Sermon Series: Christianity and World Religions Part 17, (Continue)
I continue the series of messages on Christianity and world religions. Today I will discuss JEHOVAH`S WITNESSES and as is the case in all of these sermons—I want to make this disclaimer. I am not an expert in this religion—this is only a summary of my study and research in this area.
Again before we dive into the material, I want to say something about the nature of this second part of the series as with the rest. My purpose in this message is to help us to be as wise as serpents and yet as gentle as doves about the happenings around us these days.
One time in the O.T. King David was assessing the strengths of the people he had with him. And in I Chronicles 12:32 it says this. It says he had with him, “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…” – I Chronicles 12:32
That’s what we want to be. People who understand the times we’re living in so we can be responsive and productive members of God’s kingdom.
Another time, in the N.T., the Apostle Paul told first century Christ-followers that they too should be very clear and mature in their thinking and understanding of the events happening around them. He said, “Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” – 1 Corinthians 14:20
In other words, like Jesus, he’s saying, “Be informed. Don’t stick your head in the sand and think circumstances will go away. Do not become ugly or hate-filled, be innocent of evil. But be informed.”
As with last Sermon, I want to remind you of our spirit in this series. The purpose for spending time on this is not so we can worry or get angry or figure out how to get revenge, but to be informed so that we can be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. So that we can see things in their proper perspective and respond with the gentleness of Jesus.
So that’s our purpose. To be informed so that we can respond gently, but wisely to our world and its present horrors.
Are we all clear on that?
Starting from where we left off:
The cult sect known today as the Jehovah’s Witnesses started out in Pennsylvania in 1870 as a Bible class led by Charles Taze Russell. Russell named his group the “Millennial Dawn Bible Study.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”John 1:1 (KJV)
Charles T. Russell began writing a series of books he called “The Millennial Dawn,” which stretched to six volumes before his death and contained much of the theology Jehovah’s Witnesses now hold. After Russell’s death in 1916, Judge J. F. Rutherford, Russell’s friend and successor, wrote the seventh and final volume of the “Millennial Dawn” series, “The Finished Mystery,” in 1917. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was founded in 1886 and quickly became the vehicle through which the “Millennial Dawn” movement began distributing their views to others. The group was known as the “Russellites” until 1931 when, due to a split in the organization, it was renamed the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The group from which it split became known as the “Bible students.”
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe?
Close scrutiny of their doctrinal position on such subjects as the deity of Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and the atonement shows beyond a doubt that they do not hold to orthodox Christian positions on these subjects. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being.
This contradicts many Scriptures which clearly declare Jesus to be God (John 1:1,14, 8:58, 10:30). Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is obtained by a combination of faith, good works, and obedience. This contradicts countless scriptures which declare salvation to be received by grace through faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity, believing Jesus to be a created being and the Holy Spirit to essentially be the inanimate power of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the concept of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and instead hold to a ransom theory, that Jesus’ death was a ransom payment for Adam’s sin.
The Truth is: Jesus Is Lord, Jesus Is God.
Part of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! Jesus Christ the son of God Almighty!
So How do the Jehovah’s Witnesses justify their un-biblical doctrines?
First, they claim that the church has corrupted the Bible over the centuries; thus, they have re-translated the Bible into what they call the New World Translation. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society altered the text of the Bible to make it fit their false doctrine, rather than basing their doctrine on what the Bible actually teaches. The New World Translation has gone through numerous editions, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses discover more and more Scriptures that contradict their doctrines.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV)
The Watchtower bases its beliefs and doctrines on the original and expanded teachings of Charles Taze Russell, Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford, and their successors. The governing body of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the only body in the cult that claims authority to interpret Scripture. In other words, what the governing body says concerning any scriptural passage is viewed as the last word, and independent thinking is strongly discouraged. This is in direct opposition to Paul’s admonition to Timothy (and to us as well) to study to be approved by God, so that we need not be ashamed as we correctly handle the Word of God. This admonition, found in 2 Timothy 2:15, is a clear instruction from God to each of His children to be like the Berean Christians, who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things they were being taught lined up with the Word.
There is probably no religious group that is more faithful than the Jehovah’s Witnesses at getting their message out. Unfortunately, the message is full of distortions, deceptions, and false doctrine. May God open the eyes of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the truth of the gospel and the true teaching of God’s Word.
If your a Jehovah’s Witness and you want to find true Salvation, it is simply a prayer away, and Salvation can be yours!