Saturday, January 2, 2010

JW Study Meeting #29

As last week, so with today, Uriah and Shem arrived at 1:00 PM. Sarah and I - she's been visiting for the week - greeted them as they entered. We turned off a Beatles album that my mother had been playing, and Uriah noted that with the music and the burning incense, she was dating herself. He then turned to me and inquired as to my own taste in music, so I explained that my preferences generally range over heavy metal and Hebrew chants. Naturally, he gave me a rather puzzled look, though I think he was more surprised by the latter than the former. I also mentioned, in the course of the subsequent conversation, that my favorite book of the Bible is Lamentations, at which point Uriah turned to my mother and asked what on earth had happened to me as a child. Naturally, she blamed my grandmother for my... eccentricity... and Uriah noted that Zibiah blames her mother for a lot of things, too. Shem replied by saying, "If you met my grandmother, you'd know why." He then made a few comments about "the Deliverance branch" of his family.

After talking about cameras for a while, Uriah handed Sarah the latest issues of The Watchtower (featuring the article "Alcohol: What Is God's View?") and Awake! (featuring the article "Are You Working Too Hard?"); she wisely declined to comment on which I "need more". Uriah also handed me a Post-It Note with a reference to a Watchtower article he thought would be of use to me with respect to last week's discussion; the reference is to the "Questions from Readers" section of the 1 September 2004 issue, wherein the question is: "Why do Jehovah's Witnesses take the number 144,000 mentioned in the book of Revelation literally and not symbolically?" Looking over it now, it's rather unconvincing and relies too heavily on other highly questionable JW beliefs. Turning then to the matter of our study:

Uriah: So... I don't think you're gonna have any sticky spots in this one, unless I've missed something.

JB: You may have.

Uriah: I, I might have, yeah.

JB: I think we-- we'll have some... interesting discussions, I think.

Uriah: Okay.

JB: So I think first what I'd like to do, is just run through it, uh, answer the questions, not necessarily with what I personally think but to make sure that I know what it's saying--

Uriah: Okay.

JB: And then after we get through the chapter, we can go back and revisit the issues to--

Uriah: Good.

JB: Decide where we have agreements and disagreements.

Uriah: I will try to find more references on those and get those to you next week, so we'll keep a flow going. Good. Okay, [Shem], would you like to start?

Shem: Sure. "The Bible has much to say about that final war between God's Kingdom and the governments of this world. Fot example, it teaches that as the end approaches, wicked spirits will spread lies to deceive 'the kings of the entire inhabited earth.' For what purpose? 'To gather them [the kings] together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.' The kings of the earth will be gathered together to 'the place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon.' [(Revelation 16:14, 16)] Because of what is said in those two verses, the final conflict between human governments and God's Kingdom is called the battle of Har-Magedon, or Armageddon."

Uriah: Okay. "What is the name of the final war between God's Kingdom and the governments of this world?"

JB: That would be the Battle of Armageddon, as [. . .] that paragraph.

Uriah: No, no difficulties there.

JB: I would... put some different interpretations on some things, but we'll revisit that.

Uriah: Okay. Alright. But I didn't think you had a problem with the answer to the question, the name of the battle.

JB: That's pretty basic, right there, yeah.

Uriah: [laughs] Okay. Alright, nineteen and twenty, sir?

JB: Alright.

At this point, I read those paragraphs, and since it's a rather sizeable block of text, I'll refrain from transcribing it here. It first began by asking, "What will God's Kingdom achieve by means of Armageddon?", and going on to discuss God's will for the earth and our current condition.

Uriah: Okay. "What prevents God's will from being done on earth right now?"

JB: Our rebellion and the results that come out of it. We're sinful, we-- generally as a whole, humanity does not want to do the will of God, and that's something that stands in the way of God's will being done through us, because God's will is for us to freely choose to do his will, and so in order for God's will to be done, those of us who are going to be rescued need to be inclined to turn our hearts back to God.

