Downloadable file here: Why Jehovah Witnesses are dangerous and need the Gospel
Why Jehovah’s Witnesses are dangerous and need the Gospel:
By Ps Lucas Stoltz.
Credit to Justin Taylor’s “The 11 Beliefs You Should Know about Jehovah’s Witnesses When They Knock at the Door,” 17 August 2017. And Joe Carter’s article “9 Things You Should Know About Jehovah’s Witnesses,” 29 April 2006 – both taken from the Gospel Coalition.
Again, I would like to explicitly express that anyone can be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible expresses that when you “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). God has already done all of the work and all you must do is receive, in faith, the salvation God offers (Ephesians 2:8-9). By fully trusting in Jesus alone as the payment for your sins. Believe in Him, and you will not perish (John 3:16). God is offering you salvation as a gift. All you have to do is accept it. Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6).
So why address Jehovah’s Witnesses? Because they claim a different Gospel that is dangerous and wayward! They do not proclaim that Christ is the only way to God, the Father.
A brief history:
The Jehovah’s Witnesses was begun by Charles Taze Russell in 1872. He had great difficulty in dealing with the doctrine of eternal hell fire, and in his studies came to deny not only eternal punishment but also the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. In 1879 he sought to popularize his abnormal ideas on doctrine. He co-published The Herald of the Morning magazine with its founder, N. H. Barbour; and by 1884 Russell controlled the publication and renamed it The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom and founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society (now known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society).
Russell claimed that the Bible could be only understood according to his interpretations–a dangerous arrangement since he controlled what was written in the Watchtower magazine. This kind of statement is typical among leaders of cult religions.
After the death of Russell on Oct. 31, 1916, a Missouri lawyer named Joseph Franklin Rutherford took over the presidency of the Watch Tower Society which was known then as the International Bible Students Association. In 1931 he changed the name of the organization to “The Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have several ‘book studies’ each week. The members are not required to attend, but there is a level of expectation that gently urges converts to participate. It is during these ‘book studies’ that the Jehovah’s Witness is constantly exposed to counter Christian teachings. The average Jehovah’s Witness with his constant Watchtower indoctrination could easily thrash the average Christian when it comes to defending his beliefs.
What are the Jehovah Witnesses?
- Jehovah’s Witnesses, (hereafter JWs), are a group of so-called Christians who “proclaim the truth” about Jehovah.
- JWs consider themselves to be Christians, even though they reject the doctrine of the Trinity. JWs claim that Jesus was not divine and that the Holy Spirit is an “active force” and not a person.
- JWs believe that the kingdom of God is a real government in heaven that will soon replace human governments and accomplish God’s purpose for the earth. They believe that Jesus is the King of God’s kingdom in heaven and that he began ruling in 1914. A relatively small number of people—144,000—will be resurrected to live with Jehovah in heaven and rule with Jesus in the kingdom. They believe that God will bring billions back from death by means of a resurrection and that “many now living may yet begin to serve God, and they too will gain salvation.” However, those who “refuse to learn God’s ways after being raised to life” will pass out of existence forever (they will not suffer in a “fiery hell of torment”).
- JWs practice door-to-door ministry because they believe it is an effective way to fulfill the Great Commission and that first-century Christians continued to spread their message both “publicly and from house to house” (they cite Acts 5:42; 20:20). They do not believe that door-to-door ministry is a means of earning salvation by doing good works. They also believe that “pressuring people to change their religion is wrong” though they do believe in attempting to argue for their particular beliefs. In their door-to-door ministry they generally distribute two magazines, Awake!, a general religious magazine, and The Watchtower, a magazine whose content is focused on “the significance of world events in the light of Bible prophecies.”
- JWs believe the Bible is “God’s inspired message to humans.” In 1961 a JW corporation, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, published its own formal equivalence translation of the Bible: the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT). As of 2015, the NWT has been translated in whole or in part into 129 languages. Since the release of the NT translation in 1950, this version has been criticized for changing the meaning and words of the text to fit JW doctrine. A prime example is John 1:1. Both the ESV and NIV translate that verse as, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The NWT version translates the passage as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” The addition of the indefinite article “a” is added to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is God. Referring to this verse, Bruce M. Metzger wrote in 1953, “It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.” Despite a preference for the NWT, JWs still use other translations of the Bible in their witnessing work.
- JWs do not celebrate either Christmas or Easter, because they believe the Bible teaches that it’s Jesus death—not his birth or resurrection—that should be celebrated. They also believe that Christmas and Easter are not approved by God because they are rooted in pagan customs and rites. They also do not celebrate birthdays because they believe “such celebrations displease God.”
- JWs have a number of beliefs that are peculiar to their sect: While they accept medical treatments and do not practice faith healing, they don’t accept blood transfusions because they believe the “Bible commands that we not ingest blood.” They do not believe in going to war or getting involved in political matters, and they do not consider the cross to be a symbol of Christianity, because they claim “the Bible indicates that Jesus did not die on a cross but rather on a simple stake.”
- JWs do not refer to their places of worship as churches, but rather as a “Kingdom Hall.” They have no paid clergy, for they believe the “model of first-century Christianity” is one in which “all baptized members are ordained ministers and share in the preaching and teaching work.” Both men and women can be ministers, though within each congregation “spiritually mature men” serve as “older men,” or elders.” About 20 congregations form a circuit, and congregations receive periodic visits from traveling elders known as circuit overseers. JWs are not required to tithe and no collections are taken at their meetings, though donation boxes are available.
- Doctrinal guidance is provided by a Governing Body made up of longtime JWs.
What do JWs believe compared to Scripture?
- The divine name.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God’s one true name—the name by which he must be identified—is Jehovah.
