Heart to Heart Talks with Jehovah's WitnessesDescription:

When I saw the title of this book, I thought the format would be a series of conversations or simulated conversations between the author and one or two Jehovah’s Witnesses.

However, inside the front cover the book is described as follows: “Heart to heart talks with those who wish to compare the teachings of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society with the Doctrines of the Holy Scriptures.”

The book is organized by topics and consists of the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Reason

Chapter 2: Some Suggested Methods of Bible Study

Chapter 3: Who Is Your Teacher?

Chapter 4: So Great Salvation

Chapter 5: JW’s and the Deity of Christ

Chapter 6: Maliciously Misrepresenting the Holy Spirit

Chapter 7: Jehovah – Jesus

Chapter 8: The Holy Trinity

Chapter 9: The Atoning Death of Christ

Chapter 10: The Resurrection of Christ

Chapter 11: The Second Coming of Christ

Chapter 12: The Immortality of the Soul

Chapter 13: What the Bible Teaches About Hell

Chapter 14: The One True Religion

Chapter 15: Some Odds & Ends and Some Conclusions

Chapter 16: Life

Strengths:

Because Heart-to-Heart Talks with Jehovah’s Witnesses is organized by topics, it is easy to hone in on the subjects in which you are the most interested. The author contrasts the Watchtower and biblical teachings and devotes most of his efforts to defending the traditional Bible interpretations.

The book contains insights and information I haven’t found elsewhere.

For example, one of the Watchtower arguments in support of its claim that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force comes from the fact that in 2 Corinthians 6:6, the Holy Spirit is mentioned as part of a list of impersonal traits such as patience, kindness, and sincerity. Duncan gives the following explanation: “the Holy Spirit is included in this list to show that it is the virtue of His influence which produces these graces and other gifts.” (p. 99)

The Watchtower also claims that because “holy spirit” appears in the Greek text many times without a definite article preceding it, this indicates lack of personality. In response, Duncan notes that there are at least 73 times in the Greek New Testament where the definite article is used with reference to the Holy Spirit. (p. 97). He goes on to note that the Greek word for Jesus occurs 909 times in the New Testament, 359 times without the definite article. He remarks, “Thus, if we follow the arguments presented by the [Watchtower] writers concerning the use of the article with the Holy Spirit, we could also prove that Jesus is not a person!” (p. 98)

Limitations:

Duncan’s book provides a great deal of information, but it doesn’t explain how to get the points across to the Witnesses. That is, doctrinal understanding—not witnessing advice—is the book’s focus.

At times, the author addresses Jehovah’s Witnesses directly as if they were the audience for the book: “I am not seeking to get you out of one organization into another.” (p. 21). However, most of the book is addressed to the general reader.

These shifts can be distracting. However, if we look past that problem, the book can be a valuable reference for information and reasoning that I haven’t found in any other source.

 

Your turn:

Based on my review, do you think Duncan’s book would be helpful to you in dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses?

 Share your thoughts in the comments.