I had the pleasure of talking to some Jehovah's Witness ladies at my door the other day. No, really. They were very nice, and nobody threw anything at anyone. I had to stop the conversation short because a) I saw it was going nowhere, b) I had to get back to work, and c) I guess I have lost a little hope that my conversations will do anything. There is nothing much I can do about "a" and "b", but "c" is something I need to address with God. The truth is powerful, and the Spirit can blow wherever He wishes, so my faithlessness isn't good.
Anyway... to the point! Ok, so if you haven't seen the movie Finding Nemo, you need to disengage your fingertips and rear-end from the keyboard and chair (respectively) and go watch it before reading the rest of this post. The "supporting actor" for Nemo's dad, Marlin, was a blue fish named Dory. She had some mental issues, like extreme short-term memory -she couldnt' remember things past a few moments, usually, but her attitude was alwast optimistic and positive, unlike the dour Marlin with his pessimistic, wounded outlook on life.
Dory had this saying, "Just keep swimming." It annoyed Marlin to no end. In the film, her refrain was a positive thing. But whenever I try to show Jehovah's Witnesses true things that conflict with their beliefs, from their own Bible, I get the same "just keep swimming" attitude. It is far less cute than Dory's attitude, because in this case it is more along the lines of, "Ignore what he said and throw a challenge back at him." It gets absolutely nowhere. I can show them how the Greek in Matthew 28:19 works all day long, how the one "name" belogs to all three, Father, Son, and Spirit, qually. They will just bypass it. They will "just keep swimming," as if I said nothing at all.
I could take a stronger approach and say, "Hey, I asked you a question. Why are you avoiding my question?" They would probably say, "Well, we know it can't mean that because of these other things." Then I could say, "Well, the language is pretty clear, so could it simply be that it does mean that but your beliefs are not big enough to contain all that Scripture says without trying to fit it into your neat little box?" That might get me somewhere with helping them see things from the outside, but only if it gets me to the following point.
The real issue is not their understanding of the Greek in Matthew 28:19. The heart of the matter is their faith-precommitment to their organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. That is what needs to be exposed. They can say their faith is ultimately in whatever they want, but at the end of the day, the believe what they believe because the Watchtower tells them. And they believe in the Watchtower because they believe in the Watchtower. Their own arguments for their own beliefs will always be more persuasive, no matter how weak and no matter how monumental and academically powerful the counter-arguments are, because of their implicit faith in the validity and unprovable God-ordained authority of the Watchtower Society.
This is not to say that I don't have a worldview that is held to by faith. All of us do -even atheists. The point is that we will not get anywhere with anyone, such as a Jehovah's Witness, unless that is exposed and addressed. But of course this begs the question... how is that done? Can I do it? This is obviously where the eloquence of the speaker means nothing, which is what I was basically saying before. The Spirit of God must do this. He must pierce our blindness. But I can be an instrument. To do so, I must rethink my approach to talking to people, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and deal with the heart of the matter with them. And to do so, I must also re-adjust my attitude a bit, from one of trying to win an argument to one of hoping they will see and be freed from their cult. Ministry of pride versus ministry of mercy.