Today the Jehovah Witness stopped by the book store were I am attending. A very nice couple that I know and who work with the Testigo de Jehovah in Santa Rosita.
They asked me very little, read a verse from somewhere from the old Testament that I couldn’t follow, and then gave me an English tract of theirs. They asked if I would be willing to take it and read it -I said I would take it and look through it, though I didn’t promise to read it. They know that our doctrines differ.
Not being very educated on the Testigos (The Jehovah Witnesses), I didn’t try to argue with them. Especially not in Spanish. In taking the track and looking through it, perhaps I have acted dangerously -but I was curious to see what sorts of ‘arguments’ their pamphlet makes. I’m glad I did now -for above all things I feel I understand these people better, and it makes me very sad for them.
Their arguments are well laid, but in such a way as to be compelling. Like an advertisement. I have often been glad of a study in High School in Language Arts about ‘advertisement’ and the methods used, for it has allowed me to understand what I read much better.
It is not my intention to debunk the statements of the Jehovah Witnesses, but to reveal what I believe are discrepancies.
The Watch Tower Magazine follows the methods of advertisement. It begins by asking us the question “What Is the Purpose of Life”? A very good question for each one of us to ask ourselves. WTM goes on to build on this by describing the world’s current situation: Famines. Wars. Crime… Because of these things people doubt life’s purpose. Quotes from people questioning the purpose of life are made. Even quotes from clergymen who have yet to find life’s true meaning (why didn’t God just create us like angels if we’re to end up in heaven anyway?). Through this process the WTM uses emotional appeal to attract readers to the subject at hand.
The next section of WTM asks us the question “Who Can Tell Us [What the purpose of life is]?” This section begins by arguing that life did not begin by chance but that it needs a designer -and thus there must be a God. This is not a new argument and we as Christians use it as well. Here the WTM brings in the Bible. “What does the Bible say?”. They go on to tell us that the Bible teaches of a God who created us. If we were created (fearfully and wonderfully made) by a Creator, then surely He has a purpose for us. So far so good.
The third section of WTM introduces us to the “Source of Superior Wisdom” -the Bible. Of course, this is undeniably true. WTM points out that the Bible is true scientifically (round world/gravity/makeup of living things/after its kind) and historically. The Bible is the inspired Word of the Creator who has a purpose for us. So we should pay attention to what the Bible says to us. (let us note here that the Bible used by the Testigos is a Watch Tower translation, which has some serious translation flaws according to their designs).
The fourth section is where the WTM argument gets dirty and explodes. “Christendom Has Betrayed God and the Bible”. Unfortunately, this is all too true of much of today’s Christianity. But this isn’t what WTM is driving at. As always, WTM begins with truth: “People in many lands have avoided the Bible and have lacked respect for it because of the bad conduct of those who claim to follow it.” WTM goes on to explain that many people believe that the Bible is a cause of war and bloodshed (the Crusades). We recognize these statements as truth: But then WTM begins again with a lie that is stated as truth:
“The basic Christian doctrines are based not on the Bible but on very old mythical stories…Teachings such as the inherently immortal soul, torment in hell, purgatory, and the Trinity are not talked about in the Bible.” [in my own words]
In the next few paragraphs the methods of argument of the Jehovah Witnesses’ is revealed. Fallacy. Arguments that cannot be logical arguments.
“Think about the teaching that wicked people will face torment forever in hell. How do you FEEL about this idea? MANY people in the world find it HORRIBLE. They find it UNTHINKABLE that God would make humans suffer for ever and ever, keeping them in unimaginable pain. Such a DEMONIC THOUGHT is contrary to what we know of God, for “God is LOVE”. [emphasis mine][in my own words.
This, my friends, is a dangerous argument that has absolutely no foundation. Rather it is based upon emotions, and even the wording lends itself to this. How I feel about what God has written in his Word has nothing to do with the truth and will not change the truth. Because many people find it repugnant and unreasonable (the actual words used) that God would torture mankind in hell is no reason that I too should be convinced that it is repugnant and unreasonable.
But if the Bible teaches that God is LOVE, surely a God of LOVE could never, ever do this…right? This is a mistake of many people today and they say, “Because I’m basically a good person and believe in God, surely he will overlook some of the things I’ve done when I die.” These people take God’s LOVE and interpret it as we feel love as humans, and ignore the teachings of the Bible. They interpret eternal hell as an impossible fiendish idea. They conveniently ignore the fact that God is a JUST and HOLY God as well.
Because of this persuasion (that there is no hell), the Jehovah Witness must separate themselves further from the truth. Because sin cannot dwell with God and because there is no hell, then death must be the end for sinners. Sad but comfortable. They will simply cease to exist. WTM begins teaching this immediately, using scriptures that talk about the first death and using them as evidence of a complete and final death (from dust you came -to dust you will return).
What follows is sad but all too true. The Jehovah Witnesses explain that Jesus teaches against involvement in the world’s affairs. That we shouldn’t get caught up in politics and involved in its wars. Christ taught that we are to be peace-makers and loving of each other. We should be willing to give up our lives to save the lives of others -not vice versa. The WTM even recognizes that Christ taught that this love would set apart ‘true Christians’ from ‘false Christians’. I find this teaching remarkable, for it aligns with what I believe of Christ’s teachings (I understand that some of you disagree with this).
The final parts of WTM talk about what our purpose of life is, explanations of suffering in the world today, and paradise on earth. These sections are truths mixed according to human design to achieve a picture that is not entirely true. Indeed, this is one of WTM weapons that we must be very careful of. Truth mixed with truth mixed with half-truths in such a way as to portray a picture that is entirely un-true.
As for us, let us hold fast to the Word of God (and not the Word of God as translated by the Watch Tower according to its purposes). Because we believe in heaven and hell and in a holy, just God we must recognize the need for a Savior because of our sinfulness. Otherwise we would perish (because God said we would). Because we believe in a Saviour, we must believe in his resurrection, because without his resurrection we would be the most pitied among men (see 1 Corinthians 15:14-19).
Christ’s resurrection is important to us for the following reasons:
1) Demonstrates to us the Power of God (Ephesians 1:19-21
2) A proof that Christ is the Son of God (Romans 1:3,4)
3) Proves that what Christ said about himself are true
4) Without the resurrection we could not be justified. Our Salvation depends on it (Romans 4:25; 10.9)
5) The same power that resurrected Christ, works in us (Romans 6:4)
6) We have a high priest that is alive in heaven and who knows what temptations we face (Hebrews 4:14-16)
7) Demonstrates that Jesus will be the judge of all mankind (Acts 17:31)
The Bible DOES teach a Trinity. Not three gods, but a SINGLE GOD made up of three parts: The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. We do not understand this relationship completely, but it is what the Bible says and so we believe it (regardless of how we feel about the matter). The Bible DOES teach that sinful mankind (those not in the book of life) will go to a place of torment (Revelations 20:11-15).
Jehovah Witnesses are in many ways ‘good people’. That is what they live to be. I think we should be kind to them and pray for them -for they are living in the sad hope that Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians. I think we should be careful not to fight with them in an manner that is not Christ-like. Instead, let us be examples of love and faith to them and tell and show them our Testimony of what Jesus Christ has done for us. They cannot argue with what they see in us. And when we give our testimony, are we only casting our pearls before swine? I think not. These people are a sad and fooled people unknowingly serving the Watch Tower Devil -but who are none-the-less trying to be better people who please God. Not a rebellious people who have done away with God.