I think there are many Christians who feel intimidated to talk to Jehovah Witnesses’ and Mormons. Most of the time we realize that the missionaries from those religions have done a lot of studying and preparing to share about their faith and we find that intimidating because we feel like we haven’t done much of that ourselves. But I wanted to challenge you to think of this differently.
Many religions in the world claim to be the true one. Of course we know that not all them can be true, because they contradict. Islam says Jesus isn’t God, Christianity does. Hinduism says hell doesn’t exist, western religions do. Buddhism says this world is an illusion, Judaism says that God created the very real world that we see. So how do we determine which one is true?
I’ve recently been researching Jehovah Witnesses. I’ve attended the local Kingdom Hall, read a number of the Watch Tower Publications, and debated a Jehovah Witness online. It’s been fun. If you know me at all, you know that I really enjoy these sort of tensions and conversations.
The most important thing I have come to realize about Jehovah’s Witness is that they don’t believe that Jesus is God. In fact they don’t believe in the trinity at all. This is of course a huge break away from Orthodox Christianity. So I thought I would take some time to show one reason why such a view is unbiblical.
Most of you are well aware that Jehovah’s Witneses are not the only people that believe Jesus is not God. In fact, it’s a pretty common belief that Jesus is not God these days. Whether an atheist, a Jehovah Witness, aMormons, or even a Muslim, many people believe Jesus is not God. So what does scripture teach? One passage in particular seems to make it abundantly clear.
In John 20 we see Jesus appear to Thomas after the resurrection. Thomas had declared that he would not believe unless he felt Jesus wounds and saw Jesus himself. When Jesus appears and tells Thomas to feel his wounds Thomas says to Jesus, “my Lord and my God”.
Thomas is very clearly calling Jesus God! It’s possible that Thomas is somehow wrong in his exclamation here, but Jesus’ reply makes it clear that he has no problem with what Thomas has said. Instead of condemning or correcting Thomas for calling him God, Jesus says ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
Rather then correcting, Jesus confirms Thomas’ statement by saying those who believe what Thomas has proclaimed without seeing, as Thomas has seen, will be blessed.
Some would like to argue that Jesus makes no actual claim to deity here. To some extent this is true, Jesus does say ‘I am God’. But an understanding of the strict monotheism of Judaism would show that Jesus should have condemned such a statement and He didn’t. In fact he encourages Thomas for calling him God. Clearly Jesus did not disagree with what was being said.
Others claim that Thomas was not speaking to Jesus but actually to God, but the context makes it clear, ‘Thomas said to him (Jesus), my Lord and my God’. John is being explicitly clear that Thomas is addressing Jesus.
There is only way to interpret the passage within the context, Thomas is calling Jesus God and Jesus is confirming that Thomas is speaking the truth. So is Jesus God? This scripture certainly is saying so.
A few weeks ago I was able to visit the Mormon Temple that has just been finished in Fort Collins. For those of you who don’t know this is actually a pretty big deal. because the temple is usually closed to non-Mormons. Since the temple is new they opened it for a short time to the public before the temple is dedicated and then closed forever to non-Mormon visitors. The temple was extremely beautiful and it was cool to see everything, and a few things caught my attention. The biggest surprise in my experience visiting the temple actually had nothing to do with the actually visiting the temple. The biggest surprise for me was the reaction I received from some of my Christian friends when I invited them to come and join me.