Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses

On Preaching to the Jehovah’s Witnesses

I had the honor to go with another brother to preach to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are in town for their convention at our local arena.  This is attended by several thousand JW’s.  We set up right in front of the arena on the public sidewalk to preach to the people as they went inside.  We preached on salvation by grace through faith, justification, repentance toward God, repentance from dead works and works righteousness which can never obtain salvation, and we preached that Jesus is God.  I preached from the JW’s own New World Translation on how Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus “the mighty God” and then in Isaiah 10:20-21 it says that the Jews will return to Jehovah who is the “mighty God.”  So the Jews would be returning to Jesus Himself who is the mighty God!

Overall I thought our open air preaching went well.  Ironically none of the JW’s would ever stop to talk to us.  Here we were on their turf yet they wanted to just run from us to get to the convention.  They will go door-to-door but when two lost souls appear at their own convention, they ignore us.  If they had the true gospel you figure they would want to correct us and show us our faults and errors and convince us that we need to be in Jehovah’s organization so we are not doomed in the battle of Armageddon.  But they didn’t.  Not one JW even tried to talk to us.  In fact, the JW leadership sent two men out to make sure that no one did stop to talk to us. They stood nearby and said to the JW’s coming in, “Just keep moving.  Don’t stop.  Keep moving.”

I cried out, “Think for yourselves JW’s!  Can you do that?  Can you think for yourselves or  do you have to depend on the Watchtower to think for you?  Read your Bible, not the Watchtower or Awake magazines!  Think for yourselves and flee this wicked organization.”  I pointed out that the Watchtower was wrong about Christ coming in 1914.  They were wrong about Him coming in 1925.  They were wrong about Him coming in 1975.  How can anyone trust such an organization that has lied and misled so many people?

We preached to several hundred JW’s.  I pray that the Lord saves them by His grace.  2 Corinthians 4:4 was true of the JW’s.  They are self-righteous and believe that their faith in Jehovah plus what they do (they call it exercising faith) is what will allow them to escape Armageddon.  They spend hours going door-to-door but they are not preaching the gospel (though they claim they alone are the only ones fulfilling Matthew 24:14).  But their gospel is not the gospel at all.  Their “good news” is that we can inherit paradise on planet earth as part of the great crowd of Revelation 7:9 if we are part of Jehovah’s “faithful and discreet slave” in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  This is not the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  In fact, it is a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) that preaches salvation by works and preaches that Jesus is not in fact the Lord God but is Michael, an angel, a created being of Jehovah.

Our only conversation we had was with one God-hater who stopped to question why we were out preaching to the JW’s.  He was a college student and proceeded to try to question our faith in God whereas he had faith in science.  I spoke with Jason for a few minutes but saw that he was merely there to argue with me and wanted no dialogue whatsoever.  I told him that he knew there was a God but he simply loved his sin and refused to repent (Romans 1:18-19).  I warned him of the wrath to come and that he has no hope if he is not found in Christ.  I then moved on.

I pray that 2 Corinthians 4:5 was true of us.  I pray that the Lord will take the Word preached and open the JW’s heart to His grace.  They have no peace with God.  They know they deserve His wrath.  They know that they are still living in sin and have denied the gospel.  They know that Jesus is not an angel but He is much more and is the coming judge of all (Hebrews 9:28).  They know that they will not survive Armageddon for they can’t do enough to please Jehovah.  Pray for God to save these lost souls (Luke 19:10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/22/2014 at 10:40 AM

When Reasoning With People, Quote Scripture

I am excited that in a few weeks they are having a large Jehovah’s Witnesses conference in our city.  Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be in town attending and I plan to go and preach the gospel to them.  I long to share the truth of Jesus with these lost souls who are so zealous for their false gospel.

In preparation for this evangelism event, I have been re-reading a few books that I have on the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  JW theology is twisted for those unfamiliar with it.  In essence, the average JW would claim that the Bible is their guide.  They would claim the Bible is the infallible Word of God.  Yet the JW’s look to the Watchtower Society in Brooklyn, New York as Jehovah’s organization on earth.  The Watchtower is God’s kingdom.  What the governing board dictates is what the average JW follows.  Thus JW’s spend hours reading not just their Bibles (New World Translation) but also the publications from the Watchtower Society.  These are viewed as Jehovah’s trumpets to speak for Him to this earth.

