Last time we looked at Ten Questions to ask a Jehovah’s Witness. Speaking with a Jehovah’s Witness on a cart or when they come to your door is a very important continuing aspect of evangelising but these conversations, in themselves, are unlikely to bring that person out of the organisation. To achieve this will take much longer and will require a more in depth study with them. We will need more questions to ask.
To ‘lock horns’ with a JW in this way does require a greater understanding of the scriptures they use and how they can be answered. There is a need to go in with deeper, more searching questions. The techniques for evangelising found elsewhere on this site still remain valid and we must always remember we are to preach Christ. Speaking the gospel must always remain in the forefront of our thinking; theology alone never saved anyone! Some of the discussion points below were put forward by an ex-JW elder and so have an insider element.
It is very easy to suffer from Bible ‘ping-pong’ where one verse quoted is countered with another which appears to contradict the first and so on. This is a time consuming and ultimately fruitless exercise, except perhaps to learn what a JW will say in any situation. The Bible does not contradict itself, so if one verse is ‘countered’ by another then one has been interpreted incorrectly. If a JW quotes a verse to counter, or make a point, then the validity of that verse/passage needs to be sorted first. Check the following:
- Has it been quoted in context? It’s often a good idea to read the verses around the one they quote.
- Is it actually applicable to the question under discussion? They may be using it to divert away from a subject they don’t want to discuss.
- Has it actually been translated correctly? Much of scripture in the New World Translation (NWT) has been ‘adjusted’ to suit WTS theology. The use of an interlinear Greek/English Bible is useful here, particularly the WTS Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT), an invaluable resource against their mistranslations. Beware that many JWs will be scared off by using Greek as it’s not a subject many have dabbled in – for obvious reasons the WTS does not encourage it.
- Does it actually say what they are trying to make it say? Often the verse quoted doesn’t actually support what
- they are saying! This is so very common in the Watchtower magazines etc.
If possible it is best to quote a passage from the NWT as if it may differ from your Bible and they will only believe their own; using the NWT gives it more credence in their eyes. This assumes the verse has been translated correctly which you may have to point out first if it is a key verse! If you don’t have a hard copy of the NWT E-copies are available on the internet.
As with most things in life preparation is the key. Making notes to remind yourself of the route you are going to try and follow is a good idea.
The JW must always see you as a searcher, someone looking for the ‘truth’, otherwise they may well just give up on you. Asking questions is they key to keeping their interest. Having more questions, follow-up questions, for each visit is helpful to this end. The emphasis from the WTS nowadays seems to be to look for the low-hanging-fruit – those who are easiest to convince of the WTS view. They may not be willing to waste time on someone who is not interested in hearing the truth (ie. Someone who actually knows what the Bible really teaches!). Pushing a point to its logical conclusion maybe too much for the JW and sometimes it’s just best to leave them to ponder without pursuing it further.
Many times a JW will say that a particular passage only applies to the 144,000; if they do ask them where it says that in the passage. The WTS teaches that most of the New Testament does not apply to the great crowd (those not of the 144,000).
Be careful about using WTS literature that is more than a few decades old – if the JW doesn’t like what it says they may simply say this is ‘old light’. However, the older stuff can be very useful, particularly if you end up discussing items such as the various prophecies of Armageddon they have come up with over the years.
The Aim and Purpose
The ultimate destination of this questioning is to try and get the JW to start reasoning for themselves and by this reasoning to see that what they have been taught by the WTS is in error. WTS theology is built like a house of cards; remove one piece of the structure and the whole lot can come tumbling down. Until they start to doubt the validity of the governing body’s claims it will be impossible for the JW to break free from them and their thinking. It is quite amazing to speak with ex-JWs and hear them say that once they left the organisation it was like scales had fallen from their eyes; suddenly they saw so much truth in the Bible. They see things they never saw before – this is the power of the Holy Spirit let loose!
As more questions dig a little deeper in to the WTS mind-set it is important to do more research into the points raised. If you’re not already well versed in these aspects there is much information out there on the internet on such sites as; jwfacts.com, avoidjw.org, jwanswers.co.uk and of course on the Reachout Trust site. The quotes from Watchtower sources below are available from the WTS’s own site wol.jw.org. By using this site the JW cannot claim they are falsely quoted.
1. Is Jesus your mediator (a personal question)? Most of them will affirm the He is! Get them to explain what they mean by this so as to set in their mind that He is. You can agree with them by showing 1 Timothy 2 v 5. What would they say to someone who disagrees with that scripture? Then show them the WTS says Jesus is only the mediator for those in the new covenant, the ‘spiritual Israel’, the 144,000. The Oct 15 Watchtower 2014 (pages 13-14) is a good place to start. Ask them who their mediator is if it’s not Jesus.
