Help with a Jehovah's Witness

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Branson

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been interacting with a Jehovah's Witness acquaintance of mine recently. We had a face to face discussion where I was able to present the Gospel to him, and have been exchanging some emails back and forth since. I received an email today over doctrine we have discussed in the past, and he keeps bringing up the issue of the death of the soul. This is what he said: "have you had a chance to look up the scripture where you said the soul never dies? Just a quick recap of what I shared with you. Gen 2:7 says that a soul consists of a body and a spirit (breath of life), so if the body dies then the soul would cease to exist. That's highlighted at Ezekiel 18:4, 20. Like I said the other day, I was curious because I have never read that it doesn't die but it is a belief that many have and I wondered where it came from."

We have spoken about this previously also, where I pointed out the appearance of Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration, Enoch and Elijah being translated to heaven, Lazarus and the rich man, and attempted to explain Ecclesiastes 9:5. When I presented these points to him, the discussion ended quickly.

My point just isn't getting across. It hasn't on many issues, but I want to keep interacting with him while he is still willing to listen to me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
In some ways I think soul sleep is a secondary nonessential issue.

But a late place in revelation has 'the smoke of their torment going up into the ages of the ages', the Beast of False prophet in the lake of fire for the millennium waiting the rest to be judged doesn't sound soul sleepish.

The repeated use of 'their worm never dies' in late Isaiah chapters and quoted by Jesus for emphasis also suggests otherwise

I do not see how the lake of fire would be called 'the perseverance of the saints' in Revelation if people are spiritually euthanized as JW claim, also suggestion otherwise

Some prominent Christians like the late John Stott took a soul sleep position, but it's in the minority. Not an essential. I don't agree with it. Don't let it turn into a distraction.
You can try and flip it on him and mention that JW came from an offshoot of the seventh day Adventists who believed in soul sleep and Jesus being Michael the archangel... and he probably won't believe you... but it's true and it might help him see their fallibility
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I have run across the idea that the soul sleeps with SDA's and the JW's are no different in this respects. I have found that we should ask them both (for different reasons) how Our Lord Jesus can raise His body if He is asleep?

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

Now of course this will lead the JW's belief of soul sleep and how obviously it is wrong but also how scriptures says God raised Jesus from the dead.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
weirdly, SDA sounds like JW on a couple things ( soul sleep, Jesus being Michael the archangel... ) because the JW are an offshoot of an offshoot of the SDA

from Wiki "The Bible Students movement founded by Charles Taze Russell had in its early development close connections with the Millerite movement and stalwarts of the Adventist faith, including George Storrs and Joseph Seiss. The various groupings of Bible Students currently have a cumulative membership of less than 20,000 worldwide. Although Jehovah's Witnesses and Bible Students do not categorize themselves as part of the Millerite Adventist movement (or other denominations, in general), some theologians do categorize the group and schisms as Millerite Adventist because of its teachings regarding an imminent Second Coming and use of specific dates. As of January 2014 there are approximately 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide... At age sixteen, a discussion with a childhood friend on faults perceived in Christianity (such as contradictions in creeds, along with medieval traditions) led Russell to question his faith. He then investigated various other religions, but concluded that they did not provide the answers he was seeking.[16] In 1870, at age eighteen, he attended a presentation by Adventist minister Jonas Wendell. During his presentation Wendell outlined his belief that 1873 or 1874 would be the date for Christ's second coming. He later stated that although he did not entirely agree with the arguments presented by Wendell the presentation itself was sufficient to inspire within him a renewed zeal and re-establish his belief that the Bible is the word of God."

I find if JW think you know allot about their past and maybe more than them they get very put off and suspicious....
 

CraigTruglia

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think SDA really believe the whole archangel thing, they are trinitarians sort of.

