Jehovah Witnesses for the most part are highly trained in conversation. Their Watch Tower publications assist them in their relentless persuasion of many to study their cult together. They recently have changed their tactics from confrontation to winning the average house dweller, but their purpose is the same - to indoctrinate them into their beliefs.
They begin by engaging the person in an engaging conversation to which they have an answer:
The way Jehovah Witnesses confront people today is much more gentle and winsome than before where they were more quick to challenge their prospective members' (us) beliefs. They now make you feel that your opinion is good and yet want to help you know a little more.
In this way, they are much more deceptive than before. Two Jehovah Witnesses recently came to my door having heard from my wife that I was a pastor. I was shocked to hear them say that they worshiped Jesus, that He created the world and that he is their savior and Lord.
They wanted to come across as if they were one of us - a Christian. Of course, once agreed upon, they would use this respect to encourage you to study the Bible at their place and cleverly chain that person to their Jehovah Witness cult. In the past, I clearly remember them speaking very harshly of denominations and organized religions often identifying the church with the harlot in the Book of Revelation.
Like a virus cell, it is clear that Jehovah Witnesses act as imposters to break through a person's belief defense. Once in, they do their destructive work. Some people think we should evaluate their opinions with ours as equal. The scriptures tell us not to do this. 2 Peter 3:16-17 says,
How should we speak to them? Some people refrain from speaking to them. If one is not ready to share the Gospel to them, then it is best not to speak with them. But if God has given you a compassion for them and a knowledge of the Truth, perhaps He wants to use you to bring His truth to these imprisoned souls. We should remember that many of these people were ensnared by their sincere search for answers.
Let me share with you some comments on a recent conversation I personally had with them.
If you learn the scriptures that I mention here, it should be enough to guide you in what to say. Remember, I am not sharing these things so to program you but to point out a way to talk with them. The Holy Spirit might lead you differently. I warn you, though, as Peter did above, if you are not ready with the truth of God, their planned words will lead your conversation toward their misinterpretations. Don't speak with them if you are not ready. You can simply share how God saved you and hope that they would come to know that Jesus Christ is God then quit. (By the way, quitting a conversation with them takes great skill because they always have a quick word and question).
Since Jehovah Witnesses want to show themselves so agreeable on most Christian doctrines, one may as well speed up the conversation and get to the key points. Don't be overly polite and listen to them. They are the enemies of God trying to capture your soul.
We encourage you to go right to the heart of the issue. Paul did this when speaking with Judaizers legalists in Galatians nor do we find Jesus skirting the misinterpretations of the Pharisees. They brought the problem right up front so all can see it. We can be polite, but we must stop pretending that we are friends or of the same belief. They are enemies of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. As active witnesses of their faith, they are false prophets. I don't invite them into my house.
During this visit, I focused on showing the deity of the Lord Jesus. The other path of profitable discussion that I have found is to focus on salivation by faith rather than by works. Jehovah Witnesses strongly deny the deity of Jesus Christ. They even told me that not all Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God! This is amazing for it is one of the ways Christianity has always defined itself. Early Christianity's chief problem was recognizing that Jesus Christ was human! They all believed he was God. They had no problem with His deity. They were convinced of His miracles. Is His deity important? Very much so, but let me comment on this a bit later.
Once you state that you worship Jesus Christ because He is God and ask if they do, they will bring up several reasons they don't believe in The Lord Jesus. They will be ready to discuss the following issues trying to prove that Jesus is not God.
They usually first bring up the teaching of the trinity which is accepted as a basic tenet of Christianity. Basically, I tell them that this is not what I want to discuss. I have no problem agreeing with them that the word 'trinity' is not used in the scripture. The concept is clearly there in all its different aspects (1), but don't waste your time on discussing it with them. They are not willing to stay on track on a certain teaching. They keep changing subjects and tactics.
Our plan is to choose one theme and stick with it. Go deep or don't go at all. Neither side has enough time at the regular door to door visitation of Jehovah Witnesses to properly discuss this topic. Besides, I sense this is a 'pearl' doctrine. It is too special to talk to an unbeliever about unless they are really trying to understand God.
Instead of arguing about the word or concept of trinity, just admit the word is not in the Bible and that you rather discuss why they deny the Godship of Jesus Christ. They seem willing to do this.
Be careful, they have a very limited arsenal when it comes to denying Christ's deity. However, they will ambush you with what they have! They seem to love to bring up problems with Jesus Christ being one with the Father.
I highly recommend not to get into these conversations with such passages as John 10:30.
Can you use it? Sure, but they are not open to the different nuances of the meaning. We use it to show that the Father and Christ are one in nature. They will, however, insist that it has to do with purpose (which is also true).
Try to focus on passages discussing the one topic of Christ's deity rather than the relationship Christ had with God (this is the trinity topic again). This teaching about the Father's relationship with the Son is too precious of a teaching to discuss with them. Usually because they tend to speak several paragraphs about this topic before one has a word to say, one ends up discussing it to a limited degree.
