Are You Good Enough for Heaven? (Read this first)

Monday, May 31, 2010

What to say to a Jehovah's Witness (Part 2) - Andre Holwerda

Continued from Part 1

In my previous article on witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses I stressed the need to remain focussed on two topics only; namely, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and also His deity. In that article I gave some tips on presenting JWs with arguments for the resurrection. In this one it is my purpose to provide evangelical Christians, who wish to witness to JWs, with some basic arguments supporting the Christian understanding of the deity of Christ.

Let us start, then, by getting a clear understanding of the difference between what JWs believe about the person of Jesus and what we who call ourselves evangelical Christians typically believe. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society teaches that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God and based on that we might make the mistake of thinking that they believe the same as we do. However, the Watchtower defines the title ‘Son of God’ as referring to a created being who, while the first and greatest creation of Jehovah, is nevertheless a creature, not God, and is not to be worshipped. Two thousand years of orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, has consistently defined the Son of God as a being who is uncreated, eternally begotten, co-equal with the Father and of the very same nature and substance as the Father, while remaining a distinct person. What these two wildly different definitions serve to demonstrate is that JWs believe in one version of Jesus, while evangelicals believe in another. This is one instance in which Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11:4 ring true, in which he indicated that it is possible to be deceived by someone who preaches ‘another Jesus’ (literally ‘a different Jesus’).

With our terms defined, then, let us move on to the nuts and bolts of how to present a cogent argument for the deity of Christ to JWs. Many arguments have been formulated for this task and most of them hold some value for the defence of this doctrine, however there are a select few that I find to be the most powerful when dealing with JWs. In this article I will present what I feel are the best three and then give some additional arguments at the end for those who wish to delve deeper.

The first argument involves the following verses (I am quoting from the ESV but this argument can also be made using the Watchtower’s own translation, the NWT):

"O my God," I say, "take me not away in the midst of my days-- you whose years endure throughout all generations!" Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. (Psalm 102:24-27)

But of the Son he (i.e. the Father) says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." And, "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end." (Hebrews 1:8-12)

Thus says the Lord (i.e. Jehovah), your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,...(Isaiah 44:24)

In Psalm 102 we learn that it was Jehovah God who created the heavens and the earth. Get your JW friend to read those verses and acknowledge that indeed Jehovah God is the creator. Now, turn in your Bible to Hebrews 1 and get them to read verses 8-12. Verses 8 and 9 give us the context by showing us that this is a quote of God the Father saying something to His Son. Then in verses 10 to 12 we have God the Father taking those verses from Psalm 102 and applying them to the Son! So Jehovah God himself attributes the creation of the universe to the Son. There are profound Christological riches in these verses that could form separate arguments on their own but be sure to stick to the main point, which is that Jesus is called the creator by no less of an authority than the Father himself!

Now, this alone may seem to be a powerful argument for the deity of Christ. However, the JWs have formulated a response to this by saying that the Father created through the Son; that the Father was kind of like the chief architect, while the son was merely the builder. This is where Isaiah 44:24 comes into play. By taking your JW friend to this verse in Isaiah you can prove to him that Jehovah created all things all by himself! So, pulling the argument together, Psalm 102 says that Jehovah is the creator, Hebrews 1:8-12 says that Jesus is the creator and Isaiah 44:24 says that Jehovah created the universe all on his own. Therefore, Jesus and the Father are both Jehovah God! There is simply no other way to reconcile those verses.

For our second argument, the following verses are needed:

And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" (Luke 4:8)

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." (Hebrews 1:6)

Now the argument is this; in Luke 4:8 Jesus, being tempted by the devil, refused to worship Satan because Deuteronomy 6:13 clearly stated that one is to worship Jehovah God and only Jehovah God. Comparing that with Hebrews 1:6, however, we see that God the Father commanded the angels to worship Jesus. The conclusion then is that either the Father commanded His angels to commit idolatry or else Jesus is Jehovah! And since the Father does not command anyone to sin, therefore the latter conclusion must be the correct one. Jesus is Jehovah! There is no other option. Even if a JW will not admit that Jesus is Jehovah, on the basis of Hebrews 1:6 he or she must at least admit that Jesus is to be worshipped.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

What to say to a Jehovah's Witness (Part 1) - Andre Holwerda

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the religious organisation that oversees the international movement known as Jehovah's Witnesses (hereafter referred to as JWs). It is one of the largest and most profitable organisations of its type in the world, with its publishing houses producing a greater number of publications per year than all the denominations of Christendom combined. If you live in a major city in almost any part of western society, you have probably experienced that familiar knock at the door on a Saturday morning from two well dressed individuals who wish to talk to you about Armageddon, the end of the present world governments and how you can survive it all and live forever in a kind of paradise on earth. In such a situation as this, many of you would no doubt be tempted to express your views to these people using the time-honoured door-slam method. I write this article to urge you to rethink that particular strategy.

