Tag Archives: Good News

Witnessing to Witnesses

This morning I was greeted by two Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They were trying to give me some pamphlet when I said that I was a Christian.  One of the guys responded that people have a misconception about Jehovah’s Witnesses.  He said that they are Christians and that we believe the same things.  I set the record straight by telling him that we share a lot of beliefs, but the differences that we have are eternal.

I quoted John 1:1 and then told him what his bible says.  The difference is a simple article.  A doctrinally sound translation says, “the Word was God.”  The Witnesses’ translation says, “the Word was a god.”  

For thirty minutes we discussed the differences in our view.  They believe that Jesus is the Son, but not God.  Then one of the gentlemen quoted Colossians 1:15 to prove Christ’s position as the firstborn of all creation, not God.  In my studies, I have come across CARM which I believe explains this verse not as a matter of physical position, but as a matter of headship.  Genesis 25 establishes this by naming Jacob the firstborn over Esau even though he was physically the second-born.  Bible.org has an extensive explanation of the prototokos concept.

I gently told them that they were going to hell if they do not believe that Jesus is God.  I told them not to take my word for it.  I advised them to read other translations.  Even better, with the Internet, they can easily see what was written in the Greek and the Hebrew.

I don’t know if I was able to reach them or not, but at least they heard the truth.  We live in an age where we don’t want to offend or hurt feelings, but regarding eternal matters, we must not be squeamish. It seems that people only want to emphasize some “permissive love,” which is not loving at all.  God is not some zen swami witch-doctor who teaches hippy love.  God will judge us all accordingly and I would not want to end up in hell because someone did not want to undertake the distasteful task of telling me that I’m wrong and must repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

We are tasked with proclaiming the Good News.  Let’s not forget to warn of the bad news.

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A Little Clearer

I’m always fascinated when I encounter something that helps to refocus my perception.  I’m not saying that I’m willy-nilly in my beliefs.  Quite the contrary.  Yet, I’m continually growing in my faith and my limited understanding is slowly expanding.

Granted, my focus has been on victims of natural disasters and on the homeless (I prefer to consider them as outdoor friends), but the world is much larger than my myopic view.  We live in a world with immeasurable complexity, yet I tend to reduce it to black and white.  Through the lens of the Bible, there are the saved and the unsaved, the ultimate black and white comparison, but oftentimes I find myself usurping the Judge’s Seat.

I’ll admit that I can only consider one idea or issue at a time.  I’m aware that John 3:16 tells us that Jesus came because God loves the world (or more specifically, mankind), but I am also aware that John 3:17 states that the world might be saved through him (emphasis added).  That implies that not all will be saved.  

I believe in the doctrine of election as evidenced in John 15:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and Revelation 13:8 (just to name a few verses).  I also believe in free will as evidenced in the Garden which Paul points out in Romans 5:12.  Two apparent paradoxical truths that are difficult to hold simultaneously.  It’s like a difficult calculus problem that has to be addressed in parts before the answer can be derived.  

The point is that God alone determines who goes to heaven without compromising our free will, and we need to be faithful to what He has charged us with:  to be faithful in proclaiming the Gospel.  

It’s not up to us to decide if the homeless, or the Muslim, or the postmodern, or our neighbor across the street is grafted in.  Our job is simply to proclaim the Good News.