Tough Meeting With A Jehovah’s Witness Elder

Our meeting started off with an apology. JW1 was not happy about how our last meeting went. He began by stating, “I know I cannot apologize for someone else, but I am sorry our meeting turned out the way it did last week.” He went on to say that what happened last week is not the way they are supposed to do things. He explained why he asked JW2 to come along at the last minute and said that he specifically told him not to be feisty. Do you know what JW2’s response was, “Then why did you ask me to come along?” At that point, it was too late because they were already in JW1’s vehicle on their way to our meeting. Like I said last week. The dude came in with an attitude to begin with.

Unfortunately, it had more of an effect on JW1 than I had anticipated. He wasn’t as patient as he usually is and interrupted me a number of times. I knew that I needed to take things very slow and low key or I was going to lose him. He wanted to launch into the Trinity again and this time he was trying to refute me and not understand me. He asked me how I define the Trinity and I gave a short definition I memorized from James White’s, The Forgotten Trinity. I highly recommend that book. (Check page two of our General Apologetics section in our web site store.)

I took out a sheet of note paper and wrote down, “Within the one being that is God, there exists eternally, three coequal, coeternal persons. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” I wrote it on his notebook paper so that he could have the definition when we went home. He then took me to Matthew 26:39 to prove that both the Father and Son have different wills. This verse in the New World Translation reads, “And going a little way forward, he fell upon his face, praying and saying: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” He then asked, “How can they be the same person if they have two wills?”

I drew a picture that looked similar to this image and explained that Trinitarians do not believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the same person. We believe that the Trinity is one being with three centers of consciousness. He immediately skipped understanding and went straight into refute mode.

JW: John 14:28 says that the Father is greater than the Son. How can you say that they are equal?

KW: The same way that within a household the husband holds a greater position of authority. Your wife is equally human and has all the same rights, privileges and worth that you do, but she willingly submits herself to your authority. Jesus is equally deity, but submits Himself to the will of the Father. When Jesus was in the garden, He knew what is coming. He is about to suffer an excruciating death and isn’t thrilled about the idea, but knowing that this is part of the Father’s plan, He willingly submits. The fact that Jesus willingly submits Himself to the Father is no more proof against the deity of Christ than your wife is somehow less of a human being because she willingly submits herself to you.

My Jehovah’s Witness friend brought up a number of other verses which I also answered. He didn’t seem very happy that I had an answer for the verses he brought up. That is when he went in the direction I was afraid he would go.

JW: So what is the point of us continuing to meet? If you are not going to believe what I say about the Trinity, then you will not believe anything I bring up.

KW: Wait a minute. Are you trying to refute me again? I thought you were asking me about my beliefs because you wanted to understand them. Had I known you were just going to try to refute me, I never would have entered into a discussion on the Trinity.

He looked like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar.

KW: I’ve noticed something about the evolution of our discussions. It started out with me asking questions about the memorial because I wanted to understand why you believe what you believe. It then moved to your curiosity of my beliefs and asking questions about them. That is fine, but I thought I made it clear to you that I didn’t want to get into any sort of Bible battle. I know I keep saying it, but it is extremely important to me that we first try to understand each other before we do anything else. I CAN’T agree with you, or even disagree with you unless I first understand what it is you are saying. It seems to me like you were curious about my beliefs, questioned them and then didn’t like the fact that I had answers to your questions. You seem uncomfortable with the fact that I have reasons for what I believe. I wish we could get back to me just trying to understand why you believe what you believe.

JW: Like what? What is it that you still have a hard time understanding?

We got back into the discussion of how Jesus has been present since 1914, but they still celebrate the memorial because He hasn’t arrived yet. We went over some of the same information we had previously discussed in our first two meetings about the Watchtower belief that when Jesus said He would arrive, it really meant that the anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses would die and go to heaven. I used an illustration that really hit home with him.

KW: If I tell the waiter here at this restaurant that I will not order until you arrive, he will never understand that I really meant that I will order when I leave. I just don’t understand how you get the idea that the verse means the opposite of what it says.

Once that subject got too uncomfortable, we talked a bit more about the Trinity. He was really working hard to try to end our discussions, yet continuing to ask questions only to become more uncomfortable with the fact that I had answers. I reiterated that I don’t really want to explain my beliefs if he is going to start refuting without understanding. At that point he asked if I would be willing to go step by step through the book he had given me last week, What Does The Bible Really teach?” Knowing that this was the only way he would agree to keep meeting, I immediately agreed.

I really thought I was going to lose him for awhile. I knew it was dangerous to answer his questions about what I believe because he would interpret that as me trying to teach him instead of him teaching me. It is hard to remain in the student role when he keeps asking me questions. The good news is I worked through it and we will be meeting again next week.

It also ended up on a really good note. Since we had been there all morning and it was now lunch time, we ordered something to eat and got to know each other a little bit outside of religious discussions. That is always an added bonus.

