How to Lead a Jehovah’s Witness to Faith in Jesus Christ?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Joan Cetnar, Bill Cetnar; ©1991|
|There’s no “one size fits all” formula for witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness, but there are some things you need to know to be prepared when you get the chance to share your faith.|
How You Can Lead a Jehovah’s Witness to Faith in Christ – Witnessing Tips to Use with Jehovah’s Witnesses
The information in this program was taped live at the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Apologetics Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Our two instructors for this session are Bill and Joan Cetnar. Bill and Joan were both once devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. Bill had a responsible position as a correspondent in the Watchtower Headquarters right in Brooklyn, New York. Joan was raised in the Watchtower Society and was an heir to the S. S. Kresge fortune. But Joan was disinherited when she put her trust in the real Jesus. They are now Christian authors and apologists. The Cetnars’ special interest is examining the Watchtower Society’s publications and witnessing to its followers.
Bill and Joan have been program guests on The John Ankerberg Show, and they have also sponsored apologetics conferences and written numerous books and tracts designed to win Jehovah’s Witnesses to Jesus Christ.
[Ed. Note: This biographical information was valid at the time this program was taped in 1991.]
Bill and Joan Cetnar’s topic for this session is: “How You Can Lead a Jehovah’s Witness to Faith in Christ.” As you listen to this information, it is my prayer that God will increase your faith and draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Joan Cetnar: How to lead a Jehovah’s Witness to faith in Christ. I wish—I shouldn’t say wish—but it would be my deep desire that I could just give you a formula and say, “You do this, this, and this and it always works.” But just as different as people are, that’s how different it is trying to help someone out of Jehovah’s Witnesses and to the real Jesus. But we have a lot of good information, some tips we’d like to give you; some things we’ve used in the last 25 years that have worked. We would like to share them with you. Some insights that we know will help you to understand how to talk to one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We might also title our presentation, “How do you love your neighbor?” because if you’re not witnessing to your friend, your relative, your Jehovah’s Witness with love, I would rather you didn’t do it at all. Because he’s going to see that immediately if you don’t witness to him with love. Whatever you have to tell him is going to be difficult enough to hear, but if it’s done with love, it will be much easier to take.
We might also title this, “How do you open a closed mind?” because that’s what you’re dealing with and that’s what a lot of people don’t realize when they’re talking to a Jehovah’s Witness is that this person’s mind is controlled by the Watchtower organization.
To lead a Jehovah’s Witness to faith in Christ takes time. It took him time to become a Jehovah’s Witness. It didn’t happen overnight. He studied. Some of them have at least three-hour studies a week when they begin. They become Jehovah’s Witnesses quickly in that case. But it does take time to allow that organization to get control of your mind. I feel like I was anyway. When you were raised one, you lived with it and you had it every hour of the day. You learned from your parents exactly what you were to do.
I remember being a little girl, hardly able to walk, and in those days they carried a phonograph. You probably wouldn’t remember that unless you’re a lot older. He would play the phonograph record of Judge Rutherford’s booming voice and I would carry his book bag and he would give me a little opportunity to say a little something to get me used to talking to people who were at the door. So today they train them very well to talk to you at the door. So they’re very well trained in how to talk to you. So we need to do a little bit of research and insight to find out how we can talk to them when they come to us or if it is someone in our family.
I think the first thing we need to do is find out what should be our attitude when we’re talking to one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We’ve touched on that just briefly, but let’s turn to Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:24. These are excellent words of counsel for us if we’re talking to anyone who is an unbeliever. It says, “And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome.” Now, I’ve heard a lot of folks say, “Well, I don’t think we should argue with them,” and I believe that’s what they’re talking about. We shouldn’t end up in a quarrel. But we do need to present arguments. That is defending the faith. We have to know how to defend the faith and I believe that’s truly what we mean when we say “arguing”; but quarreling, that’s another thing—having a heated, heated discussion.
“But be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth; and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” That’s our goal, isn’t it? To get them loose from that snare that they’re in.
But do you notice some of the terms that are used there, the words? “Kindness, gentleness, patience.” These are fruits of the Spirit, aren’t they? And so we need, before we talk to a Jehovah’s Witness, whether it’s when he comes to our door or when we have a planned meeting with him in the evening or whatever time it is, let’s pray first. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give us those attributes of his that are not common to us as people. These are not the things that we would do normally, but these are things that the Holy Spirit can give us. Not only that, but he can give us what he wants us to know about that individual person, where he is on his Watchtower walk—something only God can know. What does he need at that point? And the Holy Spirit can take all of that wonderful information that you’ve gotten up in your mind and he can bring it out and let you know what it is that person needs right then.