As for JWs, try talking predestination. It is easily one of the most apparent and provable things in the Scripture, and the Gospel and proper CHristology naturally comes out I have found in conversations. I spoke of it in another thread here, but I had a really good response to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" JWs will give an unbiblical answer, simply because they don't want to exalt Christ because they think that gets in the way of worshipping the Father. If you take them to task with all one needs to be saved is to "believe in the Lord Jesus," you will get to the core of the issue instead of trying to make them realize they are Arians when they don't even know what Arianism is.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think SDA really believe the whole archangel thing, they are trinitarians sort of.

As for JWs, try talking predestination. It is easily one of the most apparent and provable things in the Scripture, and the Gospel and proper CHristology naturally comes out I have found in conversations. I spoke of it in another thread here, but I had a really good response to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" JWs will give an unbiblical answer, simply because they don't want to exalt Christ because they think that gets in the way of worshipping the Father. If you take them to task with all one needs to be saved is to "believe in the Lord Jesus," you will get to the core of the issue instead of trying to make them realize they are Arians when they don't even know what Arianism is.

(Hi Craig... I used to live in Mahopac and know people who go to your church who used to go to Ridgeway)


I think the SDA early on sometimes pushed Jesus was called Michael before incarnation in earlier times... Charles Russel would have been familiar with early SDA... not sure where they stand today... they might have learned Jesus being Michael doesn't fly

Jesus is Not Michael the Archangel

"Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God...but Christ did not rebuke His adversary... He meekly referred him to His Father, saying, 'The Lord rebuke thee.'" Early Writings, p. 164 (emphasis added).

"When Jesus stands up; when his work is finished in the Most Holy, then there will be not another ray of light to be imparted to the sinner....The light is made to reach far ahead, where all is total darkness. MICHAEL stands up." Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 276 (emphasis added).

"As Christ and the angels approached the grave, Satan and his angels appeared at the grave, and were guarding the body of Moses, lest it should be removed. As Christ and his angels drew nigh, Satan resisted their approach, but was compelled, by the glory and power of Christ and his angels to fall back. Satan claimed the body of Moses, because of his one transgression; but Christ meekly referred him to his Father, saying, "The Lord rebuke thee." Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 58 (emphasis added).

"Just before going into the meeting, I had a revival of some interesting scenes which had passed before me in vision...It seemed to me that the angels were making a rift in the cloud and letting in the beams of light from heaven. The subject that was presented so strikingly was the case of Moses....The angels buried him, but the Son of God soon came down and raised him from the dead and took him to heaven." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 659 (emphasis added).

"As a people we must stand as did the world's Redeemer. When in controversy with Satan, in regard to the body of Moses, Christ durst not bring against him a railing accusation." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 239.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Some groups distance themselves form themselves.... I had a conversation with a bunch of Mormon missionaries a month ago and they had no idea whatsoever why
some people felt Utah Mormons thought God used ot be a man and a Mormon on another planet In fact the Mormon president claimed in the 90's that there was 'no record' of them every believing this. Really? Must be stressful for people living through the changes.
 

CraigTruglia

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think SDA really believe the whole archangel thing, they are trinitarians sort of.

As for JWs, try talking predestination. It is easily one of the most apparent and provable things in the Scripture, and the Gospel and proper CHristology naturally comes out I have found in conversations. I spoke of it in another thread here, but I had a really good response to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" JWs will give an unbiblical answer, simply because they don't want to exalt Christ because they think that gets in the way of worshipping the Father. If you take them to task with all one needs to be saved is to "believe in the Lord Jesus," you will get to the core of the issue instead of trying to make them realize they are Arians when they don't even know what Arianism is.

(Hi Craig... I used to live in Mahopac and know people who go to your church who used to go to Ridgeway)


I think the SDA early on sometimes pushed Jesus was called Michael before incarnation in earlier times... Charles Russel would have been familiar with early SDA... not sure where they stand today... they might have learned Jesus being Michael doesn't fly

Jesus is Not Michael the Archangel

"Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God...but Christ did not rebuke His adversary... He meekly referred him to His Father, saying, 'The Lord rebuke thee.'" Early Writings, p. 164 (emphasis added).

