I was working from home today and took a break to talk with a sweet old lady from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Please pray that a seed was planted and that she rethinks her beliefs.
My strategy was to stay focused on the JW’s mistranslation of John 1:1, where their Bible says the Word (Jesus) “was a God” instead of the accurate translation of “was God.” There are many other passages I could have referenced, but they know that and just bounce around with non sequitors.
I walked her through the simple evidence that we know what the original writings of the Bible said and how we know that it should be translated “was God.” Then she would change the subject to their standard challenges of the Trinity.
Instead of following her trail, I gently pointed out how she had changed the subject. We were both claiming to believe that the Bible was the inspired word of God, but the question is, “What did it really say?”
She would change the subject, then I’d bring it back. I encouraged her to research the translation process and come back if she could demonstrate that I was mistaken.
As they always do, she offered me reading materials about her religion. I told her I’d be glad to take them if she would take some materials from me. I know they aren’t allowed to take anything from the people they visit, so I gently pointed out how it seems odd that if they are the sole possessors of eternal truths that they wouldn’t be willing to consider arguments against their beliefs.
I also pointed out to her how my religion encourages me to read things in light of Scripture (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good and Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.).
The whole conversation was very friendly and low key.
Please note how simple that conversation was. I stuck to a couple key points: The facts demonstrate that their Bible is mistranslated and that unlike Christianity, their religion won’t permit you to consider critiques of it.
I told her that I respected her for taking the time and energy to share what she believed to be true, but I made it clear that we both can’t be right. To her credit, she agreed. I emphasized that we agree on most of what the Bible says, but that her religion’s founders had deliberately modified several passages in a vain attempt to change doctrines such as Jesus’ deity and the reality of Hell.
You don’t have to be an expert on the JW’s to point out some serious flaws and give them something to think about. Just don’t let them take the conversation all over the place. Politely point out to them how they haven’t addressed your fact-based objections and note how peculiar it is for them to give you materials when they won’t take any in return.
Then pray for them.