Monday, 23 August 2010

New Light or Old Light? The Generation

The Watch Tower publication "Insight on the Scriptures", dispensed as "spiritual food" by the "faithful slave" aka the Governing Body, provides Jehovah's Witnesses with truths about the Bible.

In volume one, under the heading "generation" the following definition is given;
"A Generation commonly refers to all persons who were born about the same time."

Since the publication of this tome, Jesus has "evidently" changed the meaning of "generation". So, should this entry in "Insight of the Scriptures" be rejected as "old light"? 

See also "Which Truth is "the Truth"? and Question for Jehovah's Witnesses: Do You Own a Dictionary?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?

From the website of Jehovah's Witnesses. Notice how two questions are asked;
  • did Jesus really die on a cross?
  • should Christians use the cross as an object of veneration?
Look at that picture. Imagine you're an "honest-hearted one" and you've visited the Watch Tower's website for more information. Your heart is breaking and you're burdened down with guilt about your sin and separation from your Father in heaven. The first thing you see on the website is a picture of the cross. But does the article address Christ's death to atone for your sins and the wonderful freedom he bought for you through his death, how his righteousness is imputed to you, making you right with God and giving you the rights of a child of the King?


The article is all about whether Jesus really died on the cross. Once again, the Watch Tower Society chooses to preach a different gospel and steers people away from Jesus and his crucifixion [1] [2] [3].

Why do the Governing Body object to the cross? They try to claim Jesus did not die on a cross, but rather an upright stake. They make the assertion that the cross is a pagan phallic symbol*, which it probably was at one point**. 

But does the cross being pagan and phallic mean that Jesus wasn't executed by the Romans on one? Let's imagine that history is as ambiguous as the Governing Body claim and that Jesus did not die on a cross. What would that prove?

Well, that leads us into the second question.

Should Christians use the cross as an object of veneration? Absolutely not. Flee from the use of idols, the Bible says. I've been attending churches for almost two years and I've never seen the cross venerated or idolised or used in worship. I've seen people get a bit emotional when they meditate on what happened on the cross, ie. Jesus dying in agony for our sins. But that doesn't equate to veneration.

The point is, the Governing Body loves to create these little straw men arguments; did Jesus really die on a cross? But what does it matter! They pour out gallons of ink to argue that he died on a stake, but completely miss the point; he died for our sins! The method of execution is secondary, why get so hung up on it (no pun intended)? Jesus could have been shot with a rifle. The same end purpose would have been achieved; his punishment for the forgiveness of our sins. I would love to see the Watchtower magazine spend as much time and effort on that topic as they do on trying to debunk the cross as Jesus' means of execution.

But then, Jehovah's Witnesses need reasons to prove to themselves that they are the true religion. 'Judge' Rutherford carefully created a siege mentality among the Witnesses, making them more and more 'different' from Christendom. After all, when Jesus allegedly chose the Watch Tower Society in 1919 they used the cross on the cover of their main Bible-teaching publication. He clearly didn't have problem with it 91 years ago. The cross is one way that JWs believe they are superior from Christians; they reject that Jesus died on a cross and reject veneration of the cross.

Just because, though, Catholics use the cross in worship does not mean that Christians do so. And it also doesn't mean that Christ didn't really die on one.

Jehovah's Witnesses, please start directing attention to Jesus Christ alone, and not your unique beliefs.

* what is an upright stake if not phallic? And as for pagan, research the sacrificial poles that the Ba'al worshippers used. Both pagan and phallic.

** the Watchtower's double-standard kicks in here; the cross was perhaps once viewed as pagan and phallic, but is that the case these days? What about wedding rings, pinatas, etc?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Who Are You Saying Preaches a 'Different Gospel'?

"Let the honest-hearted person compare the kind of preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom done by the religious systems of Christendom during all the centuries with that done by Jehovah's Witnesses since the end of World War 1 in 1918. They are not one and the same kind. That of Jehovah's Witnesses is really the "gospel" or "good news," as of God's heavenly kingdom that was established by the enthronement of his Son Jesus Christ at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914."

Translation; Jehovah's Witnesses preach a different gospel than that preached - and believed - by Christians in the 1st Century.
Galatians 1: 6 I marvel that YOU are being so quickly removed from the One who called YOUwith Christ’s undeserved kindness over to another sort of good news. 7 But it is not another; only there are certain ones who are causing YOU trouble and wanting to pervert the good news about the Christ. 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. 9 As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to YOU as good news something beyond what YOU accepted, let him be accursed.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Who Are You Calling a 'False Prophet'? Part 2

"Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be resurrection of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favor, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of the dead..."

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Who Are You Calling a 'False Prophet'? Part 1

Click to enlarge

"True, there have been those in times past who predicted an "end to the world," even announcing a specific date...Yet nothing happened. The "end" did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying."

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Light Getting Brighter? Jehovah's Witnesses and the Worship of Jesus

StandFirm claims that Christianity has moved into darkness in the 2000 or so years since Christ's ascended to heaven. Christ himself claimed that he'd be with Christians until the end of the age and Revelation describes him as walking among the churches on earth, having all authority on heaven and on earth. You'd think Jesus would be able to prevent his people falling into spiritual darkness. However, StandFirm, as a Jehovah's Witness, adheres to the Watch Tower Society's view that apostasy spread like gangrene throughout Christianity from the death of the last Apostle until the late 1800s when young entrepreneur Charles T Russell started reading Adventist literature, and under the tutelage of Nathan Barbour, began printing the Watchtower magazine.