You know, in our ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conventions that we’ve had—this will be the thirteenth year—we’ve had many give their testimonies. And you wouldn’t believe how many have said, “We’ve had people meet us at the door and say that they’re Christians, slam the door in our face, or call us some kind of name, do anything but what is Christian and loving.” Is that the impression that we want them to get from us as a Christian? So remember this. We need to have the Holy Spirit. So if all the Spirit tells you to do is tell them that you love them, tell them! Because that may be what he needs to hear at that point. So be very sensitive to what the Holy Spirit would have you say to that individual.
There’s another phrase in here: “able to teach.” You’re here because you want to be able to teach. You want to get information that’s going to make you able to teach. I believe we as Christians should know what we believe. We should be handling the real thing so much that when the counterfeit comes up, we know it immediately and we are able to defend the faith. Too many Christians don’t know why they believe that Jesus is God, or why they believe they are going to heaven. So we should know those things. That, I believe, is what it means when it says we are “able to teach.”
Now, it says in verse 25, “with gentleness, correcting them.” Brothers and sisters, these are people who need to be corrected. They are very nice people, but what they believe is definitely wrong. We must know that in our minds, that they are not on the road to salvation. If we’re going on the interstate and we want to get one direction and it’s supposed to be east, and if we get on the interstate and we go west, are we ever going to get to our destination? No, we’re not. We have to be corrected. We’ve got to turn around and go the other direction if we’re going to get where we want to go. These are people who want to receive eternal life; they want to please God; but they’re going in the wrong direction. They do need correction. But we must correct them gently.
And it says here, “if perhaps God may grant them repentance.” That’s his job. What does it tell us in 1 Corinthians 3:6? “I plant, Apollos waters, but God gives the increase.”
We are the planters and the waterers. Doesn’t that make our job easier? We can sit down and talk to the Jehovah’s Witness and we can plant these seeds and we can water these seeds, but we don’t have to push him until the Holy Spirit says, “Okay, now is the time you can ask him if he wants to accept Christ.” He’ll be ready then because the Holy Spirit will have made his heart ready.
We have to plant and water. So the individual says, “That takes all the sweat out of it, doesn’t it?” We don’t have to get all upset and excited if they don’t agree with us, which is very often the problem with a closed mind. You’re not going to get an agreement but you can plant seeds and you can have a good discussion with this individual because you’re not worried about, “He has to accept Christ right then.” The Lord will let you know when it’s the time. So let God grant him the repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth because that’s where the Holy Spirit will lead him. Someone will get the opportunity and in some cases it will be you because God will give you the joy of leading one of these people to Christ once in a while to keep you encouraged.
And so here is where, once we know what is our attitude when we’re talking to a Jehovah’s Witness, that helps us when we are talking to them.
Now, the next thing that we need to know when we’re talking to a Jehovah’s Witness is where is his faith, because it says we’re to lead a Jehovah’s Witness to faith in Jesus. Where is the faith of a Jehovah’s Witness? Well, let’s go to the Watchtower magazine and find out where is his faith. In the March 1, 1979 Watchtower right on the front page, on the title page, it said, “Put faith in a victorious organization.” Inside in the article it says, “Is there any cause for us to lose faith in Jehovah’s visible organization because of mounting difficulties in this world. Absolutely not. In demonstration of such faith we will keep on sticking to it and working with it” —talking about the organization—“without slacking the hand. Our unwavering faith will be rewarded with victory and a crown of life.” So where is their faith? It’s in Jehovah’s organization.
Now, they have different ways of talking about the organization: It’s God’s prophet. It’s the only channel of truth. It’s the only right religion.
Let me read a few things to show you just exactly where his faith is. It’s interesting, a pastor said to me one time, “I really felt as though I could handle a Jehovah’s Witness when he came to me because I graduated from Bible school. I knew the Word. I knew what I believed real well and I really felt as though I could handle him on any subject that came up using the Bible.” And when one came along, he said, “Boy! I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t get a thing across to that person.” Why was that? Why is it? Because the Jehovah’s Witness uses the Bible, doesn’t he? He believes that it’s the Word of God. Then why is it that we can’t use the same book and come up with the same thoughts? Why can’t we let the Bible speak for itself?
Well, let me show you a few things from the Watchtower that will give you some idea of why you have that problem. You run into that invisible wall and he can’t see what you are showing him from the Bible.