They will often use this verse and a few others to emphasize the difference between the Father and the Son rather than the fact that they are one. They do this by asserting that any conversation between the two means that Jesus and God are different. They are in fact affirming the deity (One God, three persons).
I pointed out that my wife and I are one. We talk, but we are one. The husband is head but the wife is essential to the oneness! They could not understand my point. I have argued hours on this topic with all sorts of illustrations without getting through.
The only thing they are trying to say is that Jesus couldn't be God if He spoke to God. This argument seems so naive that it is best to go on. Don't ask for verses or respond to their challenging words. Just return to what you were formerly discussing. If you nibble the hook, they will reel you into their dead arguments. Choose a better fighting ground.
Jehovah Witnesses spend a lot of time denying Christ's deity trying to show that He was created. I accept the challenge to show them that Christ is Lord and that they ought to worship Him as God.
Jehovah witnesses like to use Colossians 1:15 to point out that Christ was created. Their argument is simple: Christ is first-born; that means he is created. Their implication is that if Christ was created then He is not God. We can agree with this.
However, do not confuse this 'created' with being 'born a man' as standard Christian doctrine affirms. They believe that Christ was the first object created in the universe. The Christian affirms that Christ came into the world and took the form of a man by being born as a man (this is the Christmas story!).
The word they misuse to show that Christ was created is 'first-born.' But try reading the context and see if that is really what that phrase or passage is saying about Christ. We have two strong arguments just in this passage that go against their argument.
Firstly, we see that Colossians 1:16 argues that Christ is the means by which everything is created. The phrase 'all things' (twice repeated) is very emphatic. By calling Jesus the mediator through which everything was made, how can it also at the same time teach that Jesus Christ was created?! The thought is totally contradictory. Jehovah Witnesses elude this by focusing on the word out of context.
Secondly, we see them using the word 'firstborn' against its real meaning and intention. For example, note how 'first-born' is used in Colossians 1:18, Jesus is 'the first-born from the dead' (cf. Revelation 1:5).
We acknowledge that we would not use this term in English. The phrase is awkward. If Paul wrote 'first from the dead,' we would perfectly understand him. What does the word 'first-born' add to the meaning? From an examination of the New Testament, we see that its meaning is a combination of affection and chief prominence. The meaning of this phrase goes something like, "He is first of all because he was first raised." Notice the 'born' aspect has virtually disappeared. We can affirm this interpretation through two parallel verses.
The word 'first-born' admittedly is a complicated one, but surely it cannot be used to affirm that Christ was created before everything else. If one wants to affirm this thought, then he should go to a clearer passage (of which there are none). Christ coexisted with the Father from eternity. Note this simple passage from 1 John 1:2.
Note that He is the eternal life which was with the Father and then took on a body and was manifested to us. This clearly speaks of Christ's eternal nature. We do not find any verses emphasizing God creating Christ as a chief angel or some other creature. Hebrews 1:4-5 asserts that Jesus was not an angel but much better than an angel. He was God's Son.
Summary of Problems
I have articulated basic problems that the Jehovah Witnesses often bring up. I have mentioned them so that one can stay clear of them as much as possible and not to fear that they have some special truth that others have hidden from you. As much as possible come back to the major focus on what one can say about asserting the deity of Christ Jesus. They have no easy refuge for these arguments so they slyly hide in their misinterpretations and their ability to hop around to different scriptures.
I have pointed some points that are best to be avoided when discussing the deity of Christ with Jehovah Witnesses. This cannot always be done but should be done as much as possible. Through all those mini-conversations, keep your focus on a few topics. You want to leave them with a knowledge that they have gone astray from God's ways. Remember, we are staying only on the theme of the deity of Christ Jesus.
He showed me two vain arguments for Christ being created.
He first referred to Genesis 1:26 where is says, "Then God said, "Let us make man in Our image...""
Was it ever tempting to say this supports the trinity! I didn't though. First of all if Christ was a mere creature, why would God say to make man in "Our" image? Do we have some angel dust in our blood? We are not made to think that God is speaking to any person such as some created angel. There is no object. The normal reading would be to conclude that God is a plurality of persons and is addressing Himself.(2) In any case, this does not prove that Christ was cocreator unless He was God.
They secondly referred me to Proverbs 8:22-31. This again does not speak clearly about creating Jesus Christ. We would be wise to just accept this as a poetic statement about wisdom in which Wisdom is personified. Some see this as a type of Christ, but even so, we are not to make doctrine out of types and illustrations because they are never complete. This passage does not state that Christ Jesus was created.
What we find is an empty chest of verses proving that Christ was created and numerous references affirming Christ's deity.
I am very choosy on the references I use. I do not see any reason to jump to a whole lot of verses leaving them ready to give their quick and shallow answers. I rather go deep. I do keep a good list of references in my mind (could write them in your Bible) which would support a certain argument, but center everything around one verse. Let that one truth penetrate as deeply as the stake can go.
In this case since we were speaking about the first-born from Colossians 1, I just settled on this passage. I asked them to state is God the creator? I have Colossians 1:16 on my mind but I want them to affirm the truth of Genesis and the scriptures that assert that God alone is the Creator. After this, I show them that all creation was formed through Christ. They might not get the connection that Christ is God, so simply state it.
