Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a 458-page paperback that has sold over 100,000 copies.
Each chapter deals with a specific doctrinal issue. It begins with a summary of Watchtower teaching on that topic. It then discusses and refutes the major arguments made by the Watchtower and explains and defends the Christian alternative. The chapter then presents highlighted “Ask…” segments, questions the reader can ask the Witnesses to show them the flaws in the Watchtower’s reasoning.
Rhodes then draws upon and expands on witnessing do’s and don’ts recommended by the late cult expert, Dr. Walter Martin. This five-page concluding chapter gives the reader four do’s and two don’ts regarding witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Reasoning From the Scriptures With the Jehovah’s Witnesses contains the following chapters:
Chapter 1: The Watchtower Society: God’s Organization or Cultic Tyrant?
Chapter 2: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Divine Name
Chapter 3: The Christ of the New World Translation
Chapter 4: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Gospel of John
Chapter 5: Is Christ Inferior to the Father?—Part 1
Chapter 6: Is Christ Inferior to the Father?—Part 2
Chapter 7: Mistaken Identity—Is Christ the Archangel Michael?
Chapter 8: Identifying the Holy Spirit
Chapter 9: The Trinity: Biblical Doctrine or Pagan Lie?
Chapter 10: The Great Divide: The “Anointed Class” and the “Other Sheep”
Chapter 11: Salvation the Watchtower Way
Chapter 12: Understanding the Soul and Soul-Sleep
Chapter 13: The Watchtower Society: A Non-Prophet Organization
Chapter 14: Controversial Issues: Blood Transfusions, Birthdays, and Wearing Crosses
Chapter 15: Witnessing to the Jehovah’s Witnesses
Rhodes’ book has so many good features, I wish I had written it!
The first strength of the book is the breadth of topics it covers. No book can cover everything, but if you look at the chapter titles I set out above, you’ll see that Rhodes has covered the vast majority of issues you are likely to end up discussing with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The book’s second strength is the depth the author goes into under each topic. He sets out and defends the Christian positions and offers refutations of nearly all the Watchtower’s arguments and proof texts.
The third strength is the “Ask…” questions in each chapter. The author rightly assesses that the best way to get Witnesses to think is usually through asking good questions rather than making statements.
The fourth strength is the witnessing do’s and don’ts in the concluding chapter. It’s easy to skim through the chapter in order to finish the book, but I recommend that you pause awhile and really take the advice to heart.
Ironically, some of the book’s strengths also pose the greatest challenges.
On looking at the breadth of topics covered in this 458-page book, it is easy to throw up your hands, think, “I’ll never master all this,” and give up. To counter this, I recommend that you relax as you work your way through the book for the first time. Get whatever you can out of the first reading and don’t worry about things you miss. You can always reread.
The same challenge occurs with regard to the depth of the discussions. You can’t possibly remember everything. I recommend that you use the book as a reference encyclopedia. If you know you will be discussing, say, the Holy Spirit with the Witnesses in your next session, study that particular chapter. Master a few key points rather than trying to master every nuance. If the Witnesses spring a topic on you suddenly, tell them that you will need more time to think about it and study it before you can discuss it with them intelligently. Then reschedule that topic.
The ”Ask…” questions can also seem overwhelming. I considered listing all the questions for one of the chapters to show you what Rhodes recommends. However, many of the chapters contain more than 20 questions!
Remember that you don’t need to ask the Witnesses everything Rhodes suggests, nor do you have to memorize his questions word-for-word. Jot down the questions you think will be the most effective in getting the Witnesses to think, and feel free to put them in your own words. Be flexible. If you sense that you are getting through to the Witnesses with a question you pose, stick with that inquiry. Quality is better than quantity. When something is having an impact, don’t spoil things by rushing on to something else. Remember how Jesus often made important points with just one or two questions.
With regard to the witnessing do’s and don’ts, don’t reproach yourself if you don’t excel at all of them. You’ll get better with experience. We all make mistakes, and nothing works all the time. Be thankful for any progress you do make, and continue to dialogue with Jehovah’s Witnesses in spite of the mistakes you may make.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by a comprehensive book like this one? Do you find my suggestions helpful?
Share your thoughts in the comments.