October 1, 1967 Watchtower: “Thus, the Bible is an organizational book and it belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.” That’s number one.
Let’s go to the December 1, 1990 Watchtower. This is the latest light: “We have the opportunity….” This is an article on love and how they can love one another within the organization. In this case it’s “…the opportunity to show love for our brothers who take the lead in the congregation. This includes being loyal to the faithful and discreet slave.” Those are the people at Watchtower headquarters who are writing the publications that are the truth to a Jehovah’s Witness. The faithful and discreet slave, spoken of in Matthew 24 who is supposed to feed his domestics at the proper time and this to them is the proper time and the organization is the one that is to feed them. Here is what they should do:
“Let us face the fact that no matter how much Bible reading we have done, we would never have learned the truth on our own.”
The Bible says that the Word of God is sufficient to teach us all things, doesn’t it? I’m paraphrasing. According to the Watchtower organization, you cannot understand the Bible.
Let’s take one more. I’m trying to give you the mindset of the Jehovah’s Witness when you get into the Bible with him because of this:
“No matter where we may live on earth….” This is from the December 1, 1981 Watchtower magazine. See, the Watchtower is the truth. When this is printed, it comes to the Jehovah’s Witness, this is the truth. He doesn’t question this. If he does, he’s questioning God. So what I’m reading here is what he believes and must believe.
“No matter where we may live on earth, God’s Word continues to serve as a light to our path and a lamp to our roadway.”
Now, that sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s right from the Word—Psalm 119. But we have that little three letter word “but.” “But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his faithful and discreet slave, made up of Spirit-anointed ones to help” —there’s that faithful and discreet slave again—“to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply the Bible in their lives properly. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life no matter how much Bible reading we do.”
Does that give you some idea of why you have a difficult time when you only try to go into scriptural things and the Bible with a Jehovah’s Witness? Because you read a plain Scripture that defends what you believe as a Christian and it doesn’t agree with what he’s already received from God and his organization and he cannot accept it. It’s like putting something in a computer that is not programmed there. It just will not accept it, will it? And that’s what you have. You have a controlled mind that can’t accept anything unless it comes down that channel of truth from Brooklyn, New York, headquarters.
You say, “Well, what’s the chance of helping somebody like that who is so programmed, so controlled?” Well, I think we can go to another place in the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 that will give us an idea of how we can help a Jehovah’s Witness and what our problem is, where we’re seeing the problem, I think. It says, “And even if our gospel is veiled” —covered up, it’s difficult to see—“it is veiled to those who are perishing in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.”
Remember what that article in the Watchtower said? That the Word is a lamp to our roadway but the light is coming from the organization? The organization is the one that is providing the light. Now, that is not the true light, is it? And if I stand there and look in that light for a while, I can’t see any of you. It’s just one big spot. I’ve got a light blinding me, don’t I? Well, he’s got a light, a spiritual light that is blinding him. He cannot see the light of the glorious gospel because of the truth or light—these are synonymous terms with a Jehovah’s Witness—that is in his eyes that makes it very difficult for him to see anything that you present from the Bible.
Well, I believe that the best way to reach a Jehovah’s Witness is to go to his truth, then. If this is the truth, let’s go and check it out; because if this organization is controlling his thinking, then we’ve got to check it out. I just want to show you one other place in the Watchtower magazine that shows why it’s difficult for him to even think, why his thinking is controlled and he’s not even able to think anything else. It’s from the Watchtower, January 15, 1983. Once again, we see the organization headline here. So today Jehovah is using only one organization. And this organization has had to make adjustments. These adjustments are due to false prophecies which the Watchtower organization has made. They call these “adjustments” that they’ve had to make before. And so they argue this shows that we have to make up our own mind on what we believe. This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous? Such thinking is an evidence of pride. If we get to thinking that we know better than the organization, we should ask ourselves, “Where did we learn Bible truth in the first place?”
So really, can we get along without the direction of God’s organization? No, we cannot. So even independent thinking, see, the thinking is controlled; what they read is controlled; who they talk to is controlled; and where they go is controlled. And so now, how do we get around this mind control? What do we do to help us to help the Jehovah’s Witness?
I believe that questions are a good way to open a closed mind. Now, if you just state something to someone and his mind is closed to that statement, he can just ignore it and that’s all. But if you put that same statement in a question form, he’s got to at least give it enough time and thought to answer you and, hopefully, you will have opened that door just a little tiny bit to help him to start thinking for himself without realizing what he’s doing.
