Today the Christian Gospel message centres squarely and completely on the underserved crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the subsequent forgiveness of sins for those who believe and trust in his name, Lordship and resurrection.
This was the entirety of Paul's preaching, as borne out by such verses as 1 Cor 2:1,2
1 And so I, when I came to YOU, brothers, did not come with an extravagance of speech or of wisdom declaring the sacred secret of God to YOU. 2 For I decided not to know anything among YOU except Jesus Christ, and him impaledPaul later wrote to the Galatian Christians, warming them that if anyone ever came preaching a different Gospel they (the one doing the preaching) were to be condemned;
Gal 1:8 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to YOU as good news something beyond what we declared to YOU as good news, let him be accursed.Jehovah's Witnesses have no scriptural defence for their choosing to be identified as witnesses of Jehovah rather than witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8). However, I wonder if they have any scriptural defence for not preaching Christ and his crucifixion?
For example, look at the excerpt from July's Kingdom Ministry. This is the section of the monthly bulletin that provides faithful Jehovah's Witnesses with the suggested presentations to use in their door-to-door preaching work. Let's overlook the peddling of literature encouraged by such presentations, but rather focus on the themes of their preaching;
- terminal illness
- women clergy
- nuclear war/ecological disaster
- Jehovah's Witnesses and their door-to-door work
From a purely Christian perspective, how closely do these topics resemble the Christian Gospel as preached by Paul? Remember, Paul choose to preach nothing but Christ and his crucifixion, beautifully summarising what Christ achieved, not for Jehovah but for those who believe and trust in Christ, when he willingly laid his life down;
2 Cor 5:21 The one who did not know sin he made to be sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness by means of him.Wow! How amazingly simple but powerful; Christ became our sin so that by means of him we might become his righteousness! What an amazing message. No wonder it's called "good news".
Also, notice how few times Jesus Christ features as part of their initial presentation; no times!
So, can an active Jehovah's Witness explain to me, please, why they'd choose to knock on people's doors and endeavour to engage them on such topics listed above? Why choose these topics over simply preaching Christ and his crucifixion? If Jesus Christ is the name given to men by which they are to be saved, why don't you even mention him? (Acts 4:12, Acts 5:42)
If you're calling on people who are destined for eternal destruction because they are separate from God, and if the Bible is right in teaching that the separation can only be fixed through Jesus Christ, why wouldn't that be the first and only thing you'd want to speak to them about?
I wonder if the reason is more than the Witnesses' simple desire to unquestioningly obey the Governing Body's direction in all matters, including choice of preaching topic. I wonder if it runs deeper. Perhaps the 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses who choose to speak to the doomed about women in the clergy rather that going to the crux of the matter about Christ is because they know, deep down, that all of the promises, all of the assurances, all of the hope, all of the wonder things written about in the New Testament aren't actually available to them.
And that's the reality. Being able to exchange your sinfulness for Christ's righteousness is not open to you, Jehovah's Witness, unless you choose to trust in him alone and cry out to him for forgiveness and reconciliation. Yet, the Governing Body have misled you into believing that the body of Christ on earth is split into two classes and you don't have the right to receive every good thing promised to Christ's body because you belong to the wrong class. (See John 1:10-13, Romans 8:14-17)
"I am the way, the truth and the life," said Jesus Christ of Nazareth, "no one comes to the Father but by me." What a simple message of hope and love.
Why preach anything else?