Uriah: Okay. Alright, now twice I heard you say they do not want to do God's will, and both times you seemed like you put emotion into that word. Was that because it's italicized, or because you believe that?

JB: I believe it.

Uriah: Okay. Good. But, we have a president, we've had presidents who get their picture taken carrying their Bible back and forth to church; surely they will lead us down the right path, don'tcha think?

JB: If they actually believed what they were saying, then they might... if they were also very wise and approximated the character of Christ... Don't think we've had any of those.

Uriah: Okay. That's absolutely-- I agree with that 100%, per individual president. What about the government as a whole? How much spirituality are we gonna get from them?

JB: Not that much. Generally, as a rule of thumb, my view of government is this: it's best when it keeps quiet, because when it tries to do things, things go wrong. Putting stuff in the government's hands generally leads to stuff getting messed up, because not only does the government generally ignore godly principles, it's also just plain incompetent.

Uriah: Would you say that Solomon agreed with you? When he wrote, "Man has dominated man to his injury" [(Ecclesiastes 8:9)].

JB: I'd definitely agree with that sentiment.

Uriah: Yeah.... Okay, good! I knew there'd be a chunk here we agreed on. [laughs] Okay....

Before we turned to the next paragraph, Uriah asked me for some thoughts on the picture that occupies page 83. It's a fairly typical JW depiction of images representing the various things wrong with the world, including a starving woman with her pot-bellied child, a robber accosting another man at gunpoint, a tank, a missile, and the earth in the background. The caption reads, "The casting of Satan and his demons out of heaven brought woe to the earth. Such troubles will soon end." Moving on to the next paragraph...

Uriah: Okay, let's go to 21.

Shem: "After Armageddon, mankind will be under just one government, God's Kingdom. That Kingdom will do God's will and bring wonderful blessings. For example, it will remove Satan and his demons. [(Revelation 20:1-3)] The power of Jesus' sacrifice will be applied so that faithful humans will no longer get sick and die. Instead, under Kingdom rule they will be able to live forever. [(Revelation 22:1-3)] The earth will be made into a paradise. Thus the Kingdom will cause God's will to be done on earth and will sanctify God's name. What does this mean? It means that eventually under God's Kingdom everyone alive will honor Jehovah's name."

Uriah: Okay. "How will the Kingdom cause God's will to be done on earth?"

JB: The kingdom will restore and renovate the earth, for one. All of the plagues that haunt mankind and the ecosystem and all those other things are going to be eventually done away with. God has promised that all throughout the Scriptures. The kingdom will also mean that people will turn to God as the ruler, and when people turn to God, things are sure to go better, because his rule is best.

Uriah: Okay. Good. Let's, ah, let's consider Revelation, chapter 20 there, ah, one through three.... And, [JB], would you read those three and tell me what you think of 'em, or tell me what out of 'em?

JB: Alright. "And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while."

Uriah: Okay. What does that tell you?

JB: It's talking about a time when Satan's age-old dominance over mankind would be done away with, and he would no longer have the power to stop God's message from going forth into all the world.

Uriah: Okay. Good. Now, 22, one through three...

JB: "And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side [there were] trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees [were] for the curing of the nations. And no more will there be any curse. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in [the city], and his slaves will render him sacred service."

Uriah: Okay. And you take that to mean, what?

JB: That's talking about the restoration of all things, when God's will is finally achieved. It's talking about the healing of all people who have turned to him, and the transformation of the earth into the paradise it was always intended to be.

Uriah: Okay, good. Good. If you were the kind of person that believed - and that article goes along with that - that believed that mankind's just going to struggle and fight and claw in his imperfection to make the best of things until one day Armageddon comes and God destroys the earth. If you believed that, what would that tell you about these promises that you just read?

JB: That something's clearly wrong, because if that were the case then when are these going to be fulfilled? Where are these going to be fulfilled? If the destruction of the earth is just the last thing that happens, then where do these take place, and when? It wouldn't make any sense.

