Saturday, December 27, 2008

Door Knocking the House of a Jehovah's Witness - A Bizarre Adventure in Evangelism

My extended Danish family went away for the last week to celebrate Christmas at a place with summer holiday cabins. Why we went there in winter is a good question but the kids had a blast because the centre had an indoor pool and playground. As I checked in at reception I handed the receptionist a tract and she mentioned that the majority of people staying there that week were people who don't celebrate Christmas . . . . NO WAY!! . . . you don't mean . . . . we're surrounded by Jehovah's Witnesses!!!

That's right,there was a whole row of cabins with Jehovah's Witness families staying there. It wasn't hard to tell either as they were completely devoid of any form of decoration. I spent the next day at the pool studying all the different people there and trying to work out what a stereotypical JW looks like. With my profound discerning abilities I was able to narrow down the field . . . that guys' got a tattoo - he couldn't be one; she's puffing on a smoke - no way; he's wearing speedos - couldn't possibly be; whattabout the boy playing Nintendo - nahhh. After successfully exercising my biblical worldview I zeroed in on a few families sitting together. There is nothing like employing the discrete approach in a delicate situation like this so I walked into the middle of the gathering and said "Merry Christmas!" I was greeted by stunned silence until a lady in the group informed me "we don't celebrate Christmas" - Game On!

I decided to ask a probing question and said "are you guys Jehovah's Witnesses?". A chorus of nodding heads responded. I managed to engage in a fairly lengthy conversation. A real danger with witnessing to JW's is debating many fine points of theology and going around in circles all day. It is God who does the converting and I know I have virtually no chance of persuading them to switch camps so my main focus was on the basics. Jesus Christ being fully God and fully man. Using the law to show their exceeding sinfulness and inability to please God through their own endeavors. The reasonableness of Hell. Reasoning with them over their need for a perfect atoning sacrifice that could not be anything less than God in human form. Pleading with them to seek out the truth about the translation they use which has no manuscript support. Ultimately my goal was that they might walk away pondering the possibility that their conscience was in agreement with my testimony.

Check out this page on my website for great resources on witnessing to cults which includes one sight entirely devoted to refuting the doctrines and beliefs of the JW's. It offers tremendous help for people coming out of the cult or for those witnessing to them.

I didn't feel like eating that night. I sat down and glanced at my WWRCD bracelet (What Would Ray Comfort Do) and decided that it was time to turn the tables and go knocking on the doors of these door knockers. How would a JW respond to someone knocking on his door. I felt like I was carrying a mandate of vengeance from millions of angry home owners all around the world. But this sad truth came home to me. Why is it that so few professing Christians share the Gospel - and we have the real one (the late Bill Bright estimated it as being around 2% of all professing Christians who actually witness to others).

C'mon church goer - wake up. Why is it that the 60 year old pagan down the street has been visited by 18 Mormons, 34 JW's, and 73 people selling aluminium siding, all the while never hearing the true Gospel from a member of the mega-church down the street. Does that scenario sound a bit too familiar???

Well I did knock on all their doors, gave them a tract with the real Gospel, told them to watch out for the tower, and left. Sadly, they all seemed quite shocked that a Chrisitan would do such a thing which is a sad reflection on the passivity of many a modern church goer. One of them even saw the ironic humor in what I was doing. Nonetheless, it was very cold and I didn't want to stick around too long and besides, the snot icicle hanging from my left nostril was not a pretty sight for anybody. But I went home to my little cabin knowing that not only did I take out some revenge on those door knocking JW's, maybe I planted a seed of God's Word that won't return void (Isaiah 55:11).


René Vester said...

Good one brother!

Tara said...

Not only was this a great read, but it is thought-provoking, too. I come from a family of professing Christians...who happen to find my witnessing to strangers repulsive.

What you did once again reassured me that I need to keep it up! Thanks!


Dan in Reno, Nv said...

Mr Buettel,
Is someone is was made a little lower than angels The Almighty God?
-- King James
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Reasonableness of Hell ???!!! A person sins for the most 100 yrs. and is tortured for the rest of eternity.....You don't think that's sick???!!!
-- King James
Jeremiah 7:31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

Adam sinned as a perfect man. If Jesus was God incarnate the ransom is greater that what was lost. Not perfect justice

Thomas Karrer said...