I think we need to ask questions regarding the authority of the Watchtower organization. Isn’t that what has control of his mind—the Watchtower organization? Isn’t that his truth? If that’s the truth, let’s check it out. Isn’t that his channel of communication? So we need to go and see what the organization has said and see whether it lives up to all of these claims that it has made of being the only channel of communication, the only channel of truth, God’s prophet, the only right religion and “the faithful and discreet slave.” Is it all of these things that it claims to be?
Before we get into that, let me just give you a few “bewares” when you’re dealing with a mind that is under the control of someone else or something else.
They redefine terms. They will use Christian terms and redefine them. If you’ve done any witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness or anyone who is a cultist, you will find that they use the Christian terms. They will say, “Yes, I believe Jesus is my Savior. Yes, I believe Jesus is the Son of God. Yes, I believe this; yes, I believe that.” They’re using the same terms, but they have a different definition. When they start agreeing with you, ask some more questions. Find out what his definition is as it compares to your definition on this Christian term.
Be aware that a Jehovah’s Witness is allowed to lie. You say, “What?!” Yes. They have a definition in their Aid to Bible Understanding, now called Insights to the Scriptures, wherein it says, “Lying is speaking an untruth to someone who deserves to know the truth.” Now, if you don’t deserve to know the truth, you’re not going to get it. Let me give you a demonstration of what I mean. You may have even asked a Jehovah’s Witness this question at the door: “Have you been born again?” Here is the question from his own publication, Reasoning from the Scriptures. I call it their “lie book” because there are several statements in here that are no way true if you really take it to its conclusion. It’s a clever way of getting around a question that’s been asked them.
This is what he is told in black and white that he could say to you when you ask the question, “Have you been born again?”
“You want to know if I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and have received the Holy Spirit? Is that right? May I assure you that the answer is yes.”
Is that the truth, or is it a lie? That’s a lie. The only ones that are even allowed to be born again are the 144,000. There’s only about a little over 8,000 of those left on the face of the earth. Ninety-nine percent of Jehovah’s Witnesses who will come to you are the group that are going to live here on the earth. They cannot be born again.
So, his saying “yes” to you is not telling you the truth. And so I would just pursue it a little farther and just get real excited and tell him, “Well, that means you’re a child of God and you’re going to be with me in Heaven! Well, that’s wonderful!” He can’t say “yes” to that. And so you’ve got him telling you the truth for a change.
So listen to what is said and be aware that they are allowed to lie to you. It’s called theocratic warfare.
Okay, the next thing is “changing the subject.” I mean, when you get a closed mind on the subject he’s not comfortable with, he will jump to something else so fast you won’t know what hit you. He’ll be talking about the deity of Jesus Christ and come up with something that he is not comfortable with and all of a sudden, you’re talking about flag salute. And you thought, “Where did that come from?” Well, I don’t like to ignore people’s questions when they come up so I have a little pad of paper beside me and I’ll say, “Well, that’s a really good question” and I’ll write it down and tell them that I would like to discuss that at a later time, but “let’s get back to what we were discussing.” Don’t let them change the subject until you’re ready to change the subject; until you have finished your discussion that you have planned.
Now often, when a Jehovah’s Witness comes to us at the door, have they ever come when you’re ready for them? Very seldom are we ready for them when they come to the door, are we? As housewives, we’re in the middle of baking something or cleaning. We’re just never ready. Well, they are ready for you. They’ve got a planned three to eight minute sermon with three Scriptures in it. They’ve got it all outlined what they’re going to say to you. And so you are really at the disadvantage. So I would suggest that if you want to really have a good discussion with that Jehovah’s Witness, tell him, “You know, you’ve caught me at a bad time but I really would like to talk to you. I have some questions I’d like to ask you. Could you come back Tuesday evening or Thursday evening or whatever is good for you?” and get a time set for him. Then get his name and phone number. If he doesn’t show up, you call him up and tell him: “I was looking for you. Where are you? I had this time set aside for you?” But what can you do then? You can prepare what you want to give to him by doing that.
Okay, now we want to question the authority of the Watchtower. I think there are four basic areas in which we can effectively question the authority of the Watchtower organization.