Uriah: Good. Good. So you would agree with me then, I-- if I said, people who believe that the earth is going to be destroyed, are not believing biblically correct?

JB: Right.

Uriah: Good. I'll give you a hint there again - I do this once in a while - that belief alone puts you above many, many, many paid ministers that are out preaching doom and gloom. [laughs] Okay, "When Does God's Kingdom Act?" Now the next two paragraphs, we're gonna find out the exact date and time. [laughs]

JB: Sounds great!

Uriah: Sounds good, but it's not gonna happen. [laughs] Let's see, whose turn is it?

It was my turn. I read the twenty-second paragraph, which argued that the kingdom had not yet come by the Ascension because not only had Jesus given his followers the Lord's Prayer, but Psalm 110:1 had not been fulfilled at the Ascension, as shown in later apostolic preaching (Acts 2:32-34; Hebrews 10:12-13).

Uriah: Okay... "Why do we know that God's Kingdom did not come when Jesus was on earth or immediately after he was resurrected?"

JB: Well, to qualify it as the kingdom coming in its fullness, the fullness of the promise, we know that it didn't happen then because we know that there were still prophecies yet to be fulfilled about it in the apostolic period. They still knew that all things had not yet been put under Jesus' feet, not-- tho-- the creation had not yet been reconciled and brought into its proper submission to its Maker.

Uriah: Good. How do we know that hasn't happened after he went back to heaven?

JB: We still see that things are not completely in subjection to their Maker, by observing the way the world around us functions and comparing it to the promises we've been given.

Uriah: Okay! ...What do you get out of the sentence there, where "Jehovah says to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet'"?

JB: It means that, for one thing, Jesus is being exalted to the right hand of his Father. That means that he occupies an extraordinarily high position of favor. It also means that Christ's foes will be brought into subjection to him, the entire creation will be subjected to him. And finally all of creation will attain its proper balance, the full hierarchy of order in God's kingdom will be attained, and Jehovah will be acknowledged as Lord over all.

Uriah: Okay. Good. Alright, then 23.

Shem proceeded to read the twenty-third paragraph of the text, which asserted that the 19th century saw "sincere Bible students" finally calculate that "the waiting period would end in 1914", and that "in 1914, Christ became King and God's heavenly Kingdom began to rule", so that Satan's "short period of time" is now.

Uriah: "When did God's Kingdom begin to rule?"

JB: Well, according to this text at least, the kingdom was-- the kingdom rule was inaugurated in the year 1914 of the Common Era.

Uriah: Okay. Now, I want to point some things out about that. One is that was put in print in The Watchtower thirty-eight years ahead of time. Thirty-eight years is pretty good for mankind to figure something out. The second point I want to make on that is, it's not that Jehovah's Witnesses are smarter or have information that's not in the Bible that anybody else doesn't have. They were wrong about what they thought at the time. They thought in 1914, the system was coming to an end and they were going to heaven. That's not the case. So, although they had the date right, which-- Did you look at the appendix?

JB: I've looked at it before.

Uriah: Okay, you know what they were based on, how it's fulfilled [. . .] through. Still it doesn't mean that they had perfect vision. They didn't. They thought, this is the end of things, and they didn't even know about the other sheep until 1935. So the light was getting brighter for them even though they were anointed, they didn't have perfect vision. They didn't need it! [laughs] They needed to, ah-- they needed to have a, a vague idea of what God intended and be working toward that, same as you and I right now. It really doesn't matter what his timetable is; his timetable for us is to do our best as long as we can. Right. Okay.

JB: Amen.

Uriah: Absolutely. And to tell you the truth, I feel that from you or I wouldn't keep coming back. I think you're sincere. [Shem] doesn't, he thinks you're a jerk. [laughs]

Shem: Thanks [...].

[They try to talk over each other and end up both laughing.]

