When discussing faith and works, Jehovah’s Witnesses will insist on looking at James 2. They will cite you verses that seem to flatly contradict Paul.
Here are some examples. (pp. 97-100)
- Paul (Romans 3:28): “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
- James (James 2:24): “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
- Paul (Romans 4:2-5): “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as’ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.”
- James (James 2:20-23): “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.”
After they have cited you their proof texts from James, say something like this: “That’s confusing, isn’t it? At first blush, those verses seem to be saying the exact opposite. What do you think? Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Paul and James contradict each other? Does Jehovah’s Word contradict itself?” They will have to say no.
Again, putting the onus on them to be the teachers, add, “Then help me out here. How do you reconcile them?” Continue reading