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Archive for the 'What About' Category

Jehovah Witnesses 02

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Part 2 - Beliefs and teachings

Already we have seen how the movement began and also we have noted sadly how the founder Charles Russell moved away from the Orthodox Christian Faith which he learned from His father and mother who were Congregationalists.
When confronted concerning one particular doctrine, eternal punishent,  he found himself floundering in his own beliefs and succumbed to unbelief and began to form a new set of teachings after his own likings.
Later we found similarly the Movement did not like using the King James Authorised Bible as it differed from their thinking in certain areas of doctrine so they composed their own Bible: "The New World Translation". They did this supposing they had more knowledge of the original Greek and Hebrew than those fully trained who had brought the King James Authorised into being. So when you begin in this way is it surprising when they go even further astray as we shall see in today's study.
Recently I put a question to four Witnesses to give you an idea of their thinking. I asked "If you were visiting a home where someone was very unwell in fact dying and only had a short time to live what would be the most important Bible Truth to share with them?
One said "Well I would turn them to Isaiah where we read that Jehovah is the name of God." "Interesting" I replied. The second man who was also an elder (teacher) within the ranks of Jehovah Witnesses had little to say. The new trainees with them both said "Its a good question , what is the one you would share with them?"
Now remember this person is shortly leaving this world and he needs to be prepared for eternity. I went to the story of the conversion of the Philippian Jailer and when he asked Saul and Silas "What must I do to be saved ?" received a straight answer" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31;) The result? That same night not only the jailer but his whole family were saved and baptised having taken the short step in faith and obeyed the Scriptures way of salvation.
I am convinced the only faith the witnesses had that I spoke to were trusting in the fact they belonged to an organisation who alone profess to hold the truth and being equipped to understand and teach the Bible. However if you ask them if they have an assurance of hope in eternal l life they will reveal they do not have it.

What do Jehovah Witnesses believe?

1. First they tell us they are the only organisation that are directed by God's Spirit
To them alone they say God reveals His sacred truth. They are equipped with apparent gifted evangelists, shepherds and teachers. I quote..."There is no other organisation that is doing the divine will of God or is educating people for life everlasting." (from the Watchtower..1st July 1973 pp 402, 404 , 406) How gifted were they to help a man who was dying to show him the way to heaven? Why didn't John 14:6; come to mind easily? It is so clear isn't it? Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by Me"
2. Secondly they tell us the Bible is of no private interpretation . "The Bible is an organisation book. It belongs to the organisation not to individuals regardless how sincere they believe they cannot interpret the Bible without the aid of Watchtower notes." (W.T. 1st October 1967, page 587)
So whatever we say to them about what the Bible says, because it is someone telling them outside of their own organisation they will not receive it but close their ears even if we quote directly from the Bible they are conditioned not to take it in.
3. Thirdly you must join the organisation in order to receive salvation. "Any person who wants to survive into God's righteous new order urgently needs to come into the right relationship with Jehovah and his earthly organisation now." (W.T. 15th November 1981 pp16-17)
So what they are saying is whatever church you belong to , whatever faith you say you have in God's Word and its teachings and promises, whatever experience you have of The Holy Spirit working in your lifer it is of no good to you unless you join the Jehovah Witness organisation.
4. Finally in ending this lesson just listen to what they say about their organisation and to the marks of an organisation which they say is true to God. They are saying " we fulfil all these requirements." Here are their seven principles Think carefully as you read or listen and see if you can believe they do keep to those principles.

  • (a) Exalt Jehovah as the True God
  • (b) Recognise Jesus vital role in Jehovah's purposes.
  • (c) Adhere closely to God's Word.
  • (d) Keep separate from the world
  • (e) Maintain a high level of moral cleanliness.
  • (f) Preach the Good News.
  • (g) Cultivate the fruits of The Spirit (Life)

5. Anyone who rejects their organisation having once begun in it is in fact shunning God. Such people will be shunned by all other Jehovah witnesses and will not receive the reward of eternal life (W.T. September 15th 1981 pp25,29). Next time we shall see "Why no one is allowed to question Watchtower policy. " and what The Bible has to say about that!!

