Other Worldviews

Talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses? Start Here

Author Tim Barnett Published on 01/07/2020

It may come as a surprise, but some of the most popular articles on the Stand to Reason blog are on the topic of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, in 2019, two of the top ten articles were on specific challenges from Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The reason for this isn’t complicated. People—like you and me—are being challenged by Jehovah’s Witnesses and, as a result, are looking for answers.

Over the last few years, I’ve responded to a number of objections from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Until now, these articles were scattered all over the STR website. I decided it would be helpful to put them all in one place.

Common Beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses Refuted

Where Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Get Their Name?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that they alone are God’s chosen witnesses to the world. As justification for their self-designation, they cite Isaiah 43:10. By applying this verse to themselves, Jehovah’s Witnesses testify that they are the only true witnesses of Jehovah. But is that what this verse is really communicating?

Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is the archangel Michael. Here we evaluate the evidence they present and show that it doesn’t hold up.

Did Jesus Die on a Torture Stake?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus did not die on a cross. Instead, they believe He died on a stake. There are a number of problems with this view. Rather than provide a comprehensive case, let me give you five talking points for the next time a Jehovah’s Witness tells you Jesus died on a stake.

Did Jesus Rise Spiritually from the Dead?
Jehovah’s Witnesses take the resurrection of Jesus to be non-physical. Jesus’ physical body did not rise; He only rose as a spirit being. However, we have good reasons to believe the body that died on the cross is the same body that rose three days later, leaving an empty tomb.

Did Constantine Invent the Deity of Jesus at the Council of Nicea?
Jehovah’s Witnesses think Emperor Constantine invented the deity of Christ in the fourth century at the Council of Nicea. However, a look at quotes from the early church fathers shows this is an egregious misrepresentation of the facts. In this article, I offer a list of quotations that predate the Council of Nicea to demonstrate that the early church believed Jesus is God.

Is the Trinity a Pagan Invention?
Few doctrines of the Christian faith are more essential than the Trinity, yet many people are deeply confused about its nature. Sadly, this can prevent individuals from truly knowing God (Jn 17:3).

Common Challenges to the Deity of Jesus Refuted

Was Jesus the First Created Being?
When Christians try to argue for the deity of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to bring up Colossians 1:15. But what does this verse really teach?

Does Proverbs 8:22 Teach That Jesus Was Created?
When you tell Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus is uncreated, they are likely to take you directly to Proverbs 8:22–30 in their New World Translation (NWT). They believe this is undeniable proof that Jesus was the first created creature. But is that what this verse is actually teaching?

Is Christ Inferior to the Father?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a lesser deity than the Father. To justify this belief, they point to verses that spotlight Jesus’ submission to the Father (e.g., Jesus said, “The Father is greater than I,” in John 14:28). How should we respond?

What Does It Mean for Jesus to Be the Son of God?
According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, if Jesus is the Son of God, then He isn’t God. However, this misunderstands what is meant by “Son of God.”

What Does It Mean That Jesus Is God’s Only Begotten Son?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was literally begotten. If Jesus was begotten, then he is a created being. Therefore, he cannot be God. Many Christians are unequipped to address this challenge primarily because it trades on the definition of a Greek word. However, once you understand the definition of the Greek work in play, the challenge evaporates.

If Jesus Is God, Why Does He Call the Father “My God?”
On multiple occasions, Jesus explicitly calls the Father “my God.” According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus cannot have a God if He is God. However, this assumes what needs to be proved.

How Could Jesus Be God if He Didn’t Know the Time of His Return?
Jehovah’s Witnesses love to cite Mark 13:32 as proof that Jesus cannot be God. If Jesus is God, then He is omniscient. But this text says the Son is not omniscient. After all, it identifies something the Son doesn’t know. Therefore, Jesus can’t be God. How do we respond?

Common Challenges to the Personhood of the Holy Spirit Refuted

Is the Holy Spirit an Impersonal Force?
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. Instead, they believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal active force. Yet, the New Testament attributes three primary characteristics of personhood to the Holy Spirit: will, mind, and emotions.

Three Common Objections to the Personhood of the Holy Spirit
Is the personhood language used for the Holy Spirit merely personification? Why doesn't the Holy Spirit have a personal name? How can a person fill people?

Tools for Better Conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses

Ready for the Knock on Your Door
Most of us have answered a knock on our door, only to discover a smiling, well-dressed couple—Watchtower publication in hand—standing on the other side, waiting to talk with us about the gospel according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I want to give you some tools to help you make the greatest impact possible in your conservations with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Being Tactical with Jehovah’s Witnesses
In our discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses, we need to be tactical. That is, we need to anticipate their typical maneuvers to better guide the conversation. Follow these three strategies to make the most out of your conversation.

You Might Be a Gardener
Speaking with Jehovah’s Witnesses about spiritual things can be frustrating at times. I think this is because we don’t usually see the immediate fruit of our labor. All that we see is the labor. After frequent fruitless spiritual conversations, we might be tempted to ask, What’s the point? Don’t give up. You might be a gardener, not a harvester.