Uriah: I just made that up, you know that. [laughs]

Shem [to Uriah]: You really are my brother, aren't you?

Uriah: I like to bring him along just so he trusts me completely, and then I [...].

JB: I got that feeling about you.

Shem: I'm a big boy, I can take it.

JB: You should hear what he says when you're not around.

Uriah: Oh yeah.

Shem: Wouldn't surprise me.

Uriah: I told him about your women problems and everything. [laughs]

Shem: Oh that's okay. I didn't have a problem when I was in the world; it's when I became a Witness that I started having problems.

Uriah: Dating with manners and spirituality.

Shem: There you go.

I'll skip over a bit more banter back and forth, during which Uriah asked my girlfriend how I treat her; she replied by stating, "He has his good points..." When we finally turned back to the question:

Uriah: Okay, part B. This is a tough one, I hope you studied for this part. "What will be discussed in the next chapter?"

JB: The next chapter is going to talk about whether we're living in the last days. So it's going to talk about reasons why we might be able to see that the end of this system of things is coming upon us and reasons to believe that the promises that God has given a long time ago are about to be fulfilled.

Uriah: Okay. Is that the correct answer, or is that your belief?

JB: That's what the next chapter is going to talk about. I would qualify certain points of that as far as my own beliefs.

Uriah: Okay. Alright, the review box.

JB: Haven't seen one of these in a while.

Uriah: I know. It's weird. [laughs] "God's Kingdom is a heavenly government with Jesus Christ as King, and from among mankind, 144,000 are taken to rule with him." Ah, let's, let's read those scriptures.

JB: Okay.

Uriah: Revelation 14:1, 4...

JB: Verse one?

Uriah: Mmhmm.

JB: "And I saw, and look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads." And verse four?

Uriah: Mmhmm.

JB: "These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb."

Uriah: Okay, so what do you think about the statement that "God's Kingdom is a heavenly government with Jesus Christ as K"-- Well let me, lemme do this, lemme-- what do you think about this state-- this sentence: "God's Kingdom is a heavenly government with Jesus Christ as King", period.

JB: Agree.

Uriah: Okay. Next sentence: "From among mankind, 144,000 are taken to rule with him."

JB: Mmm, needs qualification.

Uriah: Okay. And that's fair, because it's difficult, and it is hard to teach - it's a little easier with you 'cause you're willing to spend the time and do some research - someone who just has a light surface interest, and you come to them and say, "Well, the Book of Revelation is full of symbolism, but this one verse here I want you to take literally." That's kinda hard to do without some digging into it, so that's fair, that does need qualified, I agree with that. That's, that's-- nothing wrong with that. And I think that article will do that for you, the one I already gave you.

JB: Okay.

Uriah: Uh... "The Kingdom started to rule in 1914, and since then Satan has been cast out of heaven down to earth." Well, let's read that one now too, [Revelation] 12:9. ...Actually, if you wouldn't mind, start reading at 7 and read through 9.

JB: "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him."

Uriah: Okay. What do you get out of those scriptures?

JB: I see it talking about Satan being defeated and being cast down to our area, so that he would be even more enraged against God's people.

Uriah: Okay. Who's it talking about when it says "Michael"?

JB: Well, this is one area where I would disagree with the position of Jehovah's Witnesses. I think that Michael and Jesus are two distinct figures, although I understand that Jehovah's Witnesses, along with a few other groups, would believe that Michael is another name for the Christ.

Uriah: Okay. Alright.

Skipping ahead just a bit more through some discussion of Satan's character:

Uriah: So, what do you think of the statement that "the Kingdom started to rule in 1914, and since then Satan has been cast out of heaven down to earth"?

JB: I would disagree with the timeframe.

Uriah: Okay. I expected that. But you do agree with the statement in principle?