  • Do they really exalt Jehovah as The One True God?
  • Do they really recognise Jesus vital crucial role in the purpose of Jehovah to save his people from their sins?
  • Do they really adhere closely to God's Word or only the words they have included to justify their own teachings. Doesn't the Bible warn people about tampering with His Word and either adding or subtracting from it?
  • Do they preach the Good News as found in Romans 1:16; where Paul the Apostle writes "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is God's power working unto salvation (for deliverance from eternal death) to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Amplified Version)

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Jehovah Witnesses 01

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Introduction

There are a number of major cults which attract large numbers but remember the Bible speaks of a wide road leading to destruction and a narrow road that leads to eternal life. In this series I shall give seven studies concerning "Jehovah Witnesses: right or wrong?" Each day I come across people I want to introduce to Jesus Christ and I have a certain place I visit most days of the week to meet such people. I often come across Jehovah Witnesses after they have concluded their morning's diligent visitation from house to house. They arrive for their coffee break and I sometimes have the opportunity to speak with one or more of them. It will take several lessons to put you in knowledge of their beginnings, their teachings and what the Bible has to say about their doctrines.

Part 1 - Early Beginnings

This particular cult was founded by a wealthy draper from Pittsburgh USA. His name was Charles Taze Russell. His birth was in 1852 and he was born to parents who were members of a Congregational church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Until the age of sixteen he followed his parents teachings and beliefs unquestionably. One day, however, while he was still sixteen he tried to explain the doctrine of eternal punishment to his friend. On hearing this truth he turned on Charles and ridiculed him for believing such 'unreasonable doctrine' This confrontation to his own beliefs had drastic consequences.

Within weeks he had rejected the orthodox Christian faith and began a search for a more reasonable and acceptable creed. Two years later he received the stimulus and encouragement he was looking for. When attending a Seventh day Adventist meeting he was delighted to hear the speaker advocating the annihilation of unbelievers at death and scorning the doctrines of hell. Just as intriguing for him was to learn of attempts to fix the precise date of The Lord Jesus Christ's return Russell was happy to join this new group for a while until differences emerged on other issues and he left to begin studying other religions such as eastern religions including Buddhism.

Later he returned to the study of the Bible and began producing Bible Study Notes in a magazine called "Food for thinking Christians" This later became the "Watchtower". In 1879 he founded the "Watchtower Society" He sold his business and founded this new sect. One important event needs to be mentioned concerning this man and his character. He got himself into trouble when selling what he described as "miracle wheat" he said it would outgrow other seed by as much as five times. He lost a libel case action against a newspaper which levelled charges against his claims. This was checked out at the highest level and his claim was found not to be justified. He also claimed to be a competent student of Greek.

However in court under oath, it was discovered that he was ignorant of the Greek Language. He knew nothing and not even the letters of the Greek alphabet. He also made a prediction that Christ's return would take place in 1914 but it would be invisible! Is this the kind of man you could trust? Someone you could trust your soul's destiny to? Again would you want to put your trust in an organisation which to this day in 2011 has made many forecasts and predictions which have not taken place. Russell died in 1916. Rutherford followed him as leader, predicting the end of the world in 1925.

In 1931 the official name of the movement was then changed to "Jehovah Witnesses".  Rutherford died in 1942 and he was succeeded by Nathan Knorr. Between 1950 and 1961 he produced the "New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures" aided by Frank Franz, Albert Schroeder and George Gangas. This production was so arranged as to support their theology in crucial areas that had posed problems for earlier witnesses using the King James Authorised Bible.

(It wasn't the old fashioned language that caused the problem it was certain fundamental teachings they could not agree with.) Under Nathan Knorr the movement took shape and grew more rapidly. He died in 1977 from a cancerous tumour. Like Russell before him and Rutherford he did not see the end of the world predicted in 1975. So we have seen the early beginnings of the Jehovah Witness Movement. Tomorrow I shall explain and show how their teaching conflicts with the Bible on vital issues.

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** Disclaimer: The author of this article, Jim Allis, is a guest podcaster and Partakers Ministries may or may not agree with his opinions and writings, either in their entirety or part thereof.

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What About Mormonism 4

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Mormonism - Part 4

Temple Rituals.

 

The Mormon Temple with its secret rituals and chants is the very centre of Mormonism Every Mormon who expects to become a ‘god’ in the world to come must be married in the eternal marriage ceremony. Whatever marriage has been entered previously is not counted. Following the entry into the temple males and females are separated. They remove all their clothes and replace them with a garment which is known as a shield.

