Answering a JW Pop Quiz

I just came across this “Good Points for Field Service” list of questions that are administered to many Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Pyromaniacs blog. I actually have a typed copy of this in my filing cabinet that was given to me years ago by a JW that used to visit. Nearly all of the question show a fundamental misunderstanding (if not complete ignorance) regarding what Christians believe about the Incarnation and Hypostatic Union of Christ. Even a basic understanding of these concepts would make most of these questions irrelevant. Here’s how I’d answer these in a real life situation (in fact, I have answered some of these like this—the questions are in bold):

IF JESUS IS GOD

Why is he called the “firstborn” of all creation? Col. 1:15, Rev.3:14

He’s preeminent. That’s the point Paul is making in Colossians. He says so explicitly. And “firstborn” need not refer to some kind of creation order. Manasseh was “firstborn” physically while Ephraim was second (Gen. 41:51-52) and yet Ephraim is called “firstborn” as a title of preeminence (Jer. 31:9). The passage in Revelation calls Jesus the αρχη of the creation of God. This can, and I believe does, refer to Jesus’ role as the source of creation. This of course aligns nicely with Colossians 1:15-18.

Why did he say that he did not come of his “own initiative” but was sent? John 8:42, 1 John 4:9

Because he was. How does the Son being sent by the Father in any way detract from the deity of the Son? Is there an argument to be made that a divine person cannot be sent? If so then that argument needs to be made; not assumed beforehand.

Why did Jesus not know the “day and the hour” of the Great Tribulation but God did? Matt. 24:36

As Philippians 2:7-8 tells us, the Son humbled himself and took all that came with this self-humiliation. It’s no great shock for the Incarnate Son to not know something or to exhibit any other limitation that is part and parcel of being human (save sin).

Who did Jesus speak to in prayer?

His Father.

How did he “appear before the person of God for us”? Heb. 9.24

By dying, rising, and ascending.

Why did Jesus say “the Father is greater than I am”? John 14:28, Php. 2:5, 6

Because in a certain sense (i.e., paternally) the Father is greater than the Son. The Father sends while the Son is sent; Jesus is speaking of returning to the Father who sent him. To make this some kind of ontological issue is to read something into the text that isn’t there.

Who spoke to Jesus at the time of his baptism saying “this is my son”? Matt. 3:17

His Father.

How could he be exalted to a superior position? Php. 2:9, 10

Because he willingly humbled himself prior to this exaltation (Phil. 2:7-8).

How can he be the “mediator between God and man”? 1Tim. 2:5

How can’t he be? As both God and man he seems especially suited for the position, doesn’t he?

Why did Paul say the “the head of Christ is God”? lCor. 11:30

Because it’s true. The question to ask is in what sense is God the head of Christ? Certainly not in the sense that he’s a superior being or that he created the Son.

Why did Jesus “hand over the Kingdom to his God” and “subject himself to God”? 1 Cor. 15:24, 28

Because he had put all enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25-26).

Who does he refer to as “my God and your God”? John 20:17

His Father.

How does he sit at God’s right hand? Ps. 110:1, Heb. 10:12, 13

On a throne (Rev. 22:3).

Why does John say “no man has seen God at any time”? John 1:18

Because he’s referring to the Father (cf. John 6:46; 1 John 4:12). Plenty of folks have seen God (Gen. 18; 32:30; Exod. 24:10-11; Jdgs. 13:22).

Why did not people die when they saw Jesus? Ex. 30:20

Probably for the same reason they didn’t die when they saw God (see above). Or, perhaps because Jesus was clothed in humility. The Word became flesh (John 1:14).

How was Jesus dead and God alive at the same time? Acts 2:24

I hear the assumption of “soul sleep” in this question. I think for it to carry weight that assumption would need to be argued. Death is not ceasing to exist, so I can’t quite see the force of the question.

Why did he need someone to save him? Heb. 5:7

Where do we read anything about a “need” in Hebrews 5:7? And if there was such a “need” (i.e., to be saved from death) then what of it? Haven’t we already seen that the assumption of humanity came with certain limitations?

Who is reffered to prophetically at Prov. 8:22-31?

Wisdom is a literary personification of a divine attribute (see Hurtado, Lee, McDonough, et al.) so I suppose God is referred to, but not prophetically, however that’s being used in this question.

Why did Jesus say “that all authority has been GIVEN to me in heaven and on earth”? Matt. 28.18, Dan. 7:13, 14 (similar)

Because it was.

Why did he have godly fear? Heb. 5:7

Because good sons reverence their fathers.

How could he learn obedience and be made perfect? Heb. 5:8-9

Through suffering.

Why would an angel be able to strengthen him or angels minister to him? Luke 22:43, Matt. 4:11

Because he was truly human.

Why would Satan try to tempt him if he KNEW that he was GOD? Matt. 4:1-11

Because Satan is a deceiver and deceived himself into thinking that he could possibly win.

Jesus when sent to the earth was made to “be Lower” than the angels. Heb. 2:7. How could any part of a God Head EVER be lower than the angels?

God is simple so Jesus is not a “part of a God Head” (not quite sure what they mean by that exactly) but he can be “made lower” by becoming incarnate taking on the form of a servant (John 1:14; Phil. 2:6-7)

Then if Jesus was the sameas God, who was he being tempted to rebel against? could God be tempted to rebel against himself? Matt. 4:1

This question assumes modalism. The Son can be tempted to sin against the Father.

Near the end of his earthly life, Jesus cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46 Can God desert or forsake himself?

Nope. And he didn’t. Read the whole Psalm Jesus alluded to. In the end we learn that he wasn’t forsaken.

Heb. 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience! To whom would he obey if he was GOD? And Does God need to LEARN anything?

His Father, and the Incarnate God does, since the Incarnate God has united deity and humanity in his person.

God’s justice is strickly perfect. Ex. 21:23-25 for example. The ransom price was one perfect human for another. An imperfect man’s life would be too low. Ps. 49:7 If Jesus was the same as God, the ransom price paid by a God would have been too high. Adam was a perfect MAN and the ransome price was a perfect MAN, not higher nor lower.

Was there a question in there?

B”H

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12 thoughts on “Answering a JW Pop Quiz

  1. Doug: My pleasure.

    Mike: Agreed. Stafford should host conferences for Witnesses. Ultimately the arguments won’t work; but at least they’ll make orthodox believers think a little harder.

  2. Except Stafford is now adamantly opposed to the Watchtower. In addition, he accepts prayer and worship to Jesus (with qualification of course). JW’s wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole.

  3. Mike: Ya know, that’s actually the only debate I’ve ever purchased from AOMin. I’m sure White would be willing to continue the debate. I wonder if Stafford would be up to it.

  4. I think Stafford was a bit more than “close” to winning this debate, but ya know…. lol

    No, but seriously, I think Stafford has been willing to debate a second time with White. Doubt it’ll happen, much like the debate with Robert Morey over God’s foreknowledge never happened.

    With that said, where has Bowman been at all these years? Thought he was suppose to review Stafford’s third edition on Patton’s blog?

  5. Ivan: I don’t know what happened to Bowman’s review. He did talk about certain portions of the book that were different from the 2nd edition but I can’t remember anything past that.

  6. Good post.

    “Why does John say “no man has seen God at any time”? John 1:18″
    May want to also add the explicit account of Abraham having lunch with God in human form in Genesis 18.

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