JB: That-- yeah-- what-- My only disagreement would be where we shift it in the course of time--

Uriah: Okay. ...Years ago, I studied the Knowledge book with a man, and it had come to the 1914 part of the-- in that book it had a timeline drawn out, and the weeks of years and all that. It's not the type of thing you keep on top of your head and use all the time, so before his study, a couple of days before, I studied up, boned up, got really, really refreshed on it so I could explain it to him. Read it to him, he said, "Eh, okay, fine." [laughs] What? I was looking for an argument or a debate or a question, but, "No, I'm good with that." [laughs] Never did anything about it, but he believed it right off the page. Showed him three or four scriptures, "Yeah, okay." [laughs]

JB: That's why I love the little surprises in life, don't you, sometimes?

Uriah: Huh?

JB: The little surprises in life.

Uriah: Yeah, yeah, I-- like I said, nothing happened with him, so... That's, like I said with you, ah, no matter how this goes, you're learning what Jehovah's Witnesses believe at least, and you still have your free will, no one's gonna take that from you, not even the devil can do that, and God won't. So I just want to take the time to thank you for doing the reading and do the research and ask intelligent questions, because it's not that rare-- it's not that common! [laughs] People just aren't interested anymore, which is also a Bible prophecy coming true. People aren't interested, they just-- we've already talked about the wide road and the narrow road, so... Good. Of all the people I go to visit, I only have two that are interested enough to talk. The rest will take magazines, thank me, pretend they're gonna read 'em. I know they don't, but maybe something'll strike a nerve here or there, you never know. Again, I'm not allowed to judge... even though you and I are good at it! [laughs] Alright. "God's Kingdom will soon destroy human governments, and the earth will become a paradise." Revelation, chapter 16, verses 14 through 16...

JB: "They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. 'Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments, that he may not walk naked and people look upon his shamefulness.' And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon."

Uriah: Okay. "God's Kingdom will soon destroy human governments, and the earth will become a paradise." What does that mean to you?

JB: Well... I would qualify it in certain ways.

Uriah: Okay.

JB: Uh... Depending on what we mean by "soon", I might agree or disagree.

Uriah: Let's say soon is a short period of time, but I can't tell you how short.

JB: It's... possible, at least.

Uriah: Yeah.

JB: Ah...

Uriah: I mean, you and I know something's coming soon, we both believe that. Soon, we don't know how soon, but... if we're gonna take 6000 years of human history, whatever time it is, it's soon.

JB: Probably.

Uriah: Okay.

JB: Ahh, the destruction of human governments... I believe that is plausibly required for the end to come. We'll probably talk in a little while about what I think-- about how I interpret this passage, once I begin explaining what I think of all this. And I definitely do believe that the earth will become a paradise.

Uriah: Okay. Why do you think-- why do you think... and not the book, why is your belief that you think the governments may need to be gotten rid of for paradise to take over?

JB: It depends on whether or not, in the final endgame, they resist. If they resist God's kingdom, then they will be wiped out.

Uriah: Okay. Ah... The last half of 16:14 in Revelation talks about the kings of the entire inhabited earth, and it goes on to say "they will gather them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon", and we know that's the battle of God. Do you-- as a group now, as a group, governments, do you hold out hope for them?

JB: Most of them, no.

Uriah: Okay. But you do think a human government will survive?

JB: Possibly. If so, it will be completely submitted to God's rule.

Uriah: Okay.

JB: And taken over by God.

Uriah: Mmhmm.

JB: Not in the sense that it will become the kingdom of God, but it will be one of those cases of kings casting their crowns at the feet of Christ, who will be "the king of those who rule as kings and lord of those who rule as lords", as the New World Translation puts it, I think.

Uriah: Okay.... Okay! Now, tell me what you think.

JB: Prepare to be perplexed.

Uriah: Oh you've already done that a couple of times.

JB: Because you've probably not ever met someone who interprets these scriptures in the way that I would. Uh...

Uriah: I don't need to take my shoes off or anything, do I, Your Holiness?