The first one is false prophecy. Do you realize, friends, that being a prophet of God is the highest thing that you can be as a human? That is, you are speaking for God. It is not you that’s speaking; it’s God that is speaking. I think we have to realize that. These men at the Watchtower organization have taken on that authority of speaking for God. We have done a whole hour on the false prophecy of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I’m not going to go into that in detail, but I do want to mention something. Dates are not the only thing that a false prophet can set regarding the Second Coming of Christ. You will notice in Deuteronomy it says two things. Either it does not come true or come to pass. So a prophet of God, and it’s not just prophecies that he makes about the future and what can happen, but it’s things that he says. Are they true? Do they remain true continually? Well, we know that the Bible is the Word of God and it remains true and so we don’t have to wonder about whether that came from God, do we?
But how about the statements of the Watchtower organization? Have they remained true continually? Or have they had to change their teaching over the years? You will find that they have had to change their teaching. There is, for instance, the Sodomites, the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah. They have in one of their publications, the Paradise book, in two editions—1982 edition and 1986 edition—have the men of Sodom and Gomorrah not being resurrected in one and being resurrected in another. Now, one’s got to be false and the other true. So their truth changes. In fact, they made that truth change at least eight times in the last hundred years, and we have that documented.
So, the truth of the Watchtower changes. When a prophet of God gets it from God, his truth will not change. So on these two areas of prophecy of the future and dates and of their truth changing, both of these things make them false prophets.
The second is deliberate lying. Now, they’ve done this in several ways. They have misquoted authorities, and today they are going around with a booklet on the Trinity. It’s called Should You Believe the Trinity? And any one of you who has talked to a Witness has probably seen this booklet. It’s the size of the Watchtower magazine. It is full of deliberate lies. They have the early Church Fathers, such as Hippolytus, Origen, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, denying that Jesus was God. Just let me read to you what Justin Martyr had to say about Jesus and what Irenaeus had to say. This is in his Irenaeus Against Heresies, page 330:
“In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King according to the will of the invisible Father,…”
He was the apologist of his day. He was defending the deity of Jesus Christ against the heresies of his day. He did believe that Jesus was God.
Justin Martyr said, “For Christ is King, and Priest, and God and Lord,…”
And you will see in the first part of that little booklet they are saying that Jesus is not God in there.
They have also misquoted many sources, authorities, such as encyclopedias. I will just give you one source, The Encyclopedia Americana. On page 4 of their little booklet on the Trinity they say, “The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be beyond the grasp of human reason….” Watch out for those dots! Those ellipses! Because if you fill in the dots, you’ll find out that very often the context does not say what they have it saying. Let’s put that into its context:
“It is held that although the doctrine is beyond the grasp of human reason” —it does say that—“it is like many of the formulations of physical science not contrary to reason and may be apprehended though it may not be comprehended by the human mind.”
So, there is no argument there. We’re talking about God and so it is something that is difficult for us to comprehend in the human mind. But they have made it say something that it doesn’t say. And they have done that over 27 times in that little booklet. And the ones that they didn’t misquote were liberal scholars, were men that would agree with them in their doctrine, Unitarians, Christadelphians, and people like that who would agree with their doctrine. Not Christians. But the Christians, they had to take what they said out of its context and make it say something that it didn’t.
There are books in a Christian bookstore that have dealt with this booklet in particular. You will find them there. One I can recommend is Robert Bowman’s book, Why You Should Believe the Trinity. It’s excellent. He’s dealt with this in detail. So that’s been answered.
So another thing that they’ve done is on the cross. They have taken the words of Justin Lipsius, a scholar in the fifteenth century, and in their Kingdom Interlinear they have a picture of a man with his hands over his head on an upright stake. And in their first Kingdom Interlinear they said, “This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled” and this book says so. Well, we got a copy of that book. It’s all in Latin. We looked at it and we found there were seven more pictures and it showed a man on a cross. And so we were really anxious to see what the Latin said because we couldn’t read it. We got someone and they went and translated it for us. And do you know what Justin Lipsius said? He didn’t even say anywhere this is the way that Jesus was impaled. He said on page 46, “In the Lord’s cross there were four pieces of wood: the upright beam, the crossbar, the piece of wood placed below for the feet and the title inscription placed above.”
So, he said nothing about Jesus. He said that this was the way that people were tortured; this was not the way they crucified a person in the days of the Romans. So this is another case. And there are many more, but we have just that one instance there.
The third thing that I believe we can effectively question the authority of the Watchtower organization is the way they have deliberately changed the Word of God—added to and taken away from the Word of God—to make it agree with their doctrine. John 1:1; Colossians 1:16-17; John 8:58, “I Am” to “I have been.” Most of the places are things that are dealing with the deity of Jesus Christ because Satan knows that if we believe that and we believe in the real Jesus that we are going to be saved from our sins and he doesn’t want that.
