I arrived before my Jehovah’s Witness friend did, but when he came in, he brought the whole family. For reasons of privacy I will not mentioned how many kids they have or their ages. We all sat in a big booth together and started talking about what has been going on in our lives. I’ve noticed that when kids are present, most adults tend to talk to the other adults and ignore the kids. I’ve always disliked that. Since we had just returned from a family trip to the coast, I showed the kids some pictures on my phone of crabs we caught at night on the beach and a mermaid someone had made out of the sand. The Witness parents and I talked and joked about a lot of different things before our study. The kids were silent. They didn’t look uncomfortable, but they did look like this kind of conversation was not something they were use to.
We began our study after about a half hour on page 23 of the Teach book. Since it was about prophecies contained in the Bible, I was looking forward to getting into this section of the book. I one day hope to show my Witness friend the many false prophecies of the Watchtower. Unfortunately there really wasn’t an opportunity to use something from this section and I didn’t want to push the conversation unnaturally in the direction I was hoping to go. However, one of the verses we looked at did give me something I can use down the road.
Numbers 23:19 is a verse I use for Mormons to show that God is not a man, but the ending of the verse has never jumped out at me like it did this time. The New American Standard reads, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
This fits perfectly with the Watchtower’s failed prophecies. In other words, God is not going to lie. He isn’t going to say something and not do it, yet we have scores of articles in Watchtower literature declaring that the end of the world was going to happen at certain dates and that the information came from none other than Jehovah Himself. Simply put, if God declares it, it will happen, but since it didn’t happen, God didn’t declare it. The Watchtower is guilty of misrepresenting God according to Deuteronomy 18:18-22.
We spent some time talking about a sentence from paragraph 19. It reads, “We may claim to love God, but how we react to what his inspired Word, the Bible, teaches will reveal our true thoughts, even the very intentions of the heart.” I fully agree with this statement. My Witness friend is a very experienced teacher and has been through the Teach book numerous times with different people. As we discussed this sentence, I got the feeling that my Witness friend was thinking that he may have to quote this to me at some point down the road. Undoubtedly he has done this before as he said, “We see this all the time.”
The thing he does not yet understand is that the Bible teaches something very different from what the Watchtower teaches. When he is faced with those differences, which will he choose? Will he choose to ally himself with the Watchtower or will he be faithful to what God says in his Word? Only time will tell.
My friend explained that even Jesus faced rejection from people who didn’t believe His message and since they are preaching His message, they are to be rejected too. His wife spoke up and told me about how often she gets the door slammed in her face. I wanted to know more about that.
KW: How often does that happen?
JW2: At least once every couple of weeks.
KW: How does that make you feel when someone slams the door in your face?
JW1: We don’t like it of course because this is something precious to us and we want to share it with people. We keep it in context though. Jesus was the perfect Son of God and did miracles, yet not many people received him.
JW2: We really don’t take it personally.
JW1: How many times was Paul stoned, beaten or thrown out of cities? Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too.” He also said if we were a part of the world, it would love us, but because he called us out of the world, it hates us. We understand why it is that way. We also understand that people don’t understand what we are doing. They don’t understand that we are trying to share with them a beautiful message. They just view us as an annoyance. There is a stereo type.
We also know that many who are Jehovah’s Witnesses today were once very opposed to us. They just didn’t understand. It is just like the Apostle Paul. He persecuted the Christian congregation. He just didn’t know.
JW2: I feel bad for them because I know they don’t know me personally. They are angry at what we represent. I hope that they are able to overcome that sometime in the future. Or maybe they just had a bad day. We don’t take it personally. When we go back, we remember, but try not to hold it against them.
JW1: There have been at least half a dozen times where I go to someone’s door and they tell me, “I was just praying about this.” When you see that kind of stuff happen, it doesn’t matter how many people slam the door in my face, there are people here who are asking God for help. You can shoot me, beat me, slam the door in my face, I don’t care. I’m going to do what Jehovah wants me to do.
The reason why I asked that question is primarily for this blog. I wanted my readers to hear what Jehovah’s Witnesses think about being ill-treated and getting doors slammed in their faces. They didn’t say it, but they wear it as a badge of honor. You may have experienced this yourself, but some Jehovah’s Witnesses will go so far as to antagonize a householder so that they are then “persecuted” because they had a door closed on them. There is no excuse for taking the bait and falling into this trap.
Anything that can be interpreted by Jehovah’s Witnesses as “persecution” will do nothing more than embolden and reinforce their “Us VS. Them” mentality. They view this kind of treatment as confirmation that what they are doing is right and good. Although it may feel good at the moment to tell off a Jehovah’s Witness or slam the door in their faces, it actually does nothing to dissuade them from their door to door ministry. It only entrenches them further into the cult.
At the end of the chapter, the book references 2 Timothy 3:16. He asked me to read it, but I wanted to read verse 17 as well.
KW: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
JW1: The Bible is inspired of God and it equips us for every good work.
I looked up a word in my Greek concordance.
KW: That word “adequate” means “fitted” or “complete.”
JW1: It is useful. It is like the ultimate toolbox.
KW: How did your translation read it? Mine says, “adequate, equipped for every good work.”
JW2: Ours says, “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”
JW1: There are two aspects of it. You have to have the skills. That’s fully competent. You also need to have the tools. That is completely equipped.
KW: We get the skills and the tools from the Scripture.
JW1: That’s exactly right.
I decided to make more notes in my copy of the Teach book. I’ll keep this handy for when he reveals to me that the Watchtower teaches that the Bible is not enough. Here is the problem about these verses that he has yet to realize. If the Bible is adequate to equip us for every good work, then why do we need Watchtower literature to explain the Bible to us? It is like we have the ultimate toolbox, but then are missing the tools.
We finished the chapter and then My Witness friend told me what to expect in chapter three.
JW1: Next week we are going to talk about God’s purpose for the earth. This is probably going to be very different than what you’ve been taught in the past.
I jokingly said;
KW: You don’t know what I’ve been taught in the past.
They were a bit surprised by my statement and weren’t quite sure what to do with it. That is when I got the kids laughing by doing something no one expected.
I belted out the most evil, wicked, fake laugh I could muster. Everyone laughed and people from surrounding tables looked over to see what the commotion was about. The kids really loosened up after that. Although our study was done, we continued to sit at the table and talk about all kinds of things. The kids were very much a part of the conversation. I got to know them a little better and observe their family dynamics. It was fun.
Once again, there wasn’t anything earth shattering about this conversation, but I did manage to get some things written in my Teach book that will be helpful for when we talk about how Jehovah’s Witnesses “need” Watchtower publications to understand the Bible. If the Bible says Christians are “Fully competent and adequately equipped, what else is there?
Please continue to pray for my Jehovah’s Witness Pioneer friend and his dear family.