Opinion

Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Stacks of booklets distributed by Alexander Kalistratov
Stacks of booklets distributed by Alexander Kalistratov, left, the local leader of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation, are seen during the court session Dec. 16, 2010, in the Siberian town of Gorno-Altaysk. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Alexandr Tyryshkin

(The Conversation) The Russian Supreme Court recently sanctioned Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist group. This ruling criminalizes Jehovah’s Witnesses who express their beliefs and allows the Russian government to liquidate any property held by the organization. The Conversation

There are over eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses in 240 countries worldwide. Russia, with a population of more than 150 million, has a total of 117,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses – one Jehovah’s Witness per 850 people.

Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and why would the Russian, or any, government consider them to be a threat?

Early history

The story of Jehovah’s Witnesses begins in the late 19th century near Pittsburgh, Penn., with a group of students studying the Bible. The group was led by Charles Taze Russell, a religious seeker from a Presbyterian background. These students understood “Jehovah,” a version of the Hebrew “Yaweh,” to be the name of God the Father himself.

Russell and his followers looked forward to Jesus establishing a “millennium” or a thousand-year period of peace on Earth. This “Golden Age” would see the Earth transformed to its original purity, with a “righteous” social system that would not have poverty or inequality.

Russell died in 1916 without witnessing the return of Jesus.

But his group endured and grew. The name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was formally adopted in the 1930s.

Early Jehovah’s Witnesses believed 1914 to be the beginning of the end of worldly governments that would culminate with the Battle of Armageddon. Armageddon specifically refers to Mount Megiddo in Israel where some Christians believe the final conflict between good and evil will take place. Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, expected that the Battle of Armageddon would be worldwide with Jesus leading a “heavenly army” to defeat the enemies of God.

They also believed that after Armageddon, Jesus would rule the world from heaven with 144,000 “faithful Christians,” as specified in the Book of Revelation. Other faithful Christians would be reunited with dead loved ones and live on a renewed Earth.

Over the years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have reinterpreted elements of this timeline and have abandoned setting specific dates for the return of Jesus. But they still look forward to the Golden Age that Russell and his Bible students expected.

Given the group’s belief in a literal thousand-year earthly reign of Jesus, scholars of religion classify Jehovah’s Witnesses as a “millennarian movement.”

What are their beliefs?

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity. For most Christians, God is a union of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Instead, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is distinct from God – not united as one person with him. The “Holy Spirit,” then, refers to God’s active power. Such doctrines distinguish Jehovah’s Witnesses from mainline Christian denominations, all of which hold that God is “triune” in nature.

Jehovah’s Witnesses spend a substantial amount of time on Bible study and evangelizing door to door.
Jonathan Haynes, CC BY-SA

But like other Christian denominations, Jehovah’s Witnesses praise God through worship and song. Their gathering places are called “Kingdom Halls,” which are ordinary-looking buildings – like small conference centers – that have the advantage of being easily built. Inside are rows of chairs and a podium for speakers, but little special adornment. Jehovah’s Witnesses are best known for devoting a substantial amount of time to Bible study and door-to-door evangelizing.

Their biblical interpretations and missionary work certainly have critics. But it is the political neutrality of the group that has attracted the most suspicion.

Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the legitimate authority of government in many matters. For example, they pay taxes, following Jesus’ admonition in Mark 12:17 “to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”

But they do not vote in elections, serve in the military or salute the flag. Such acts, they believe, compromise their primary loyalty to God.

A history of persecution

Jehovah’s Witnesses have no political affiliations, and they renounce violence. However, they make an easy target for governments looking for internal enemies, as they refuse to bow down to government symbols. Many nationalists call them “enemies of the state.”

As a result, they have often suffered persecution throughout history in many parts of the world.

Jehovah’s Witnesses were jailed as draft evaders during both world wars. In a Supreme Court ruling in 1940, school districts were allowed to expel Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to salute the American flag. Through subsequent legal battles in the 1940s and 1950s, Jehovah Witnesses helped expand safeguards for religious liberty and freedom of conscience both in the United States and Europe.

In Nazi Germany, Jehovah’s Witnesses were killed in concentration camps; a purple triangle was used by the Nazis to mark them. In the 1960s and ‘70’s, scores of African Jehovah’s Witnesses were slaughtered by members of The Youth League of the Malawi Congress Party for refusing to support dictator Hastings Banda. Many Witnesses fled to neighboring Mozambique, where they were held in internment camps.

Now it is Russia.

Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses in a courtroom after a decision in Moscow that banned them from operating in the country.
AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

The Russian Supreme Court maintains that the country needs to be protected from disloyal religious fanatics. But Jehovah’s Witnesses see themselves threatened by nationalists who are far more dangerous.

Jehovah’s Witnesses attach a great importance to dates. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are filled with foreboding, as April 20, the day the Russian Supreme Court ruled against them, is also the birthday of Adolf Hitler.

Their memories of persecution have not faded with time.

(Mathew Schmalz is associate professor of religion, at College of the Holy Cross. This article was originally published on The Conversation)

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161 Comments

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  • Well, this one is mostly Jim’s wheelhouse, so it will be interesting to see what he’ll say. (No pressure Jim.) Meanwhile, Schmalz’s article labeled the Jehovah’s Witnesses as another “Christian denomination.” But the fact is that the JW organization is not Christian. See below.

    (Although just like with any other belief-system, you must ask individual JW members what they really do or don’t believe, because people don’t always follow their chosen labels.) Anyway…

    “Is the Jehovah’s Witness religion Christian?” The answer to the question is, “No. It is not Christian.”
    Like all non-Christian cults, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization distorts the essential doctrines of Christianity. It denies the deity of Christ, His physical resurrection, and salvation by grace. These make it non-Christian.
    In addition, to support its erring doctrines, the Watchtower organization (which is the author and teacher of all official Jehovah’s Witness’ theology) has altered the Bible to make it agree with its changing and non-Christian teachings.”
    — Matt Slick, CARM

  • “Jehovah’s Witnesses attach a great importance to dates. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are filled with foreboding, as April 20, the day the Russian Supreme Court ruled against them, is also the birthday of Adolf Hitler.”

    He did pretty well until this paragraph.

  • Always had a soft spot for the misunderstood underdogs. Except for the trinity most of the info in your post is wrong. Maybe a real JW will step in. In my opinion all you Christians are wrong – just in different ways.☺ The ban – on any legal religion – is wrong because it’s a violation of free speech and assembly.

  • Why is it always we atheists and liberal Christians who are defending Christians from the attacks of other Christians for not being the right sort of Chritian?

    Personally, I would rather live next to a bunch of JW’s than I would a bunch of other super-conservative Christians. All you have to do to keep them away is not have a doorbell!

    I mean especially the super-conservative Christians that are ready to explain that JW’s are “not really Christian.” It is so dam predictable who is going to show up and explain this.

    As of this writing, 1 down, 13 more to go.

  • There goes another Conservative Pseudo-Christian bearing false witness and being exclusionary.

    “Christian” means “Christ-like,” a Christian is who tried to follow and imitate Jesus and live by his teachings as they understand them to be (which, ironically could include Jehovah’s Witnesses and even Muslims but would tend to exclude Conservative “Christians” who tend to be nothing like Jesus.

  • You are welcome to live by whomever you wish (depending on income, which ain’t much for me!)

    But that’s not the issue. It’s “facts, logic & evidence”, as somebody said.

    So if people claim that the JW’s are a “Christian denomination”, it’s honestly okay to weigh that claim against the known facts, logic, and evidence.

    Doesn’t make you a hater. Indeed I met a JW “ministerial servant” who was a great guy. We even had our wives & kids meet each other. I could have easily partnered with him on door-to-door “witnessing trips” if we had both been JW’s.

    But we weren’t both JW’s, because what Matt Slick said, really IS true.

  • We all agree on your last sentence, (or we certainly should.)

    Honestly, in my own extended conversations with door-to-door JW representatives, I found that indeed Matt Slick’s summary is accurate, **on every point.**

    They’re even documented in those well-known Watchtower booklets and doctrinal books (and in regards to Col. 1:16, it’s even documented in the JW’s own Greek Interlinear Bible, of all places!! )

  • Why do most religious posts end up as “We hate conservative Christian” conversations? Many Christophobes will bend over to support Islam and heterodox faiths that do not share their liberal values in order to take jabs at evangelicals. Biblical Christianity is defined by right faith, right actions, and right relationships. Changing the NT to accommodate a theology is a problem. The NT tells Christ followers to guard against false gospels and false prophets. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them.” Christianity affirms that Jesus Christ is LORD. Throughout the NT, Jesus is identified both as God and the Great “I Am.” This affirmation is essential to the Christian faith. Muslims, Hindus, and a host of other world faiths believe in Jesus and speak highly of him. Muslims affirms many of the truths of the NT. However, they deny that he is the Son of God or that he died for our sins. Many Hindus say that Jesus is an Avatar of Vishnu. These are not Christians simply because they believe in him and say good things about him. The early creeds of the church represent a consensus regarding the kerygma and the apostolic tradition. The content in them reflects biblical faith and is to be understood as the basis for orthodoxy. Peace to all.

