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)