Watch This!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Apologetics and Evangelism: JW's part 2

I recently paid a visit to the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. It was quite interesting. It actually reminded me of some old sales meetings that I used to attend when I sold CUTCO knives (which are the best ever). Thay did some role-playing in preparation for the front door visits and when speaking to people in the workplace. It was not what I expected, but in hindsight I guess it shoud have been. A few of the people from the Kingdom Hall actually stood up to speak and were given feedback by one of the more experienced JW's. I have to say, this type of preparation puts many (if not most) of our churches to shame. I won't say anything more about that.

The reason for my visit (on which I was accompanied by my two friends: John and Enric) was because I have been visited a couple of times by JW's, and the last time (last Tuesday) one of them told me where he attended. My goal was to be an open witness because I was told that it was a question and answer time. It wasn't, though. We had to endure the whole "service" before we were able to interact with the people. By God's grace, we had the opportunity to witness to several people.

I have noticed in my more recent dealings with these folks that they are apt to use Proverbs 8 as evidence for Christ's lack of eternality. They assert that Christ is who is being referred to as wisdom in this passage. They say that since this wisdom speaks of herself (wisdom refers to herself in the feminine) as being "produced" (v. 23 New World Translation=NWT) and "brought forth as with labor pains" (v. 24 NWT), then Christ was a merely a creation of God who was "beside" God (v. 30) during the creation of everything else.

There are a couple problems with this theory of theirs. First, there is no other place in Scripture, to my knowledge, which lends support for this view. I appreciate typology in the OT referring to Christ, but I think that since there are no explicit explanations of this passage as referring to Christ then we should be careful how far we take this. Second (and adding to the first), wisdom is said to "dwell with prudence" (v. 12 NWT). Does this mean that Jesus has a sister named Prudence? Wisdom is also referred to as a she in this passage. I know that that isn't the strongest argument, but no one is going to agree to the idea that Christ is a feminine being no matter how much our post-modern culture tries.

I think that Proverbs 8 needs to be stretched pretty far in order to apply it fully to Christ. Sure, wisdom could be some kind of picture of Christ as the ultimate example of wisdom displayed in history, but in order to fully apply a passage as a type we need more Scriptural interpretation than what is asserted by the JW's. For example, in Isaiah 6 we are told that Isaiah "got to see Jehovah" (v. 1 NWT). We are also told in John 1:18, "No man has seen God (notice the big G) at any time..." but "...the only begotten god (and the little g)..." If this is true, who did Isaiah see. The text says that he saw JEHOVAH. Well, in John 12:41 we are told by the inspired writer of Scripture that Isaiah was speaking of Christ. So if Isaiah said that He saw Jehovah and John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that Isaiah was speaking of Christ, then we are safe in concluding that Christ is Jehovah. That is a safe way of interpreting unclear passages in the OT. Look to a confirmation of your theory by a NT writer.

If your JW friend has a problem seeing the connection between John 12 and Isaiah 6, tell him to take a look at the cross reference at verse 41 in John 12. It references Isaiah 6:1.

No comments:

Dramatized Exegesis