  • The only people that seem to hate conservative Christians are…

    Conservative Christians.

    Look at the thread of all the evangelicals attacking Jen Hatmaker for not being their type of conservative. Look at the attacks in this thread and other on JW’s.

    Other faiths don’t “believe in Jesus.” They believe that you believe in Jesus. They believe he may have existed. They might see him as another religious teacher, even a good one. But they don’t “believe in Jesus.”

  • Thanks, Mathew Schmalz, for this publicity for the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW). It kind of outted me now, I guess, not as a JW, which I’ll never wish to be, but as a kindred spirit with them in certain aspects of their beliefs and practices covered in your article:

    (1) The “belief in a (I cross out ‘literal’) thousand-year earthly reign of Jesus” makes me part of “a ‘millennarian movement'”.

    (2) “Jesus is distinct from God”.

    (3) “The political neutrality of the group” ought to be the new normal for every Christian group today. “Jehovah’s Witnesses have no political affiliations”; I wish the same could be said of all Christians throughout the world. And since already “many nationalists call (JWs) ‘enemies of the state'”, shouldn’t it be all Christians’ turn next – and privilege – to be called such by the rest of the country and the world?

  • I think that you have made my point and the point of many others on this thread. Believing in Jesus makes you a Christian. Believing that he is God, that he lived a perfect life, that he died for our sins, and that salvation comes through faith in his name is essential to being a Christian. As such, those faiths who have a high view of Jesus but do not believe that he is God in the flesh fail to qualify as Christian. In this case, that excludes the JWs. As such, it is not hateful or intolerant for Christians to draw a biblical line in the sand and say who is and is not one of us.

  • Imitating Jesus makes you a Christian. Believing in the Niocene Creed makes you an Orthodox “Christian,” Believing Jesus is not God makes you an Arian “Christian.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims) Being an Evangelical “Christian” means you are a part of a modern heresy dating to the 1730s (Ironically around the time the “pre-trib Rapture” was invented). Being a Fundamentalist means you are part of an even newer heresy (dating to the late 1800s). Being part of the “Christian Right” makes you an even more modern heretic, based on the teachings of R J Rushdooney in the 1970s. Being a conservative puts you in same spiritual condition of the Conservative Jews who killed Jesus and marks you as possessed by a Spirit of Antichrist.

  • They worship Christ, instead of following him…

    He said, “I am of my father…” and “God is a spirit”. To be a vessel of god is to be a part of that spirit, the spirit of kindness and correction. Its what it means to ‘know christ’ or ‘accept christ’. Its not magical. Its simply words and acts of goodness, whether its encouraging your child or disciplining him. To be a true ‘christian’ is to simply be a good person …mowing the neighbors lawn, helping your local charity, the inventions that uplift humanity, exposing the politicians and preachers that betray and enslave us, on and on.

    All the prophets, disciples and Christ were killed for exposing greasy leadership – politicians and preachers, and breaking their ‘laws’. The Pharisees altered scripture b/c of the jews converting to Christianity. King James had to do away with the Geneva bible and its over 300,000 words of commentary b/c it exposed him.

    Christ said, “The world hates me because I expose it, that the works thereof are evil.”

    It’s not all love, butterflies and lollypops.

  • I am afraid that you share your categories with yourself. Orthodox Christians of all flavors do not call each other heretics. On the other hand, no orthodox community of faith accepts JWs as Christians. Without going into a history lesson, by means of a series of theological controversies, Orthodox Christianity defined the core of the apostolic message and excluded certain teachings that were not consistent with it. The Lordship of Jesus as God is central to the Christian faith. By the way, there are many flavors of evangelicals. It is best described as a continuum built around orthodox believers who have a high view of scripture, emphasize personal religion to include being born again (conversion), proclaim that Jesus is Lord, focus on his atoning work, require right living to include the external manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, and emphasize evangelism. There is no evangelical eschatological theology that is mandated. Also, from a global perspective, most evangelicals are Spirit-filled. Islam is a denial of Christ and constitutes a false gospel. It corrupts the biblical record. Muslims do not call themselves Christian and do not wish to be identified by that term. It does not even allow for Jesus (Isa) to be the Son of God. Evangelicalism is a pandenominational renewal movement within orthodox Christianity that seeks to recapture the essence of the NT church.

