I do not intend to hurt the feelings of the members of this Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do this research is just to study their belief and doctrinal stand so that we can compare it to what the Bible says. In this paper we can see their history and founder, their teachings and unbiblical beliefs and how to refute their cultic theology. I’ve done this research for them to become open- minded and be able to study their own theology.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES FOUNDER AND HISTORY
The founder of this Jehovah’s witnesses is Mr. Charles Taze Russell. He started by an Independent Bible study which is focusing on the second coming of Christ and Biblical chronology. He published his views in several books and started lecturing in 1878, in 1879; Russell founded the monthly publication Zion’s Watch tower and Herald of Christ’s presence which was used by the Bible study groups he established.
Zion’s Watchtower and Tract Society was incorporated in 1884 with Russell as president. From 1886 until his death in 1916, He wrote a series of books called Studies in the Scriptures. Their contents formed the basis of Jehovah’s Witnesses unchristian theology.
By 1917 Russell was succeeded by his legal assistant Joseph Franklin Rutherford. He continued the Russell’s authoritarian style of leadership. He was accused of preaching against military service and he is imprisoned in 1918. He was also a charismatic speaker who often railed against Christian Churches and Bible scholars. He died in 1942.
Other Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders included Nathan H. Knorr (1977-1992) and Milton G. Henschel (1992-2000). Their organization expanded worldwide under their leadership from about 113, 000 in 1942 to more than 6 Million in 2000. Their present leader is Don Adams (1925- present)
JW’S DOCTRINAL BASIS
JW’s source of authority
- The Holy Bible (preferably King James Version)
- The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1984 ed.
- The Watchtower magazine which is like a Bible commentary written by the Governing Body (a.k.a. God’s Theocratic Organization)
Other Supplementary Materials
- The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1985 ed. (a.k.a. KIT)
- The Emphatic Diaglott, 1942 ed.
- Awake! magazine – discusses present-day issues
1. Does not accept the Triune God revelation of the Scripture.
2. Believes God is a solitary person with a personal name, “Jehovah,” who is the Father.
3. Believes Jesus Christ to be the preincarnate archangel Michael and is “a god” not equal to Jehovah.
4. Teaches the third Person of the Triune Being as “holy spirit” and is a “force.”
5. Believes Jesus Christ did not resurrect physically but rather was resurrected as “glorious spirit creature” and his body dissolved into gaseous form.
6. Beliefs about Salvation:
a. Believes there are two classes of Christians:
i. The “anointed” class composed of 144,000 who will go to heaven as spirits sons of God. The door was close to for this class since 1935. Only this class is the ones who are “born again.”
ii. The “great crowd” who will be resurrected on earth and will have the chance to live in new heaven and new earth after the great Armageddon.
b. Believes there are four requirements for salvation:
i. Jesus Christ must be identified.
ii. Taking in knowledge of God’s purposes regarding the earth and Christ’s role as earth’s new king. In other words, “to obey God’s law.”
iii. Associated with God’s channel, His theocratic organization.
iv. To support His government while loyally advocating His kingdom rule to others.
7. Denies the reality of hell but instead teaches “soul sleep” and the “annihilation of the wicked.”
8. Refusal to: salute a nation’s flag, serve in a nation’s military, vote, receive a blood transfusion, and the prohibition of smoking
9. They not celebrating Thanksgiving, Birthday, Christmas Eve and other believe. Because according to them, the Early Church is not celebrating it and it is also a form of idolatry
SIZE OF GROUP
Size of Group: The Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches 1997 marks Jehovah’s Witnesses membership at 5.1 million across 232 countries. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society also keeps reliable records of their own membership numbers (Stark and Iannaccone, p. 138-9). Their 1997 statistics state that their peak membership count tallied in at 5,599,931. It is important to note that Jehovah’s Witnesses count only active publishers in their statistics. Therefore, besides excluding those who are not fervently committed to the group, counting only publishers also usually excludes people under the age of 16. It is, therefore, safe to say that their own statistics are rather conservative (Ibid, p.140).