The average JW spends hours doing what they call “field work” or door-to-door witnessing.  They will spend hours a month handing out Watchtower and Awake! magazines which they believe come from God’s organization in Brooklyn.  Many JW’s dream of being a “pioneer” and often work jobs that allow them to spend more hours doing their field work.  Field work is the heart of the JW life.

Now let me establish some truths about JW’s.  First, it is not true that JW’s are vastly superior at quoting the Bible than disciples of Jesus.  I would grant you that the average JW knows more about their beliefs than the average evangelical but I am speaking here about true disciples of Christ and not just church goers.  True disciples of Christ abide in His Word (John 8:31) and hide His Word in their hearts (Psalm 119:11).  True disciples of Christ know that we will never see death if we keep His Word (John 8:51).  We also know that we must be in the Word of God to provide answers for our strong faith in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15).  Abiding in the Word of God also keep us saved (James 1:21).  It was by the Word of God that we first heard the gospel (Romans 10:17) and was saved (1 Peter 1:23; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

I have found that JW’s know topics and they have memorized topical studies but they don’t know the Bible.  They know parts of the Bible and have studied their own pet doctrines (as some evangelicals do) but they don’t spend time just reading the Bible.  They are not often familiar with looking at context of Scriptures and cannot quote the chapters but only a few verses from a chapter.  I met one JW who wanted to debate over the Greek in John 1:1.  He quoted the passage to me in Greek.  He then proceeded to try to give me a lesson in Greek on John 1:1 about it lacking the definite article.  I asked him if he knew how to read the Greek New Testament.  I then pulled out my Greek NT and asked him to read further.  He could not.  He had only memorized John 1:1 from lessons he had taken at his “society meetings.”  I showed him how the Greek article is lacking in several other passages  right in John 1.  He had no answer.  This is typical of JW’s.

I had another woman (and a “brother” with her) point to Matthew 24:14 and proceeded to tell me that only they, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, were doing what Jesus commanded here and were taking the gospel to the nations.  I asked her about the words of Christ here that the end would come.  She was emphatic that our world is heading toward the great battle of Armageddon when (satire here on my part) “Jehovah will slaughter everyone but faithful JW’s who have labored for His kingdom in Brooklyn, NY.”  The 144,000 will inherit heaven will faithful JW’s will inherit the earth.  I then asked her about Matthew 24:34.  I said, “Jesus said that all this in Matthew 24 would come upon that generation.  Which generation was He referring to?”  She had not heard that in her “society meetings” so she was unable to answer me.  The older “brother” stepped up and tried to answer me but he just rambled on to another subject (a common JW tactic).  I repeated my question about Matthew 24:34.  I pointed out that the same word was also used by Jesus in Matthew 23:36.  So which generation was Jesus speaking of ?

My point here is not to glorify my witnessing encounters with JW’s.  My point is to show that JW’s do not know the Bible like we think they do.  They know their beliefs.  They know parts of the Bible and again I grant you that they would run circles around the average evangelical.  But for true disciples of Christ who love Him and love His gospel, JW’s do not know the Bible in comparison.  We don’t need to be experts in knowing JW theology.  We really only need to know our own Bibles.  The Bible is able to cut down the lies of the JW’s.  When a JW tries to quote Scripture at you, use that!  Don’t be afraid to open the Bible and look at what the JW is saying and I promise you that if you love the Word of God, you’ll quickly see that they are in error in many ways.  Their ability to reason from the Scriptures apart from their dependence on “God’s organization” is zero.  The Bible is able to cut them deep (Hebrews 4:12-13) and to cast doubts on their ability to think rationally from just the Bible.

I hope that this encourages you to share the gospel with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They are good people who I believe truly want to know God.  They are just in error about Him, His salvation, His grace and mercy.  I have so much sympathy for them and I pray that as a group of us will be preaching to them at their conference, I pray that their eyes are opened to the truth of the gospel.  Please join me in praying for this as well.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/03/2014 at 11:44 AM

What the Jehovah’s Witnesses Get Right (But Much Wrong)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult.  I want to begin there.  I don’t want there to be any confusion as to whether or not I believe that JW’s need the gospel.  I do.  I believe JW’s are caught in a works-righteousness system where they never earn God’s forgiveness nor His approval.  Their entire hope is based on their desire to live forever on planet earth.  Ironically, the JW’s, who say that Christ returned invisible in 1914 to Brooklyn, New York at the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society headquarters, believe that only 144,000 will be in heaven with Jehovah.  The rest of the faithful JW’s will be on earth which will be transformed into paradise.  Since 1935, all JW’s now believe that their hope is to be on earth after Jehovah destroys all unbelievers at the battle of Armageddon and establishes His eternal kingdom on earth.  Their hope is in their works and in being a member of God’s organization and not in Christ.  Christ is added on to this.