This is a loose fitting white garment. Their own clothes are then locked away and the key is pinned onto the shield garment. The temple assistants proceed to lay their hands on different parts of the candidates bodies invoking a blessing upon each part. The head is washed so that the brain and intellect can function correctly, the eyes that they may see clearly especially that which is spiritual. Other private parts are touched and blessed so that they may produce healthy offspring. Following this ceremony a special undergarment is placed upon the body which must never be removed for it has special magical properties. Masonic Handshakes were introduced into temple rites by Joseph Smith in 1842. The oaths include:

  • The removal of tongue and throat cut if secrets of the temple are ever revealed by them. That is part of the Aaronic priesthood.
  • The removal of bowels and stomach cut if in the Melchizadek Priesthood.

A further ceremony is held for those who want marriage in heaven. They have to place their hand through a slit in the curtain to be gripped by a man the other side representing God. They make vows and enter into a spiritual marriage agreement. By making commitment by word of mouth they are allowed to to enter beyond the curtain. May I recommend for further reading ‘History and beliefs of Mormonism by Einer Anderson published by Kregal publications.

Changes And Contradictions

Things to note

  • The book of Mormon has had nearly 4000 changes since its first edition in 1830
  • Mormons say that the Bible is inadequate and contains errors.
  • Mormons add to the scriptures other such books as “The Pearl of great price” and “Doctrines and Covenants"

But even these books contradict each other. How? They differ on whether God was spirit or had flesh. Whether God is pleased with polygamy or not? Why these contradictions? A simple answer is that these books are not inspired by God but by people.

What Does The Bible Say?

If prophecies do not come truer then the prophet is false. Investigation proves that Mormon prophecies have a 100% failure rate. One of their statements of faith is extraordinary. “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God""

The Accuracy Of The Bible In Contrast

Psalm 12:6 The psalmist writes “The word of the Lord is flawless like silver refined in a furnace of clay purified seven times” Another statement of the Mormon faith reads “We believe man can be saved by the keeping of the law” Yet the Bible in Romans 3:20; reads “ No one will be declared righteous by the keeping of the law” Mormons teach that Jesus has not always been God. Yet the Bible teaches that He has always been the Son of God. There is much more teaching which conflict with the Scriptures.  Which sounds the more authentic? Traditional Christianity based on Holy Scripture alone or the writings and beliefs of Joseph Smith?

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What About Mormonism 3

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Mormonism - Part 3

Teachings contrary to the Bible

 

What are some of the teaching of Mormonism which differ from biblical Christianity?

1. They teach an addition to the Genesis account of the beginnings of mankind.

The book of Mormon reads "A god and a goddess on another planet had a spirit called Elohim who was born into this world and because he obeyed the Mormon teaching became a god like his father. He eventually left this world and took a number of wives on another planet. Two spiritual children were born and were named Jesus and Lucifer. A discussion took place and it was decided by Lucifer that he thought all human beings be compelled to become gods. Jesus however objected. He said there ought to be free choice. Lucifer rebelled and took a third of the angels on his side. Because of this action they were cast out of heaven and into the earth and were not allowed to take human form. Those angels who had remained neutral in the battle of heaven became the black people of this world and were cursed by true Mormons. Those who fought against Lucifer were called the ‘Light Ones' and were born into the Mormon families. Elohim and one of his wives returned to this world and became Adam and Eve to begin the human race. Thousands of years later Elohim returned and went to the house of Mary and had intercourse with her to enable Jesus to come into the world in a ‘human' body. Later when Jesus grew up into manhood He took three wives, Mary, Martha and Mary Magdalene. He supposedly had a physical relationship with them and several children were born to them. Then He was crucified and following the resurrection returned to America to tell the Indians that they were Israel. A great battle then took place between the black and white until one white remained, his name was Moroni and he hid the history of their people on GOLD PLATES (You will remember I spoke of these same plates being supposedly shown to Joseph Smith by Moroni in the early part of this booklet). Many Mormons today do believe that these events did take place.

