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.:OUR RESPONSE TO A LETTER FROM A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS ASKING: “WHO ARE YOU? - Are You a Bunch of Apostates Who Don't Believe Bible Teachings?”
Dear Jehovah's Witness friend,
We want to thank you for taking the time to write to us and express your concerns over our website. It is very commendable that you love Jehovah the way that you do and that you will never leave Jehovah. It is this devotion to HIM that is SO important in seeking Truth, and we find it admirable that you have such a heart to seek and serve Him.
We too strongly believe in being loyal to Jehovah and to His Son Jesus Christ. And this is the very reason we do what we are doing. It is because Jehovah God is a God of truth. Truth does not fear examination. If an organization cannot stand up under examination, it is not the truth but is rather a counterfeit and loyalty to a counterfeit is disloyalty to Jehovah God.
WHAT DECISION DID JESUS’ DISCIPLES MAKE?
We are reminded about the disciples in Jesus’ day and how they were pressured by the Pharisees to return to what was at that time “Jehovah's Organization” (also known as the Jewish “priestly” arrangement). The disciples were faced with the choice of whether to continue their association in an organization that had become corrupt or whether to turn away from this “channel” that Jehovah had been using in order to recognize the new arrangement in His Son Jesus Christ. Were they going to remain loyal to an earthly organization? Or were they going to be loyal to Jehovah God and go where His “new light” was leading them? Rather than following the earthly organization God had setup through Moses in previous years, Jesus disciples placed their loyalty completely in the hands of Jehovah God and embraced His new heavenly arrangement through Jesus Christ— the REAL “Truth!”
Indeed, the question facing the disciples in Jesus’ day is not much unlike the question facing us today. When we consider the fact that the Watchtower organization is guilty of violating God’s Word (the Bible) in the following ways, one has to ask, “How can this organization truly qualify to be God’s representative on earth?”
1. DISTORTING GOD’S WORD (Proverbs 30:6): The Watchtower claims that the translators of their New World Translation remained anonymous, but when research uncovered who the translators were, it was discovered that most of the translators were on the Watchtower Governing Body and all of them lacked the necessary education needed to produce an accurate translation. Greek Scholars have consistently found it to be a biased translation by distorting verses to fit Watchtower doctrine and adding to God’s Word by inserting “Jehovah” in the Christian Greek Scriptures against all Christian Greek manuscripts. Would Jehovah be behind an organization that “adds” and “takes away” from His Word? Click HERE for more information and supporting documentation regarding this.
Having reviewed the evidence that convicts the Watchtower organization of failing the test to be God’s “channel” of communication to mankind, we will now turn our attention to your questions regarding what we believe concerning “the truth.”
You asked whether we believe we are “the true religion.” In answer, we do not believe we are “the true religion,” but we do believe we are “in the Truth.” This is because we do not believe “truth” is a religion, but rather a Person — Jesus Christ Himself! At John 14:6, Jesus proclaimed, “I am …the truth,” and in His prayer to the Father, He said, “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, NWT) Who is the living “Word” who is “Truth”? John 1:14 tells us, “…the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father.” (John 1:14, NWT) Not only do we see Jesus being identified in Scripture as “the Truth,” but He proclaims at John 5:39-40 that all of Scripture was written to “bear witness” about Him!
The apostle Peter did not say “to what” shall we go away to. No! He said, “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You [Jesus] have sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68, NWT) He recognized that with the coming of Christ, God’s arrangement changed from operating through an organization (Jewish system), to operating directly through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2) and the guidance of His Holy Spirit (John 16:13). No longer do we need a priestly organization to bring us to Jehovah God. We now have direct access through Jesus Christ as our only “High Priest” and “Mediator” between us and God (Hebrew 7:25-26; 2 Timothy 2:5).
DOES THE WATCHTOWER LEAD PEOPLE TO “THE TRUTH”?