  • By the way, allow me to re-emphasize that evangelicalism is a movement within orthodox Christianity and is not a denomination. You have evangelical RCs, evangelical Orthodoxs (Road to Antioch), evangelical Anglicans, evangelical United Methodists and so on. We claim it as the apostolic tradition. However, we do not call other orthodox believers heretics. I belong to the evangelical movement. With what movement do you identify?

  • Which is why both the sheep and the goats (Matt 25:31-46) call Jesus, “Lord.” Both are Christians, but the sheep obey Jesus while the goats worship him. The sheep are surprised they are saved because they didn’t think they did enough while the goats are surprised they are not saved because they thought they were saved by Grace alone.

  • Correction:
    “The Lordship of Jesus as God is central to the Christian faith myth.”

  • Evangelicals, through their support of the Republican Party and Trump, just tried to killed 24,000,000 and more people by denying them healthcare they could afford. Why would anyone want to be associated with these murderers?

    By eschewing politics, Jehovah’s Witnesses are more Christian.

  • But since the JW’s “eschew politics,” that necessarily means (according to your logic!), that the JW’s are quietly allowing “24,000,000 and more people” to be “killed by denying them healthcare they can afford,” without the slightest opposition from them at all.

    So you are openly accusing the JW’s of Mega-Mass-Murder, isn’t that right? You hate their guts to no possible end, don’t you?

  • I sort of did make your point, and that was my intention, but you missed mine entirely. These pages are just full of Conservative Catholics denouncing the pope and Catholics who are not as hardline as they are. They are also full of Protestants denouncing Catholics, Catholics denouncing Protestants, both denouncing Mormons, JW’s, SDA’s– you’re all of you Christians of a different color.

    Define and excuse however you wish. I think you are all pretty silly for doing that while simultaneously proclaiming the brotherhood of man and the brotherhood of religion and what good Christians you are for believing in Jesus.

    but then, I’m an atheist. So I would.

  • There still exists Bible Students who never followed the theology transformation to Jehovah’s Witnesses. (I’m one of them.) They still follow Charles Russell’s liberty to seek their own truth and meet in loosely affiliated autonomous “ecclesia” study groups, while agreeing on the fundamental biblical facts of Millennialism, separate nature of Jesus, symbolism of the tabernacle, and lack of evidence for hellfire. For more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Student_movement and http://www.biblestudents.com.

  • Jen Hatmaker was not being attacked for not being “their type of Christian”. She was being chastised for not being what Christ taught we should be. Big difference.

  • Good to know there, Aaron Leslie. I’m still halfway through their booklet, What Does the Bible Really Teach? (a photo insert of which is part of this article). I’d appreciate your thoughts on it – if just to see how this idea of “never follow(ing) the theology transformation to Jehovah’s Witnesses” looks like.

  • The authors of “The early creeds of the church” were … ? Not Jesus, most obviously, though He’s the word of God. Not the apostles, obviously, too, whose testimonies were limited to a bunch of gospels, epistles and 1 revelation. Not their disciples either, except the fake news of John’s disciple being … his name escapes me for the moment. So who invented “The early creeds of the church”? Yep, those big wolves, apostle Paul warned the Ephesian elders about. A.K.A. the proto-Catholic Church patriarchs, whose Catholicism remains with us today, most of which the Protestant Reformers retained.

    Sorry, that’s a lousy criterion. The only criterion should be the authority of the apostolic gospels, epistles and revelation. Period. Nothing after the 1st century bears any seal of divine authority.

  • Ever had a face-to-face discussion with JWs, using their literature – not yours – as starting point of discussion. Like that booklet photographed in this article – What Does the Bible Really Teach? Let me hazard a patronizing guess – Nope, you hadn’t your homework on JWs. Just bringing back inside your mouth the cuds all available online about JWs being bad this way, being bad that way – without any real primary sources being critiqued from inside out. Also please reply to commentator Aaron Leslie above. I didn’t know the pre-JWs are still around, did you? I’d appreciate your input, but kindly spare your pre-packaged, preconceived notions and just plainly, uncomplicatedly talk at their level. They love talking about Adam and Eve in Eden? Why, Bill Payne? They emphasized Jesus being ransom – why, Bill Payne? They pray to Jehovah always in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ – why, Bill Payne? They believe they can do better than Adam and Eve and return to Eden – how, Bill Payne? I could go on, but it’s in your best interest to pick up that booklet and start talking plainly and uncomplicatedly with these guys. In other words, be a Jesus’ Witness to these Jehovah’s Witnesses. Come back to earth, brother, where we sinners all still discuss things that matter.

