Friday, April 22, 2011

A "Witness" Encounters a Witness Presentation of the Resurrection of Christ

What prompts this posting is a situation that happened this morning.  I was just finishing up doing some initial paperwork to get my day organized when I was greeted by a lady who came into the service department to have a state inspection done.  This customer was one that I had visited with in the past, and had learned that she was a member of a non-Christian cult, known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

Have you ever had an encounter with one the members of the Jehovah's Witnesses?  Where do you start?  Well she was offering me a copy of their latest Watchtower Magazine about Jesus and His mission to earth.  Perhaps you might be thinking where do I begin?  What do I talk about?  What do I share? 

What you do is let the dialogue take its shape with their initial statements.  To give you an example, let me share with you how the dialogue went: 

JW Lady:  Good morning Sir.  I remember when my friend and I were last here you expressed that you were a 'spiritual person' and had questions about our group (not really interpreted by her correctly but I played along).  I have a magazine the I think you will be very interested in (showing me the Watchtower).  Would you like to take this copy of it?

Me:  Well, I don't know what you mean by spiritual but thank you.  Do you mind if I ask you a question? 

JW Lady:  Sure go ahead.

Me:  This is a very exciting time of year for many of us Christians, particularly those of us how have studied the historical facts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  My question is this:  Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead in the same body in which He was crucified?

JW Lady (surprisingly looking incredulous):  Um, ah.  Why are you asking me this question? [I didn't expect her to be bothered this early in the conversation]

Me:  Well, would you agree with me that if Jesus is not risen, we are still in our sins? 

JW Lady (still disturbed by the question):  I want to know why you asked me the question!

Me:  Don't you think it is an important question? 

JW Lady:  Why did you ask me that question?!?

Me:  I have encountered many people open to discussing this question and have found out that there are many in the church and outside of the church that really do not understand the impact of of Jesus' bodily resurrection. 

JW Lady:  I still want to know why you asked me that question.

Me:  Ma'am I am not cloaking anything I just want to know your . . .  (Interrupted)

JW Lady:  What do you think of Jesus' ransom?

Me:  I believe there was a ransom paid at Jesus' crucifixion (trying to stay away from the cross v. torture stake issue).  What I believe is that the ransom that was due was paid to "Jehovah God" and not the devil.

JW Lady:  That's all.  This conversation is done.  Have a nice day. 

After thoughts
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin of the Christian faith.  The problem with the Jehovah's Witnesses is that they do not believe that Jesus was crucified for our the sins of man.  More importantly, they do not believe that the resurrection of Jesus was a literal bodily resurrection.  They claim to believe in a resurrection, but it was a resurrection where Jesus' body dematerialized and was re-manufactured by God to make the resurrection body to look like the earthly body of Jesus.

However, this makes Jesus' words in John 2:18-21 and Luke 24:36-43 look like they were deceitful.  If you and I take the resurrection accounts of Christ, the miracle of it all is that a "guy who was dead, came back to life again."  More importantly, this "dead guy" is the Lord of glory, the One who claimed and proved that He is the Resurrection and the Life; and He is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  If Jesus is not risen, our faith is dead; we can quit all this nonsense and stop posting such drivel. 

But if He is risen, and I believe that He is, what of those who do not believe or have a distorted heretical view of the resurrection of Jesus?  This is why it is vitally important to share the gospel, "that Christ died for our sins according the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose on the third day according the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).  That is the crux of the gospel.  His substitutionary atoning sacrifice.  Being in the bowels of the grave for three days, and then rising from the dead, in the same body in which He was crucified. . .only glorified.

Have a happy Resurrection Lord's Day - RL


Andy said...

I liked this a lot! It's too bad the conversation ended so abruptly!!

Acts5v29 said...

So sad that Christianity has become so defensive - a good question (of course) and a good attempt to bring normal reasoning into a formulaic WatchTower sale.

1 OF MINI said...


You stated, "The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin of the Christian faith."

So does that mean that Jesus sacrifice plays a secondary position to the "Christian faith"?

I'm neither JW or a "right-believing" Christian, so it appears to be a "cart before the horse" scenario.

Tami Dickerson said...

I'm thinking the women abruptly ended the conversation because you mentioned "Jehovah God" -- in their eyes, only an "apostate" would use such phrasing. Thus, they decided you were an apostate and left.

Wes Widner said...

It sounds like you were on the right track with your questions. Good job taking charge at the outset and leading the conversation straight to the heart of the matter. I think you would have gotten further, however, if you invited them to explain their position on the bodiless resurrection and then explored, from the scriptures you shared above, why their position is inadequate. Then again, it sounds like she was really hostile so perhaps ending it early wan't such a bad idea.

Rob Lundberg said...

Wes, the person got offended by the question so there was no opportunity to go in the direction of getting further in the conversation. There was no time for a polemic or anything that was going to lead to a lengthy witness. JW's are trained to keep control of a visit. They are trained to teach those that they 'witness' and push their Watchtower mags. So the mechanics of the visit were what they were, and it was the question that made her hostile.

Rob Lundberg said...

To 1 of MINI, Your question begs the question. I am not negating the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross by any means. But if that is all that was going to happen, then death has not been conquered. Christ came to conquer sin, death, hell and the grave, so His resurrection is the linchpin of the Christian faith. Read 1 Corinthians 15 and you will see that if Christ is not risen, our faith is empty and we are still in our sins. The finished work of the cross is capped off with the conquering of the grave.

Rob Lundberg said...

Tami, actually I have not heard what you state from any of the many encounters with members of the Watchtower. Is this something you have experienced? The woman during THIS visit, was bothered more by the question than my use of the term. When she asked me about who the ransom was toward, she was looking for an answer of 'Satan'. Christ's ransom was paid to God, not to Satan. I just used a term that she would be familiar with.

1 OF MINI said...

Hi Mr. Lundberg,

I have indeed read 1 Corinthians 15; specifically verse 17, to which you allude. The Master's resurrection would be moot without His sacrifice; ergo, the phrase, "you are still in your sins", giving us the very lead hint of exactly what brought meaning to it.

Not trying to split hairs, but had Jesus died in a tragic chariot pile-up on the Appian Way, instead of the way the Scriptures indicated would provide the ransom, then a resurrection for Him would be meaningless for us, and there would be no "conquer(ing) sin, death, hell and the grave". Perhaps a corny illustration, but hopefully you'll understand the spirit of it, and not be too offended.

I did appreciate in your response where you seem to indicate that the resurrection is what brings together all that He did in our behalf. If indeed I read you correctly, perhaps "linchpin" would be acceptable, as long as we recognize that the axle upon which the wheel that is fastened by the linchpin, is Christ and His sacrifice.