I have been recently convicted strongly about my role at home to be a spiritual example of the importance of apologetics and showing how to stand for truth in front of my home. You might be thinking to yourself, RIGHT ON! But HOW?
This is the area of growth for me, I believe the Holy Spirit is used to convict and bring to us opportunities of growth. My opportunity of growth has literally knocked on my physical door 3 times in the past month! And sadly every time they have come to me, I have not been prepared. What I am speaking of is the very sweet Jehovah Witness’s that have come to share a message with me.
Maybe you have found yourself in this setting in your own home. Here is how it plays out at our house; I open the door, my kids all run to the door with me to see who it is, and the JW’s share about love and invite our family to attend their gathering. Seemingly harmless, I just thanked them for their time, smiled politely and said good-bye. After closing my door and recycling their flyer they have given me, I hear the small voices of my children’s questions start pouring in:
“Who was that?” – “Oh some people talking about what they believe”
“What do they believe? – “They believe in God the Father, but not the Trinity”
“Why did you throw the paper away?” – “Because I don’t need to keep it”
“But Why?” (You knew that was coming right?)
The WHYS of life, especially with a group of 5 kiddos, (most in the WHY stage) the WHYS come marching in 2-by-2 Hoorah Hoorah!
What is the plan? Where do I go from here? And what is the purpose of knowing the WHY’s?
Go to scripture and research. Here is what I learned …
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a group of believers who identify as Christians (composed of less than 1 percent of U.S. adults), their mission is to proclaim the truth about Jehovah.
JW’s call themselves Christians but do not consider themselves Protestants, for they do not believe in the Trinity as well as other things. Let’s cover that Trinity piece a little more. As a Christ follower (Christian) I believe that God is the ONE true God, made up of 3 parts, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Jehovah Witnesses claim that Jesus was not divine, they believe that Jesus is God’s only direct creation, “the firstborn of all creation,” which is why he is called the “son of God.” Furthermore, since he is a created being they believe he is not part of the Trinity.
Is this important to know? YES! In regards to Jesus:
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
This popular verse (John 3:16) you might have heard and even memorized yourself. After doing a bit of research on John 3:16, which by the way is used and quoted by the JW’s on their website, I learned something quite interesting. The Greek word eis(in) also gets translated as into. In addition, the word IN within our verse is a preposition, meaning it connects to another word, in our verse we are looking at him (referring to Jesus). Why do I say all of this? Well a lot of people believe IN Jesus Christ, that he was a person, in fact the Bible says even the demons know his name (Matthew 8:29 and Acts 11:15). On the JW’s website they communicate they believe in Jesus, even in this death and resurrection but they do not worship Jesus as they do not believe that he is Almighty God. The difference between believing in and believing INTO is to receive Him and be joined to Him. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” So here is the question: should we therefore worship Jesus? Answer: YES! Verse support: The Bible, but seriously the WHOLE Bible from New to Old This article HERE helps outline MANY verses of support, yet some highlights to bring to our attention are as follows:
- Jesus during his time on earth allowed himself to be worshipped (Matthew 8:2, 9:18, 14:33, 15:25, 20:20, Mark 5:6-7, John 9:35-28)
- Even the angels worship Christ (Hebrews 1:6)
- “Every knee should Bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord,” The reference to bowing the knee is an act of worship
JW’s believe that the Holy Spirit is “active force” and not a person. They believe the Holy Spirit is a projection of His energy to accomplish His will. My understanding is that the JW’s believe the Holy Spirit does not work alone or have an his own identity, but is merely an effect of God.
I believe the Holy Spirit is God’s personal presence, not merely a force. The Holy Spirit is there from the beginning and you can read from Genesis that God’s presence is present. We can see God’s Spirit throughout the Old Testament starting with Joseph while interrupting dreams, we also see God’s Spirit in the Prophets. The Hebrew word “ruakh” is used for the Holy Spirit. Ruakh can describe an invisible, powerful energy, and necessary for life. The Holy Spirit points towards Jesus always. For a video look at the Holy Spirit done by the Bible Project click here.