When you are being visited by a pair of JWs, what you are being presented with is your own personal home mission field. You are being visited by two individuals who have been the unfortunate victims of brainwashing. They have been taught not to think independently but to depend almost exclusively on what they are being taught by the Watchtower. There are severe repercussions within the organisation for anyone who dares to entertain an independent thought. This kind of brainwashing is typical of cults and is extremely damaging to mental health. This is one of the primary reasons why instances of mental illness among cult members are statistically far more common than among the general population. It is imperative then, that we as Born Again Christians take the time to carefully witness to these folks who have been seriously deceived by this dangerous cult.

As you can probably tell from the introduction, this article is not designed to be read by Jehovah's Witnesses. Its purpose, rather, is to shed some light on what these people believe and how best to witness to them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Firstly then, let's establish some basic ground rules that should be kept in mind whenever we are dealing with a JW.

  1. Cultists (and especially JWs) are, as I mentioned already, the victims of mind control. Therefore, much patience, self-control and tact is required when dealing with them. They simply will not understand most arguments from scripture and logic the first time you make those arguments. The importance of this point cannot be overstated.
  2. JWs are typically well-meaning and, frankly, nice people. You should adopt a similar attitude.
  3. JWs are trained by their organisation to be teachers rather than learners. They do not come to your door to have you give them a course in theology (although that is what you are subtly going to do). They come to teach YOU about THEIR version of God. So play dumb and act like you want to have them teach you.
  4. Ask questions! Use buzz words and phrases, such as: "Can you help me?", "I don't understand that. Could you explain it to me please?", "I have a problem with that. Can you give me the answer?"
  5. Pray! Pray! Pray!

If you keep these five points in mind you will find that your JW friends are more likely to come back again next time. If, instead, you just try to grill them with scripture, one of two things will happen. They may become extremely defensive and offended and will shut down mentally to everything you say and you will have ruined the opportunity. The other possibility is that you will have insufficient knowledge of scripture to deal with their arguments and you will be twisted into a doctrinal pretzel. With all of that said then, let's move on to part two of this article and discuss the beliefs of the Watchtower and how to deal with them.

When you put forward your arguments to a JW you must be sure to focus on only two major themes; the diety of Christ and His resurrection. Of all the unbiblical beliefs held by JWs, their denials of Christ's deity and his physical resurrection are the most damming. Do not allow the JW to distract you from these issues. When you start talking about these things, they WILL attempt to take you down a rabbit trail and get you talking about issues like Hell, the 144,000, corruptions in your version of the Bible and their pet favourite – The Trinity. You must not allow them this luxury but when they attempt this strategy you will simply say, "I'd love to talk to you about that but we'll have to come back to it later because right now I really need you to help me with the issue at hand."

In my experience witnessing to JWs, a very solid and dependable approach is to begin with the resurrection by stating something like this:

"Hey, I was wondering if you could help me with something. I have a problem. You see, I was speaking to another one of your people a little while ago and they said something I didn't quite understand. They said that Jesus, when he was raised from the dead, didn't actually rise in a physical body but came back as a spirit creature. Is that correct?"

The JW will emphatically answer yes and you will say:

"Well, you see now that's my problem! What if Jesus had said that he was going to come back in the same body he had before his death?"

Following this statement, the JW will virulently object, claiming that Jesus never said that. You must keep your cool and assure them that you have in fact found some place where he did say that. You will then, with head-spinning speed, turn to John 2:19-20, where we read:

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?"

You must get the JW to follow along with you in their Bible, which although a woefully inaccurate translation, is nevertheless quite correct in its rendering of this verse. Get them to read those two verses with you if you can and then turn to them and ask:

"Which temple was Jesus talking about?"

In my experience I have received two common answers to this question. One is "I don't know" and the other is "the temple in Jerusalem". Either of these answers will provide the perfect opportunity for you to read the very next verse, which says:

But he was speaking of the temple of his body (emphasis mine).

So there you have it. Jesus promised that he would physically raise himself from the dead. That this is speaking of his resurrection is clear from reading verse 22. It does not say he was speaking of the temple of his spirit but rather his BODY! The Greek word somatos, translated here as 'body', only ever refers to a physical form. Under no circumstances can it possibly mean a spiritual form. In this context it can only have one meaning and that meaning is 'a physical body'. You will press this point to the JW and will not leave John chapter 2 until they are prepared to admit that there is at least a chance that they might be wrong about the resurrection being spiritual. If they will not admit right there and then the possibility that they may have been mislead regarding the resurrection, you must bid them farewell and ask that they please return when they have discovered the answer to your problem. You will remind them that you would be most willing to consider joining their organisation if they could only convince you that what Jesus said about being raised physically was not in fact what occurred. This may or may not get them to return but if nothing else it will hopefully plant a seed of doubt in their mind and get them thinking independently about whether or not what they have been taught is true.