I hope you'll stop back in and read this response...

First off, when Messiah "came in the flesh", as a Man He was indeed "a little lower than the angels". This, of course, references His humanity. See, God is very detailed in the Scriptures; making solid cases for each and every head of necessary doctrine. Heretics, not too long after the ascencion of Jesus, rose up claiming that He was not fully Man. This was, however, easily refuted; because God, knowing all, solidified this orthodox understanding well with verses such as the one you pointed out.

Hell is reasonable because of the extent and nature of the offenses. You seem to think that those in hell are simply descent people who made grave mistakes throughout the course of their life. This isn't what the Bible teaches. The Bible confirms that sinners, in their minds and hearts, are at enmity with God, and indeed hate Him (Colossians 1:21; Romans 8:9-10; Romans 1). What is worse is who they hate, rebel against, and ignore: Almighty God. If I slap my friend, I'll likely be in a little trouble with him; if I slap my wife, I'm in some serious trouble; if I slap a police officer, I'm doin some time; if I slap the President, I'm really in for it. All these examples are of humans, and yet there is a natural understanding that a crime, in the same sense, is measured by who it is committed against.

God is "holy, holy holy". Do you have any idea what that means? God is not like us, just more moral and wise; God is not like us at all. You compare a midget next to Shaquille O'neal and tell me who stands closer to the sun? In the same way, even the holiest and most magnifiscent archangel in the presence of God is no more like Him than an amoeba swimming in a toilet. God is infinite and perfect. When sinners sin, they sin against an infinitely holy, perfect, and just God. He created all and sustains all. This is then an infinite crime that God will recompense justly.

Another thing to consider: you trace back the words, and understanding therewith, of "justice" and "recompense", and tell me if it isn't God Himself who defines what is and isn't just? During the Conquest of Canaan, God had entire towns slaughtered. Why? Because God hates sin and hates sinners who love sin (Psalm 5:5). Our complaints against the Divine are foolishness of the highest degree. God is God, and God has decreed that He will punish, in hell for an eternity, all who hate Him and despise His commandments. No mere human can overthrow the counsel of Almighty God.

Adam was perfect in the sense that he had never sinned. Perfection wasn't intrinsic, or an eternal characteristic of Adam's. Adam was only made in God's image; he wasn't perfect, meaning unable to sin, as God is perfect. Besides, where does the Bible say that Adam was "perfect" anyway? And Jesus' ransom of His bride wasn't Him for us; as though He could be enslaved as the result of His own sacrifice on our behalf. You're imposing onto the Bible an understanding of "ransom" that is not Biblical; but is rather a more modern conception. Jesus bore on Himself the full measure of God's wrath, which was incurred by the sins of His people; and He thus satisifed the justice which demanded their punishment.

Lastly, I would encourage you to allow the whole Bible to speak as a unified revelation. Taking verses out of their context, and disregarding what the Bible teaches as a whole inevitably as a result, is how all the cults were formed.

Dan, my hope is that you will come to understand that your sins against the One who created you and gives breath to your lungs, are loathesome in His sight; and that He would grant you to see that His wrath is real and terrible, and if you're yet "in your sins" that it will be poured out upon you in full measure in hell. I sincerely hope that you'll repent of your rebellion and follow after Jesus Christ in humble submission. He, being the Creator of our souls, can alone satisfy us; and more importantly, He alone is worthy of our affections and devotion. I was once "dead in sin", not seeking God, but my own will, and enjoying sin to a degree; but God has graciously called me to be His own, showered me with His love, and made me a "new creature" in Christ (2 Corithians 5:17). I once was dead, but now I live!

Dan said...

Tom, First, I’d like to apologize for not proofreading my last post (I hate when I do that). I very much appreciate your concern for my everlasting welfare although I think you overstated my “sin".

So. Which is it? Was Jesus just a perfect man or Man/God? Heb. 2:9 makes it very clear, a perfect man, just as Adam was. Yes Adam was created perfect in Jehovah's eyes. Deut. 32:4 states His activates are perfect. Just because Adam had free will and could sin doesn't mean that he was imperfect. He could choose to be obedient or disobedient.

