I just wanted to know what anyone thought about Jehovah Witnesses?
Hi @susan5 , great question! Just out of interest, may I ask what you want to understand about them? There may be different reasons people have, for example, is it to understand if they’re considered to be Christians, or more out of interest to reach out to them in evangelism? Or you may have a loved one who belongs to the Watchtower organisation? As I share some thoughts, I apologise if you know all this already. I’d be curious to know if I’ve answered your question or not.
My summary (I’ll try and be brief ) is that I love them! As I’ve chatted with them over the years, I’ve noticed how faithfully they follow the teachings of the Watchtower organisation and I would say all of the JWs that I have spoken to are lovely people, pursuing their mission out of genuine desire to save people. I have a lot of time for them. However, they are in error over their understanding of scripture, and follow false teachings, consequently they are missing salvation in Christ.
Some of the main Watchtower teachings that point to a false salvation:
- Jehovah God, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not the members of the Triune God. Trinity is a doctrine of Satan, according to them, based in paganism.
- Jesus was originally the archangel Michael, and was a created being. He is not God.
- The Holy Spirit is not a person but an ‘active force’, like electricity.
- Jesus was resurrected with a spiritual body only, not a physical body.
- Salvation comes through faith in Jesus and doing good works, which is why you find them evangelising door to door and handing out tracts.
- The Governing Body is the true prophet of God that they are to follow and obey without question.
- The New World Translation is the ‘true’ version of the Bible, all others being corrupted over time. Certain phrases are translated with additional words not found in the original Greek to deny the eternal nature and divinity of Christ.
- Jesus died on a stake, not a cross (although I don’t think this belief is a matter of salvation)
- They have their JW website for all spiritual teaching and research. They are not to read any Christian literature from outside their website and could be labelled as apostates if they do.
I have such a heart for them, because I see them so fervently following their faith, and yet the Watchtower teachings are not leading them to salvation. They are discouraged from studying the Bible without the help of Watchtower literature to help them understand it in a certain way. They are well-practised in defending against orthodox Christian viewpoints, and know their scriptures well.
I’m particuarly concerned about their translation of the Bible, whose committee is kept anonymous out of the men’s desire for humility. However, a quick google search (which JWs are not allowed to do) shows it’s really easy to find out who helped to translate their Bible: Nathan Knorr, Fredrich Franz, George Gangas, Albert Schroeder, and Milton Henschel. None of the committee were Bible language scholars, including Fredrich Franz who was both a previous President of the Governing Body and Head of Translation Committee. He couldn’t speak a word of Greek. They even enlisted the help of 2 men to translate - Johannes Greber, and John Thompson. Greber was a spiritist who held seances and used channelled writing in parts of translation of their Bible.
So, I love the JW members, I really see their passion and commitment and am challenged by their example, but I’m deeply troubled by the deception that they’re under. I love the growing amount of resources out there to support people coming out of the Watchtower organisation, or those who would call themselves PIMO, ‘Physically In, Mentally Out’.
I could write a lot more, but will wait until I know if this is the sort of information you were looking for. Happy to go into more detail on any of the above
I appreciate your wisdom on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I sounds pretty close to how I feel. I talked for many years to a lady who became a good friend and visited me often. I really loved her. Then someone from the Jehovah’s Witnesses called me on the phone and I read many times with her out of her booklet. I liked her very much. But one day as we got to the point about soldiers in battle should not pray because they are doing wrong by killing the other soldier I had a strong reaction… I cannot kill anything, not even a bug. But my reaction was to the fact that my father was in World War 11 and went onto Normandy from the back of a U Boat . He went into France and was affected so much when he came back home he drank heavily and was committed to the hospital for alcohol induced schizophrenia… After many years of this and many arguments between he and my mother he finally came to a point where he stopped. He attended church every time the doors opened even though he was crippled by a back and leg problem from working so hard all his life . He also went through the great depression and took care of his mother and sister after his father died when he was 8 years old. I feel that he prayed when he came off that U boat and I have no doubt he was saved. He said he was just not afraid. He was never afraid of anything, and we were very close as I was growing up. He was a very loving man and would do anything for anyone. At this point I and the Jehovah’s witness lady came to a stop. I still love her, but I just do not feel that my father did anything wrong in defending his country against Nazis who were burning people in ovens. She said that the people he was fighting were of the same religion and I saw no sense in this. They did nothing to help the people in the concentration camps. So, in summation I also love and respect their devotion, but I know my father was saved and is in heaven now.
Hi @susan5 thank you for sharing a bit of the context for your question. I can see how the topic of soldiers and warfare would have felt deeply personal in your discussions with JWs.
I’ll have to look into their belief that soldiers can’t pray, as it’s not one I’m so familiar with other than I know they take the view that being of God’s Kingdom means they can’t partake in human governments, and they don’t vote or join the army because of this. I also understand that they (rightfully) place a high value on life and blood. However it’s beliefs like these that lead to extreme and controversial conclusions such as refusing to fight in wars. However, I’m not sure that it logically follows that a soldier can’t pray. I’m thinking of all the stories in the Old Testament of Israel going to war, and there are often moments of prayer and supplication to Yahweh before, during and after the battles. David, regularly prays in the Psalms that God would vindicate him against his enemies including the use of seemingly violent language:
Psalm 139:19 (ESV): Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
This is not to say God approves of killing by any means. However, in God’s justice and love, the Bible shows the righteous coming before God for his mercy and protection which might sometimes include the removal of life. We are also told to defend the defenceless (Proverbs 31:8-9). Without getting into a whole other discussion on this here , I feel that it could be argued that a person committed to Christ could justify their involvement in war.
I agree with your feelings here. However, I have sadly learned in my discussions with them that solid devotion doesn’t equate to salvation. A person can be equally committed to truth as another is mistakenly committed to a lie. I believe they have misunderstood scripture (and the Governing Body has purposefully altered scripture) so that they have a false understanding of who Christ is, how he died, how he was resurrected, and who gets to be with him eternally.
My goal is to befriend them and encourage discussions to point to the truth of the Gospel.
I think it is important to remember that God’s word is spiritually discerned. No matter what words are used to express God’s Truth, those words are to be spiritually discerned. One must be spiritually alive to hear the spiritual meaning they hold. Given opportunities to share God’s word, is wonderful. We should do so as we are led by the Holy Spirit. The response is outside of our hands, but in the hands of God where it rightfully belongs.