Of course, things may not always go so smoothly when witnessing to a JW. They do have a pre-programmed list of go-to texts up their sleeve that they have been trained to twist in order to provide answers to the claim that Jesus' resurrection was physical. None of their answers are any good, but they are confusing enough to stop the average Christian in their tracks. In another article I will deal specifically with these and other objections and provide tips on how to refute them. However, for now, I would like to give a couple of scripture references you can have up yoursleeve that will add further weight to your side of the argument. Those references are as follows:

  • Luke 24:36-43 – In this passage Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection and their first reaction is to assume that they have seen a spirit. However, Jesus corrects them and says, "a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have". This statement obviously indicates that Jesus was physical and not a spirit, as the disciples had supposed. Not only that, but he also ate with the disciples. Since when does a spirit eat?
  • John 20:24-27 – In this passage Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, states that he will not believe the reports of Christ's resurrection unless he personally sees him and touches him. In order to counteract Thomas' unbelief, Jesus does appear to Thomas eight days later and does allow him to place his fingers in his wounds. So not only was Jesus able to be touched (thereby demonstrating his physical nature) but he also still bore the wounds of his crucifixion, thus confirming that he still possessed the same body he had before his crucifixion. Verses 28-29 of John 20 will also come in very handy when we begin to deal with the issue of the deity of Christ.

To summarise then, the John 2 reference, when combined with Luke 24 and John 20, provides a cogent argument for the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. This argument stands in stark contrast to the teaching of the Watchtower that Jesus' resurrection was only spiritual and not physical. Frankly, this argument is unanswerable from a Biblical standpoint. JWs cannot make a solid defence against it. They will, however, attempt to take certain texts out of context and twist their meanings in an attempt to confuse you enough to get you off the subject. I will deal with these attempts in my third and final article. My next article, however, will present some arguments that I recommend using to make a case for the deity of Christ. Again, remember that when talking to a JW the two issues of greatest concern are the resurrection of Christ and the deity of Christ. All other issues are peripheral and should be treated as such. In fact, it may be best to avoid them altogether if at all possible.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Friday, May 28, 2010

SGBC: A Question of Humility

The Sovereign Grace Pulpit

Do you desire that which is not yours? Are there times when you see other people having great success but you're not? If so, then this message is for you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Do's and Don't's of Witnessing - Matt Slick

"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person," (Col. 4:5-6).

Like most things in life, witnessing has guidelines. Following is a list of 20 Do's and 12 Don't's. They should aid you while witnessing and help prevent serious errors. If, however, you choose to ignore them, witnessing will be difficult and awkward.


  1. Do Pray.
  2. Do speak to please God.
  3. Do read your Bible.
  4. Do start with a positive witness for Christ.
  5. Do keep things simple.
  6. Do share your salvation experience with them.
  7. Do know what you believe.
  8. Do have a genuine love.
  9. Do be simple and define your terms.
  10. Do memorize appropriate Scriptures if possible.
  11. Do be ready to learn from the people you witness to.
  12. Do be patient and gentle.
  13. Do listen attentively.
  14. Do answer their questions.
  15. Do ask questions.
  16. Do let him save face.
  17. Do bring him, if possible, to a decision about Jesus.
  18. Do encourage him to study the Bible by itself.
  19. Do use Scripture in context.
  20. Do remember that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).


  1. Don't attack directly or make fun of someone.
  2. Don't jump from one subject to another.
  3. Don't expect too much from him.
  4. Don't have a spiritual chip on your shoulder.
  5. Don't lose patience.
  6. Don't come on too strong.
  7. Don't debate peripheral issues or doctrines.
  8. Don't get sidetracked defending your denomination.
  9. Don't be uptight.
  10. Don't assume.
  11. Don't argue.
  12. Don't speak too fast or unclearly.

I hope these do's and don't's have brought to your attention areas that would improve your witnessing. If some of them have struck you as being particularly applicable then I would suggest you think them over and in prayer ask God to work on your heart and teach you the right way to witness. He will bless you. All you need is to trust Him and go witness.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Evangelism Isn't - Mark Dever

"We need to stop mistaking other Christian activities for the spreading of the gospel."

I remember as a little child hugging my father's leg at a gas station only to realize it wasn't his leg I was hugging. I was embarrassed! It was a case of mistaken identity.

In the matter of evangelism, I'm concerned about a number of things that people take to be evangelism that aren't. And this case of mistaken identity can have consequences more serious than mere embarrassment. Let me mention five things mistaken for evangelism.