"When Jesus stands up; when his work is finished in the Most Holy, then there will be not another ray of light to be imparted to the sinner....The light is made to reach far ahead, where all is total darkness. MICHAEL stands up." Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 276 (emphasis added).

"As Christ and the angels approached the grave, Satan and his angels appeared at the grave, and were guarding the body of Moses, lest it should be removed. As Christ and his angels drew nigh, Satan resisted their approach, but was compelled, by the glory and power of Christ and his angels to fall back. Satan claimed the body of Moses, because of his one transgression; but Christ meekly referred him to his Father, saying, "The Lord rebuke thee." Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 58 (emphasis added).

"Just before going into the meeting, I had a revival of some interesting scenes which had passed before me in vision...It seemed to me that the angels were making a rift in the cloud and letting in the beams of light from heaven. The subject that was presented so strikingly was the case of Moses....The angels buried him, but the Son of God soon came down and raised him from the dead and took him to heaven." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 659 (emphasis added).

"As a people we must stand as did the world's Redeemer. When in controversy with Satan, in regard to the body of Moses, Christ durst not bring against him a railing accusation." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 239.

Who do you know from Red Mills? It's good the SDA has improved. They certainly hold to heretical opinions, but they are a tough nut to crack. If you ask, "What must I do to be saved?" they will give you the right answer. Further, I don't know any anti-trinitarian adventists. Sadly, my brother is married to one. I do pray for their repentance.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes, some groups improve a bit... the Utah Mormons seem to have done a retreat on the God used to be a man thing
and the SDA has a range of people and views... I actually knew a JW who loved to listen to Louis Gerstner and RC Sproul and listened to about 400 sermons

I lived around the block on Archer road for about 4 years
I know two families that used to go to Ridgeway Alliance. I think they were going to Red Mills.
Bianci and Realli families not sure if they're still there. Tell em Mike and Esther say hi from Goshen,NY Atlanta,GA
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
As far as the main issue of JW, Branson, keep it on main issues not side issues.... Enoch translated to heaven is not a big enough one go bigger

Have a conversation with them about salvation as if talking to a regular person first

I found talking about Moses going before the elders and God saying to strike the rock (in judgment) the first time, then speaking to it a second time (Jesus died only once) caused some interesting conversation with JW The JW version says the 'rock mass' that followed them was Christ and obfuscates the passage in their rendering of Corinthians

I found speaking of God's suffering servant Job offering a sacrifice in the darkest part of their suffering and then being raised helpful

The high and lifted up one in Isaiah 6 has remarkably similar language of high and lifted up, sprinkling nations in Isaiah 52,53

Get them thinking... not everything has to be immediate and wont be. You might just plant some ideas and scriptures
 

Branson

Puritan Board Freshman
As far as the main issue of JW, Branson, keep it on main issues not side issues.... Enoch translated to heaven is not a big enough one go bigger

Have a conversation with them about salvation as if talking to a regular person first

I found talking about Moses going before the elders and God saying to strike the rock (in judgment) the first time, then speaking to it a second time (Jesus died only once) caused some interesting conversation with JW The JW version says the 'rock mass' that followed them was Christ and obfuscates the passage in their rendering of Corinthians

I found speaking of God's suffering servant Job offering a sacrifice in the darkest part of their suffering and then being raised helpful

The high and lifted up one in Isaiah 6 has remarkably similar language of high and lifted up, sprinkling nations in Isaiah 52,53

Get them thinking... not everything has to be immediate and wont be. You might just plant some ideas and scriptures

Thanks for the advice. I know there are many more relevant doctrines to discuss with him, and Lord willing, I will be able to. He brought this subject up, and I don't want to appear as if I don't have an answer for him. So I am going to address the topics he has asked about, and at the end of that, redirect the conversation towards salvation.
 