The Bible is clear that Jesus alone is our salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  Christ alone is our Mediator before God (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).  The Bible makes it clear that our forgiveness comes through the blood of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22, 27-28; 1 John 1:7).  Forgiveness of our sins is not found in our works but in Christ alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Our justification is based not upon being in the Lord’s organization or in a church but in Christ (Romans 4:4-5, 24-5:1).

So I believe that JW’s are lost.  They need the gospel.  They are not saved and if they don’t repent, they will not be in heaven nor on earth.  They will be cast into hell (Matthew 7:21-23).  My prayer for them is Romans 10:1-4.

But I do admire the JW’s in a couple of ways.  First, JW’s are known for helping their own.  I wish the Church of Jesus Christ would do a better job of this.  I was reading just today from Galatians 6:11 and I pondered that verse.  We need to do good to all people but especially to those who believe the gospel.  The Church often leaves some of her people hurting and alone.  This should not be.  We need each other.  We need a hug.  We need a hand to hold.  We need love.  We need compassion.  We need discipline.  We need rebuking.  We need a godly word.  We need each other (Hebrews 3:12-13).

Secondly, I admire the JW’s zeal to take their message out.  I believe they are not going out because they earnestly love Jehovah but they are going out because they hope to put in more hours for their organization and for the approval of Jehovah.  I don’t want to share my faith that way.  The fact is that I am loved by God because of Christ (Romans 5:8-9) and not because of my works.  Isaiah 64:6 establishes what my works look like before a holy God.  The fact is that I cannot earn God’s approval apart from faith in Christ.  I am under God’s just wrath because of my sins (Ephesians 5:6).  Romans 1:18-32 establishes why God’s wrath is coming and it is because of our own sins.  This includes JW’s as well of course.  Apart from being in Christ, we are all under the just wrath of God.  Christ alone is able to turn aside the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Christ alone is able to satisfy the just wrath of God and He alone (Hebrews 9:14).

Yet JW’s spend hours upon hours knocking on doors trying to get people to read their magazines.  They spend hours in training to “witness” for Jehovah.  The true and living Church should learn from this (in a way) and help our people learn to share their faith.  Obviously our motivation would not be legalism or works-righteousness but would be the glory of God.  Our passion should be the glory of the King.  Not ours.  It is not about our church or getting people to approve us but our passion for evangelism should be based on the finished work of Christ and His glory.  All should be done to the glory of God (Colossians 3:17) especially evangelism.  We want people to worship Christ and bless His name.  I am not interested in creating Arminians or Baptists or Pentecostals.  I am hungry to see people worshipping Jesus Christ and blessing His holy name (John 4:23-24).  I do admire that the JW’s go out in groups and share their faith albeit a corrupt faith.  I pray that the Church would learn from the Lord Jesus who sent His disciples out two by two (Luke 10:1).  Group evangelism or even two by two is a great way to share your faith.  It gives you confidence and the other saint is able to help you to pray, to witness, to defend, and even to rescue you from people if necessary (and by rescue I mean not so much violence but people who trap you in conversations).

In closing, I do not admire JW’s for their works-righteousness.  They have an eye on self and on pleasing their god.  I believe this is not the true saint of God’s motivation at all.  I share my faith, read my Bible, pray, worship, and adore Jesus because of what He has done in already saving me.  I am not saved by my works at all (Titus 3:5-7) but because of His grace, I am motivated to serve Him (Titus 2:11-14).  Sound theology should lead to obedience to Christ as Lord.  The JW’s are a false system.  Their motivation is based on serving the Watchtower and earning God’s approval enough to escape His wrath. In the end, they will not unless they repent.  Repentance brings forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19-20; 17:30-31; 26:20).  When we see the cross of Christ, we true saints are motivated toward His forgiveness (Romans 2:4).  I pray that the true saints of God would be so in love with Jesus that we would burn with a zeal to honor Him as Lord but we would not get caught up in pleasing Him out of the flesh.  Unlike the JW’s, we know the God loves us in Christ (John 3:16) and that we are forgiven in Christ.