2. How Different Does The Bible Speak Of Those Early Times?

Consider this. When we read the Genesis account concerning Adam and Eve the first created beings on the face of this earth, we see the way they were tricked into believing the serpent's words recorded for us in (chapter three.). They had been warned off it but the serpent tricked them into believing they would miss out if they didn't eat from the forbidden tree. They would lack wisdom and knowledge. Note how subtle the Serpent and how they both gave in to their own selfish appetites and rebellious spirits and as a result missed out so much on the blessings of God. Would you not agree that it seems people are only too ready to believe a lie when prosperity is offered to them? Joseph Smith's teachings had been very much on prosperity and gaining materially. At least that is how it comes across to me as I have delved into Mormon origins and the teachings given to them especially from the Book of Mormon The Genesis account doesn't need to be changed it tells us all we need to know and the teaching becomes blasphemous when Scripture is added to and changed in regard to the origins of Jesus and how he came into the world. The Mormons teaching removes fundamental truth from God's Word.. It makes Jesus a person less than the Son of God and in competition with the devil rather than the Sovereign Lord which indeed the Scriptures show him clearly to be. Any other book that disagrees with the Bible teaching is to be treated as anathema and not to be taken note of. The Bible is sufficient in itself and needs no backing up from any other source.

3. Some key Mormon beliefs

1. Mormons believe that all men will be resurrected but only Mormons will enter the third heaven where God is. 2. The Book of Mormon is on an equal footing with the Bible 3. God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who became God. 4. A person will be judged by their works 5. Redemption can only be gained by obedience to the Mormon teachings. 6. We will be judged in front of a panel including Joseph Smith, Jesus and Elohim 7. The Mormon Church alone is the Kingdom of God on earth and its headquarters on earth is in Salt Lake City Utah. Jesus when He returns will return there. 8. Jesus will return to reign for 1000 years. At the end of that time there will be a second resurrection and all will be judged. Those worthy of a highest grade of salvation will then live on the new earth. A second group will go somewhere else. Still yet, a third group who are exceedingly wicked will be joined by the fallen angels who rebelled before the creation of man and they will be cast into hell.

4. Who Are Perceptable To These False Teachings?

We understand that many of those converted to the Mormon faith are disenchanted church goers who have left orthodox Bible teaching .Instead they believe that which is different from scripture. Also what attracts people to the Mormon Church is their clean living and they will not drink alcohol. They also have a high code of morals. They give a tenth of their income to the church. They also major on youth activities encouraging many young people to take part. (Editors note....I actually witnessed as a spectator a national athletics competition of young competitors from Mormon churches all over England in a large stadium in Reading Berkshire. Having been an athlete in my youth I was aware of the high standard and the fierce but friendly competition it was a pleasure to watch). They have many young people in their churches throughout Britain. Next time we shall look into their teaching on 'Temple Rituals'

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What About Mormonism 2

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Mormonism - Part 2

Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism.

 

Joseph Smith was the son of parents who were into selling blessings and fortune telling. Joseph himself had quite a reputation for telling tall stories. He was born in 1805 and at the age of fourteen was said to have had a divine visit from an angel and warned to have nothing to do with the established church.

Visit from Moroni!

Joseph was then supposed to have received a further visit from an angel whose name he said was Moroni. who gave him instructions to go to a certain place named Palmyra where he would receive a very special revelation from God. He would be told where to find some special gold plates with very special writing on. The writing would be in Egyptian so he would not have understood with out some kind of aid. Fortunately there just to the side of the gold plates were a pair of spectacles (glasses) and when Joseph looked through those glasses at the writing he would see it translated into his own language. In 1827 Joseph Smith began to dictate from behind a curtain to three men who acted as his scribes as he read from those gold plates using those special glasses I referred to earlier.

Beginnings of the Book of Mormon

When completed, these writings were formed into a book and when printed was called "The Book of Mormon." Then it is said that Moroni the angel returned, collected the plates as well as the glasses and disappeared again. In 1830 Joseph Smith started the Mormon Church or The Church of the Latter Day Saints as it is also known. It is only fair to point out at this stage that this book of Mormon which is given as high a place as the Bible in the Mormon Church was produced at the same time as a historic novel written by a man by the name of Spaulding. He had been a Presbyterian preacher who eventually died of consumption in a place named Conneaut in Ohio .
Before he died he made a great deal of money out of it it as it sold well. The book was called 'Forgotten Tales of the Monk Cyril and the Abbot Joachim'. It is believed that The Book of Mormon is actually the writings found in that book plus some added scriptures. If this is the case then it doesn't enhance the man Joseph Smith to us as a godly man who had said the writings came from God and received from an angel called Moroni. When his own father questioned him about the writings and wanted to look at the gold plates for himself, Joseph said it was unwise for if he were to look upon them he would surely die. His own wife Emma also helped in writing the book of Mormon as Joseph continued to dictate from the gold plates but never became a part of the Mormon church till many years later.

