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WORLDVIEW/RELIGION ANALYSIS of Jehovah's Witnesses

INTRODUCTION: There are many worldviews and religions that have developed and evolved throughout history and many more continue to develop even to this day. One of them is the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), which is a relatively new faith system that was founded, has grown, and evolved within the last 140 years. I will summarize and analyze this religion and in doing so, I will explain how this faith system is not Christian but is rather a dangerous cult. I will also explain one possible way to witness the gospel of Jesus Christ to them at any opportunity. My critique will address the following points in this manner: I. II. III. Summary of Jehovah's Witnesses Flaws of the Jehovah's Witness Belief System Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Jehovah's Witnesses

CONTENT: Summary of Jehovah's Witnesses The Jehovah's Witnesses is a religion that began in 1872 by a bible teacher named Charles Taze Russell. Russell was involved with the Advent Christian Church, which teaches several of the same doctrines that he continued when he began the Jehovah's Witnesses such as soul sleep and the rejection of the doctrine of hell. After Russell left the advent church, he began bible studies with several followers. Shortly thereafter he

began publishing two articles that helped to popularize his theology, "In 1879 he began the publication of his Zions Watchtower and Herald of Christs Presence, whose circulation grew from six thousand to 244 million by 1975; the following year he published his first book, Food for Thinking Christians."1 In 1881, he began the Zions Watchtower Tract Society, which later became known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. The Watch Tower Society teaches that they are God's theocratic organization on earth and that there is no salvation apart from membership with their organization. They also teach the bible cannot be understood apart from their teachings, which are still distributed through their articles, "Let us face the fact that no matter how much Bible reading we have done, we would never have learned the truth on our own."2 The Jehovah's Witnesses struggled to establish their doctrine with the published bibles of their time therefore; in 1950, they published their own version The New World Translation that leans more toward their beliefs. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Trinity is a false teaching and that Jesus Christ is not Almighty God but rather a created being who is Michael the Archangel3. According to JWs, Jesus only resurrected spiritually but He did not resurrect physically4. In addition, their doctrine teaches that the Holy Spirit is not God either but simply God's active force in the universe.5 Jehovah's Witnesses actively go door-to-door evangelizing and recruiting new members. They teach two classes of believers. The first is the 144,000 of anointed
1

R. Vonderlack, "Russell, Charles Taze" In , in Who's Who in Christian History, ed. J.D. Douglas and Philip W. Comfort (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992), 600. 2 Watchtower 1990 Dec 1 p.19 3 The Watchtower, May 15, 1963, p. 307; The New World, 284. 4 Awake! July 22, 1973, p. 4. 5 The Holy Spirit is God's impersonal active force, The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p. 24.

believers who go to heaven.6 The second class is compiled of all other members who will simply live on earth under Jehovah's rule. JWs do not celebrate common holidays and birthdays, they consider them pagan rituals. Another very controversial subject is the refusal of blood transfusions7, which is considered sinful. Any member disobeying or even overtly questioning the doctrines of the Watchtower Society are shunned and removed from the organization. Flaws of the Jehovah's Witness Belief System When compared to God's word, the doctrine and theology of the Jehovah's Witnesses is unable to stand. They easily fall into the category of Cultic because they claim to restore apostate Christianity, reject several central truths of Christianity, claim a founder/prophet who brings new revelation, current authority submits new revelations, only members of their society will be saved8, and salvation through works. Cabal agreed as he wrote, "to enjoy everlasting life, JWs believe they must not only accept Christs ransom but also prove themselves worthy by their works."9 One of the largest flaws is the rejection of a literal hell. The bible repeatedly illustrates the final resting place of the unbelieving as a place of eternal and conscious torment. Throughout scripture, hell is described as a place of "eternal fire" (Mt. 18:8), "anguish" (Lk 16:24), "eternal punishment"(Mt. 25:46), "unquenchable fire" (Mk 9:43), "disgrace and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2). Clearly, these expressions cannot be ignored nor mistaken for nonexistence or soul sleep as taught by JWs.10

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Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 76. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 72-73. 8 The Watchtower, Feb, 15, 1979, p. 30 9 Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1562. 10 Let God be True, p. 59, 60, 67.