Instead of leading people to “the Truth,” the Watchtower sets itself up in the place of Christ by proclaiming, “Jesus Christ, is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members.” (Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace,” 1986, p. 10) Rather than to encourage Jehovah’s Witnesses to go to Jesus alone for “the Truth” and “eternal life” (John 10:28; 14:6), the Watchtower proclaims that its organization is “the Truth” and tells Jehovah’s Witnesses that one must “come to” it “for salvation.” (The Watchtower, November 15, 1981, p. 21). The Watchtower claims “there is nowhere else to go for divine favor and life eternal,” (The Watchtower, November 15, 1992, p. 21), but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Not only does the Watchtower exclude Jehovah’s Witnesses from eternal life by preventing them from coming to Jesus as their “mediator,” but the Watchtower cuts them short of Jehovah’s approval when it tells Jehovah’s Witnesses that the “New Covenant” does not apply to them and that they are not permitted to be “adopted” into God’s spiritual family (The Watchtower, February 1, 1998, pp. 19-20). Romans 8:8-9, proclaims that unless one has God’s Spirit which one receives only through “adoption” (Romans 8:14-16), one cannot “please God,” nor does he “belong to Christ.” Thus, Watchtower teaching leaves every Jehovah’s Witness with no hope for divine favor or eternal life!
A common trait of false religions is to set themselves up as “mediator” between their followers and God. Whether we’re talking about Mormonism with its prophet Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets, Islam with its prophet Mohammed, New Age with its gurus and spirit-guides, or Jehovah’s Witnesses with the so-called “Faithful and Discreet Slave” organization, Satan’s tactic is always the same: Convince people that they cannot receive communication directly from God and require them to look to human leaders for spiritual guidance and support. But the Bible says, “As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.” (1 John 2:27, NWT). We do not need an organization to “teach” us spiritual truth for we have Christ and the “anointing” of His Spirit to lead us. Just like first-century Christians, God’s Holy Spirit is the one who “guides” us into “all truth” (John 16:13).
Contrary to the claims of the Watchtower organization, when we look at Scripture, we see that no “governing body” in Jerusalem existed to lead first-century followers of Jesus. Congregations and individuals were led directly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the following Scriptures illustrate:
As can be seen by the above passages, it was Christ’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) who directed the preaching work of first-century Christians, but what about the passages that the Watchtower appeals to for support of their view of a “governing body” in Jerusalem? At Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas went up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to settle a dispute involving the circumcision of Christian non-Jews, and at Acts 16:4, Paul and Silas delivered the “decrees” that the apostles and elders in Jerusalem had determined. Does this prove that a “governing body” in Jerusalem existed? No, it does not.
If we look carefully at Acts 15:1-2, we see that the dispute had arisen when men from the area of Jerusalem (i.e., Judea) had come down to the congregation at Antioch and proclaimed that these believers needed to be circumcised according to Jewish custom. Is it any wonder they went to Jerusalem to settle the dispute that had been caused by men from that area? At Acts 16, these “decrees” that Paul and Silas were delivering had to do with the decision that had just been reached concerning circumcision. There is no indication that these “decrees” involved any other issue. Thus, we see that there is no basis for the claim that an “organization” is needed to lead God’s people today.
WHO THEN IS THE “FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE”?
At Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus describes two types of slaves (or servants) who were put in charge of their master’s belongings while their master was away. Upon his master’s return, one slave was found “faithful” and rewarded by being appointed over “all” of his master’s possessions. The other slave proved unfaithful in his tasks and when his master arrived, he was thrown out with the hypocrites. The point of Jesus’ parable is that we all are to strive to be a “faithful” to our Lord so that when our King Jesus comes for His people, He will find us “faithful” and reward us with more authority and responsibility. Nothing in this passage indicates that the faithful “slave” is speaking prophetically of an organization that would be “appointed” over Jehovah’s belongings. On the contrary, just as any individual can become part of the evil “slave” group by being unfaithful to God, so anyone can become part of the faithful “slave” group by being faithful in the tasks given by the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, we place our souls in great peril if we entrust our eternal destiny to the hands of human leaders for spiritual security. The Bible says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength.” (Jeremiah 17:5). The only One we are to look to for eternal life and spiritual Truth is Jesus Christ. He declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)
ARE WE “APOSTATES” THAT ARE AGAINST BIBLE TEACHINGS?
