I was approached by two Jehovah’s Witness elders who handed me a pamphlet advertising the JW .ORG website. Each man carried a Bible and an Apple iPad. They told me that they enjoyed visiting with people about the Bible, and asked if I was a Bible reader. I replied that I have read and studied the Bible and that, while I consider myself to be a spiritual person, I have no interest at all in organized religion. I also told them that I am familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses enough to have concerns about some of their teachings. They asked if I could be more specific.
I said that I particularly have a problem with the Watchtower teaching of two classes of Christians having separate hopes, with only 144,000 going to heaven, when the Bible teaches that all Christians share one hope. (Ephesians 4:4)
I asked them to use their iPads to access the book Insight On the Scriptures (the Watchtower’s Bible encyclopedia), and to look up the word ‘sanctuary,’ making note of the definition provided there. They did so, noting the definition, “a divine habitation.” Next, I asked them to access the Watchtower’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures and to look up Luke chapter 1, verses 9 and 21, making note of the literal meaning of the Greek word rendered there as ‘sanctuary.’ They did so, acknowledging the expression “divine habitation.” Next, I asked them to look up Revelation chapter 7, verse 15, making note of the literal meaning of the same Greek word rendered there as ‘temple.’ They did so, again acknowledging the expression “divine habitation.” I then asked the following question: According to that scripture, where in the spiritual temple did John see the “great crowd” worshiping God, in the outer courtyard (as the Watchtower teaches) or in the sanctuary? They had to admit that, according to that scripture, John saw the “great crowd” worshiping God in the sanctuary (divine habitation) of the spiritual temple.
Finally, I asked them to look up the word ‘temple’ in the book Insight On the Scriptures to see what it says concerning the hope of those worshiping God in the sanctuary of the spiritual temple. They read for themselves where it says, “The Holy [or sanctuary] represents their condition as spirit-begotten sons of God, with heavenly life in view, and they will attain to that heavenly reward when their fleshly bodies are laid aside in death.” I asked if they believe the “great crowd” to be spirit-begotten sons of God with heavenly life in view. They never did answer that question, but said that they needed to do some more research on the information I had provided.
I then asked them to access the article, “Is It Wrong to Change Your Religion?” in the July 2009 Awake magazine. I directed their attention to the following statement from that article: “No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds objectionable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family.” After they had read that statement, I asked, “In view of that statement, why do Jehovah’s Witnesses actively shun exemplary Christians, including family members, who voluntarily leave the religion for conscientious reasons, such as Watchtower teachings which contradict the Bible?” Again, they could not answer my question.