Friends, a family member recently told me she was door-knocked by Jehovah’s Witnesses. She didn’t invite them in, but engaged them in talk at the door step. In her case – unlike many Christians – she had reasonable background info on what JWs believe and how one might challenge them. However she was a bit rusty and found it exhausting. Something she noted was how much of what they said sounded similar. They quoted the Bible. They talked about Jesus as King and his coming return. They spoke of his death for us and so on.
It’s easy to think that people who seem to speak the same language and are so clean-living and moral must really be on the same side. Sadly, this is not the case. E.g., the JWs deny the Trinity and the deity of Jesus. And they teach we are saved not just by faith in Christ and his atoning death, but also by our works and by membership of the Watchtower organisation.
Just to take one of these doctrines. Today, at St Michael’s, I’m preaching on Colossians 1:15-23. As you will hear, this passage teaches that Jesus is fully God. He perfectly images and reveals the invisible God. And with God the Father, Jesus is the Creator of all things. So to deny this – as liberals, Muslims, JWs and Dan Brown’s books do – is to deny the true Jesus.
Recently I’ve been reading a book called Putting Jesus in his Place: the Case for the Deity of Christ by Robert Bowman and Ed Komoszewski. Some people who claim to respect the Bible suggest it does not teach that Jesus is God. This book overwhelmingly proves that the New Testament – from beginning to end – clearly reveals Jesus’ divine identity.
The book is scholarly and credible. But it’s also spiritually engaging and practical. The authors supply an acronym for recalling this evidence: Jesus shares God’s ‘H.A.N.D.S.’!
Honours: Jesus shares the honours due to God. E.g., in John 5:23, Jesus teaches that it is God’s purpose “that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.” (NIV)
Attributes: Jesus shares the attributes of God. E.g. As I mentioned above, Col 1:16 teaches that “all things were created by him” [i.e. Jesus]. The very next verse also teaches his eternal pre-existence, since “He is before all things.”
Names: Jesus shares the names of God. E.g. Thomas calls Jesus ‘Lord’ and ‘God’ in John 20:28; Paul calls him ‘God and Saviour’ in Titus 2:13. Think too of how Jesus calls himself Alpha and Omega (Rev 22:13), just like God (Rev 1:8, 21:6).
Deeds: Jesus shares in the deeds that God does. We’ve already seen this in regards to creation itself, but think further of such miracles as Jesus calming the wind and waves (compare Mark 4:35-41 with Psalms 65:7, 89:9, 107:29).
Seat: Jesus shares the seat of God’s throne. At his trial, Jesus says people will see him “seated at the right hand of Power” (Mark 14:62). And in Revelation, Jesus is worshipped alongside God and is seated on the same throne (5:11-14, 22:1&3).
I warn you that just quoting these verses at JWs will result in a game of Bible ping pong. So I’d be glad to advise you on how best to relate to people from such sects. But I do want you to be confident that when we are in the hands of Jesus, we are in the hands of God himself.
Warmly in Christ,