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David_A_Reed

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been interacting with a Jehovah's Witness acquaintance of mine recently. . . . My point just isn't getting across. It hasn't on many issues, but I want to keep interacting with him while he is still willing to listen to me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

While it is essential to reply effectively to JW misinterpretation of Scripture, it is also important to realize that JWs don't really derive their beliefs from Scripture, but rather from what the Watchtower Society tells them to believe.

They will say that they look to Scripture for their beliefs, but JWs seldom actually pick up the Bible to read it. Rather, they read Watchtower books and magazines that use Bible verses here and there as proof texts for their arguments.

The key doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses is this:
That the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is God's appointed representative on earth today, with authority to speak for God.

All of their other doctrines and beliefs depend on that one doctrine.
That is why they are able to change beliefs when a new edition of THE WATCHTOWER magazine comes out with a "new truth." It is also why they remain unconvinced when you present a sound biblical argument proving Christian doctrine. In their minds you may sound right, but you must be wrong if you disagree with the Society.

(I was a Jehovah's Witness for 13 years, a 'pioneer' going door-to-door full time, and a JW elder for 8 years, and I was in the sect long enough to see them flip-flop back and forth as the Watchtower Society changed its teachings this way and that -- due to an internal power struggle at headquarters. My wife and I began reading the Bible itself, with a view to becoming better JWs, but instead we found Jesus, fell in love with Him, and chose to follow Him rather than the WT Society when we began to see the difference.)

Second Watchtower president J. F. ("Judge") Rutherford did away with many of the teachings of the sect's founder Charles Taze Russell. And subsequent leaders have done away with many of Rutherford's teachings.

So, if you feel frustrated when your well-reasoned argument from Scripture fails to convince a JW, keep in mind this mindset of theirs (which they will never admit to you) that they put their leadership's instructions above the plain language of Scripture.

David
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
not exactly his question... but it's fair game to answer a question with questions...

Good question. I have some other questions of my own for you to think about?

What does it mean that the church is the church of the first born one(s)... why first born in plural?
Since JW have 2 groups the 144k, and other servants:
How does that affect you? Which group are you?
Are only the 144k part of the church and children of God
Can you take communion? What happens if the last 144k person dies, will they stop serving communion?
Jesus said do this in remembrence until I come back... but if you believe Jesus came back... why still serve communion?
Are only the 144k the bride of Christ, or all believers
Are only the 144k in the New Jerusalem, or all believers


Don't be confrontive Make it conversational
 

David_A_Reed

Puritan Board Freshman
Don't be confrontive Make it conversational
Excellent point!

JWs are trained to end their visit and not return, when someone 'opposes' or confronts them with evidence contrary to their beliefs.

On the other hand, they are trained to answer questions -- believing that they have all the answers.

So, if you want to continue discussions with them, by all means present your evidence via questions, and lead them to reason through questions.

David
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
My impression is that if a JW or mormon thinks you know more about their group or the Bible than they... they might also dissapear

They are not allowed to talk to ex JWs so they might ask if you ever were a JW
 

JamesIsAfterHebrews

Puritan Board Freshman
JW's or Christadelphians like to take Gen 2:7 as the definition of what a soul is.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

They interpret this simplistically as physical being + breath of life = a living soul.

That's not precisely what's being said, and some translations even contend with whether "soul" is the best word to use at that point.

Even if that equation is what is required to create a "living soul", what then is the concept of a "dead soul"? Is it the loss of the physical body that makes it a dead soul, or is it the loss of life (which logically means the soul and the physical being are the same thing).
They believe this second case.

The passage in Ezekiel tells us that death is deserved by the soul that sins. It doesn't define dead or living souls.
In fact, Ezekiel 18:20-21 could possibly be used to prove that the soul that dies is something spiritual that is NOT the physical body:
20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
If something surely lives, and does not die, yet we know the physical bits of us die, then the thing that is said to not die can't be that physical part of us. So there must be something else to us (known as a soul), or these verses are not true, or recorded cases of those turning from their sins and living are limited to Enoch etc - those are the only options I see.
 
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