I had a little run in today with a Jehovah's Witness, two of them actually. I saw them approaching my front door, so I said a prayer that God would give me the words to say. I have always heard that JW's are very well-versed and extremely knowledgeable of the scriptures. I thought I was prepared to defend my faith. I wasn't. I couldn't remember scripture references and couldn't verbalize all the thoughts that were floating around in my head into sentences that made sense. For every coherent statement I made, they had an argument, an argument that didn't sound all that bad. I felt like I was having a public debate with judges sitting all around measuring the quality of our answers.
The longer I talked to these two individuals the madder I became. Not really at them, more at myself for not being better prepared. My irritation started to show itself because I became a little snappy and defensive. I know....way to show the love of Jesus, right? I really just wanted them to leave so the discussion would be over and I would be out of the hot seat.
I am not really ever out of the hot seat though, am I? 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your heart, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." According to this verse, I failed in two ways today. I was not prepared to accurately defend my faith and I certainly didn't do it with gentleness and respect.
My irritation sent me on an Internet search for information about JW's and what they believe. Gene told me about a web-site sponsored by the North American Mission Board that has a lot of great information about all the different cults, New Age practices, and world religions. The site is http://www.4truth.net/. For information on JW's click on "New Religions and Cults" on the left margin. Then click on Jehovah's Witness.
After visiting the web-site, I discovered some major doctrinal issues that we differ on. Here are five that you should be aware of if they come knocking on your door.
1. They do not believe that Jesus is God.
2. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a force.
3. They believe that most believers will live on a refurbished earth with Jesus, while God will remain in heaven with a smaller number. ( basically 2 classes of saved people)
4. They believe in soul sleep...that when you die you do not immediately go to be with Christ. You will remain in a sleep state until the second coming of Christ.
5. They do not believe in eternal punishment.
I discovered in my conversation that it is not enough to just to tell that their beliefs are wrong and then state my beliefs. They want proof of what I believe, scripture references that they can read for themselves.
I am thankful for this interaction today. It convicted me. It opened my eyes to the need to know more and the importance of hiding God's Word in my heart. I want to encourage you to think through what you believe and why you believe it. If you are a Christian, can you accurately share your testimony and defend your faith?