JB: [laughs] I don't think so.

Uriah: Okay.

JB: I am what would be called a preterist amillennialist.

Uriah: They have pills for that, don't they?

JB: They're working on it. Basically, I would believe, as a preterist, that a great deal of what is talked about in various scriptures about 'the end', has already come to pass.

Uriah: Okay, good!

JB: But we would disagree at some points on which ones.

Uriah: Mmhmm.

JB: For example, I would see many things in Matthew 24, for example, as already having been fulfilled in the first century. I would also see probably the first number of chapters of Revelation as having already been taken care of, but shifted to the earlier days such as the first century, most probably. In fact, I have a book here that's pretty interesting, uh, Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary. What it does is, it takes the major traditions of interpretation, ah, futurist, preterist, spiritual, and something else [*I missed historicist*], just the major views throughout the history of trying to figure out how to look at that, and it basically comments what someone who took one of these views might think about what each passage might mean. So it's a good way to understand sort of the range. It doesn't cover everything--for example, you guys aren't in there, unfortunately--but that's what we've got books like Revelation--Its Grand Climax at Hand! for.

Uriah: Mmhmm. And you do have that, right?

JB: Yeah, yeah. I have that upstairs. A preterist would interpret the scene of Armageddon in that passage as referring to one of two possible things, depending on-- there are some differences within that camp. I'm not totally decided on which side I want to take. Either they would see Armageddon as the destruction-- as the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century, or the destruction-- or the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. Both-- so, under either of those views, Armageddon would be something that has already taken place.

Uriah: ...So if you believe that, then you believe that all of the governments that are current now survived it.

JB: We would say that their destruction was not the point of Armageddon.

Uriah: Now the source of your belief, though, is not the Bible on that point, it's not the Bible so much as man-written books?

JB: It's what the Bible says as a whole.

Uriah: Hmm. So you believe that we are now in the thousand-year reign?

JB: As an amillennialist, yeah, I would see this as the thousand-year reign. It just looks different than some might think it would.

Uriah: For sure! [laughs] Uh, now I'm not making fun of you, please realize I'm not, I want to ask this question: if you believe that, then you know people who've been resurrected?

JB: No.

Uriah: Well, aren't they resurrected during the reign?

JB: I would say that the final general resurrection happens at the end of the reign.

Uriah: Okay. I asked you this question once before, about a year ago: do you know anybody else who believes this way?

JB: Yep.

Uriah: Okay. You said that then, too.

JB: I'm crazy, but I'm not alone.

Uriah: [laughs] Uh-oh, there's gonna be a bunch of 'em in towers with rifles. If you have time, will you do me a favor?

JB: Sure.

Uriah: I don't care if you write it down or e-mail it to me or whatever, just give me a sentence on each one of those beliefs and the scriptures that back it up.

JB: Okay.

Uriah: And then we'll-- I'll look into the scriptures and see where our different interpretations take different paths and we'll deal with it that way. Because a lot of what you believe, I've never heard of before.

JB: Yeah, that's why I said, "Prepare to be perplexed."

Uriah: Yeah.

JB: 'Cause I figured, most people haven't.

Uriah: I will say this: your system of belief, your religion, whether it's yours alone or a group of you have it or whatever, is more complex than what most people are going to give any time to. They just aren't going to. And yeah, I'm not going to make fun of you, because I believe you have some spiritual sincerity, I really, truly do. I also want you to consider a scripture for the rest of your life.

JB: Okay.

Uriah: John, chapter sev-- I'm sorry, Mark, chapter seven... and verses seven and eight.

JB: "It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach as doctrines the commands of men. Letting go the commandment of God, YOU hold fast the tradition of men."