The fourth thing that has really upset a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses when they found out about it was going to a spirit medium. Now, that is a definite violation of God’s law, isn’t it? Look what happened to Saul when he went to the witch of Endor. What did Jehovah’s Witnesses do? Well, they were desperately looking for bedfellows for their John 1:1 teaching that Jesus, in their translation, that “the Word was a God” and they found one. They found Johannes Greber’s “New Testament.” Now, who was Johannes Greber? Well, we looked and looked and tried to find a copy of his translation and we finally found one. And in there in the foreword we found out that he was a spirit medium. And we have all the documentation here for who Johannes Greber was and how he received his translation.
Now, what makes this so difficult for a Jehovah’s Witness to deal with is, you don’t even have to have Greber’s New Testament or anything. All you have to do is have him go to his own publications, because in the February 15, 1956 Watchtower on a title page it talks about Johannes Greber. It says, very plainly, “The spirits in which ex-priest Greber believes helped him in his translation.” They knew in 1956 who Greber was and how he received his translation. In 1962 they started quoting him in his publications and we have documented the seven places in which they have quoted Greber’s translation, primary the John 1:1 “a God” and also his reference to no resurrection in the memorial tombs. So we have all that documented for you in his own words of how he received his translation.
Now, what’s interesting is that when we uncovered this and made it public, they put a disclaimer in their Watchtower under “Questions from Readers” in the April 1, 1983 Watchtower and said that they’re not going to quote Greber anymore now that they’ve found out who he is. Here, we’ve got another lie. They did know who he was in 1956. Remember, these are not just ordinary men. These are men who claim the authority of speaking for God, of being under the direction of God’s Holy Spirit, of being God’s channel of communication! You mean they didn’t know that they quoted him and told us not to have anything to do with him in 1956? But here they tell us in ‘83, “Oh, we never knew who he was and we won’t do it anymore.” You know, brothers and sisters, in the Spanish Watchtower this “Questions from Readers” doesn’t appear. The poor Spanish brothers are still looking to Greber’s translation as authoritative.
So I think these are four areas in which we can effectively question the authority of the Watchtower organization. You know, what probably really bothered us, although we’ve been out of the organization for so long, was to see the occult connection of the organization. You know, their first president was into pyramidology? He went to the Great Pyramid of Egypt to find out when Jesus was coming in 1874. He was also into what is known as phrenology, which is checking the bumps on your head or the shape of your head to see whether or not you believe in Jesus or you believe in God. Here are his own words in the Watchtower magazine, 1913 edition, March 15:
“The drawing power which the Almighty exercises over humanity is in different degrees. Some have a strong desire to worship God. Others have a weak desire. Others have no desire at all. The difference is due to the shape of the brain. Mankind are born with differences in this respect.”
Now, is that biblical? In fact, he even goes and says: “Stand a man alongside a dog and look at their heads. The one slopes back. There is no place for the intellectual qualities at all…or at least a very small place for the thinking apparatus that man has. He has more brain than a dog. If we could make a dog with the same head as a man, he would think as a man.”
Now, this shows you the occult connection of the organization. In fact, when we started looking into the publication that Greber wrote explaining how he got involved, called Communications With God’s Spirit World, we found out that this man had been given by these spirits some doctrines that he was to teach. Now, this is an ex-Catholic priest who has gotten involved with spiritism and got a permanent furlough from the Church. Here are some of the doctrines. Now, listen and see whether they sound familiar if you know anything about Jehovah’s Witness doctrine. These are the doctrines that these spirits were teaching Greber:
“Jesus Christ is not God.”
“Jehovah only is God the Father.”
“Michael is a God.”
“Christ’s body was not resurrected; it was dematerialized.” That’s exactly what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe.
“There is no eternal hell.”
And on down. We have listed ten of them and then we have given the ten places in the Watchtower publications that say exactly the same thing. Where did the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses come from? I’ll leave it to you to decide.
Now, how are you going to know when the light is out of his eyes and he’s opened the door to his closed mind? Well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement: “Well, if this isn’t the truth, where is it?” And what are we going to tell them as a Christian? Well, I believe Jesus made it very plain in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father except by me.” Jesus is the way, not the Watchtower organization. Jesus is the truth, not the Watchtower organization. There is life outside the organization. It’s life in Jesus. This is what we have to replace with, what is being taken away from him so gently and so lovingly, is that he must see when the time is right and the Holy Spirit lets you know that Jesus is the way, not any organization or church. Jesus is the way. He is the only alternative to the faith that he has in the organization.