The Holy Spirit as a separate person is shown in Matthew 12:32 “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven , either in this age or in the age to come.”
Matthew 28:19 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
WORD of warning: JWs believe the Bible is “God’s inspired message to humans.” In 1961 a JW corporation, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, published its own formal equivalence translation of the Bible: the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT). As of 2015, the NWT has been translated in whole or in part into 129 languages. Since the release of the NT translation in 1950, this version has been criticized for changing the meaning and words of the text to fit JW doctrine. A prime example is John 1:1. Both the ESV and NIV translate that verse as, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The NWT version translates the passage as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” The addition of the indefinite article “a” is added to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is God. Referring to this verse, Bruce M. Metzger wrote in 1953, “It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.” Despite a preference for the NWT, JWs still use other translations of the Bible in their witnessing work. (Taken from HERE )
- JW’s deny the existence of Heaven and Hell
- JW’s do not celebrate Christmas or Easter
- JW’s do not celebrate Birthdays
- JW’s don’t accept blood transfusions
- JW’s do not consider the cross to be a symbol of Christianity
- JW’s do not believe in going to war or getting involved in political matters
- JW’s do not call their building a church but rather “Kingdom Hall”
- JW’s have no paid clergy
- JW’s are among the most racially and ethnically diversereligious groups in America. According to Pew Research, no more than 4 in 10 members of the group belong to any one racial and ethnic background: 36 percent are white, 32 percent are Hispanic, 27 percent are black, and 6 percent are another race or mixed race. Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) are women, while only 35 percent are men. They also also tend to be less educated, with a solid majority of adult Jehovah’s Witnesses (63 percent) having no more than a high school diploma (compared with, for example, 43 percent of evangelical Protestants). (Taken from Gospel Coalition)
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE:
Ok, I have researched, read scripture, prayed, and now what? For me, it is back to the basics. I need to make sure foundationally my kids understand truth. The biggest current issue to address for my family is to make sure I am pouring the foundation for the household of faith. Within my foundation I believe when it comes to faith, we need to teach our kids the truths of the trinity. Is this tricky? OH YES! It is tricky because it is a God thing that we can have ONE TRUE GOD but 3 PERSONS of GOD. I want to provide you with some resources we are using to help lay the foundation:
- Our family has really enjoyed the picture book called 3 in 1 A Picture of God from Concordia Publishing House (www.cph.org)
- We also have like the element of H2O, looking at the 3 states of matter (not plasma, and H2O is not a deity but provides a great visual to explain.) ICE, WATER, and STEAM they look different and have different roles but they are all H2O.
- WE have also used the New City Catechism to help connect questions to answers to verses, this is a great resources for more than just the Trinity as well.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF KNOWING THE WHY’S???
There are many reasons for having answers to the why questions, but if I may be so bold I would like to hyper-focus on one HUGE reason:
IF WE DON’T TEACH OUR KIDS TO ASK WHY AND FIND THE ANSWER WE RUN THE RISK OF THEM NEVER FINDING TRUTH
We HAVE to be able to ask why, and express doubt, this is how we grow, and establish our personal convictions.
As a personal note as a mom: I have never engaged in a conversation with a JW at my door, other then to be kind, let them speak and thank them for their time. And while I don’t picture myself as someone who would work to convince them of their fallacies, I do want to start showing my kids how to handle these types of conversations, with truth, kindness, and LOVE, always with LOVE! Lastly, one of the most powerful first steps is to start the conversations of whys at the dinner table. If you are a wife at home reading this, give your husband a heads up and game plan together about how to show and live out together speaking truth to your kiddos.
How to explain that Jesus is part of the Trinity: HERE
JW.org was used to find the information on what Jehovah Witnesses believe
Francis Chan Meets Some Jehovah’s Witnesses: HERE