Today a couple of missionaries from the Watchtower Society stopped by my house. We talked for a bit on my doorstep, but mostly, I found myself in a similar situation as past doorstep conversations. I felt unprepared to talk with them about my faith in relation to theirs. I wished that I could remember some of the details of past research, and articulate my biggest concerns. However, I know that even if I had remembered all kinds of documented quotations and logical arguments, we probably would have just gone back and forth with me explaining my perspective on Scripture and they theirs. Also, if neither of us are Greek scholars (I certainly am not) our conversation about John 1:1 or correct translations of Scriptures would basically boil down to, “the scholars I know of say this” and, “the scholars I know of say this”.
To make a long story short, I dug up some information I had filed away, and came up with 3 questions I feel would need to be answered in order to have a meaningful discussion with people of the Watchtower Society. I’m hoping to have this handy in the future and invite any Jehovah’s Witnesses to engage in a discussion on these topics. The answers to these questions will probably require some research and so I plan to include my email address and trade my "hand-out" for theirs, inviting them to contact me with the answers. Maybe then, we could meet and have discussion about them.
Below are my 3 questions. Maybe they will be helpful for you too, when you have these doorstep conversations. Feel free to comment and let me know what other information has been helpful for you in answering for your faith. If you are a member of the Watchtower Society, these questions I have are real. Although, I suspect to know what the answers may be, I do not have the resources to answer all of them credibly for myself, and would like to know your thoughts:
One last thing before I post my questions. In order to be fair I figured I should know the answers to the questions if they were asked of me. Therefore, the answer to question number 2 can be found here & here concerning the ESV Bible, which is what I have been reading lately.
Below are three big concerns I have about the Watchtower Organization. They are listed in what I feel are order of importance (if #1 is not reconciled I will have more trouble with # 2 and so on.)
1. I feel that the Watchtower organization is untrustworthy because I’ve heard of some sketchy prophesies it has made (see post script). Is it true that the Watchtower organization has said these things?
2. Because of differences in the NWT and the Bible translations I read and have been taught from, I have a hard time putting trust in the NWT. Who are the people that have worked on the NWT? Are they credible? What are their credentials?
3. I have trouble understanding how the Watchtower’s view of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are consistent with how God is revealed in Scripture. For example: assuming the correct translation of John 1:1 says that Jesus is “a god” how does that reconcile with Scriptures such as Isaiah 44:6? Even though it is a hard doctrine and a paradox, I believe that in the whole of Scripture God has revealed Himself to be one God existing in three persons (i.e. One God: Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiahh 44:6 - Jesus is God: John 1:1, Philippians 2:6, I John 5:20 - the Holy Spirit is God: Acts 5:3-4, Hebrews 3:7-11)
1897 "Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874," Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 4, page 621.
1899 "...the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced." The Time Is at Hand, page 101 (1908 edition).
1916 "The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ's Reign, began in 1873." The Time Is at Hand, page ii, (forward).
1918 "Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection." Millions Now Living Will Never Die, page 89.
1968 "True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end to the world', even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing?.. Missing from such people were God's truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them." Awake, 10/8/68.