Biblically, however, God is identified by many names, including:
God (elohim; Gen. 1:1),
God Almighty (El Shadday; Gen. 17:1),
Lord (Adonay; Ps. 8:1), and
Lord of hosts (yhwh tseba’ot; 1 Sam. 1:3).
In NT times, Jesus referred to God as “Father” (Matt. 6:9), so did the apostles (1 Cor. 1:3).
- The Trinity.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Trinity is unbiblical because the word is not in the Bible and because the Bible emphasizes that there is one God.
Biblically, while it is true that there is only one God (Isa. 44:6; 45:18; 46:9; John 5:44; 1 Cor. 8:4; James 2:19), it is also true that three persons are called God in Scripture:
the Father (1 Pet. 1:2),
Jesus (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8), and
the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4).
Each of these three possesses the attributes of deity—including
omnipresence (Ps. 139:7; Jer. 23:23-24; Matt. 28:20),
omniscience (Ps. 147:5; John 16:30; 1 Cor. 2:10-11),
omnipotence (Jer. 32:17; John 2:1-11; Rom. 15:19), and
eternality (Ps. 90:2; Heb. 9:14; Rev. 22:13).
Still further, each of the three is involved in doing the works of deity—such as creating the universe:
the Father (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 102:25),
the Son (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2), and
the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30).
The Bible indicates that there is three-in-oneness in the godhead (Matt. 28:19; cf. 2 Cor. 13:14). Thus doctrinal support for the Trinity is compellingly strong.
- Jesus Christ.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was created by Jehovah as the archangel Michael before the physical world existed, and is a lesser, though mighty, god.
Biblically, however, Jesus is eternally God (John 1:1; 8:58; cf. Ex. 3:14) and has the exact same divine nature as the Father (John 5:18; 10:30; Heb. 1:3).
A comparison of the OT and NT equates Jesus with Jehovah (compare Isa. 43:11 with Titus 2:13; Isa. 44:24 with Col. 1:16; Isa. 6:1-5 with John 12:41). Jesus himself created the angels (Col. 1:16; cf. John 1:3; Heb. 1:2, 10) and is worshiped by them (Heb. 1:6).
- The incarnation.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that when Jesus was born on earth, he was a mere human and not God in human flesh.
This violates the biblical teaching that in the incarnate Jesus, “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9; cf. Phil. 2:6-7).
The word for “fullness” (plērōma) carries the idea of the sum total. “Deity” (theotēs) refers to the nature, being, and attributes of God. Therefore, the incarnate Jesus was the sum total of the nature, being, and attributes of God in bodily form. Indeed, Jesus was Immanuel, or “God with us” (Matt. 1:23; cf. Isa. 7:14; John 1:1, 14, 18; 10:30; 14:9-10).
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was resurrected spiritually from the dead, but not physically.
Biblically, however, the resurrected Jesus asserted that he was not merely a spirit but had a flesh-and-bone body (Luke 24:39; cf. John 2:19-21). He ate food on several occasions, thereby proving that he had a genuine physical body after the resurrection (Luke 24:30, 42-43; John 21:12-13). This was confirmed by his followers who physically touched him (Matt. 28:9; John 20:17).
- The second coming.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the second coming was an invisible, spiritual event that occurred in the year 1914.
Biblically, however, the yet-future second coming will be physical, visible (Acts 1:9-11; cf. Titus 2:13), and will be accompanied by visible cosmic disturbances (Matt. 24:29-30). Every eye will see him (Rev. 1:7).
- The Holy Spirit.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force of God and not a distinct person.
Biblically, however, the Holy Spirit has the three primary attributes of personality:
a mind (Rom. 8:27),
emotions (Eph. 4:30), and
will (1 Cor. 12:11).
Moreover, personal pronouns are used of him (Acts 13:2). Also, he does things that only a person can do, including:
teaching (John 14:26),
testifying (John 15:26),
commissioning (Acts 13:4),
issuing commands (Acts 8:29), and
interceding (Rom. 8:26).
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that salvation requires faith in Christ, association with God’s organization (i.e., their religion), and obedience to its rules.
Biblically, however, viewing obedience to rules as a requirement for salvation nullifies the gospel (Gal. 2:16-21; Col. 2:20-23). Salvation is based wholly on God’s unmerited favor (grace), not on the believer’s performance. Good works are the fruit or result, not the basis, of salvation (Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8).
- Two redeemed peoples.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe there are two peoples of God: (1) the Anointed Class (144,000) will live in heaven and rule with Christ; and (2) the “other sheep” (all other believers) will live forever on a paradise earth.
Biblically, however, a heavenly destiny awaits all who believe in Christ (John 14:1-3; 17:24; 2 Cor. 5:1; Phil. 3:20; Col. 1:5; 1 Thess. 4:17; Heb. 3:1), and these same people will also dwell on the new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-4).
- No immaterial soul.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that humans have an immaterial nature. The “soul” is simply the life-force within a person. At death, that life-force leaves the body.
Biblically, however, the word “soul” is multifaceted. One key meaning of the term is man’s immaterial self that consciously survives death (Gen. 35:18; Rev. 6:9-10). Unbelievers are in conscious woe (Matt. 13:42; 25:41, 46; Luke 16:22-24; Rev. 14:11) while believers are in conscious bliss in heaven (1 Cor. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:21-23; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe hell is not a place of eternal suffering but is rather the common grave of humankind. The wicked are annihilated—snuffed out of conscious existence forever.
Biblically, however, hell is a real place of conscious, eternal suffering (Matt. 5:22; 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev. 14:11; 20:10, 14).
This makes the dangerous, as they twist the truth instead of openly denying it. So instead of running from them, run to them with the Gospel, sharing the same faith that saved you. Show them Jesus! For further reading on this cult, please check out Jon Rhodes’ “Reasoning from the Scriptures” and Anne Sanderson “Fearless Love!”