Masters of DeceptionDescription:

When I was studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the study conductors presented me with a barrage of proof texts for which I had no answer or explanation.

Masters of Deception was written to provide those answers. The author, F.W. Thomas, states, “Our primary reason in putting out this volume is to answer the false charges which the JW deceivers hurl against the Christian Church” and to “enable Christians to withstand and blunt the ferocity of the Watchtower onslaught, which has swept so many into perdition.” (pp. xiii-xiv)

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

Chapter 1: Clearing the Decks

Chapter 2: The Holy Trinity

Chapter 3: The Deity of Christ

Chapter 4: Christ Is Worshipped

Chapter 5: The Word—Who Is He?

Chapter 6: The Resurrection of Christ

Chapter 7: The Great Farce [about Watchtower false prophecies]

Chapter 8: Did Christ Return in 1914?

Chapter 9: Justified Lying

Chapter 10: The Soul

Chapter 11: So-Called Evidence Against Hell

Chapter 12: The Dead Are Conscious

Chapter 13: The Doctrine of Hell Torment

Chapter 14: Another Gospel [about the Watchtower’s two-class system)

Chapter 15: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Bible [Watchtower authority]

Chapter 16: The One Channel

Scripture Index

Strengths:

The paperback version of the book is only 162 pages long, yet Thomas covers a remarkable amount of ground. He is well-versed in Watchtower arguments and proof texts and he is thorough in refuting them.

For example, here are the subheadings of Chapter 11: “So-Called Evidence Against Hell,” showing the scope of the Watchtower arguments and proof texts he addresses:

  • No wisdom in the grave (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  • Dead know not anything (Ecclesiastes 9:5)
  • No remembrance in Sheol (Psalm 6:5)
  • Thoughts perish (Psalm 146:4)
  • The name of the wicked shall rot (Proverbs 10:7)
  • The wicked shall not rise (Isaiah 26:13-14)
  • Dig into hell (Amos 9:2)
  • Death (Ezekiel 18:4)
  • A God of love

In some situations, Thomas uses a substitution technique, which I have found can be an effective way of refuting Watchtower arguments. For example, he looks at the Watchtower’s teaching that “spirit” means “life-force” or “breath.” He substitutes the words into various scriptures to show the absurdity of the Watchtower’s definition. Example: Acts 17:16: “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his BREATH was stirred in him.” (p. 107).

Limitations:

The author states in no uncertain terms: “We who are witnesses for Christ have not been sent forth by our Lord to be public relations men. Our message is not one of compromise. Neither have we been commission to be diplomats.” (p. 3). He decries Christians in “the namby-pamby camp” and “those of the wishy-washy persuasion” (p. 2) who object to telling anyone that they are wrong.

This attitude often leads him to be caustic. This condescending tone detracts from the book and certainly is not the way to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Example: “The twisted blind pride of JW’s will not allow them to accept the irrefutable evidence which has been submitted proving that Christ is to be worshipped.” (p.37)

Example: “It is ridiculous for JW’s to say they believe in the Resurrection of Christ.” (p. 71)

There are some topics the book does not address, such as the Watchtower’s ban on blood transfusions and its earlier bans on organ transplants and vaccinations.

Despite these issues, the substantive refutations of a great deal of Watchtower teaching and defense of orthodox Christianity make Masters of Deception a valuable resource for Christians who are looking for answers to Watchtower claims.

 

Your turn:

Are there Watchtower proof texts you find hard to explain? Have you found good resources to help you?

 Share your thoughts in the comments.