We would now like to address your concern over us being “apostates” because we “do not want to adhere to Bible teachings.” Your accusation is inaccurate. On the contrary, it is because of our loyalty to Jehovah God and His Bible teachings that we cannot support an organization that falsely represents Jehovah and His Truth. For a list of Watchtower doctrines that are incompatible with Scripture, we encourage you to check out our “What Does God Require? - Biblical Answers to Questions Jehovah's Witnesses Ask” series and our “Watchtower Doctrine Exposed” (www.4witness.org) reference chart, but for now we will address the specific concerns you mentioned.
You asked how we could be in the Truth if we do not go “door-to-door preaching the Kingdom.” We would answer that nowhere in Scripture is “door to door” preaching specifically mentioned. The few verses that the Watchtower points to for its “door to door” activity (Acts 2:46; 5:42 and 20:20), discuss how believers met publicly in the temple and privately from “house to house” for sharing meals and teaching. This is no different from mid-week Jehovah’s Witness book studies that are often held in various private homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just because mid-week Jehovah’s Witness meetings vary “from house to house,” does not mean that they actually meet in every house of the neighborhood. And we would argue that if they attempted to do so, there would be many non-Jehovah’s Witness neighbors who would object to their homes being used in such a way.
In the same way, first-century believers met for public preaching at the temple, and privately “from house to house” for sharing meals and intimate teaching and fellowship time afterward. Just as Acts 2:46 notes, “day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord, and they took their meals in private homes and partook of food with great rejoicing and sincerity of heart.” (NWT)
Furthermore, as we examine the book of Acts, we see that most of the converts to the early congregation came not from “house to house” meetings, but from public preaching in the temple and market place. At Acts 17:1-4, we see the apostle Paul preaching publicly in the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica and then publicly in the market place of Athens at Acts 17:16-34. No mention is made of Paul ever preaching in any of the homes of these cities. Are we to argue that Paul was not engaged in “Kingdom preaching” because he did not preach door to door in these cities? I’m sure you can see the fallacy of such reasoning. In the same way, we are involved in kingdom preaching through personal friendships with unbelievers, church-led public activities and our online website ministry.
For more information on this subject, see the subject, “Door to Door Preaching” in our Jehovah’s Witness Topics Index
It is true that many celebrations people engage in today have their origin in pagan, occult activities. Such is true of the Roman festival Saturnalia, which lasted from December 17-24 and was later converted to the “Christmas” celebration of Jesus’ birth on December 25th. Another pagan celebration converted to a Christian holiday is “Easter,” a celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It has its origin in the “Ostara” celebration of fertility on March 20-21st.
We admit that there is no historic support for the celebration of Christ’s birth in December as it most likely occurred in the spring or the fall. Christ’s resurrection occurred during the time of the Jewish Passover, celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish religious calendar. Due to the difficulty of correlating the Jewish calendar with the Julian and Gregorian Calendars over the centuries, Christians adopted the Sunday closest to the “Ostara” celebration or “Easter” as the date to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Thus, in both cases, Christians took dates that were purportedly used for “pagan” celebrations and claimed them for Christ, turning them into holidays that few today recognize as having any connection with their former “pagan” roots.
The Society said it best in their Awake! of January 8, 2000. In the article entitled, “A Balanced View of Popular Customs,” they noted on pages 26-27, “Customs have been profoundly influenced by religion. Many, in fact, arose from old superstitions and non-Biblical religious ideas… But what about customs that may once have been linked to questionable practices but that today are primarily viewed as social etiquette? …Does this mean that Christians are forbidden to observe such customs? …Although there may be reason to examine the origin of a particular custom, in some cases it is more important to consider what the custom means to people at the time and in the place where one now lives.”