Go back and with emphasis say, "I worship the Creator; you worship the created. God is not happy with your life choices!"
Since they had said to me several times, "Just show me one verse about Christ's deity, and I will believe." Well I took him up on it. I said, "You said if I find one verse that speaks about Christ's full deity, you will believe? How about it?" I waited and received a shy response stating, "Show me what you have."
Jesus Christ is God
List of NT verses.
Hebrews 1:8 (Ps 45:6-7)
1 John 5:20
Start by prefacing your quote of Colossians 2:9 with the meaning of Colossians 2:8. Paul was warning them of being careful of deceptions and false philosophies. Then have him read aloud Colossians 2:9.
"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Colossians 2:9, NASB).
Have him repeat it again and ask what the passage says about Jesus Christ. They will first make sure that it is speaking of Christ. The one man I challenged stood there staring at the text while the other one kept talking. I am praying that 'Leva' would come to know the Lord and turn this group upside down with the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I should have stayed a bit longer on that text.
I closed my argument with this statement. After reviewing my conversation, I realized that the below argument of the nature of Christ is good but unnecessary. It made the argument stronger but longer. It would have been fine to stop here. In fact I had already gone through this nature argument by time I came to the first-born and Colossians passages.
For another affirmation of Christ's Deity see John 5:18-23.
Jehovah Witnesses often mention Christ as the Son of God. They imply by this that because he is the son, Christ is less than God. They just do not understand hierarchy. They say that because Christ was the Son, that He was not the Father. I focus on this argument and turn it to establish the truth. I am not sure how much gets through, but we should not miss out on declaring the truth. I do not usually get into the special 'Son of God' title that is used it is used of Adam (cf. Luke 3:38) and can get complicated. Instead I seek a simple way to teach powerful truths. In this case I used the nature argument.
The word son is used because the son shares the same nature as the father. Son is used not because He was literally born a son. Indeed, God does not have a body of a woman to bear a child. Christ instead is said to be begotten of God.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NASB).
The Son shares the same divine nature as the father. This was true of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, His only begotten Son. He shares His Father's nature.
It is here that one can mention the 'likeness' and 'image' passages. They clearly show that Christ was God by having God's nature.
More than likely they have already misused these passages in their discussions with you, but now is the time to show them what they really mean. The verses are very strong. Don't be scared away from them. (I avoid sometimes avoid them because they spend so much time on the other items, and I run out of time to give proper respect to them).
And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. (Colossians 1:15).
Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (Philippians 2:6).
Image here is the likeness. Its intent is to say that when we see Jesus, we see God. This verse can be argued by saying that the image is not an exact likeness but a copy of, so quickly go to Hebrews 1:3 to let scripture interpret scripture.
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Hebrews 1:3).
Summary of Confronting the Cults
Know what you believe.
Notice that Christ has the radiance of God's glory because He is God. Christ is the exact representation of His nature - not just a mere image. He has a divine nature. Christ upholds all things by the word of His power because He is God. Remember how Genesis 1 says God created the world? It was through His Word - Christ.
Stay focused in your argument. Ask them directly on the basis of these scriptures whether they will accept that Christ's nature was the same as God's? If they deny Christ's Lordship, then assert that they are not going along with God's program because they have not honored Christ and insist on their disrespectful ideas. Keep silently praying for them even as you talk.
We can refer to many arguments for Christ's deity, but we must stay focused. Let the truths stay in their minds. If they keep talking with you, repeat the arguments and verses. End with quoting a verse that summarizes your argument and express that you are unwilling to discuss anymore because they would not give you proper answer to the passages you pointed out.
We witness to Jehovah Witnesses because they walk in darkness. Many of them are caught unaware into the cult as I have mentioned in their tactics. Jehovah Witnesses hold to many false doctrines, but I referred to only one: they do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as God. Does it make a difference. They said many Christians do not believe Christ is God.
I simply state that those who deny Christ's deity are not Christians. If Christ is not God, then who is He? Are we to adore some angel?! Are we to abide in some other created thing?!
What about our salvation? Does it not say that God became man and died for our sins? Can an angel or other being morph into a human. Would it work if some angel did the transformation? The book of Hebrews clearly makes a distinction between angels and men. The virgin birth speaks of God becoming man and thus received worship early on.
... God(1) was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.(1 Timothy 3:16, KJV).
Christ was God because He had fellowship with the Father from eternity (John 1:1-6; 1 John 1:2). Was there any angel that shared such glory? Not at all. Angels were made. Christ, as John well establishes in the Gospel, was the I Am. He always existed and revealed God to us. He came to earth to save us and did not use any old errand boy He could blow up in a storm.
Close your discussion by stating that if they worship the created rather than the Creator, they are idolaters. Clearly Christ Jesus is to be worshipped for He is God.
The BFF Discipleship Training Library includes this 14 page document on witnessing to Jehovah Witnesses in printable format (pdf). Click the Library for finding more information on the incredible amount of training materials available on this one Library.