My Meetings with A Jehovah’s Witness Couple – Part 1
As some of you may know, I met a Jehovah’s Witness couple a few weeks ago at the local Memorial meeting in Carlisle.
They are a husband and wife which is good as I hope that they might discuss together anything we speak about that makes them question the WT org.
I met with them last week and we just had a short chat about how they became JWs and why. I told them a little about myself and I agreed that they could come back to go through the Watchtower book “What Does the Bible Really Teach”
If you find anything I mention useful, or if you think I should have handled the situation any differently, then please do add your comments. It may surprise some people here, but I haven’t really had many conversations with JWs lately and so it is a bit strange to have a couple eager to speak to me.
I haven’t said a lot about my background. I have told them that my uncle is a JW (which is true) and has told me a bit about the JW beliefs. I told them I have been to church in the past and that I have read the Bible through a couple of times over the last year.
They arrived at 7.30pm on Tuesday and after a short chat we started on their book “What Does the Bible Really Teach?”
I let JW1 (the husband) pray. I wasn’t sure if I should let him pray really but I wanted to see what he said and if he addressed God as Jehovah (He did).
My reasoning for this will be for later on in our discussions when we get to discuss God’s name and the fact that Jesus told his disciples to pray “Our Father”.
Why Do we Pray?
Just before the first chapter starts, the book gives a few examples of the thing JWs are looking forward to and of course I can look forward to if I chose to join them.
The majority of these were to do with health, lame people being healed, the eyes of the Blind opened and no more sickness.
I put it to them both that I believed, especially with the blind being able to see, that this could be spiritual as well as physical blindness.
They nodded in agreement, but I then went on to say that I believed people could be healed in this life and that I knew a woman at my last church who had been healed of a brain tumour.
This made them look a bit uncomfortable and so I asked them if they believe God can heal people now? JW 1 said that he didn’t think God was working that way at the moment.
I asked him then, Why do you bother praying? He looked at me with a blank expression for a few seconds before JW 2 scrambled for her bible and pointed me to 1 Cor. 13:8.
I said that I believe that the context of this chapter and this verse is talking about things done without love and also miracles being performed through people, rather than the fact that God has stopped working.
JW 1 suggested that “we bank” that discussion for later (he said that a few times during our conversation). I said ok, but said that Jesus said that we can ask him for things in this life and surely a loving God would want to help his children if we ask him, just like an earthly father would.
I think they were happy to get off of that subject.
There are more questions than answers
The first chapter of this book starts off by asking why children/people ask questions. I explained to them both that I like to ask lots of questions before I get involved in things and to expect lots of them.
One of the questions on page 8 of the book asks “Why do so many stop trying to find answers to the questions that matter most?” Rather than just answer from the book as they expect me to I answered that some people may not want to find out the answers or they may be seen as a trouble maker if they ask too many questions.
Paragraph 5 on page 9 says that the answers to my questions are found in the Bible and “are not to hard to understand”.
I asked them both how if the answers are not hard to understand, why do most people in the world come up with a different understanding than the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
They explained that people with a sincere heart will come to the correct understanding. JW 2 also added that “If Jehovah sees something good deep down in a persons heart he will lead them into the truth.”
I answered that sincerity is no guarantee that people are correct and that if God looked in to my heart he probably wouldn’t like what he saw. I will have the verse in Jeremiah ready for them next time.
We moved on to page 10 of the book and got to paragraph 7. The paragraph is talking about how certain “religious teachers sometimes lead people to think that God is hardhearted.” The book continues “…How so? When tragedy strikes, they say that it is God’s will. In effect, such teachers blame God for the bad things that happen. Is that the truth about God?”
The book then goes on to quote James 1:13.
To be honest I found this paragraph absolutely terrible. And I told them why.
I told them that I thought this paragraph misrepresents “religious teachers”. I said that it is God’s will when tragedy strikes. It may not always be caused by him, but he does allow bad things to happen.
JW 2 asked, “Do you think God is in control of this world?”
I answered yes I do believe ultimately that God is in control.
I expected the next question; “Isn’t the Devil called the God of this world?”
I explained that the Devil does have some sway over what goes on in the world, but that it would be wrong to say the Devil has total control.
I took them to the book of Job and asked why the Devil had to go to God first before he could test Job. And I also pointed out that God put limits on what the Devil could do.
“That hardly sounds as if the Devil is fully in control does it?”
At this point I asked them both if they believed God knew that Adam and Eve were going to sin before he created them. JW2 answered that she did not believe God did know and that “God can choose not to know something”
Well I couldn’t believe my ears at this point and I made a note of what she had said in my notebook.
This was going to be very useful when it comes to dealing with the subject of Jesus being God.
As you might know, JWs always point to Jesus saying that only the Father knows the day or the hour as proof that he can’t be God.
However, now I have JW2’s admission that “God can choose not to know something” and so that argument will not hold any water now. Maybe Jesus chose not to know the day or the hour.
The other main point I wanted to make to the JWs was that I felt the use of James 1:13 with regards to God’s will was completely out of context and did not bear any relevance to the subject.
I said to them, “This verse deals with when someone comes under trial or temptation and does not really relate to God’s will. I totally agree with James 1:13 in the sense that God does not tempt us, but this verse does not mean that things aren’t in God’s will.”
The two of them looked a bit stunned at that. And surprisingly seemed to agree with me.
We continued until the end of paragraph 14 and finished our study for the night.
They have agreed to meet me same time next week. So please keep praying folks.