So I believe there are two things that a Jehovah’s Witness needs to know then. He needs to know the truth about Jesus, and that’s why we formulated this diagram, Jesus is Yahweh. [[Image:]]
Now, we’re not saying that Jesus the Son is Yahweh the Father. No. That’s what comes into a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ mind. What we’re saying is that Yahweh is God—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And you can prove that from Scripture. In this case, Jesus is Yahweh because that’s a difficult thing for him to see, that Jesus is the I Am. So we have at least eight or nine instances in the Old Testament where Yahweh is the Judge, the Light, the Creator, the Lord of Lords, and so forth, and then in the New Testament where Jesus made the same claims and they are fantastic. He is the only One.
The next thing and the most important thing is that we can have it all up here [head] and never have any change down here [heart]. So the most important thing that a Jehovah’s Witness must know is that he must know Jesus; not just know about him; not just have the truth about him, but he must know him as his personal Savior, an intimate knowing.
Let me show you what the Jehovah’s Witnesses have done with John 17:3. Their translation of that famous Scripture is, “this means everlasting life.” You are taking in knowledge of him, the only true God. And that is one of his ways of gaining eternal life. It’s taking in knowledge. You’ve got to attend five meetings a week, five one-hour meetings. You must be constantly studying the publications of the Watchtower organization. Knowledge is the way to eternal life. Well, it is a way but it’s not the way and that Scripture should properly be read, “This is eternal life: that you know the only true God….” Because Jesus, when he was talking to the Pharisees, told them in John 5:39—and I think this applies so well to the Jehovah’s Witnesses—he said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness to me and you are unwilling to come to me that you may have life.”
So we need to point the Jehovah’s Witness to Jesus Christ and coming to know him because in Romans 8 it says, “Those that are controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Remember I said there are two things that a Jehovah’s Witness wants to do: He wants to receive eternal life and he wants to please God. So by helping him to come to Christ and by becoming a born again believer in Jesus Christ he’s achieving this, according to Romans 8. And then he can have the wonderful assurance of knowing Jesus as his personal Savior and he can say what you and I can say from 1 John 5:11-13: “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life.” Not “will give us.” Eternal life is a quality of life that we can enjoy right now. And this life is “in his Son. He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”
This is something that we can relate to the Jehovah’s Witness. I’ve often wanted to ask a Jehovah’s Witness this question but I’ve never gotten one that will come to my door yet; not for a long, long time. But maybe you would like to try this:
“Mr. Jehovah’s Witness: Suppose I take your literature and I study with you and I decide to become a Jehovah’s Witness. What do you have to offer me that I don’t already have?”
What do you already have? Well, I just read it. I have the assurance of eternal life. What does he want to offer you? He wants to offer you life on a Paradise Earth, never to see Jesus. What did Jesus promise us when he left? “I am going to prepare a place for you that where I am, you may be also.” So I have the assurance of seeing Jesus and I have the assurance of eternal life. “Now, what do you have to offer me that I don’t already have?”
And he’s going to say, “What do you mean?”
What an opportunity to talk to him about your assurance. There is something he can’t argue with you about too much is that you’ve got the Word and you’ve got it in your heart. You know that you know Jesus.
So I believe if we can effectively question the authority of the organization and open the closed mind and get the light out of his eyes that we can help him. But it takes time. It takes love. It takes patience. I think the Lord can give us all of those things to help a Jehovah’s Witness come to the real Jesus.
We have a few minutes for questions if you have some and I’ll try to give you a short answer. Yes.
- Question: How did your family and friends react to your conversion?
- Cetnar: We left the organization in 1962 and they still do not speak to us. The only way they would ever speak to us is if we would come back into the organization. Of course, that is a “never” situation. So as long as they are remaining faithful to the organization and we are remaining faithful to Jesus, there is a chasm between us.
- Question: What made you leave the Watchtower organization?
- Cetnar: At the Watchtower headquarters while I was there for four years, as a child growing up I was taught that we were the only ones who loved. Nobody else loved. We were the only ones being directed by God’s Holy Spirit and we were the only ones that had the truth. At the Watchtower organization as a young woman—I was in my late teens or early 20’s—that’s a time when a person usually questions what they’ve been taught all their life anyway. I had it brought to my attention, very quickly, that we were changing our truth and I was having a problem with that because things were happening. Truths were changing.
