Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:08 PM | Locked

I have two friends, one is a Jehovah's Witness (JW from now, no slight intened) and the other a Christadelphian. All three of us (they don't know eachother) seem to hit on the topic of the 'immortality of the soul.' I'm not quite sure how to broach a study with them. Is it better to begin by studying/researching prior to talking with each of them; 1) the image of God, 2) the creation of man, 3) death, 4) the soul, 5) the resurrection, 6,) heaven/hell or what?

I think the best approach is to come at it with a systematically. But I'm a bit stuck on a starting point for my reseach.

Any suggestions??

mm.

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Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:24 PM | Locked

Logic is not the final answer in dealing with diverse theological positions.  All theological positions for the most part are logical and consistent. Persons having both of the theologies you mention own Logos software, so we need to be courteous (I am not suggesting you were not being courteous).  I would begin by making sure I accurately understand their positions and bathe my research in prayer.   

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:30 PM | Locked
Let assume that I know both (the WT & Christadelphian) theological views and continue to bathe my research in prayer, what would you suggest then?

mm.

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Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:50 PM | Locked

Apologetics is not one of my strong points and I am sure there are forum users more qualified than I to answer your question.  I guess I would read/obtain a book like Handbook of Christian Apologetics or Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion and start there, perhaps looking for bibliography there.  I didn't come up with a way to automatically create a collection of apologetics resources in Logos, so I put them in there by hand.  I suppose one could then search appropriate themes in that collection.

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

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Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:54 PM | Locked

Milkman:
Let assume that I know both (the WT & Christadelphian) theological views and continue to bathe my research in prayer, what would you suggest then?

There are cheap price books in Logos available ,I think  it is not bad ,if you read them, to be more aware what the Jehovah's witness have to say against the Truth of the Scripture ,based on  their error massage .

Blessings in Christ.

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Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:55 PM | Locked

http://www.logos.com/search?q=Jehovah

Blessings in Christ.

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Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:56 PM | Locked

If it were me, I'd do this:

1.) Ask them to show you what they believe on this topic and why...that's a good start (I know you know but just ask.... :) ) Ask LOTS of questions, probe...have them explain...

 

2.) Do a search in Logos for "immortality NEAR soul" and similar to get some background AND take a look ((In Logos) at their passages and proofs; that should keep you busy for a long time)

 

3.) Examine their arguments; are they consistent? Is their hermeneutic consistent? this is the area in which we find errors....

 

And lastly but most important...trust God for the outcome and the reception of your points...don't stress (not that you are)

Robert Pavich

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Richard | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 12:59 PM | Locked

Start where Jesus started -- himself.  Jesus said that all of Scripture pointed to himself, so rather than chasing after potential rabbit trails, I think it might be useful to start with who Jesus is, who we are, and why Jesus came.  In doing so, you'll encounter a host of hermeneutic issues.  It's likely that these presuppositions underlie their notions of the soul.

-- Richard

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 1:03 PM | Locked

Peace to you!

Also do a bit of "gentle" and "friendly" listening without jumping in to prove your point right away.  Threat your friends with the love and respect that probably made them your friends in the first place

     Also, do not assume that the official teachings of the various organisations that you mentioned are also what your friends believe in their own heart and soul and mind.  (You might also test yourself over against your own church's teachings!   *smile* )

     Familiarise yourself with their "groups" official teachings yourself so that you can respond intelligently to their comments and needs.

     Logos has lots and lots of helps.

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

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Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 1:21 PM | Locked

Robert Pavich:
3.) Examine their arguments; are they consistent? Is their hermeneutic consistent? this is the area in which we find errors....

Christadelphians, in particular, stress that their beliefs are based on the Bible, and they accept that it is inspired by God.  So, yes, use the Bible as the authority behind what you say.  Of course, it all comes down to how you interpret it then.  Jesus showed on several occasions that it should be understood in a simple way consistent with the history and grammar and destroyed the false ideas of those in His day.

