Saturday, June 21, 2008

JW Study Meeting #2

Today my afternoon began with yet another meeting with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Chapter 2 of What Does the Bible Really Teach? was fairly uncontroversial in our context, since it covers the Bible being the Word of God. So this was a very peaceful meeting--so peaceful that Uriah had to play devil's advocate a bit at the end to get things a bit stirred up.

I did ask about books that had been used prior to What Does the Bible Really Teach?. I managed to draw out some confirmation that, a couple books previously, they had been working with Let God Be True. I have a PDF copy of it on my laptop, and it's a pretty interesting resource. (The other weekend, aside from goofing around, Daniel and I sat in front of my laptop, reading to each other from the Trinity section in Let God Be True and laughing. I managed to confirm a lot of quotes in Walter Martin's The Kingdom of the Cults, since he cites Let God Be True fairly often.)

At any rate, Uriah, Shem, and I have settled into a routine. Reading the prescribed paragraphs from the chapter in a rotation (me, then Shem, then Uriah), and after each paragraph (or two), Uriah reads the footnoted discussion questions, and I answer. They're always extremely easy and obvious questions, so I can halfway zone out pretty easily if I want to let my mind wander a little bit here and there. Sometimes Uriah or I will bring up various related things for discussion, but not terribly often.

I told Uriah and Shem that we could tackle Chapter 3 (a basically biblical section on the promise of new creation) on July 5th, and we agreed to begin the study with some prayers for guidance. Should be interesting to see if I can slip a somewhat Trinitarian prayer in there. I also procured another copy of their pamphlet Should You Believe in the Trinity?, since as I said before, somewhere along the line I managed to lose my old one.

Uriah told me a story, after I asked for the pamphlet, of a recent case where he knocked on a door and the woman who answered was very interested in discussing the Trinity. As Uriah told it, he then said to her, "Okay, let's say the Trinity is true. Can you show me where it is in the Bible?" She replies, "Well, it's all over the place!" Uriah then says, "Alright, well let me see an example." Sadly, she wasn't able to do it, told the JWs to go away, and then refused to accept a copy of their pamphlet when they offered her Should You Believe in the Trinity?. He and I agreed that Christians should be competent at defending their beliefs from the Scriptures... although I'm not totally sure if Uriah remembers just what an interest I happen to have in defending that particular doctrine from the Scriptures.

The next meeting should be fairly subdued--I checked through Chapter 3, and there's no cause in there for complaint--but after that comes the fun, since Chapter 4 gets into Christology and tries to argue a bit against the deity of Christ. My plan is to let them know at the beginning of that session that I looked through the chapter ahead of time and found some disagreeable things, and so rather than work through the chapter in the usual way, I'd be interested in hashing out some of those issues for one or two weeks, and then we can move on once we find some resolution. If we eventually reach an impasse after a couple of discussion sessions on the issue, I may suggest that we move on to the next few chapters and then revisit the issue of Christology. Of course, the next few chapters--dealing with atonement and the afterlife respectively--are bound to produce some interesting disputes as well.

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