New Revelation

Several years on, Polygamy became a regular practice in the Mormon church. What was it that triggered that off you ask?. After all wasn't this Mormon church supposed to be morally sound, a godly fellowship of God's people? Joseph Smith gives us the answer himself. He said it came as a divine revelation to him. No one it seems was prepared to argue with him on that matter that prompted that action. Following Joseph Smith's death, Brigham Young took over as leader. During his lifetime the Mormon Church was forced to obey the laws of the country and not only follow their own rules and codes of practice. You will not be totally surprised to hear of the legacy Brigham Young left behind him when he died. He left 400,000 dollars, seventeen wives, and fifty six children. Polygamy continued to be expressed as the Mormon church said they were only following their interpretation of scriptures relating to Abraham who had many concubines during his life time. More about that in our next study where we will be looking specifically at some of the teachings of the Mormon church especially in relation to the book of Genesis and what they add to the scriptures as well as leave out!

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What About Mormonism 1

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Mormonism - An Introduction

The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints.

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My first introduction to Mormonism was when visiting some homes in the Bournemouth area on behalf of a local evangelical church. Knocking on one particular door I received an extremely warm welcome. I was politely invited into a nice, well kept home and was made at home instantly. My first thoughts were "Wow! Surely here is a Christian home "So what led me to that conclusion?" You may well ask, for surely there are polite atheists living in our district aren't there?. It wasn't because of their high interest in the Bible for that was surely evident.. No, I was perhaps thinking that way because the words they used concerning the things of God were very very similar. They seemed to use all the jargon that many Christians use. Yes, they talked like Christians yet there was something odd about them. Why do I say that? Because when I brought up in the conversation something about Jesus shedding his precious blood to deliver us from our guilt of sin I thought they would be totally in agreement with me. When I talked of this as evidence of Jesus great love for us they became tense and I sensed an awkwardness coming into our conversation. It wasn't flowing. It was at that point I realised or maybe the Holy Spirit inside of me gave me witness, that these dear people were looking for salvation in a completely different direction!. Yes, they were kind, friendly religious people but they were not born again Christians. My second introduction to Mormon missionaries was when visiting some backsliding Christians who were having difficulty holding onto their Christian faith. They had agreed to have two Mormon missionaries visit them in their own home with a audio/ visual presentation of Mormonism and what it was all about. I was invited as a friend to be there at this meeting. Two Mormon Elders arrived with a video/audio equipment to teach people the Mormon doctrines. I was introduce as a frind and so we all sat down to watch and listen. Following the presentation we entered into discussion and it was all very polite and lots of smiles . "Have you any questions? we were asked. I answered "Yes I do have an important May I ask you what you teach concerning the difference between two very important Bible words. Please explain to me your understanding of the words grace and mercy in the Bible." They seemed to fumble with their answer saying "Sorry we have not got our Webster book of words with us" "May I then help you?" I offered. "Why Yes " they replied. I simply said "God's grace is God giving to us that which we do not deserve and God's mercy is God withholding from us that which we do deserve." Silence reigned before they made a hurried retreat to the door saying they had another immediate engagement. The home in which this conversation took place with Mormon elders (their own definition of their office) was owned by two young Christians who were obvious targets as they were not very well taught in the Christian faith. The Mormons missionaries were clean,tidy and indeed smart in their clothing as well as in their manner and clear conversation and attractive to the gullible Christians whom they may meet by going from house to house. So what do you know about the Mormons? I want to help you grasp some fundamental truths concerning them if you are confronted by them on your own front door step or have them approach you in a busy shopping centre which you frequent regularly. They are regularly see in our towns and approach us in a polite and friendly way and can catch us off guard. So having introduced Mormonism next time I want to talk about their founder, Joseph Smith, and how they came into being.

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