In addition to boasting a large number of committed members, Jehovah’s Witnesses also have an impressive growth rate of currently over 5% per year (Ibid, p.133). Between 1990 and 1994, the total percentage increase in the United States was 64%. This figure pales in comparison to the rate Latin America boasts: 239% (Ibid, p.140).
Jehovah’s Witnesses are successful all over the world. They can be found in 232 countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe. Interestingly, only 19% of all Jehovah’s Witnesses live in the U.S. compared to 20% in Western Europe and 25% in Latin America. In fact, 18 countries exceed U.S. membership rates, including Canada, Mexico, Finland, and New Zealand, to name a few. (Ibid, p. 140).
This globalization leads to a very racially mixed group. To take the U.S. as an indicator, National Survey of Religions Identification surveys of 1990 showed the following results:
Of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States:44% White, Non-Hispanic
According to the Bereans Research Ministry
Worldwide Membership in 234 Lands Since 1998
Memorial Attendance – 14,088,751
Baptized Converts – 323,439 people
Average Bible Studies – 4,433,884
Philippine Membership Since 1998
Memorial Attendance – 407,094
Baptized Converts – 8,836 people
Average Bible Studies – 82,850
CHAPTER 4HOW TO REFUTE THEIR TEACHINGS
I. How to Start a Conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness (JW)
- You can begin by saying, “Hi! I’m [your name] are you familiar with the Watchtower organization’s teaching? What do they believe about Jesus Christ?”
- You can also begin by asking, “How long have you been a Jehovah’s Witness?”
II. Methods of Witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness
1. Set a time and place for meeting so that no one could distract all four of you. This compose the two “pioneers” J.W., including one Christian to pray and intercede while the other shares the gospel.
2. Invite the J.W. in an opening prayer before the discussion by addressing God as “Jehovah,” and pray an evangelistic kind of prayer if opportunity calls. Ask the Holy Spirit of God to open the J.W.’s heart and so be receptive to the gospel of Christ.
3. When sharing truths with them, avoid saying “Your belief about Jesus is not base on the Bible” rather say ,”The Watchtower Governing Body’s interpretation about Jesus is not base on the Bible.” Pointing to the “organization” and not to him as a person to avoid offending him directly.
4. Be very careful not to say, “I am going to prove to you that Jesus is Jehovah” because you have only made it difficult for him to understand. It is as if you are saying, “I am going to prove to you that Jesus is the Father.” Rather you can say, “Lets check the real identity of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
5. Most of the time they will try to answer back your questions and get you sidetracked you with many peripheral issues. Be sure that you remain in your proper course of discussion.
6. Try to challenge the J.W. individual to research if what you are saying about the Governing Body and J.W. teachings are true or not. Offer him your help in searching out for the truth.
7. Before parting, offer to pray evangelistically for them by addressing God as “Jehovah” and leave some J.W. witnessing materials for them to read. (You can ask for these from The Bereans: A.R.M.)
8. You cannot win a J.W. in just one sitting but requires a long period of time, sometimes years.
9. But all we can do is to plant the seed, then someone will water and God will cause it to grow (cf. 1 Cor. 3:6).
III. Things to Remember Before Witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness
- Pray and ask the Lord’s guidance that you will not rely on your own knowledge and capacity but rather in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Use only acknowledged J.W. literatures preferably King James Version, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT), The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (KIT), and The Emphatic Diaglott. As one Christian apologist said, “That their words may be used against them.”
- Bring the necessary materials and remember the Bible texts so there will be no idle time in-between. This will not also allow him to focus on some other things.
- Address him/her by his first name to make your relationship more personal.
- Sit on an area where he could not be distracted by passers-by and eye-catching scenes. As much as possible, allow them to read the Scripture passages or quotations by themselves for them to store it in their minds.
- Speak with authority, love and compassion.