In Chapter 3 of “Bible Teach”, the Watchtower makes five main assertions, each of which requires our attention and discussion:
- God’s purpose of an earthly paradise hasn’t been fulfilled because of the sinful rebellion of Satan and humans.
- Human beings inherited sin from Adam.
- We are in the middle of a sovereignty challenge initiated by Satan against Jehovah.
- Satan is the current ruler of this world.
- God’s Kingdom will soon remove Satan and make the earth a paradise.
In this post, I’ll cover Assertions #1-#2. Next time, I’ll discuss Assertions #3-#5.
Watchtower Assertion #1: God’s purpose of an earthly paradise hasn’t been fulfilled because of the sinful rebellion of Satan and humans.
Paragraphs 4-7 (pp. 28-29) of Chapter 3 state that Satan is an angel who was created by God but later rebelled against him, that Satan he tempted Adam and Eve, leading them to disobey God.
As a Christian, you can build bridges with the Witnesses by agreeing with all of that.
However, the Watchtower has framed it in terms of God’s purpose for man being life on a paradise earth.
At this juncture, I personally will agree with them that one day the earth will be a paradise and that humans will live there, but I will also express my conviction that heaven and earth are not mutually exclusive. Angels are able to exist in either place and to travel back and forth. Is there any reason why God can’t enable human beings to do that as well?
If the Witnesses try to turn the discussion into a debate about whether a person can exist in heaven with a physical body rather than a “spirit body,” I just tell them that I believe God can do whatever he wants to.
If they continue to press the issue, that’s when I would use The Bodily Resurrection Approach from my book
If they continue to press the issue, that’s when I would use The Bodily Resurrection Approach from my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways.
Watchtower Assertion #2: Human beings inherited sin from Adam.
Paragraph 7 (p. 29) states, “Since Adam became imperfect when he sinned, all his offspring inherited sin from him.” It gives an illustration of a dented bread pan that produces bread loaves with the same dent.
That’s interesting, but Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t seem to understand that this sinful nature involves an inner compulsion to sin that we can’t overcome by education, commitment, and self-effort, even if we live through the full 1,000 years of Christ’s millennial kingdom on earth.
I recommend that you ask one of them to read aloud from his Watchtower translation Romans 7:18-20: “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells nothing good; for I have the desire to do what is fine but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good that I wish, but the bad that I do not wish is what I practice. If, then, I do what I do not wish, I am no longer the one carrying it out, but it is the sin dwelling in me.”
Ask how we can overcome that sinful nature. They will probably talk about progressing to perfection during the millennial kingdom on earth.
That’s a good point at which to use The Righteousness Approach from my book, which asks them to explain in detail just how we are going to advance to perfection.
The objective of that approach is to help Jehovah’s Witnesses see that striving to become righteous enough to prove worthy of everlasting life is an impossible task.
If they want to get into an extended discussion at this point, you can follow up with The New Birth Approach, showing them the need we all have for an inner transformation by the Holy Spirit.
In next week’s post, we’ll examine Watchtower Assertions #3-#5.