May God save the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/31/2013 at 10:08 AM

Jesus is My Righteousness

I once heard a testimony of a brother saved out of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  What drew him to faith in Christ was when he was reading Philippians 3:9 and the thought struck him about how much he was doing to try to earn or be righteous before Jehovah. He noted that Paul said that his righteousness came not from himself but from Christ.  This brother said he knew in his heart that he was not deriving his righteousness from his faith in Christ but from his good works for the Watchtower or in his terms, “Jehovah’s organization.”  This led him to begin to question his beliefs and led him to abandon his self-righteousness for the righteousness that comes through faith.

How easy it is to fall prey to this thinking, that we earn God’s favor by being righteous in of ourselves.  We labor in prayer or labor in Bible study or labor in meetings with the saints or labor in evangelism hoping, at least in our minds, that God is pleased with our behavior.  Yet the Bible makes it clear that salvation is accomplished through Christ Jesus and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Our righteousness is but filthy rags before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6).  The wonderful truth of the gospel is that Jesus saves sinners (Matthew 1:21) and that He makes us righteous before God by His own blood.  Our righteousness is thus not our righteousness but comes through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus is my righteousness!  Jesus is my salvation!  Jesus is my faithful high priest who intercedes for me before the Father (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).

My labor then flows not from seeking to earn God’s favor or His salvation.  My labors flow from the Spirit of God (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14).  I am zealous to honor the Lord because He has saved me by His own power (John 1:12-13).  I am not saved because I have joined the right group or because I was baptized in this church.  I am saved because of Christ and Christ alone.  Cultists hate this doctrine.  They despise the idea that God alone saves sinners.  Man-centered theology focuses on what man does and what we do to either earn God’s righteousness or keep His righteousness.  Not so with biblical theology.  Our salvation comes through Christ and through Christ alone (John 14:6).

Arminius wrote about this salvation accomplished in Christ:

Justification is a just and gracious act of God as a judge, by which, from the throne of his grace and mercy, he absolves from his sins, man, a sinner, but who is a believer, on account of Christ, and the obedience and righteousness of Christ, and considers him righteous, to the salvation of the justified person, and to the glory of divine righteousness and grace.

Notice what Arminius states: that justification is the just and gracious act of God given to us through Christ and is accomplished only by Christ.  Perfect righteousness is not obtained by works or obedience to laws.  Perfect righteousness comes through the work of Christ alone.

Arminius goes on to write:

The form is the gracious reckoning of God, by which he imputes to us the righteousness of Christ, and imputes faith to us for righteousness; that is, he remits our sins to us who are believers, on account of Christ apprehended by faith, and accounts us righteous in him. This estimation or reckoning, has, joined with it, adoption into sons, and the conferring of a right to the inheritance of life eternal.

Again notice that all of this is accomplished by Christ.  Christ is our focus.  Christ is our salvation.  Christ is our righteousness.  Even in the end of our lives, Christ is our everything.  Arminius wrote about this as well writing:

But we have yet to consider justification, both about the beginning of conversion, when all preceding sins are for, given, and through the whole life, because God has promised remission of sins to believers, those who have entered into covenant with him, as often as they repent and flee by true faith to Christ their propitiator and expiator. But the end and completion of justification will be at the close of life, when God will grant to those who end their days in the faith of Christ, to find his mercy, absolving them from all the sins which had been perpetrated through the whole of their lives. The declaration and manifestation of justification will be in the future general judgment.

Make sure today that Christ is your salvation.  Never trust in your works or your goodness or your self-rigtheousness to earn God’s salvation.  Salvation comes only through faith in Christ.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/28/2012 at 10:00 AM

Does Your Teaching Prepare People to Answer Doctrinal Questions?

HT: TeamPyro

I saw this over at Pyromaniacs and wanted to borrow it.  Phil Johnson was given the following points by a Jehovah’s Witness about the deity of Christ.  This handout is what JW’s often use to study from along with the book Reasoning from the Scriptures which provides answers mainly to evangelicals about JW’s theological beliefs.  Sadly, most Kingdom Halls do a better job of discipling their people in their false beliefs than we do about the truth.  Even among house churches, doctrinal teaching is largely lacking.  Once again I raise my voice to say that we need expository teaching from the Word of God to combat false teachings.  The solution to the cults is not necessarily to study their materials but to study the Bible and have an answer ready for our faith in Christ (1 Peter 3:15-16).  Jesus clearly says that His true disciples are those who abide in His teachings which is His Word (John 8:31-32).