12 thoughts on “Tough Meeting With A Jehovah’s Witness Elder”

  1. Wow, Keith. Do you think he’ll switch to the student role? I was saved on the floor at my bible study’s house after 1 1/2 years of trying to teach her, lol. I became the student and accepted Christ when my plan was to convert her to My JW beliefs. It’s possible. Don’t lose faith. Keep us posted, I look forward to the progression.

  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses creed is a falsehood of Jesus *invisible* second coming October 1914.

    Tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses are DEAD (since 1945) by a man-made Watchtower society ban on *whole* blood transfusions.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses endlessly argue the red herring trinity enigma because they cannot defend your Adventist plagiarized 1914 date for Jesus second coming your “pivotal” all important core creed prophecy.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ false prophets that Jesus himself warned about [Matthew 7:15] Just like Scientology,they spend a lot of time defending why you are not a cult.

    Danny Haszard

  3. Keith, because you made yourself available and took the time to witness to these two
    Jw’s God will bless what you have said to them concerning what the Bible teaches .
    I’ve often said to friends that when the Jw’s come to our doors since they come with
    nothing do not let them leave with nothing —-tell them about what Jesus means to you !
    God will use that .
    I realize that there is more than one way to witness to these precious people . I usually
    choose to not open the Bible and engage in any extended discussion of doctrine —
    initially . The reason is that for a Jw the Bible is not their authority , as a Jw they are
    not allowed to interpret it for themselves , their hierarchy ( the Governing Body) in
    Brooklyn N.Y. have convinced all Jw’s that it is God’s mouthpiece for today . The
    Watchtower Bible and Tract Society alone is God’s organization, His visible organization
    on earth . To it alone the Bible is not a sealed book, it alone is God’s sole channel for
    the dissemination of Biblical truth to mankind. To reject those who head this organization
    is to reject God , and God’s wrath awaits any member who does so .
    Now I realize you know all this but I had to mention it to explain that in using the Bible
    to soon usually ends up in a verbal volleyball match with a Jw , you share a verse , they
    have a verse , and so on . They just can’t allow you to teach them because you are not
    to be trusted , you are part of Babylon the Great , blinded by Satan etc, etc .
    So what I usually do is ask them if I can trust their leaders to be trustworthy guides in
    what the Bible teaches . Trust is so crucial in light of being safe from being misled
    by false prophets —1 Jn 4;1. They agree this is a reasonable request .
    I share with them a claim made by their leadership concerning the Watchtower
    magazine ( which their leadership uses to publish the spiritual truth that they receive
    from Jehovah to all Jw’s ) The promise : ” Since 1879 it has been published regularly
    for the benefit of sincere students of the Bible . Over that extended period of time
    The Watchtower has consistently proven itself dependable . ” [ Advertisement in the
    back of the 1950 NWT Bible published by the Watchtower Society , p793] .
    So I’m reassured that I can trust this organization, this prophet , to be dependable
    in teaching the Bible . However, a look at their track record reveals a different verdict
    altogether , one that shows a pattern , an unstable pattern , vacillating on what is
    Biblical truth . I could go and share a bunch but I’m sure you’re well aware of this fact.
    When a Jw starts to realize that he or she can’t really trust their prophet then they will
    listen to you more readily .
    Do you have any thoughts about this ?
    Thanks .

    1. Mike,
      It depends on what you want to do and how long you plan to meet with them. I have a false prophecy pack that I could take him through, but then I would have to explain where I got the Watchtower literature and how I got it. There may come a time when I address the authority structure in that way, but we’ll see how our conversation goes.

      What I am trying to do with my current Witness friend is go through the “Teach” book and ask a ton a questions about it. Witnesses are taught to put unresolved questions “on the shelf.” I am hoping that the shelf becomes so heavy that it crashes down.

      The authority of the Faithful and Discreet Slave has already come up and he knows I am not buying it. If I feel our conversations are coming to an end, then I can always break out my false prophecy pack as a last result.

      I have been avoiding the “Bible ping-pong” game by making sure that we are trying to understand each other rather than refute each other. That is extremely important.

      1. Keith— Reading your “discussions” and the reasons behind why you handle the meetings the way you do has been an incredible blessing to me. I just wanted you to know. Thank you! Keep up the posting! —Your fellow worker in Christ

  4. incredible! Thank you for sharing, we need to keep praying for this soul and for Lord working through you. Awesome!

  5. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts…an observation about student/teacher roles though. I would call them “apparent” roles because I think he is definitely learning, and you are definitely teaching. I would call it “avoiding the pedagogical route” He is learning, not only from the Godly wisdom you are walking him through with respect to interpersonal relationships but I can almost Guarantee he is going home and asking questions to himself and thinking them through. He probably dares not ask them from among his own people so as long as you continue down this blessed road of discipleship with him, he will keep coming back. You accept him as a person. That’s one of the greatest things you can do. You are an ambassador of reconciliation (2 Cor 5) and there is so much he needs reconciled and he’s realizing it! Well done! Keep up the good work!

    1. Vance,
      Using the word “apparent” doesn’t fit in a title very well. 😉 Amen on the ambassadors or reconciliation thought.

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