Investigating Other Religions

Investigating Other Religions

I (Keith) once had an interesting conversation with two Jehovah’s Witness ladies. While at the airport, one of them offered me a Watchtower magazine. I quickly flipped through it and came across an article titled, “Should you investigate other religions?” (Watchtower 10/15/00 p. 8-9) I asked if I should, and the ladies mentioned that the Bereans in Acts 17:11 were noble minded because they checked the scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was true. They encouraged me to do the same thing. I asked if it was just something I should do, or if they felt that they needed to continue to investigate their religion also. They assured me that since they had the true religion, they no longer needed to question what they believed. It just so happened that I had recently been studying Scientology, so I started to share some of the “off the wall” doctrines that I learned. We both agreed that Scientology was strange, to say the least. I asked them to imagine that I had become a recent convert of Scientology and that I was convinced of its truthfulness. I then pointed out that if I adopted their attitude of not investigating my own religion, I could never leave Scientology for the “truth” of the Watchtower. Seeing the predicament, the Jehovah’s Witness ladies agreed with me that one should continue to examine what they believe and then showed me John 17:3, in the Watchtower’s New World Translation which reads, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God , and of the one you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” They mentioned that the only way to learn about God was to take in knowledge about Him. I pointed out that their Bible said something different than mine did. Theirs said “taking in knowledge of you” while mine says “knowing you.” The Watchtower has purposely mistranslated this verse in order to give the impression that one needs to study with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and get “accurate knowledge” of God before they join their organization to be accepted by Jehovah. They commented that there was no real difference between knowing someone and knowing about them.

Being a Miami Dolphin fan, I told them that I knew about the statistics of former Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino, but would gladly trade that information for the opportunity to know him. They saw my point, but continued to state that you have to know things about someone before you can have a relationship with them. They kept hinting at one specific thing you had to know before you could have a personal relationship with someone. I knew what they where getting at, but waited for them to tell me. They both exclaimed that you have to know someone’s name before you can really get to know them. They attempted to stump me by asking me what God’s name was. I mentioned that the Scripture calls Him, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai and many other names. One of the ladies said that “Jehovah” was His real name and that all those other names where created by man. I then asked her why God inspired them into His Word. She grinned as she realized that God calls himself all of these names. I thought it fascinating that the Jehovah’s Witness ladies would mention having a personal relationship with Jehovah and Jesus when they are taught to “Come to Jehovah’s Organization for salvation” (Watchtower 11/15/81 p. 21) and not to God Himself.

They asked me to think about meeting my wife for the first time and that one of the first things you need to know about her is her name. Once you know that, they asserted, then you can move into a deeper relationship. I believe the next thought to enter my mind was truly from the Lord. I told them that I didn’t think that our relationship with God was like that. Earlier in the conversation I had mentioned that Becky was with child and due any day. We didn’t know anything about this child, and had no idea what he/she will be like. Since we chose not to find out the sex of the child, we didn’t even know our child’s name. We know nothing about this person, but love him/her with all of our hearts. After our child is born, he/she will already recognize our voices, trust us and be loved by us. It may be years before our child knows our names, but because he/she is part of our family, we already have a relationship with this person.

Our relationship with God is not like getting to know some unknown person. It is being born into His family. Romans 8: 8-9 says, “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” I asked if they had the Spirit of Christ. Neither Witness had ever heard of this concept before. At this point I asked to see their Bible and showed them II Corinthians 13:5, which in their mistranslation reads, “Keep testing whether you are in the faith, keep proving what you yourselves are. Or do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in union with you? Unless you are disapproved.” I pointed to the place in the verse that says “in union” and told them that the word “union” was not in the Greek. The text should read, “Jesus Christ in you- unless indeed you fail the test.” The Apostle Paul uses this fact about the Christian faith as a pass or fail test. If Christ is not “in you,” you are not in the true faith.

It was upsetting for these two Jehovah’s Witness ladies to see that the Bible clearly states that if Jesus is not in you, then you aren’t in the true faith. They had no explanation and said that they would have to do some research on the verse. It was obvious that they were very uncomfortable with the fact that the Bible states this. I asked what difference it would make to them if the Bible really says that Jesus should be “in” you and not just “in union” with you. Neither of them would volunteer their thoughts.

The Watchtower teaches that only the anointed 144,000 are born again and have God’s Spirit. At the time the Watchtower taught that to be one of the anointed, one had to be a baptized Witness by the year 1935. Since the majority of Witnesses do not meet this requirement, they consider themselves part of the “great crowd” who are not born-again, do not want to go to heaven, and do not want to be with Jesus in heaven. It was impossible for them to reconcile what the Watchtower teaches with what the Bible says.

At this point they were very nervous and said that they would have someone come over to my house to explain the verse to me. I reminded them about the beginning of our conversation and pointed out that when I showed them something about their faith that would take some investigation, they were not willing to do it themselves. We pray our conversation bothers these two ladies enough to start thinking and checking things out for themselves.

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