Questions to Provoke Thought
These are questions that cause the cultist to see the inconsistency of their position on certain issues. What you are doing is making them commit to a Biblical or scholastic precedent, then allowing them to see that the Watchtower actually denies that precedent. They will either struggle with the contradiction (though not displaying the struggle visibly) or they will shut their minds off to further discussion on the issue by either trying to change the subject or running away. Rather than being third person objective questions, or applying them generally or hypothetically, you are now applying it to the Watchtower specifically. Since the organization is the real culprit rather than the individual Witness, apply the questions to the organization, not "Jehovah's Witnesses." This will help avoid the feeling that they are being personally attacked.
Can the Bible be interpreted correctly only by the Watchtower?
(Acts 17:11; 1 John 2:26,27 "Yes" answer contradicts Scripture, "No" answer contradicts Watchtower GB 166, 167, 171)
What method does the Watchtower use to interpret Scripture?
They say that they just accept it literally, and interpret symbolic passages by other passages that bear on the discussion; Reasoning, p. 204, 205. Yet they break this rule continually, often opting for a "symbolic" understanding of something that they cannot accept literally due to their preconceived theology. Example: John 3:3,5,7; Matt. 24:26-30; John 1:1; Rev. 1:7.
Scholars talk about the historical, grammatical, interpretive method of understanding what the Bible says. (Explain.) Do you think this is a good method?
(Defined as taking into account the historical and cultural meaning of a saying or word and its linguistic significance in order to interpret it correctly. The Watchtower ignores the historical significance of countless passages and interpret the Bible arbitrarily. Example: Luke 16:16-31 and John 10:16.)
Do prominent scholars, either secular or religious, support the Watchtower interpretations of Scripture?
(The scholarly community as a whole is against Watchtower interpretation, both from the Christian and agnostic sectors, due to their dishonest methods and theological bias. While the Watchtower loves to quote scholars on certain points, it is almost always a half-truth or is taken out of context to support their position. At times they will quote from obscure sources which they present as being noteworthy sources, yet are not even recognized in their field as authorities. GB 133-145)
Does the Watchtower believe all other "Christian" groups are false?
(Yes, they do. GB 163, 165, 170; Matt. 7:3; 25:31-46)
Does a person have to be part of the Watchtower organization to be saved?
("Yes" answer cannot be supported by Scripture (Mark 9:37-41). "No" answer contradicts the Watchtower. GB 52, 53, 163, 164)
What does the Watchtower consider as proof that they are the real Christians? Are these marks exclusive to the Watchtower, or are they shared by other religions? (examine each one individually)
(They will give certain standards based on outward appearance rather than heart factors; their "love" is not unconditional love (Matt. 5:43-48), but is dependent upon obedience to the organization; they substitute friendship based on common doctrinal positions for friendship based on the love of Christ. Challenge the "exclusiveness" of each mark by comparing with other cults.)
Review and apply questions from the first section (Common Sense Questions) to the Watchtower now. You are causing them to think about how the WT denies these basic truths.
Force Them to Face the Facts
If you make it this far, you have caused no little disturbance in the mind of the Witness, though he/she may not show it visibly. It is important to be calm and kind above all. You are forcing them to break down the wall they have erected in their mind that protects them from questioning the authority and security of their "mother." The following questions are designed to force them to face the fact that the organization has claimed to be a prophet "like Ezekiel and Jeremiah"; that they have made false prophecies in the name of Jehovah over and over; that they are a relatively new religion that supports itself primarily through distribution of literature; and that they claim to be the only channel or mediator to God. If they deny the truthfulness of any of this, challenge them to investigate the Watchtower material along with you, so that you can see the light as well. If they defend the Watchtower position, review the former questions once more, so that they will at least see that they are no different than any other cult.
Does the organization or leadership claim to be a prophet of God?
(They have plainly said they are a prophet of God just like Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Compare Deut. 18:20-22. GB 58, 59, 61)
Does the leadership claim special direction from God that others cannot receive directly from God?
(They claim the "faithful and discreet slave" is a channel through which the truth flows from Jehovah down to the average Witness. GB 61, Mark 9:38-42)
Can you come to Christ as your mediator?
(Their answer is "no" for 99.7% of the Witnesses. GB 169)
Has the organization made prophecies that have not come true?
(Deut. 18:20-22. GB 62-82, 97-106)
Have your doctrines changed significantly in the past history of your organization?
(Reveals the uninspired source of their doctrine, as well as their effort to harmonize inconsistencies. GB 172)
How long has this religion been around? Can this be demonstrated historically?
("According to the Bible, the line of witnesses of Jehovah reaches back to faithful Abel." Reasoning, p. 202. They thus try and make it appear as if the Jewish patriarchs and the apostles believed the same way they did, which can be proven false historically. Furthermore, they cannot point to any group or person in the last 2000 years that were "true" Christians, at least until Russell came along. Typical cult reasoning. GB 48)
Does your religion sell anything to support itself?
(2 Cor. 2:17 while the Watchtower denies selling its literature in more affluent countries, financial reports reveal that 67% of their income comes from the production and door-to-door sales of literature. They are dishonest in this respect. GB 121-128)
The Witness may not even allow you to proceed beyond a few of these questions, as the questions are quite effective in convicting the Witness of inconsistencies and cultic attitudes. Yet, even so, you will have planted seeds of doubt that force them to either think more about what you have said and examine it further, or flee in fear, refusing to allow their mind to open up again on these questions.
One who masters questions such as these actually need not even discuss the interpretation of other passages beyond what are included above. If the Witness admits to believing the above, you simply have to point out that these are the marks of many religious cults. Emphasize that true Christianity:
* Should not fear any examination, and criticism, and need not forbid reading any other factual information.
* Should interpret the Bible using sound, scholarly methods involving the examination of context, language and history.
* That no other book but the Bible should be necessary (2 Tim. 3:16), and no special man or group of men should be needed to interpret it, as 1 John 2:27 tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things.
* Christianity has been around for 2000 years, and we can trace all the way back to its origins.
* The church is to be supported by collections and offerings, and ministers have the right to be paid. (1 Tim. 5:17,18; 1 Cor. 9:14; 16:2)
* True Christianity has Christ as its mediator, for ALL.
* Jesus warns us against those who claim to be prophets, yet whose prophecies go unfulfilled.
* All Christians have access to the same truths.
* Truth is not afraid of error, nor the devil. Only the devil runs from the truth.
The referencces GB are from my book, Thus Saith Jehovah's Witnesses