Probably the most common objection to evangelism today is, "Isn't it wrong to impose our beliefs on others?"

Some people don't practice evangelism because they feel they are imposing on others. And the way evangelism is often done, I can understand the confusion! But when you understand what the Bible presents as evangelism, it's really not a matter of imposing your beliefs.

It's important to understand that the message you are sharing is not merely an opinion but a fact. That's why sharing the gospel can't be called an imposition, any more than a pilot can impose his belief on all his passengers that the runway is here and not there.

Additionally, the truths of the gospel are not yours, in the sense that they uniquely pertain to you or your perspective or experience, or in the sense that you came up with them. When you evangelize, you are not merely saying, "This is how I like to think of God," or "This is how I see it." You're presenting the Christian gospel. You didn't invent it, and you have no authority to alter it.

Personal Testimony

One of the classic testimonies was given by a blind man Jesus healed. When he was questioned after Jesus healed him, he responded, "Whether he [Jesus] is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25). The man disregarded the menacing threats of those more honored and respected than he in order to give this verbal witness to the power of God. It's a wonderful, powerful testimony, but it's not evangelism. There is no gospel in it. The man didn't even know who Jesus was.

An account of a changed life is wonderful and inspiring thing, but it's the gospel of Jesus Christ that explains what it's all about and how it happened.

Social Action and Public Involvement

Being involved in mercy ministries may help to commend the gospel, which is why Jesus taught, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Displaying God's compassion and kindness by our actions is a good and appropriate thing for Christians to do. But such actions are not evangelism. They commend the gospel, but they share it with no one. To be evangelism, the gospel must be clearly communicated, whether in written or oral form.

When our eyes fall from God to humanity, social ills replace sin, horizontal problems replace the fundamental vertical problem between us and God, winning elections eclipses winning souls.


Other people mistake apologetics for evangelism. Like the activities we've considered above, apologetics itself is a good thing. We are instructed by Peter to be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Pet. 3:15). And apologetics is doing exactly that. Apologetics is answering questions and objections people may have about God or Christ, or about the Bible or the message of the gospel.

Answering questions and defending parts of the good news may often be a part of conversations Christians have with non-Christians, and while that may have been a part of our own reading or thinking or talking as we came to Christ, such activity is not evangelism.

Apologetics can present wonderful opportunities for evangelism. Being willing to engage in conversations about where we came from or what's wrong with this world can be a significant way to introduce honest discussions about the gospel.

By far the greatest danger in apologetics is being distracted from the main message. Evangelism is not defending the virgin birth or defending the historicity of the resurrection. Apologetics is defending the faith, answering the questions others have about Christianity. It is responding to the agenda that others set. Evangelism, however, is following Christ's agenda, the news about him. Evangelism is the positive act of telling the good news about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation through him.

The Results of Evangelism

Finally, one of the most common and dangerous mistakes in evangelism is to misinterpret the results of evangelism—the conversion of unbelievers—for evangelism itself, which is the simple telling of the gospel message. Who can deny that much modern evangelism has become emotionally manipulative, seeking simply to cause a momentary decision of the sinner's will, yet neglecting the biblical idea that conversion is the result of the supernatural, gracious act of God toward the sinner?

When we are involved in a program in which converts are quickly counted, decisions are more likely pressed, and evangelism is gauged by its immediately obvious effect, we are involved in undermining real evangelism and real churches.

The Christian call to evangelism is a call not simply to persuade people to make decisions but rather to proclaim to them the good news of salvation in Christ, to call them to repentance, and to give God the glory for regeneration and conversion. We don't fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not converted; we fail only if we don't faithfully tell the gospel at all. Evangelism itself isn't converting people; it's telling them that they need to be converted and telling them how they can be.

Source: Article taken from Mark Dever's book, "The Gospel and Personal Evangelism".

Monday, May 24, 2010

Better than I deserve...

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine, and he was sharing a new way in which he opens the door for a Gospel presentation. He was telling me that when some asks him, "How are you?" He replies with, "Better than I deserve." This in turn leads to the other person asking why that is the case.

Now the door is open and the Gospel can go forth. As my friend would then answer by showing that he is better than he deserves, since he deserves death and hell because of his sin, but by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ he has now experienced the forgiveness of sin.

Often times he said this has led to people asking more, and then he is into a full blown gospel presentation.

As I thought about this approach to evangelism, I couldn't help but think about how this way of witness is very much focused on making the most of every opportunity, and I think it is something I will have to do as well. Even if I don't have time to go into a in-depth witness encounter, the least I could do is give them a tract and explain how they also can be better than they deserve.

So what about you? Are you making the most of every oppurtunity to share about Christ? Each day we will encounter situations that will allow us to make known the good news of salvation. Will we step through that open door and explain why we are better than we deserve?

Written by Josh Williamson