Last time, I gave you brief descriptions of what’s in each of the four chapters of Section 1 of my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways.
Now I’d like to give you a preview of Section 2. This section focus on how to get across to Jehovah’s Witnesses the Bible’s real plan of salvation.
Here are short summaries of what each of those chapters includes:
SECTION 2: DISCUSSING SALVATION
This doctrinal chapter explains and documents the critical differences between Watchtower and Bible teachings regarding what we must do in order to be saved. The Bible’s plan of salvation is based on grace and on the inner transformation which the new birth provides. This transformation is what enables us to do godly works. In contrast, the Watchtower’s plan of salvation is a works-oriented system in which all but 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses must progress to perfection on their own merit without the need for or benefit of a new birth.
The Righteousness Approach
The objective of this approach is to help Jehovah’s Witnesses see that striving to become righteous enough to prove worthy of everlasting life is an impossible task.
Instead of arguing about whether there are separate “heavenly” and “earthly” classes of believers (as Witnesses anticipate), this approach does the unexpected by asking the Witnesses to explain in detail the Watchtower’s teaching that a person can progress to perfection and be declared righteous on his own merit by the end of Christ’s millennial reign. The goal is to help Witnesses see that the Watchtower system does nothing to cure them of their inherited sin nature and leaves them permanently unsure of their salvation. This will give you an opening to offer the biblical alternative.
The Come to Jesus Approach
The objective of this approach is to help Jehovah’s Witnesses see their need to come to Jesus Christ personally in order to obtain salvation.
This approach avoids doctrinal arguments and postpones discussion about the deity of Christ. It focuses instead on showing Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible passages which teach that we are obeying Jehovah God when we come to Jesus personally for salvation and disobeying Jehovah if we do not. The chapter describes the barriers Watchtower theology creates to this type of personal relationship and gives practical advice on how to overcome them.
The Faith and Works Approach
The objective of this approach is to correct Jehovah’s Witnesses’ false view that “justification by faith” is a license to sin and to show them the biblical relationship between faith and works in the Christian life.
Christians almost always begin with “faith” verses and Jehovah’s Witnesses counter with “works” verses. Little is accomplished. This approach starts the opposite way. You will begin by quoting “faith without works is dead” and expressing belief in the importance of works in the Christian life. Your next step will be to refer the Witnesses to Romans 4, asking them to explain what Paul means when he says that God declares the ungodly person righteous by faith apart from works. Attempting to answer this question will require Witnesses to examine Paul’s teaching that good works have no role in saving us but rather are the product of an inner transformation which comes about solely by grace through faith.
The Bodily Resurrection Approach
The objective of this approach is to refute the Watchtower’s two-class, two-paths-to-salvation system by showing that all Christians will be raised from the dead—as Jesus was—in a glorified physical body of flesh and bones.
Jehovah’s Witnesses think we believe that saved people will live forever in heaven as incorporeal spirits. You will begin unexpectedly by agreeing that we will be resurrected in physical form. You will point out that the Bible says Christians’ resurrections will be similar to that of Jesus and will ask the Witnesses’ take on passages where Jesus both states and demonstrates that he rose bodily from the dead. This will open the way to show them that the new birth is not something only for an anointed 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses who will undergo a “spirit resurrection” but rather is an experience that is essential for everyone’s salvation.
The New Birth Approach
The objective of this approach is to show Jehovah’s Witnesses that the new birth involves an inner transformation of a person by the Holy Spirit and is the only way by which anyone can obtain eternal life.
This approach centers on showing the Witnesses their need for a transforming new birth. You will start by asking them a question they have never considered—why Jesus expressed surprise that Nicodemus didn’t already understand his need to be born again. You will then go on to show them from Jeremiah and Ezekiel that God had already revealed that one day he would put a new spirit and a new heart within all his people, not just within 144,000 “anointed” believers.
I’ll discuss Section 3 next week.
The paperback edition is available for $14.99; the Kindle edition is available for $9.99. If you order the paperback, you can get the Kindle version free under Amazon’s Matchbook program.
Here is a link you can use to obtain your copy: Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways