• Using Soundbites to Communicate - What type of rhetoric do you find more persuasive—long, carefully crafted arguments or concise, easy-to-remember soundbites? By “soundbites,” I mean brief, catchy comments or sayings that convey the essence of your message and stick in the minds of your audience. Effective persuaders use soundbites.
  • The Positives of Soundbite Witnessing - In the context of religious dialogue, soundbite witnessing means sharing or defending one’s faith through the use of short, memorable statements, questions, or quotations. Let’s look at some of the positives of soundbite witnessing.
  • The Negatives of Soundbite Witnessing - As we saw in the first two blog articles in this series, using soundbites in witnessing can be a very effective communication tool. Unfortunately, it also has a downside.
  • Soundbite Witnessing Safeguards - As we saw in the previous blog article, using soundbites in witnessing has a downsides. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them. However, it does mean that it’s important to establish some safeguards.
  • What Did Jesus Say Would Be Raised? - The Watchtower teaches that Jesus’ body never rose from the dead. Rather, “at his resurrection from the dead, Jesus was brought forth with a spirit body.” Let’s see if we can come up with a good soundbite response.
  • What Did Jesus Say Had Been Raised? - Last time, we asked, “What did Jesus say would be raised?” We looked at his prophecy in John 2:19-21 that if his body was destroyed, in three days he would raise it up. This time, let’s look at what happened after the resurrection and see what Jesus had to say about his resurrected form.
  • Dealing with the “Locked Room” Argument - If Jesus rose from the dead in a physical body, how did he suddenly appear in the middle of a locked room? Let’s see if we can come up with a soundbite answer for this Watchtower question.
  • Dealing with the “Invisible Jesus” Argument - In an effort to prove that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit creature, the Watchtower notes that Acts 10:41 says, “He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” Based on this, they ask, "Why did not others see him too? Because he was a spirit creature and when, as angels had done in the past, he materialized fleshly bodies to make himself visible, he did so only in the presence of his disciples." You can answer this argument with two soundbites.
  • Dealing with the Watchtower’s 1 Corinthians 15 Arguments - The Watchtower cites 1 Corinthians 15 as “proof” that Jesus could not have been resurrected with a physical body. 1 Cor. 15:40, 42-44, 47-50: There are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one sort, and that of the earthly bodies is a different sort. So also is the resurrection of the dead. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. . . . The first man [Adam] is out of the earth and made of dust; the second man [Jesus Christ] is out of heaven. As the one made of dust is, so those made of dust are also; and as the heavenly one is, so those who are heavenly are also. And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one. However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (There is no allowance here for any mixing of the two sorts of bodies or the taking of a fleshly body to heaven.) [1] You can see how Jehovah’s Witnesses turn this into soundbites: “Heavenly bodies… earthly bodies” “Physical body… spiritual body” “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” Let’s see how we can come up with a soundbite response.
  • Discussing Annihilationism - The Watchtower does not believe in everlasting conscious punishment. It states: “The very idea of eternal torment is repugnant to God,” the Watchtower says. “His maximum punishment for the wicked is to revoke the gift of life.” I recommend that you counter the Watchtower’s annihilation-of-the-wicked doctrine with soundbites such as the ones set out below.
  • Discussing Everlasting Punishment - The Watchtower calls the concept of conscious everlasting punishment of unrepentant human beings a “God-dishonoring doctrine” originated by Satan as a slander on God. What are some good ways to answer this claim?
  • Challenging 1914 from the Bible - The Watchtower claims that the “Gentile Times” ended and Jesus received rulership authority from Jehovah in 1914. It would be hard to overstate the importance of this assertion to the Watchtower’s claim to be Jehovah’s one true organization on the earth today The 1914 date is critical to the Watchtower’s claim that its leadership is the “faithful and discreet slave” spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:45.... How can we get Jehovah’s Witnesses to question all this without getting bogged down in a morass of historical data and complicated reasoning?
  • Challenging 1914 From Watchtower Literature - The Watchtower claims that the “Gentile Times” ended and Jesus received rulership authority from Jehovah in 1914. The 1914 date is critical to the Watchtower’s claim that its leadership is the “faithful and discreet slave” spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:45. Here's how to challenge the Watchtower's chronology using only Watchtower literature.
  • Discussing the Cross - Jehovah’s Witnesses often go to great lengths to try to prove to us that Jesus died on a single, upright “torture stake” rather than on a traditional cross. I don’t think most of us care about the shape of the instrument on which he died. However, because the Watchtower attacks Christians over this issue and has convinced Witnesses that this is an issue which distinguishes authentic and false Christianity, the Holy Spirit may lead you to engage them on this topic.
  • Discussing Paid Clergy - The Watchtower asks, “What group is noted for having no paid clergy, all of its members being preachers?” It sets itself apart from the church of Christendom this way: “Some religious leaders do preach for money… In contrast, the Witnesses have no paid clergy, and often their Bible literature is offered without price to sincere seekers of truth…" Usually, I avoid discussions on this topic because it’s not a salvation issue. However, sometimes we need to address it.
  • Must We Pray to Jehovah by Name? - Jehovah’s Witnesses stress the importance of knowing and using the divine name, “Jehovah.” They will tell you that Jesus believed the name “Jehovah” was of critical importance, and therefore we should also. The Watchtower asks, "How important is God's name? Consider the model prayer that Jesus Christ gave. It begins this way: 'Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.' (Matthew 6:9) Later, Jesus prayed to God: 'Father, glorify your name.' In response, God spoke from heaven, saying: 'I both glorified it and will glorify it again.' (John 12:28) Clearly, God's name is of the utmost importance.” Witnesses may also claim that God’s name “was clearly of crucial importance to him [Jesus] since he mentioned it repeatedly in his own prayers.” Here is a good soundbite response: “Could you please show me one passage where Jesus begins one of his prayers by saying by addressing God as ‘Jehovah.’”
  • Did Jesus Call God “Jehovah” in Public? - The Watchtower argues as follows: Jesus declared in prayer to his Father: “I have made your name known… and will make it known.” (John 17:26) Jesus would undoubtedly have pronounced God’s name on numerous occasions when he read, quoted, or explained portions of the Hebrew Scriptures containing that important name. Jesus would thus have used God’s name just as freely as all the prophets did before him. If any Jews were already avoiding the use of God’s name during the time of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus would certainly not have followed their tradition. He strongly criticized the religious leaders when he said to them: “You have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition.—Matthew 15:6.” Let's come up with some soundbite responses.
  • Must We Call God “Jehovah” in Order to Have Intimacy with Him? - The Watchtower insists that we must use the name “Jehovah” in order to have an intimate relationship with God. It states: “In replacing God's name with titles, Bible translators make a serious mistake. They make God seem remote and impersonal, whereas the Bible urges humans to cultivate ‘intimacy with Jehovah.' (Psalms 25:14) Think of an intimate friend of yours. How close would you really be if you never learned your friend's name? Similarly, when people are kept in ignorance about God's name, Jehovah, how can they become truly close to God?" Here's how to answer them.