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?


  1. Wow. You hit a home run on this one. I'm going to predict zero response from StandFirm.

    Also, its interesting that the old NWT's translated "worship" in the main text of Heb. 1:6 and is still in the footnotes of the reference edition.

    Perhaps in this case the light has gotten brighter for StandFirm, but not yet with the organization?

  2. “You will know them by their fruits” Indeed. What are the “fruits” of the Watchtower? Suicide, Divorce, Child Abuse, Broken Homes, and the list goes on and on. In 1992, the watchtower said “Today, a small percentage of mankind can still recall the dramatic events of 1914... Will that elderly generation pass away before God saves the earth from ruin? Not according to Bible prophecy.” The world has not ended yet but millions are still enslaved by the Jehovah Witness Watchtower cult. -Chris

  3. I'll respond when I can, but what do Mark Hunter and The Apologetic Front think of this statement:

    "What are the “fruits” of the Watchtower? Suicide, Divorce, Child Abuse, Broken Homes, and the list goes on and on."-christian peper

  4. That's Christian Peper's opinion. What do you think of it?

  5. "That's Christian Peper's opinion. What do you think of it?"

    It's ridiculous. What do you think?

  6. Do you have evidence to back up it's alleged ridiculousness?

  7. "Do you have evidence to back up it's alleged ridiculousness?"

    1. It has no burden of proof.

    2. The Watchtower publications exhort strongly against all four things mentioned.

    3. Personal experience.

  8. 1. Do you, as a Jehovah's Witness, have a burden of proof regarding your claim to be part of "the truth" and that Jesus choose the Watch Tower Society/"anointed" "Christians" associated with that corporation in 1919?

    2. The Watchtower publications strongly exhort against them? Would you like to re-think that statement?

    3. Purely subjective and proves nothing. Chris's personal experience could be cited as evidence to back up his claims.

  9. 1. Red herring, Mark's favorite.

    2. Why should I? The Watchtower publications speak for Jehovah's Witnesses hence Jehovah's Witnesses condemn divorce etc.

    3. Still worth saying.

  10. 1. Yet you still refuse to address the issue; unless proof can be provided that of the 1919 selection, then your next statement carries as much weight, to me at least, as a Mormon saying the Book of Mormon condemns divorce. Can you see the point?

    2. But shouldn't you take your direction from God's Word the Bible? Shouldn't the Bible be your first and ultimate authority in matters of spirit, life, faith, etc? And as stated above, what weight should Watch Tower Society publications carry unless they do in fact speak for Jehovah God Almighty himself.

    3. Same goes for Chris; it was probably still worth him saying.

  11. StandFirm, what do I think about it? I've never looked at the statistics, as there probably aren't any. I would simply ask where that guy is getting his information. Might be true, and might not be; regardless of whether JW's condemn those things.

    I'd actually be more interested in seeing a refutation on this blog post by you than bringing up irrelevant points.