Uriah: I feel that the world that you're living in, that you're studying in, you're exposed to lots and lots of traditions, and lots of, uh, academics, and some can be convincing. When someone is one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and then they decide to turn their back on the entire belief, we refer to them as apostates. And our Society tells us, when we run across them, not to talk to them. There's two reasons for that. The Bible clearly tells us not to say-- not to even say a greeting to such a man that has turned his back on the truth--on what he believed the truth was, okay? The other thing is, because none of us are strong enough to put up-- to stand up against it. The reason for that is, the Bible tells us to not get involved in that. If we're gonna decide, "Well, you know what, I think God and the Bible were-- they didn't know how good I can be! So I'm gonna go ahead and do that, I'm just gonna ignore the Bible there, I'm gonna dive in there 'cause I'm sure I can handle it", there we have turned our back on the guidance of God, which deprives us of the holy spirit, so we don't have that help. And [Shem] can tell you as well as I can, nobody's going door-to-door for years and years and years like we are without the holy spirit helping, because we're not that good. We're not that determined, we're not that strong, we're not that good. We need something helping us. So without that, we fall flat on our face. The reason that I want you to keep those two scriptures in mind - and this is, again, no matter what you decide you're doing, ever, through your life - don't fall for some extremely convincing and sometimes very logical traditions that men are going to tell us, tell you - because they will. And some of them - here's the hard part - some people, if they're just like a slimy little conniving demon person that's gonna try and change your mind, that's one thing. The hard part is when it's someone who's a nice person, and they are sincerely looking out for your best interests, they truly are, they're just wrong, that's all. They're good people, they're just wrong. And there's lots of them out there, you know that as well as I do because of the talking and the preaching that you've done. There's people out there who are sincere, they're humane, they're kind, they're just wrong. And that's, that's why this system is dragging on yet, so we can deal with as many of them as want to have open hearts and minds as possible. Just, again, that the warning is just beware that what you believe is based on the Book you believe in, okay? And that's, that's why I'm asking you to give me scriptures to support your beliefs, because I'm never gonna-- I'm never gonna make fun of a belief that you get from the Bible, ever. You're familiar with the religion that [Shem] and I ran into out in Hopeland one time, where it was easy to make fun of them people. They had Bab, the god, and... [laughs]

JB: The Baha'is.

Uriah: Yeah, those. Nasty--

Shem: I still don't understand that stamp.

Uriah: The stamp, yeah, yeah...

It's hard not avoid at least a brief comment on Uriah's speech about believing the Bible over man, especially since that's the exact same scripture he cited as his fallback over a year ago when he couldn't actually answer what I was saying about the Trinity. It seems to basically function as a trump card when actually persuading via the Scriptures and reason isn't an option for them. Also, of course, I find it interesting that he essentially says that no Jehovah's Witness can actually refute the apostate arguments, though their explanation for why (that they're spiritually weakened by the very attempt) is somewhat plainly an excuse. (And, of course, if I agreed with their stance on how to treat an apostate, then since Uriah used to be a Methodist, he's an apostate from traditional Christianity and hence I ought not talk with him.) But, anyway, that's more or less how the meeting ended - anything after that probably wasn't especially worthy of note - and so I'll see them again in a week.

2 comments:

  1. This is fascinating. I'm new to your blog, having seen your comments on mine :). I can't wait to go back through this series of your meetings with the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    By the way, I would love your thoughts on my recent post, "You, LORD, in the Beginning." A pair of Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door a few days ago and reluctantly agreed to come by on Saturday to talk. Please pray for that, though I'm doubtful they'll come.

    Anyway, as I explain in this post, I was formulating a plan for how to witness to them, and it caused me to do a whole bunch of research into an argument I'd been using for years, and which I'm now more convinced than ever is a "slam dunk" against any view that Jesus is not God. Would love your feedback.

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  2. Petrus CaietanusJuly 13, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I find it interesting that he essentially says that no Jehovah's Witness can actually refute the apostate arguments, though their explanation for why (that they're spiritually weakened by the very attempt) is somewhat plainly an excuse. [2]

    aw.
    /shrug

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