2. Is the Watchtower Society God’s sole channel? I understand that the WTS claims that it is Jehovah’s sole channel and that they alone are guided by the Holy Spirit – is that true? Have they ever said anything that has turned out to be wrong and needed adjustment? The answer is ‘yes’ and hopefully the JW knows this, if not you can point to things like when they prophesied the end in 1925. Did that ‘error’ come from Jehovah? (The answer should be ‘No’ of course). Does that mean that the Governing body is incapable of discerning when it is being lied to and doesn’t that make them unreliable? They will point to Proverbs 4 v 18 (Jehovah provides ‘new light’) but confirm the point that they were unable to realise they were wrong and leave the thought to fester!
Or you could put it this way; I understand that the WTS claims to be Jehovah’s sole channel. Have they ever changed what they have stated as the truth? The answer is ‘yes’, of course. How then can I be certain that what they say now is in fact the truth? Could it not change at any time, could you be basing your faith on a lie?
3. How can I trust the Bible? Hasn’t it been copied so many times that it is no longer trustworthy? The JW will convince you that the Bible is essentially the same now as always. Ensure they really reinforce this view before asking them if that is true how come the WTS teaches that copyists left out Jehovah’s name over 230 times? If the copyists did that then what else have they left out or changed?
4. I have heard JWs will not speak with someone who leaves the organisation because they no longer believe, is that true? Please can you show me where the Bible says to do this? Check the passages they quote as they are likely only to refer to immoral action, not apostasy. As JWs say they imitate Jesus does scripture ever show Jesus ‘shunning’ anyone. Quite the opposite is true of course; He didn’t even shun Judas!
5. How important is it to use God’s personal name? I think we know what their answer will be. Can they show you anywhere in scripture where Jesus uses the name ‘Jehovah’ except when quoting the OT. Why then did Jesus never use the name but only ‘Father’ or ‘God’? Even with the WTS’s adding of ‘Jehovah’ there is no quote from Jesus that includes it except when quoting from OT passages.
6. Are you allowed to disagree with anything that the organisation says? If so, what? Doesn’t it bother you that you are not allowed to question fallible men?
7. What will happen to those who have not been given the chance to hear about Jehovah before they die -will they be resurrected to the earthly paradise, or will they be damned to eternal non existence due to no fault of their own? The WTS teaches there will be a resurrection of the unrighteous (those who have not been given the chance to hear about Him from the JWs) and this to the paradise earth. Follow this with the next question…
8.Is rejecting your message risking my resurrection? If I was to fully and wilfully reject the teachings you are offering (as most people do) is my future resurrection to the paradise earth in jeopardy? The WTS teaches that the ‘wicked’, those who reject Jehovah, will not be resurrected. Continue to the next question/point…
9. Isn’t your message endangering my eternity? Doesn’t that mean your message and your preaching of it is putting the eternal lives of millions of people in jeopardy because by offering them Jehovah’s message you are risking them rejecting it! Does that sound like a message of hope? Leave them to ponder that one! This may be a good time to give your testimony and your assurance of eternal life through the gospel message. The gospel’s message is of certain hope for everyone.
This question could be used in place of the previous ones if there is less time. Is it necessary for someone to become a JW in order to enter the paradise earth? If they say ‘no’ then ask why bother being a JW if it makes no difference. If they say ‘Yes’ ask them where it says that in the bible.
10. Does the organisation claim to be a prophet? (Some will say no). Yet the organisation has claimed to be such many times. Show them the quote from April 1st Watchtower 1972, page 198, where it claims that JWs are in fact prophets and how to prove a prophet is true. Does this match up with their prophecies about 1914 (the end of governments etc.), 1925 (again, the end of this system of things and the resurrection of the ‘princes’ from Hebrews 11), the early 1940s when Armageddon was only ‘months’ away, 1975, the generation alive in 1914 would ‘in no way’ die before the end of things (they are all over 104 years old now!).
They are likely to say that the Governing Body does not claim to be infallible and that they are only human. Ask where in the Bible Jehovah forgives a prophet for speaking falsely in His name because he is human? Be careful not to push this too far as the JW may simply clam up and refuse to continue any discussion with you. You may need to back off and hope that the point has been made.
JWs may resort to asking why you are persecuting them by pointing out all these ‘facts’ about the WTS; you can point them to the Jan 15 1974 Watchtower article on page 35 which pointedly asks:
“Would you rather have the truth covered over . . . ?. . . Or do you want to know the facts?”
If it has been a particularly hard session for the JW(s) maybe you could look to finish the session on a high note for them so they go away with a good feeling about the next time. Put them back on to a comfortable subject; ask them what they think it will be like on paradise earth and what they would like to do for the whole of eternity, billions upon billions of years!
If you are attempting to have an ongoing discussion with the JWs then it is important to set a date and time for the next meeting before they leave. Using these questions will unnerve most JWs and they will not be keen to continue with you. By setting a date there and then it’s harder for them to pull out. Tell them how much you are looking forward to hearing more about what they believe and hearing more about the bible.
When they’ve gone, pray, pray and pray again that the Holy Spirit will bless the seeds He has sown and that the JWs will come to realise the truth.
If you end up using any of the information contained in this article I would love to hear from you as to how it went; I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.