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When Jesus was dying on the cross, he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46)? After Jesus resurrection from the dead, he appears to Mary Magdalene, and she immediately clings to Him. In response Jesus says to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ (John 20:17; cf. Rev. 3:2, 12).
“Jesus never calls Himself God,” exclaimed my Jehovah’s Witness friend in a moment of frustration. “He calls Himself the Son of God, not God. There is a huge difference.” This is another common assertion made by well-meaning, but misinformed Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, if Jesus is the Son of God, then He isn’t God. For example, if Andy Barnett is the son of Ed Barnett, then Andy isn’t Ed.
Does the New Testament teach us to worship Jesus? Absolutely. We can find multiple instances throughout the New Testament of various people worshipping Jesus. So, how is it that Jehovah’s Witnesses can claim that Jesus was never worshipped?
Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This unique, historical event is foundational to Christianity. In fact, the apostle Paul says, And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:17–19)
How should we speak to Jehovah’s Witnesses about Jesus? That was the topic of a recent one-hour interview I did for The Evangelist’s Podcast. Most of us have had the experience of hearing a knock at the door only to discover that it’s a pair of well-dressed Jehovah’s Witnesses wanting to talk about the latest Watchtower publication.
Last month, Brett Kunkle and I spent six hours training students in apologetics at Watermark Community Church, a very large church in the Dallas area. Brett opened the conference by role-playing an atheist. This allows the students to gauge their own ability at making a defense of their faith. During the role-play, it became obvious that most of these students were working with a mistaken definition of faith.
Last month I had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of high school students at Hume Lake Christian Camp in California. One of the sessions was titled Ask Me Anything. On this particular occasion, many of the questions related to science and faith. In fact, one question kept coming up: How should we understand the creation account in Genesis 1?