As you read over these points, could you provide answers to Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to your door?  We have the truth.  Let us not shy away from proclaiming the truth of God to His people to prepare them for service (Ephesians 4:11-16) and to defend the faith that was once for all given to us by the Spirit of God (Jude 3).

The misspelling are from the original sent to Phil Johnson.

Good Points For Field Service

IF JESUS IS GOD
Why is he called the “firstborn” of all creation? Col. 1:15, Rev.3:14
Why did he say that he did not come of his “own initiative” but was sent? John 8:42, 1 John 4:9
Why did Jesus not know the “day and the hour” of the Great Tribulation but God did? Matt. 24:36
Who did Jesus speak to in prayer?
How did he “appear before the person of God for us”? Heb. 9.24
Why did Jesus say “the Father is greater than I am”? John 14:28, Php. 2:5, 6
Who spoke to Jesus at the time of his baptism saying “this is my son”? Matt. 3:17
How could he be exalted to a superior position? Php. 2:9, 10
How can he be the “mediator between God and man”? 1Tim. 2:5
Why did Paul say the “the head of Christ is God”? lCor. 11:30
Why did Jesus “hand over the Kingdom to his God” and “subject himself to God”? 1 Cor. 15:24, 28
Who does he refer to as “my God and your God”? John 20:17
How does he sit at God’s right hand? Ps. 110:1, Heb. 10:12, 13
Why does John say “no man has seen God at any time”? John 1:18
Why did not people die when they saw Jesus? Ex. 30:20
How was Jesus dead and God alive at the same time? Acts 2:24
Why did he need someone to save him? Heb. 5:7
Who is reffered to prophetically at Prov. 8:22-31?
Why did Jesus say “that all authority has been GIVEN to me in heaven and on earth”? Matt. 28.18, Dan. 7:13, 14 (similar)
Why did he have godly fear? Heb. 5:7
How could he learn obedience and be made perfect? Heb. 5:8-9
Why would an angel be able to strengthen him or angels minister to him? Luke 22:43, Matt. 4:11
Why would Satan try to tempt him if he KNEW that he was GOD? Matt. 4:1-11
Jesus when sent to the earth was made to “be Lower” than the angels. Heb. 2:7. How could any part of a God Head EVER be lower than the angels?
Then if Jesus was the sameas God, who was he being tempted to rebel against? could God be tempted to rebel against himself? Matt. 4:1
Near the end of his earthly life, Jesus cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46 Can God desert or forsake himself?
Heb. 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience! To whom would he obey if he was GOD? And Does God need to LEARN anything?
God’s justice is strickly perfect. Ex. 21:23-25 for example. The ransom price was one perfect human for another. An imperfect man’s life would be too low. Ps. 49:7 If Jesus was the same as God, the ransom price paid by a God would have been too high. Adam was a perfect MAN and the ransome price was a perfect MAN, not higher nor lower.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/23/2012 at 12:59 PM

Interesting….

I was reading through the Jehovah’s Witnesses book Reasoning from the Scriptures which is a hard to find book published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society that provides JW’s with a book that seeks to answer common objections they will hear mainly from evangelicals.  The book is topically arranged and seeks to give brief answers for JW’s when asked tough questions such as the about the Trinity or Jehovah or Jesus Christ or John 1:1 and why the New World Translation translates that way.

Yet I found it interesting that concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world, the 1985 edition states that those living from 1914 will see the end of the world (the battle of Armageddon).  Did you catch that?  It states that those living in 1914 will see the end of the world and the coming of Jehovah’s kingdom through the Watchtower.  They base this upon Matthew 24:34.  By the way, Hal Lindsey did the same in his book, The Late Great Planet Earth.  Of course, just looking at the text, why couldn’t Jesus have been speaking to those whom He was talking to then?  Why couldn’t He be referring to the judgment of Jerusalem in A.D. 70?  I pointed this out to a JW once and they had no answer.  To me, Jesus is speaking to those whom He was addressing in Matthew 24:1.

But my point here is that there are few living today who were alive in 1914.  What will the JW’s do when this generation is gone?  Will they repent?  Of course not.  They will do what they have always done, delete the statement and move on.  They will fail to see that their false teachings lead to other false teachings in so many other doctrines especially salvation.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/24/2011 at 3:23 PM

%d bloggers like this: