We had one of Jehovah’s Witnesses come into #prosapologian last night. Someone asked him to comment on John 2:18-21, and specifically Jesus’ words about raising His own body from the dead. We were told that “the temple of His body” was actually a reference to the church! Now, it is interesting to speculate on how some of our very vocal critics would respond to this JW.
Would they discuss medieval categories with him, and eschew the discussion of the actual text due to the inability of anyone to truly disassociate themselves from their “presuppositions”? Or, would they avoid the text by attempting to press some extra-biblical source of authority, like the Nicene Creed?
Well, we went straight to the inspired text and pointed out a few things to our JW friend. We pointed out that John never uses the Greek term swma of the church—that is Pauline. So why does he assume Paul’s use here? We then pointed out that the text speaks of that point in time when Christ was raised from the dead, and with that event as the trigger, the disciples remembered “that He said this” with the emphasis upon that term “this.” Our JW friend had come up with a whole bunch of imaginative ways to explain what it was the disciples remembered, but had a hard time explaining how the specific words of Jesus raising the temple in three days could at all be relevant to the subject of the church. And though he had claimed Kittel’s TDNT supported his view, we were able to counter-cite from the same source (something that went unanswered from his side). Now, did he repent and believe? No, but the folks in channel that watched the hour long conversation were equipped to respond to the most developed forms of JW internet apologetics, and, hopefully, had their faith in the deity of Christ and the bodily resurrection strengthened. So you see, the issues we have been discussing, especially when it comes to the exegesis of God’s Word, are central to practical apologetics. Let the mockers mock: when it comes to actually doing the work of apologetics, what will they rely upon when the challenges arise?