- The one I can relate to is Romans 13, the higher powers. They taught me the whole time I was growing up that the higher powers of Romans 13:1 are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus. All of a sudden, we changed our higher powers to what it really says there. They are the governments of the earth. Now, how could the Holy Spirit have been wrong all this time? So I had a problem with that.
- I also saw things happen at the Watchtower headquarters that made me wonder about the love that we said we were the only ones who had. And so when we married in 1958 and left there, we were very disillusioned people and didn’t know where to go. We were still captivated in our minds so it took us a little while until we learned that they were false prophets to really have our mind freed by learning that and then from there to the steps that I showed you of coming to know who the real Jesus is and then realizing that we couldn’t work our way to eternal life; that we had to come to Jesus; that He did it already. So that was it basically in a nutshell.
- Question: One of the quotes that you read, you said that the organization was Spirit anointed. Which spirit are they anointed by?
- Cetnar: They believe by God’s Holy Spirit.
- Question: The active force?
- Cetnar: Yes, the active force.
- Question: That seems so funny because they deny the attributes and deity….
- Cetnar: Well, see, once again we have the redefinition of terms. The Holy Spirit to them is the same Holy Spirit you’re talking about only they redefine it as God’s active force. So they believe that would mean that God is directing their organization.
- Question: They always seem to come in pairs and I think that is more difficult. You have the one there bearing the other one up. What should you do?
- Cetnar: I think we need to be aware that usually in that situation you’ve got a more mature Jehovah’s Witness training a less mature Jehovah’s Witness. So I wouldn’t let that intimidate me if you want to talk to them at the door. But talk to the less mature one until the more mature one jumps in and takes over the conversation. Or if the more mature one is willing to talk to you, let the less mature one listen. The heat is off of him and he can evaluate what’s being said. So I think that can be to our advantage.
- Question: I have found in church visitation it’s very wise that two people go instead of one in case of an accusation of any kind.
- Cetnar: I think that’s even true in the case of when we’re witnessing but for a different reason. I believe we’re in a spiritual battle, brothers and sisters, when we’re talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is not a battle of wits and therefore if we are going to have a discussion with a Jehovah’s Witness, either have another Christian there with you who can be praying while you’re talking or vice versa, be in prayer and have everybody you can get praying. We cannot underestimate the power of prayer to release that spirit that is upon the mind of a Jehovah’s Witness.
- Question: If I want some of the material to use when witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness, can we send to the Watchtower headquarters and get it?
- Cetnar: Yes, you can, but you will probably rather than getting the material in many cases you’ll get a visit from the local congregation elders or someone in the congregation that they will send out. This is also true if you send in a copious letter to the Watchtower and are asking questions. They forward the answer and your letter to the local congregation and send somebody to visit you. That’s fine.
- Probably your best bet if you do want to get something is to get it from the local Kingdom Hall. They would have most of the material. Maybe not older publications, that would be a little more difficult to get your hands on. The older publications, a lot of them you will have to pick up from former Jehovah’s Witnesses that come out or from your used bookstores. We recommend that people make the Jehovah’s Witness…give him the information, write it out if you want to, the information that you want him to take home. He’s very reluctant to take photocopies and things like that. But write it out in your own hand and tell him, “I’d like you to take this home with you. I prepared this as much research.” And then let him to the leg work of looking up these publications. It’s his life; it’s his material. Let him do the research. You did it already. But do it like this. “Here is my research. Would you check it out for me and find out whether what I have here is correct and then bring it back so I can see it.” That way you get him to look those things up for you.
- Question: When you don’t get into an objective study with a Jehovah’s Witness, after a while, they censor your house and they don’t come anymore.
- Cetnar: Well, that depends on the Jehovah’s Witness very often. That’s true, if they find out that you’re a Christian and you really know what you believe, they may not come to see you anymore, but you might be a help to somebody else. Just let people know you are available with that information and when they set up a time for somebody to come, they can ask you to come over and you can be there to help them out. So, just because you have that information doesn’t mean that you have to be dormant with it just because they won’t come to your house. Make yourself available to other people.
- But I think that if we don’t come on too strong in the beginning, if we just kind of lay back and ask questions and try to get into a dialogue and get the trust of the Jehovah’s Witness. He only trusts the Watchtower. Let him learn to trust you, that you’re not going to hurt him. And don’t give him too many hard things in the beginning and you may have a longer discussion than you think