We think this is good advice that every Christian should apply in determining if conscience will allow one to celebrate Christian holidays that have lost their pagan significance. When we consider that Christianity is all about how God transformed our lives from “pagan” anti-God actions and attitudes, we can appreciate what Christianity has done in transforming “pagan” dates that Satan had claimed, into days to glorify God. In Christ, there is no requirement to either celebrate or not celebrate holidays. Every Christian can have the freedom to decide, as Paul admits in Romans 14:5-6, “One [man] judges one day as above another; another [man] judges one day as all others; let each [man] be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it to Jehovah.”
For more information on common customs with pagan origin that Jehovah’s Witnesses see no problem engaging in, see our What Does God Require dialogue on “Holiday and Birthday Celebrations.”
A lot of controversy surrounds the subject of “war” and Christian involvement in it. How does the Bible’s justification of self-defense at Exodus 22:2 play into the defense of a nation during war? To aid in evaluating the moral ethnicity of a given war, in the 13th century, Saint Thomas Aquinas formulated an outline of principles that eventually became known as the “Just War Theory.” The principles have been used by nations with Judeo-Christian based values to determine when and how a righteous war could be waged. Because these principles can be applied at any time to national wars, our position is that Christians who evaluate which side of a particular battle falls under the principles of a righteous war and only serve on that side of the battle would not end up killing their Christian “brothers” in war.
Furthermore, there is no clear injunction in Scripture against Christian involvement in war. At Acts 10, Cornelius, a Christian centurion (captain of 100 Roman soldiers) was commended as a “righteous and God-fearing man,” and at Luke 3:14, John the Baptist’s advice to the soldiers of his day was to “be content” with their wages. They could only be “content” if they remained soldiers! Ecclesiastes 3:1,3, and 8 states, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven....A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up....A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.”
For more information on this subject, see our article on “War and Neutrality—Should Christians Remain Neutral During War?” (www.4witness.org)
The Trinity is the view that the three persons mentioned in the Bible: Father, Son (i.e., Jesus) and Holy Spirit are one God. They are distinct in their Personhoods, yet they maintain unity of substance as one God. The Watchtower correctly defines the “Trinity” doctrine in some of its statements regarding it, but in many other statements, the way it is presented often leads people to believe that the Trinity consists of three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in one person, but such is an inaccurate concept of the doctrine. The following examples demonstrate some of the ways the Watchtower misrepresents this doctrine in its literature:
We would agree that several passages demonstrate the distinction between the Person of the Father and the Person of the Son, but such arguments have no bearing against the Trinity doctrine because it teaches, “there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost… For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic [Christian] Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords.” (The Creed of Athanasius) Since the Trinity teaches the distinction of each of the “Persons” of the Godhead, all arguments demonstrating this are invalid.
Another argument proposed by the Watchtower that becomes inconsequential when the Trinity doctrine is accurately defined is the claim that Jesus cannot be “equal” to the Father if He is in subjection to Him. The Watchtower asserts, “The Bible’s position is clear. Not only is Almighty God, Jehovah, a personality separate from Jesus but He is at all times his superior….And this is why Jesus himself said: ‘The Father is greater than I.’—John 14:28” (Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 20)
Here again, the Watchtower arguments fail when the Trinity doctrine is accurately defined. Concerning the nature of Jesus Christ, the Creed of Athanasius notes, “Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.” When Jesus made the claim that “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), was He here on earth operating under the limitations of His “manhood”? Or was He in Heaven operating in His divine essence? Context reveals that Jesus was speaking of His human nature when He claimed that the Father was in a “greater” position than He.
