son, who is also YHWH.

My other favorite is Isaiah 45:22-24, and cross referencing this with Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:9-11. Almighty God says that every knee will bend to me in Isaiah and Romans, and then we see that every knee in Heaven and on Earth will be bend to Jesus. Almighty God knew what his son would do for Humanity; did he lie in Isaiah and Romans when he said that every knee would bend to him (the Father,) when in reality he knew that every knee would bending to his Son? Would every knee be bent to worship a creature at the end of the world, or would it be bent to worship the One True God?

Peace my brothers and sisters


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.