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 1:48 PM | Locked

Milford Charles Murray:

Peace to you!

Also do a bit of "gentle" and "friendly" listening without jumping in to prove your point right away.  Threat your friends with the love and respect that probably made them your friends in the first place

     Also, do not assume that the official teachings of the various organisations that you mentioned are also what your friends believe in their own heart and soul and mind.  (You might also test yourself over against your own church's teachings!   *smile* )

     Familiarise yourself with their "groups" official teachings yourself so that you can respond intelligently to their comments and needs.

     Logos has lots and lots of helps.

Great points, Charles.  And yes, as someone else mentioned, this forum is populated by diverse backgrounds.  I certainly know Christadelphians on this forum.

As for a scriptural debate being fruitful or not: I have read a Logos book (I am not sure which one it is off hand--I have several by David Reed and Robert Morey) that cautions against such an approach.  It recommended taking a more subtle, but consistent exposure of the inconsistencies of the Watchtower Society itself as a way to open a Jehovah's Witness' mind.

 

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

Posts 159
David Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 2:32 PM | Locked

One doesn't have to be a JW or Christadelphian to question the traditional Christian line on the immortality of the soul.

I'm a card-carrying evangelical and the NT data itself convinced me a long time ago that immortality is in fact a gift of God to the redeemed, not an inherent feature of every human being. All will, of course, be raised for judgment at the last day, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all will live for ever in either a blessed or cursed situation. One other point: 'conditional immortality', as it's usually called, has a bearing on one's view of hell.

I suggest you do a search on the phrase 'conditional immortality' for starters.

I believe JWs and Christadelphians to be in error on a good number of doctrinal issues, but I have found it is wise not to reject everything they believe just because some things are not acceptable. Treat your friends with great graciousness and remain open to the possibility that, in spite of their denominational allegiance, their names may in fact be in the Book of Life. Our God is a lot more gracious than most of us tend to be!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 3:52 PM | Locked

Milkman:
I think the best approach is to come at it with a systematically.

1. I'm confused - you use the term "study" which everyone seems to interpret as "apologetics". I find it most effect when a "study" is a "study" - an exchange of ideas and tracing the assumptions behind the ideas.

2. I don't agree with the idea that logic is not the way to convince. There are a few principles that cannot be proven by logic - they can only be shown to be reasonable. But from those principles everything else follows. This is a long standing view of the church under the title "natural theology".

3. I would use Logos in two ways - one to trace back to the roots, my own beliefs; the other to use Christadelphian and JW resources to trace their beliefs back to their roots. I don't know how many such resources exist for Logos - their not among the groups I've had reason to consider.

4. Finally, I would look at the historical development of the six elements you picked out over the last two thousand years using searches on my Logos resources reflecting the history of theology.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 3 2010 4:27 PM | Locked

I guess in reading through this thread one last thought came to mind....

Remember, they are your friends...and they will remain so, just speak the truth in love...

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 9:04 AM | Locked

After reading through all your suggestions I appreciate the advice. I will go slowly, gently, humbly and listen with the ear of Christ. I do treasure these men and will begin to read up with an open and sincere heart. I know the Lord loves these guys just as much as He loves me, so with this in mind I begin something that I hope will be Christ-honouring.

I appreciate all the advice. By the way, Did anybody catch that great Ryder Cup this morning? Of course being the milkman I listened to it via XM Radio from 4Am till I got home and quickly walked the dog and caught the last hour or so.

Blessings.

mm.

Posts 421
Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 9:23 PM | Locked

Milkman:
I have two friends, one is a Jehovah's Witness

JW's have faith in the Watch Tower as God's channel of communication and therefore the true interpreter of Scripture. Unless you undermine that faith with evidence that the Watch Tower is not beyond question as an accurate trustworthy source, all your logic and citing of biblical verses will mainly convince JW's they need to study harder to learn the answers to your points.

