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Monday, September 04, 2006

Our first Witnesses.

Yes, the Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on our door this morning. I quickly relieved Heather of point defense duty and spent the better part of twenty minutes with them. Actually, they were the ones to end the conversation, if that means anything.

Nice folks--as Peter Kreeft says in another context: "They are our patients, not our enemies."

So I was pleasant--in demeanor, at least. I was prepping to mow the lawn and had yet to shower. In fact, I suspect I looked like Jon Kruk after a week of deer camp. I just hope I didn't smell like him.


For the most part, I listened, interested in getting a feel for their approach. It bounced around a lot, from scripture to unconnected scripture. From Hebrews to First Peter to the Psalms to Genesis. Quite the dizzying tour. It presumed some kind of Christian background, however stunted and unwatered--in fact, I don't see how it would make the least dent on a non-Christian. As a result, there is a welcome reverence for the Bible (their dubious translation, natch, though none of those verses came into play) and it's the only argument presented--apart from reading the signs of the times. Indeed, apocalyptic themes predominated--"it's never been this bad" being the general tenor of the presentation.

Naturally, based on the JW worldview, it all started with the First World War and now manifests itself in such varegated phenomena as pedophilia.

He tried to get me to sign on to the concept that the Bible is the sole means by which we can judge the times. Now let me nip a sola scriptura firestorm in the bud right now--he wasn't limiting it to revelatory truth. He was arguing that it was the sole frame of reference--period. Philosophy, history, etc. had to be shunted aside, with the sole exception being the history of the last century as read through the prism of the Witnesses. That's sola nostra, not sola scriptura. It also made not the slightest positive impression.

Anyway, it ended after twenty minutes or so, and apparently they will be back. [Said without an Austrian accent.]

Now, I know there's a split of opinion on engaging the Witnesses--whether the door should be politely closed or not. If you are comfortable with it, engage--but don't drop prooftext bombs on them from the start. Listen and try not to arch your eyebrow too much.

If nothing else, you have engaged in delaying tactics worthy of Fabius and have kept them from speaking to someone else more likely to be roped in.

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