Saturday morning as I was trying to put up the bounty from my trip to the farmer’s market a team of Jehovah’s Witness representatives came to my door. My first thought was oh great I don’t have time for this. I really wanted to just brush them off because I was too busy and didn’t really see the point. I as surprised to be greeted by 2 young men in their late teens or early twenties rather than the usual middle age or older adults that usually come to our door. As I was deciding on my response several things hit me.
First, while I do not agree with their beliefs these young men are to be commended for the zeal they have for their faith. How many evangelicals, much less 20 somethings, are out before noon on a Saturday morning sharing their faith? I am neither condoning their methods or beliefs. It hit me that I need to be more alert and aware of opportunities to share my faith.
Second, that these young men were created in God’s image and desperately need to be presented with the truth. Many Christians believe that is is somehow acceptable to be rude, combative or argumentative with Jehovah’s Witnesses because of what they believe. Those tactics rarely work. In fact, they only build walls and prevent any opportunity to share the truth. As my Granddaddy used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
My approach was to dialogue with these young men. I was very clear about my beliefs and background. I answered their questions about the Bible and God’s name with truth that raised points they were unfamiliar with. Further, they left with something to think about and the invitation to come back and if they had anymore questions.
21 thoughts on “Conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness”
so thankful you took the time to point them to the truth!
Hopefully it is one brick in the path to truth.
“I answered their questions about the Bible and God’s name with truth that raised points they were unfamiliar with.”
I would be interested in knowing what these points are that are “unfamiliar.” We have been communicating with people on Biblical issues 365 days a year for over a hundred years. And yet each person we speak with thinks s/he has a unique perspective that no one has encountered previously. It always fascinates me.
I agree with Carolyn. Please post these if you have time.
I don’t think I have a unique perspective. As for the points/questions I raised:
Those young men have been exposed to mountains of research into the original languages. I myself own quite a bit of literature both produced by WT society and other sources. (Which the WT society quotes prolifically)
They obviously aren’t used to the kind of debate you are capable of, but as you pointed out they are still young. The information about the origin of the name and how it is transliterated is covered quite nicely in our publications. I could provide references and even originals if you would like.
They should know that Jews don’t speak God’s name though they may not be familiar with the term ‘Messianic Christians’. however it is superstition, not reverence that causes them to refrain. The scriptures obviously state that servants of God who revered him used his name in worship.
We are well educated on what ‘LORD’ means in Bibles. I can’t imagine why these young men would not know it. Again, I could provide you with source material.
In conclusion, I would greatly enjoy a discussion of whatever topics you might find stimulating and hope you would engage me.
“I could provide references and even originals if you would like.”
What originals are you referring to? I have read the Hebrew Bible.
“however it is superstition, not reverence that causes them to refrain. The scriptures obviously state that servants of God who revered him used his name in worship.”
We will disagree on this one. It was out of reverence. As for name of God, which name?
As for further topics, I write on a variety of topics.
The ‘originals’ comment was in reference to our publications if you wanted specific instances of education on the topic.
Which name? Why, Jehovah (or Yahweh if you prefer).
God stated to Moses that Jehovah was his name as a memorial “to time indefinite,” “to generation after generation,” which implies forever. (Ex 3:15)
How many times does Jehovah say in Ezekiel that ‘they will have to know that I am Jehovah?’ 61 by my count. Nowhere in the Bible does God say they will have to know that I am ‘Jehovah-Jireh’ or any other title which people elevate to ‘name’. In fact The phrase “I am Jehovah” occurs 164 times in the Hebrew scriptures, while “I am God occurs 11 times in the entire Bible. Even Ezekiel outdoes that!
Jehovah occurs in the original Hebrew scriptures almost 7000 times. None of the titles that people try to ascribe the honor of ‘name’ for God even come close to that. I haven’t done the math, but I doubt even added together they add up to the same amount of exposure.
One last point regarding this topic comes from the 40th Psalm:
20 If we have forgotten the name of our God,
Or we spread out our palms to a strange god,
21 Will not God himself search this out?
Here two things occur. First the Psalmist says ‘the name’ that is a powerful statement because the implication is clear: god has one name. Second, he equates forgetting God’s name with worship given to another god. It would be disrespectful to hide God’s name.
I don’t want to be argumentative, but I cannot see how anyone can miss the bible’s clear way of treating this subject. God has a personal name and he wants us to use it in our worship of Him.
In Exodus; When Mose asked who do I say sent me. God’s reply is “I Am”. If you have not exegeted the passage it is an interesting one.
As for God’s name. YHWH is one of many names for God including Adoni, El, and El-Shaddi.
More importantly than knowing God’s personal name is to know him personally.
Yep and which of your friends names would you never use?
Would anyone believe you really knew someone whose name you would never use?
Finally, YHWH is the only ‘name’ that God says is His name. I don’t understand why people want to avoid accepting this. Just the fact that the Hebrews had such a reverence (if misplaced) should be an obvious mark. I don’t mean to be offensive and apologize if I am.
What is interesting about that verse is that “I Am” is not the best way to translate the verse as many bible scholars have shown by their translation and commentary. “I shall become whatsoever I choose” for instance. Interestingly enough, Jehovah has a very similar meaning: “He causes to become”. “I Am” (and its alternates) therefore, seems to be a reassurance to the Israelites through Moses that Jah would carry out His promises to their forefathers.
Have you read that verse or translated it from the Hebrew?
As for the name of God, YHWH is only one of the names of God. Our relationship with God, is more important than the name we call him.
Of course our relationship with god is more important than how we *say His name. But any person would be offended if you claimed to be their friend and yet refused to call him by name. forever calling him ‘man’ or ‘baker’ or whatever other title. The Bible makes it plain that God wants to be our friend and we call our friends by name.
I do not know how to translate ancient Hebrew. I can only see what others have translated and read about why and how. I believe that is enough, I do not intend to make own translation. 🙂
As for the analogy of God as friend. He is our Father. Just as I would never have called my dad by his first name. However I called him dad, daddy or pops. All indications of the special relationship/position I had. Unlike his friends I had the right to approach him at anytime over anything.
I asked about translating the Exodus passage because you stated “I Am” was not the best translation. From my studies/translating I believe it is. I Am indicates He is the source of all things. Moses didn’t need a name for God because God was the creator and origin of all things.
God called Abraham His friend. Implying we can also be His friend.
True. However God is our heavenly Father. Even though my dad was my friend out of respect I would never have called him by his name. God wants us to approach as a Father. As his child I can call him Abba or Daddy. Heart of the Gospel is not about what name you call God.
You must pray then this way: “Our Father in the Heavens let your name be sanctified”
You have missed the heart of the Gospel:
John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ESV
I had a few from a group come to my home when i was busy. Don’t remember if they were JW or something else. Anyway, I had a brief conversation with them. A couple weeks later, they came back twice to discuss more with me. I only wish I was better at Bible memorization. Still, it was a good conversation. I think they did a fair amount of thinking before our last meeting because their questions were different. More seeking than giving attitude. They truly seemed interested in my perspective. Your grandfather is right. It helps is you are respectful but still firm in pointing errors.
I really didn’t point errors more of providing information. They left with an open invitation to return.
You give me a reason to study the bible so that I too can share the truth when the opportunity arises. Thank you.
Glad I could encourage you.