How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watch Tower is invaluable for developing a strategy in dealing with JW's. The author is a former JW and he includes reprints of Watch Tower publications that are real eye openers that can be printed out and used for discussion. (You can print in L3 until L4.1 is released.)

Milkman, do you have a dairy farm?

 

Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 12:23 AM | Locked

Scott S:
Unless you undermine that faith

I suspect this thread has already overstepped the boundary into theological issues, but when I read things like this I inwardly cringe. Can any church claim that they have never made mistakes?

It's ironic, and worthy of sober consideration, that many of the posters on this forum enjoy, and would vehemently defend, their freedom to study Scripture and yet belong to a church that, 500 or so years ago, would have persecuted and even executed them for doing so.

However much I may disagree with someone's beliefs I would never try to undermine their faith. And that their church organization may have made mistakes is hardly a valid argument for leaving it - none of us would belong to a faith if that were the criteria for judging it.

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Eric Ruhnow | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 2:02 AM | Locked

Andy, what you may fail to realize or just may not know, is that the JW's utterly fail the "prophet test" in Deuteronomy 18:22. Then you add in the Watchtower Society's (WTS) blatant and willful mis-translating Scripture (track down a Kingdom Interliner New Testament to see what I mean). This is not an organization that makes "mistakes", it is an organization that willfully twists and distorts Scripture.

As to studying Scripture, the WTS teaches it's members that they will fall into apostasy if they ONLY read the Bible. Their teachings state that ONLY through the WTS teachings can you avoid doctrinal error. If this isn't "adding to Scripture" I don't know what is.

What the WTS teaches is not "mistakes" but another gospel entirely, and Paul has some strong words about that in Galatians 1:6-9.

And yes, I will admit that I do have some bias here, I came to faith in Jesus while trying to get my wife out of this cult (He did rescue her, all praise to Him!). Standing idly by and not warning others of the eternal dangers of the WTS teachings is spiritual assisted-suicide. If you love someone, you will warn them of things that will kill them.

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AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 5:25 AM | Locked

Eric

I don't think that I could specifically respond to your post without violating forum guidelines - something I try to avoid. I would imagine the specifics in your post are also too theological for here as well.

I was merely commenting that trying to break someone's faith (whether I think it's misplaced or not) is not an I approach I would choose to pursue. 

Most religions argue that their way is 'right'. Many religions take the stand that their interpretation is correct and that others are not and not a few have a hierarchy that 'decides' on 'truth' - for example the Pope is regarded by Catholics as being infallible and his word is, effectively, their truth. Here in England, the Church of England's Synod decides on what is 'truth' for the C of E and so forth. And are all these 'truths' 100% Biblical? Although these organisations don't say it now, at least not openly, undoubtedly there was a time when they also said 'ONLY if you believe what we teach' can you be saved. And it's an historical fact that dissenters used to face horrific consequences. 

Anyway, my reason for posting was neither to attack or defend any belief or religion, but to point out that just about all organised religions have committed what I will call 'mistakes'. Whether or not those mistakes are blatant and wilful is a judgement I cannot make, not on a public forum anyway. Although it is hard to merely label the persecution and execution of people like Tyndale, to whom we owe so much, a 'mistake'... 

Andy

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 6:03 AM | Locked

@Eric and Andy:

Both of your responses are very passionate and I would say quite respectful, and yet (as you are aware) teetering on sending this touchy topic over the cliff--even if it were at the hands/typing fingers of others who take up your arguments.  I love great discussion--and I'd love to be in the UK with Andy and (Eric--unless you live in a cooler place than the UK, then we could meet there, lol) go at it.  But, alas, this forum is neither by guidelines, nor by medium, the place for taking this further.  I hope you can understand that, and just leave what is said already, lay. 

I am biting my own tongue to respond more Zip it!, i hope it won't be too big a deal for either of you, too.  God's blessings, truth, and grace to you both.

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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