David sinned grossly against Jehovah in the affair with Bath-sheba. Is his sin the same as the religious leaders of Jesus' day who, after Lazarus was raised from the dead, wanted to kill both Lazarus and Jesus? There is forgivable sin and then there is unforgivable sin.(Mt. 12:31)

Has for the reasonableness of Hell, I think we need to point out the difference between eternal punishment (or the "wages" of sin as Roman puts it) an eternal torment. As Jeremiah 7:31 points out, it never entered into God's heart to torture someone in that manner. God is merciful even to his enemies. Yes there are eternal consequences for rejecting God, non-existence. (Eze. 18:4)

Christendom's teachings, as well as all the other religions of the world, make it a part of what the Bible in Revelation calls Babylon The Great. I recommend a book called The Two Babylon’s by Alexander Hislop. If you do a google on it you will find the whole text on-line. It is important that you take it seriously. Rev. 18:4

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,

Jesus was God in human flesh. Fully God and fully Man. How is that possible? To be honest, I don't know. But the fact that a finite mind can't wrap itself fully around this truth doesn't negate it's clear representation in the Scriptures, and the truth of it. God is infinite and eternal and able to come in human flesh, all the while holding onto His divinity in full. Here are just a couple clear Scriptures that teach what is called "hypostatic" union:

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7). This passage tells us that Jesus, being fully God and according to the predestined plan of God, humbled Himself and took on human flesh.

"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9). This is probably the clearest verse in all of Scripture as to the fact that Jesus Christ was and is fully God. I strongly encourage you to research "deity" in the Greek here, and consider deeply that this substance of nature was Christ's in it's "fullness"; in other words, without lack.

Now, I'm sorry sir, but you have clearly taken Jeremiah 7:31 out of context and misunderstood Ezekiel 18:4. Nowhere does the Bible teach that the wicked are simply annihalated. In fact, to the contrary, Scripture teaches that the "wages of sin" is eternal fire: "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire" (Matthew 25: 41). The Bible teaches that the eternal state of the wicked is "under the wrath of God". Listen to the words of the book of Revelation: "they will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever" (14:10-11).

Your understanding of the nature of Christ and hell are heresy Dan. What you believe is not in line with the Bible. I'm not just some fundamentalist who goes along with the crowd. I study the Scriptures for myself for hourse just about every single day. No book by someone who could be a wacko for all I know is gonna overthrow what God through His Spirit has taught me. It's a dangerous thing to fall into a camp that has no good foundation, no deep roots, and which contradicts the plain teachings of Scripture. If you're sincere in your attempts to know the truth, I exhort you to flee from such heresies.

Praying for you,

Dan said...

Tom, Jesus spoke of this attitude when he said to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well “Ye worship ye know not what: we (Jehovah’s Witnesses) know what we worship…” Jn. 4:22 KJ, NKJ, AS, RS. Hebrews 6:13 Says, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself…” RS.
This scripture states that there is no one greater then God. In Rev. 3:12, Jesus states long after his resurrection and glorification, four times that he has a God. (also Jn. 20:17). How can someone who has a God, be The Almighty God? The contradiction is irreconcilable. Now go back and read Phil. 2:5-7. I’m sorry you are wrong, Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death (not eternal torment – Jer. 7:31); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” KJ. The chouses there are life or death. Eze.18:4 states that the soul that is sinning will die. Something that dies is not immortal. How did I take that out of context? Dan

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,
I want to begin by saying that I appreciate your willingness to discuss these weighty matters with me. My experience with Jehovah's Witnesses in the past has, with one exception, resulted in them unwilling to engage the Biblical texts with me. These were all personal, face to face encounters as well. All I'd ask of you Dan, which I give you my word I will abide by myself, is that you sincerely and prayerfully engage the texts and arguments I present to you; that in humility you search out the Hebrew and Greek, and allow the Bible, laying aside your presuppositions, to shape your understanding and convictions. Again I'd ask that you do this prayerfully; for as you know, it is the Spirit of God who illumines the mind and the heart.