At this time, light began to shine again in Christianity, according to the Watch Tower Society's version of it's history, and God's approval settled on Russell, leading him to proclaim such "good news" as Christ's invisible return with Kingdom power in 1874 and Armageddon's outbreak in 1914 and that God is known as Jehovah. Russell formed the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and throughout the years produced a number of articles that advocated the worship of Jesus Christ as Lord and King. For example;

    "Question. The fact that our Lord received worship is claimed by some to be an evidence that while on earth he was God the Father disguised in a body of flesh and not really a man. Was he really worshiped, or is the translation faulty? Answer. Yes, we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshiped, and properly so. … It was proper for our Lord to receive worship in view of his having been the only begotten of the Father and his agent in the creation of all things, including man." Zion's Watch Tower 1898 July 15 p.216 [emphasis, of course, added]
 And another;

    "It seems clear that His Divinity was retained in humanity because He repeatedly spoke of Himself as having come down from heaven, and because He, though passing through trial and sorrow as a man, was yet possessed of the authority and exercised the prerogatives of a God. He was the object of unreproved worship even when a babe, by the wise men who came to see the new-born King. Matt. 2:2-11. Even the angels delighted to do Him honor. "When He bringeth the first-begotten into the world, He saith, "And let all the angels of God worship Him." Heb. 1:6. He never reproved any one for acts of worship offered to Himself, but when Cornelius offered such service to Peter--the leading apostle-- "he took him up, saying, stand up; I myself also am a man." .... Had Christ not been more than a man the same reason would have prevented from receiving worship...." Zion's Watch Tower 1880 Oct pp.2,3 [emphasis, of course, added]
It's important for Jehovah's Witnesses and neutrals alike to note that such material was viewed as "spiritual food" at the "proper time" and contributed to the view among the Bible Students (as Jehovah's Witnesses were then known) that Russell was the "faithful and discreet slave" (Matt 24:45-47). We're led to believe that the content of the spiritual food produced by Russell in the pages of the Watchtower magazine, and other publications, was a contributing factor in Jesus Christ choosing the Watch Tower Society (or the "anointed" Witnesses who associate with this corporation) as the "faithful and discreet slave" class.

So, there was a time when Jehovah's Witnesses worshipped Jesus Christ, just as was the case in the 1st Century, as borne out by the inspired text of the New Testament (Matt 2:11, Matt 14:33, John 9:38).

Through time, the Witnesses adopted a legal charter that outlined the purpose of their organisation. The charter was updated in the 1940s and referenced again in the 1970s before being amended in 1999.

Included in this charter is the following;

To quote;
...and for public Christian worship of Almighty God and Christ Jesus...
Part of the darkness that StandFirm attests Christians have fallen into is the belief that Jesus should be worshipped. To quote;

StandFirm said...

Mark Hunter,
If the first-century Christians did not believe something then we should not believe it either on the basis of Acts 20:30, 1 Timothy 4:1, Matthew 13:24-30, etc.
I submit that what you've fallen for is not new light but actually old darkness. 

So, according to StandFirm, he believes that worshipping Jesus is tantamount to going after the teachings of demons. In other words, to worship Jesus Christ is actually twisted and demonic. Of course, he fails to provide scriptural direction that Acts 20:30, for example, pertains to worshipping Jesus.

But that isn't the point. The point is, the founder of the Watch Tower Society believed that Jesus is to be worshipped. For the first 70 or 80 years of its existence the Society taught, was indeed set up to promote, the worship of Jesus Christ. In fact, the publication "Reasoning from the Sciptures" states on page 214, subheading;
"Does the fact that worship is given to Jesus prove that he is God?"

This is puzzling. The "Reasoning" book is current Witness literature and should be considered "new" or "current light", and it states that it's a fact that Jesus is given worship. Is this Watch Tower publication advocating the twisted teachings of demons?

But none of this is really the point. The issue is the idea of the light getting brighter. StandFirm contests that to believe something other than the 1st Century Christians is to be in darkness. What's interesting about this is that the 1st Century Christians worshipped Jesus. Charles T Russell said we should worship Jesus. The legal charter of the Watch Tower Society said we should worship Jesus. The "Reasoning" book says it's a fact that Jesus is worshipped.

StandFirm contests we shouldn't believe things that weren't believed by the 1st C Christians. He includes the worship of Jesus with this, even though he doesn't have a scriptural leg to stand on. But his principle can, and should, be applied to the following;

  • Christ's invisible return in 1914
  • the appointment of the Watch Tower Society/anointed within that group as the "faithful and discreet slave" class in 1919
  • the necessity of that organisation to mankind's salvation
So, who really is in the spiritual dark? Those who worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour or those who trust in the son of earthling man to whom no salvation belongs?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Where's Jesus This Month?

I've previously pondered on the Jehovah's Witness practise of preaching a different gospel.
The September 'Kingdom Ministry' once again emphasises this.

  • misguide religious zeal
  • suffering in silence
  • prayer
  • marital betrayal
No Jesus as crucified Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Why not?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Are Jehovah's Witnesses the New Irish?

"Fear has a great hold on the Witnesses. Witnesses are afraid of what their neighbors, their friends, relatives and Watchtower Society leaders might think if they were even so much as to read the Bible on their own. For over a century the Watchtower Society leaders have dominated their lives, told them what they can read, what they should believe and do. To ask a sound religious question is a demonstration of lack of faith in God and the organization, according to the Watchtower Society leaders. As a result, Jehovah's Witnesses do very little independent thinking. They are victims of the Watchtower Society leaders and fear; but freedom is in sight."
Read the full article, including Watchtower publication quotations and decide for yourself whether the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, under the uninspired, error-prone direction of the self-appointed Governing Body use fear to control Jehovah's Witnesses.