JWs also reject the biblical teaching of the Trinity.11 They teach that this is a pagan teaching which began in the 4th century at the Council of Nicaea. However, the concept was used much prior to this council and the term even utilized by Tertullian (160-215) more than a hundred years before, "We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern of salvation... [which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."12 They deny the deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and believe that only the Father is God (Jehovah). This belief demands another blind eye to the verbiage used, in scripture, to describe the actions of the Holy Spirit. God's word calls the Holy Spirit "He" (John 16:7-8), He thinks (Acts 15:28), loves, (Rom. 15:30), teaches (John 14:26), testifies (John 15:26), guides (Rom. 8:14), commands, "Go" (Acts 8:29), He calls "Come" (Rev. 22:17), comforts (John 16:7), and He intercedes (Rom. 8:26). These actions require that the Holy Spirit be a "person" and cannot be accomplished by a mere active force, as Jehovah's Witnesses teach. Even more daunting is the rejection of Jesus Christ as God even though Scripture teaches it thoroughly. I will discuss this more in detail below. Probably the most famous of all JW's teachings is the numerous false prophecies of the end of the world. There have been many however, the most famous are 1874, 1875, 1878, 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975. The magnitude of the 1975 end of the world prediction was vast, "Many Jehovah's Witnesses were sincerely anticipating the world's end in 1975, even selling their homes and business prior to 1975. When the prophecy

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Let God be True, 2nd Ed., pp. 100-101 Adv. Praxeam. 23; PL 2.156-7

failed, it exacerbated the anger and discontentment of many".13 The simple fact is that the Watchtower Society was never correct even once about any prophecy. As Story wrote, "Any alleged prophet who claims to speak new revelation from God but teaches a false Jesus is not from God."14

Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Jehovah's Witnesses Witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses can seem intimidating because they focus on many minor issues, especially in the area of eschatology. There are several ways to share the gospel with them and through many topics. One of the best ways, I believe, is keeping the discussion focused to one topic, Jesus Christ. Explaining who Jesus Christ is keeps the discussion on one topic and demonstrates who and why Jesus was able to be a sufficient sacrifice to atone for the sins of humanity. Because Jesus Christ is God, He was able to rescue and restore sinfully depraved mankind. The deity of Jesus Christ can be demonstrated through scripture by explaining who Jesus said He was, what others claimed about Him, and by what He did. It was because of these very reasons Jesus Christ was handed over to authorities to be crucified. Jesus Christ was manifest in the flesh as supported in John 1:1; 14, "The Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh". As Wiersbe agreed, "Even though Johns emphasis is the deity of Christ, he makes it clear that the Son of God came in the flesh and was subject to the sinless infirmities of human nature."15 Jesus Christ claimed to be God and He possesses the characteristics that only God can possess. He claimed to be one with the Father, (John 10:30), and that those
13

Mark Hager, Jehovah's Witnesses, in The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, Hindson and Caner eds., (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2008), 292. 14 Dan Story, Defending Your Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 66. 15 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Jn 1:1.

who saw Him were also seeing the Father (John 14:3), and those that know Him also know the Father, (John 14:7). He was sinless, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22), He forgives sin, "Son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5-10), He is eternal, "From everlasting" (Micah 5:2), He is Creator, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3). Jesus Christ is also worshipped repeatedly (Luke 24:52, Matt. 2:2; 14:33; 28:9, 17, John 5:23; John 9:35-38) and even the Father commands that Jesus be worshipped, "let all the Angels of God worship Him" (Heb. 1:6). Jesus is prayed to. The Apostle Paul urges believers to, "call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Cor. 1:1-2. Finally, Jesus Christ resurrected Himself physically from the dead, "I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again" (John 10:18) who could resurrect the dead, especially himself, other than Almighty God? It is absolutely absurd that God's word claims all these things about Jesus Christ unless He truly was "manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."16 CONCLUSION: The claims of the Jehovah's Witnesses do not stand up to the scrutiny of the Bible. When their doctrine is seen in the light of scripture, as I have shown, it fails. As I have stated already, they even admit that no one could understand the Bible outside of their society's teachings.17 This implies their doctrine veers from clear biblical teachings.
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The Holy Bible: King James Version., electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), 1 Ti 3:16. 17 Watchtower 1990 Dec 1 p.19

Jesus Christ is God and thus was able to satisfy the wrath of God in order to rescue and restore mankind. Even though they are a heretical cult, they continue to evangelize with great passion while deceiving many with a different gospel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Adv. Praxeam. 23; PL 2.156-7 Awake! July 22, 1973, p. 4. Dan Story, Defending Your Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 66. Let God be True, 2nd Ed., pp. 100-101 Let God be True, p. 59, 60, 67. Mark Hager, Jehovah's Witnesses, in The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, Hindson and Caner eds., (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2008), 292. R. Vonderlack, "Russell, Charles Taze" In , in Who's Who in Christian History, ed. J.D. Douglas and Philip W. Comfort (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992), 600. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 76. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 72-73. Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1562. The Holy Bible: King James Version., electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), 1 Ti 3:16. The Holy Spirit is God's impersonal active force, The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p. 24. The Watchtower, Feb, 15, 1979, p. 30 The Watchtower, May 15, 1963, p. 307; The New World, 284. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Jn 1:1. Watchtower 1990 Dec 1 p.19