Furthermore, the fact that Jesus is “subject” to God, His Father, does not indicate that He is any less “God” than His Father is. At Luke 2:51, Jesus was “subject” to Mary and Joseph. Are we to argue that Jesus is “inferior” in nature to Mary and Joseph because He was “subject” to them? Of course not! We believe that just as a “son” is no less human than his father is, so Jesus being “God’s Son” is no less “God” than His Father is.
For more information concerning the “Trinity” doctrine and responses to common Scriptural verses used against it as well as an expose’ of the faulty Watchtower claim that the doctrine was derived from paganism, see “Is the Trinity a Biblical Concept?”
They are all there for me!
“I had Jehovah’s Witnesses visiting for six years. … The sad thing is now I have their beliefs in my head. So I put myself into God’s hands and asked for direction. …Well, the feeling of freedom is amazing. I am like a child, learning again for the first time. The reason I had to write to you was the Karen and Cindy conversations. Instead of me asking for help, one question at a time, they are all there for me!! It seems as if ‘Karen’ could read my mind.It’s so lovely for things to fall into place, mainly that ‘What happens when we die?’ This was a very big issue for me. I was scared while I did not understand even the tiny bit I do now. It’s such a joy. Instead of feeling unworthy(were all sinners I know) and feeling I would never be saved or go to Heaven. So, please thank God and Jesus with me for such help.”
I have to tell you how your website saved my life.
“I have been a baptized Witness since 1995, and I have to tell you how you have saved my life. Every couple of years I get this gnawing sense that this is not quite right, that I am not 100% vested in what the Watchtower Society says. …Lately, I have stopped attending meetings and my daughter, 13, has begged me not to make her go back. So I have been praying and chatting with friends outside the organization……I can’t tell you my sense of relief when I stumbled upon your site and started to read the articles. I want to cry, but I’m at work. I can’t wait to get home because I am so excited I can barely stand it! Please, please, how can I meet others who feel this way? I sure could use the fellowship. Again, thanks for the work you do.”
God bless you for the difference you are making.
“My brother and I were raised by a Jehovah's Witness mother. I am 52 years old now and still haven't been able to shake the stigma of the experience. My brother wasn't as lucky as me and ended up taking his own life at 17. I have been through everything ... I can't express how much I appreciate what you are doing... God bless for the difference you are making.”
I do not feel so alone!
“Thank you for creating this website. After reading stories of former Jehovah's Witnesses, I do not feel so alone. My resolve to stay out of that religion has also strengthened. I have also come to realize that my depression, anxiety, and many other emotional scars inflicted by the organization and those in the ‘truth’ will take time to heal. But your website has also come to help me ... Thank you.”
Just as I was about to enter the Jehovah’s Witnesses again, God led me to your website.
“Hi…I am an Ex-Jehovah’s Witness from South Africa. ...I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses not because I did not agree with their beliefs, but because my wife could not handle it with me being a Jehovah’s Witness and she not. I became an anti-religious person. Then, just as I was about to enter the Jehovah’s Witnesses again, God led me to your website… Today, I prayed to Jesus for salvation after I read your article on your website…”
I’m so glad that I have run across this site.
“After reading the article that David Reed wrote on your site, I’ve looked at things in ‘a new light’ so-to-speak. ...I’m so glad that I have run across this site. I’m sure that it was the Holy Spirit that directed me to all of you!”
Your website is a great source for truth
“Your website is a great source for those seriously seeking the truth.… The Jehovah’s Witness elders shun me. I’ve known these guys for 30 years... Well, when I walk into the Hall they turn their backs to me. I have not seen my Jehovah’s Witness ex-wife, or daughter for two years. ...They hide my family from me. When I go to their homes, they smile with arms folded and say nothing.
The stories I read at your website were loud and clear - conditional love by the ‘brothers’! I have learned more in the Christian Church about unconditional love than 30 years as a Witness. When I accepted Christ, who He really is, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see both sides clearly. ...Without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to know the real TRUTH! Keep up your good work.”