Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 19, 1953

Some Questions To Ask Jehovah's Witnesses

Wm. E. McDaniel, Houston, Texas

On Sunday afternoon, October 11, it was my pleasure to enter into a discussion with three men of the "Jehovah's Witness" cult in a private home in Clute, Texas. This meeting was arranged through the church there, to which I was invited to attend and represent our brethren. The proposition discussed was: Resolved, there is no punishment for the wicked dead beyond the grave. This they affirmed, and I denied.

During the discussion, which lasted almost two hours, their regular arguments were presented. As usual, they made a great play on the words Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus. The story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) was called a parable, although it has none of the marks of a parable. It is nowhere called a parable and is nowhere explained as such. The affirmative further endeavored to show that the dead are wholly unconscious and that the grave is the only punishment awaiting the wicked.

At last I agreed to show the truth regarding future punishment without referring to any of the passages in which Sheol, Gehenna, Hades, or Tartarus are found. I read to them from Romans 2:6-9, which reads: "Who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek." Having read these verses, I asked them to show me when the wicked would receive wrath, indignation, tribulation and anguish. Surely the text shows that these things are to be given at the same time the righteous receive eternal life, which is beyond the grave. The force of this passage was greatly felt by these "Witnesses," and they finally admitted that they had not studied this passage and did not know when it would be fulfilled.

At one time during the meeting, one of the men stated that Sodom and Gomorrah would not be raised from the dead. They were then requested to explain Matthew 10:15, where Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city." How could it be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment if the people of these two ancient cities were not raised from the dead? And if they were raised and judged, would that not be a future punishment beyond the grave? These questions were never answered by the "Witnesses." Instead, they dodged and passed without answers. To answer them would be to admit their error and defeat.

Again I asked, how could the "Witnesses" teach that the dead would not be raised, when Jesus proclaimed, "The hour cometh . . . . when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." (John 5:28-29) Any dodge on this passage is a failure to accept and believe what it says, namely the evil will be raised and judged. A similar passage in Daniel 12:2 shows that some will be raised to "shame and everlasting contempt."

To my mind, this meeting clearly showed one thing. As long as these men read from their books and followed their regular line of thought, they had plenty to say. But when they were asked questions regarding passages not discussed in their books, they were at loss to explain them. Should any reader ever have the occasion to discuss future punishment or the resurrection of the wicked dead with members of the "Witness" cult, the questions discussed above may be helpful. They were not answered in this meeting, and I do not believe they can be answered by those who deny the truths they teach.