On Jehovah’s Witnesses 

On a few occasions in the past couple weeks; I have encountered a number of conversations regarding the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (JW) religion. There are many who still have questions about the ins and outs of this religion. I feel I am in a position where I can speak to this, though I must preface this blog entry with the following statement: I am neither a theologian nor an expert in Jehovah’s Witnesses.
You may be asking yourself, “So, why are you writing this blog than James?” For this, I do not blame you. However, I have had some experience with this religion that I feel has qualified me to speak as an experienced layman. My initial experience with this religion began during my undergrad studies at Liberty University where I was enrolled in classes that taught on world religions. Though I gained a basic understanding at this time, I had no interest in pursuing it further at that time. This class did not make me an expert in world religions; however it did serve as a wake-up call for me. There were so many religions making so many contradictory claims, how could I stand to say I was a “Christian” without truly understanding why I was one.
I may not have dived immediately into the JW religion, but I did dive into my own. I set on a course to determine what religion had truth, and follow it, wherever it may lead me. I approached religious claims with an open mind, and reflected constantly to prevent my own blindness from personal bias. My first significant religious wrestling match came against the opponent of Islam. I spent a significant time studying, comparing and contrasting. This continued with other world religions, but there was one factor that caused JW to stand-out. This was that JW were the only religion that had practitioners knocking at my door.
The first few times this happened, I felt horrible leaving these individuals without having the knowledge to have meaningful conversation with. This feeling caused me to, just as I had before, dig into the doctrinal differences and follow truth where it brought me. After doing this for some time, another knock came to my door. This time I felt prepared. The following conversation caused a series of ten lengthy conversations about doctrine and practice. From this, I provide you with the following basics of the JW faith.
Jesus. The center of every religious group that calls themselves “Christian” in any capacity is the view of Jesus. Many world religions take claim to “believing in” and following the true teachings of Jesus, so in order to examine these claims, one must understand the facts. For the universal Christian faith, the Athanasian Creed provides, in my opinion, the most concise yet complete statement on the true view of Christ:
“That we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and human, equally. He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time; and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human, with a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as regards divinity, less than the Father as regards humanity. Although he is God and human, yet Christ is not two, but one. He is one, however, not by his divinity being turned into flesh, but by God’s taking humanity to himself. He is one, certainly not by the blending of his essence, but by the unity of his person. For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh, so too the one Christ is both God and human He suffered for our salvation; he descended to hell; he arose from the dead; he ascended to heaven; he is seated at the Father’s right hand; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will arise bodily and give an accounting of their own deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.”
When I began my studies, years ago, I would have not been able to articulate this. I often think that many individuals, who would say they are Christians, would not be able to, as well. With this in mind, knowing that Christians have always proclaimed Jesus to be fully God AND fully man, let us turn to the JW official statement of Jesus from their website:
“We believe in Jesus, who said: “”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” (John 14:6) We have faith that Jesus came to earth from heaven and gave his perfect human life as a ransom sacrifice. (Matthew 20:28) His death and resurrection make it possible for those exercising faith in him to gain everlasting life. (John 3:16) We also believe that Jesus is now ruling as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom, which will soon bring peace to the entire earth. (Revelation 11:15) However, we take Jesus at his word when he said: “”The Father is greater than I am.”” (John 14:28) So we do not worship Jesus, as we do not believe that he is Almighty God.
Can you spot the difference? “We do not worship Jesus, as we do not believe that he is Almighty God”. What a statement. This is no small matter. We could go into all the other minor differences, however, this is where the focal point of our differences lay. The conclusion to the Athanasian Creed is as follows: “This is the catholic faith: one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully”. According to this statement, JW “cannot be saved”. For the bulk of my ten meetings with the three JW representatives, this is where we remained.
Proving Christ’s divinity can be difficult for anyone; however, in witness to a JW, it becomes a bit trickier. The complication comes in when we understand what the JW use as scripture. The JW “Bible” is not the same as the scriptures that are used in Christianity. Some may claim that it is just another translation; however, a quick examination of the translation method could show this false. This is a topic that I would refer you to an expert in, but in short, the NWT (New World Translation) is one where the English bible was use, and intentionally changed to support doctrine. I know, I know this is a heavy claim, but the data is out there. Regardless, JW will often not accept “proof” of claims from any Bible save their own.
The goal of this blog, though to provide brief enlightenment, is to inspire those who have not, to begin to dig into their beliefs. Why do you believe what you believe? It all hangs on Jesus. However, in conclusion, I will provide a few other distinctive that JW hold to. JW do not believe in an eternal Hell. The belief is that Christ’s death made salvation possible for mankind. The official doctrine will say you are to be a follower of Jesus in accordance to their faith, however, when God creates the new heaven and new earth, at the resurrection all that died before the “Apocalypse” will be resurrected. That is, that all humans, JW or not, will be given a second chance to submit their lives to God in a new Earth free from sin and temptation. Those who do not or those nonbelievers who die during the apocalypse will not be subjected to Hell, but will simply cease to exist. Now, there is a lot of confusion usually around the 144,000 number. To clarify, JW believe that only 144,000 will be chosen to rule with Jesus in the new heaven. Mankind does not reside in heaven at all. When we die, we “sleep”, or simply cease to exist.
I kept these important differences at center of my discussions, and if you feel the opportunity to discuss these topics with a JW is available, I hope you do too. I will have a future blog explain my method of discussing these, in love, while proclaiming God’s truth!

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2 thoughts on “On Jehovah’s Witnesses 

  1. Revelation 1:1, 8 (MKJV) A Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to declare to His servants things which must shortly come to pass. And He signified [it] by sending His angel to His servant John,
    I am the Alpha and Omega, [the] Beginning and [the] Ending, says the Lord, who is and who was and who [is] to come, the Almighty.

    Liked by 2 people

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