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How Worship Wins Theological Arguments

Recently a Jehovah’s Witness knocked on my dad’s door, and the kind of conversation ensued that tends to ensue when Christian and JW meet.

My dad used to teach NT Greek and thought he’d push the JW a little on the familiar ground of John 1:1. The Jehovah’s Witnesses of course interpret this verse as, “the word was a god,” but, said my dad, you can’t do that because this is a verb of incomplete predication, which means grammatically and contextually the Greek should be translated as “the word was God.”

Aha, retorted the JW, but there are other places in the NT where a verb of incomplete predication is translated in your Bible with an “a”—so you are wrong.

My dad was impressed by how well the JWs are equipped in their arguments.

(The example the JW gave was from John 9:17 where Jesus is described as “a prophet.” However, he was mistaken about this example as in this case there is no choice to be made about the subject/object being either “was prophet” or “a prophet”—the “a” is inserted simply to make the sentence read smoothly.)

My experience when speaking with JWs (and members of the other heretical “Christian” sects) is that inevitably things end up in a very dry argument. Sometimes this can be quite fun, but I don’t think I’ve ever met a proselytizing member of one of these groups who has endeared themselves to me. I think they are wrong, and the certainty of their beliefs only hardens me in my rejection of those beliefs.

Sometimes I wonder if the arguments we Christians make about our faith to non-believers have the same effect.

In talking with JWs I’ve never got any sense they delight in the God they proclaim.

There are lots of “facts” but precious little worship. Perhaps in our arguments we can end up sounding the same.

Instead of this, the Church is called to witness the truth about Jesus Christ through our worship of him.

Tasting the grace of God that is ours in Christ should fill us with a delight that is a more powerful testimony than any other argument.

One of the most famous and perhaps most profound examples of this is given to us by Augustine:

“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new; late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.”

Now, that sounds like a convincing argument to me!