Now, your response lacked any actual rebuttal of the two texts I presented to you. I understand very well your position, and in regards to the Philippians passage that you believe the context (vs. 5-7) refutes my beliefs; however, you never engaged the texts to show me why I shouldn't, of necessity, conclude that if Jesus obtains the Divine substance, in it's "fullness" (the intent and reality of this expression can't be overlooked), that He is then indeed "very God of very God".

I want to share with you a few more texts that are very clear:

Hebrews 1:8 begins for us a few statements, or proclamations, made by God the Father of, or to, God the Son. You'll notice that in vs. 10 the author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 102:25. What you simply must see is that God the Father here calls His Son "Jehovah" when He says: "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth". The name given to the Son here, by God the Father no less, is the very name of Almighty God.

Another passage, John 12:39-41, again attributes to Jesus the title and personage of "Jehovah". John 12:41 tells us Isaiah, in seeing the glory of Jehovah in Isaiah 6:1, beheld "Jesus' glory".

Lastly, Revelation 22 deals at lengths with the 2nd Return of Christ. Notice that vs. 6 tells us it was "the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets" who "sent HIS angel to show His bondservants the things which must soon take place". Now look over at vs. 16; for there Jesus tells us that He is that "Lord God" who sent His angel to testify to His bondservants. And then finally in vs. 12-13, describing the Lord Jesus Christ and the immenence of His return, informs us that Jesus is "the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end". Now these of course are titles that only Jehovah can rightly be called.

Now, though I desire to engage your questions more adequately, I will give you a brief response and then leave you a link to read a very good article on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In leaving it for you, I would beg you Dan, please, please take the time to read through it and look into the Scriptures it addresses (even if you've read something similar in the past). With that said: Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. When He refers to the Father as God, and likewise when He says "the Father is greater than I", it must be recognized that this speaks quantitatively, qualitatively. A quantitative term describes quantities, levels, positions, etc. A qualitative term describes qualities, character, nature. Jesus' Sonship is bore out in His attitude and actions. But again, please take the time to read this article:

It's no longer my desire to debate over hell, so long as we have before us a discussion on the nature of God. I'll answer your questions though: to say that the soul will die doesn't mean the soul will cease to exist. For if it did, given what it actually says, the soul would cease to exist immediately after it had sinned. It speaks of death in relation to God. The terms "spirit" and "soul" are used synonomously throughout Scripture, and in we're told that, because of sin, all human beings are "dead" to God, or "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). Here again though you didn't deal with the texts and exegesis I provided for you.

I hope to not hear back from you too soon! May the Lord richly bless your understanding!


Dan said...

Tom, a little background on myself if I could. I started reading The Bible on my own when I was 27 and started talking to others to get there input. I did not belong to any group at the time so I had no pre-conceived ideas. One thing people tried to tell me was that Jesus was God, which did not sit well with me because Jesus always spoke of himself as the Son of God. I have been listening to this for the past 30 yrs.

I believe I did address at least Phil. 2:5-7. It never entered Jesus’ mind to think he was equal to Jehovah although existing in Gods “form” (not existing as God) Col. 1:15 says He is the image* of the invisible God…
(*Image-Strong's Ref. # 1504 (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance. KJ, NKJ, AS, NAS)
Heb. 1:3 says Hebrews 1:3 He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, New Revised Standard with Apocrypha. Now, you never addressed Rev. 3:12 and Jn. 20:17 and I’ll add to those scriptures Rom 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph 1:3 NKJ, AS, RS. As for Col 2:9, we need to look back to Col. 1:19 to get the whole picture. It says, “For it was the {Father's} good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…” New American Standard. Also 2 Pet 1:3, 4 says that Christians can be
sharers in divine nature. Does that mean that we are God?

IN Heb. 1:8, if we are to take the quote from Ps 45:6 at face value, you have a major contradiction with the very next verse, ”… therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee…” KJ. Note again, the expression “thy God”.

Rev. 22:12, 13 do not directly say who is speaking. Are you aware that Rev. 1:11 in the KJ and the NKJ are spurious as well as 1Jn. 5:7? That is how far Trinitarians will go to “prove” their false doctrine? - Dan

Anonymous said...

Last year I got the chance to knock on the door of the local Kingdom Hall to share the God-man Jesus. The lady said she had to go and closed the door on me -