  • More often than not conservative “logic” is nothing more than Felicia and Strawman. And if you follow it to its conclusion, there are Conservative Catholics who don’t believe Protestants are Christians. Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to not believe anyone else is a Christian.

    There’s a story about a man who went to heaven and, as St Peter was showing him around he noticed a locked building. “What’s that,” he asked.
    “Oh, said Peter, “don’t go in there.”
    “Why not,” asked the man.
    “That’s the Baptists,” answered Peter, “they think they’re the only ones here.”

  • Their resistance to blood transfusion makes sense medically, speaking as M.D. Not sure how they derived it from Torah proscription against eating. Giving blood intravenously does not make common sense.

    Torah past Sabbath https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+17.1%2C10-12&version=NIV http://www.chabad.org/parshah/default_cdo/aid/15580/jewish/Acharei.htm

    Their Bible Chronology is mistaken according to Gene. http://biblechronologybooks.com/

    Swede excommunicated over wrong Bible Chronology https://books.google.com/books?id=6by-0moRVgwC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=swedish+jehovah+witness+excommunicated+over+chronology&source=bl&ots=thdfgjjSF4&sig=tdsXSfM7iYrqqv8PRYyPMyn3gRI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwim_crI8N7TAhVkzoMKHcRECQAQ6AEIKTAB#v=onepage&q=swedish%20jehovah%20witness%20excommunicated%20over%20chronology&f=false
    @lcvalin

  • The booklet mentioned is standard JW fair. I find the point about the Ransom to be important, but it doesn’t mention the essential secondary Sin Offering which takes a deeper understanding of the tabernacle symbols. Bible Students share a doctrinal foundation with JWs, but we hold to a deeper personal accountability and details will vary from one consecrated follower to another. It’s the process of seeking truth that’s essential, more than agreeing on every point like the JW organization dictate. Bible Students still refer to the Chart of the Ages which JWs have rejected: https://chicagobible.org/interactive-chart-of-the-ages/ And the first epic movie with synchronized sound: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162536/?ref_=nv_sr_1 which mentions multiple concepts that JWs are embarrassed of, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza. I find them still to be unified and hold true. The greatest difference is I still believe that all people will be offered salvation by Jesus’ ransom, which JWs have reinterpreted to condemn those that reject them now to a new type of hell, the oblivion of “second death”.

    On this article, the Bible Students like the JWs will continue to meet independently no matter what legal standing they may have in Russia. Their/our millennialism concepts predict/expect exactly this type of condemnation and it only reinforces a sense of chosen righteousness by being rejected of the systems of the world. Russell predicted this in his fourth book “The Battle of Armageddon”.

  • Acts 15:19-20

    19“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

    They don’t follow anything from the Mosaic Law but use the above scriptures. Sure, minimizing blood transfusions is helpful but they are willing to let their minor children die rather than submit to a transfusion. I always found this reprehensible.

  • They maintain only 144,000 are going to heaven. The remaining true Christians will live on earth – forever. Only dedicated JWs will get either of these rewards. In other words, only they are True Christians.

  • And these pages are full of atheists denouncing and judging all Christians – especially conservative christians.

  • What an unscholarly assessment indicative of a scattershot “Tweet” minded approach to Christian theology. I’d love to see you paint a portrait of what constitutes an “un-heretical” framing of Christian orthodoxy in theological terms, beyond “imitating Jesus.” I would point out that the definition of imitation includes the concept of facsimile, not authenticity. As to the differences among Christians as opposed to “Christian cults,” which include JW’s: Agreement in primary things, i.e. the Trinity, the Atonement, The Godhood of Jesus, and the reality of both Heaven and Hell, but discussion and possible disagreement on secondary and tertiary things.

  • No it’s like it with christians: hate the sin, not the sinner. My criticisms are with the doctrines and beliefs. My pet peeves are the doctrines held by fundamentalists. Not personal. Feel free to criticize my beliefs, preferably with facts and reason.

  • I agree. The Jehovah’s Witnesses should quit being so mean to those Russians.

  • Not you – others. And I can appreciate your criticisms of doctrines and beliefs. That’s the way it should be. Which doctrines and beliefs held by fundamentalists do you disagree with? I for one agree with the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but I have never felt comfortable in fundamentalist churches. And truthfully, there are many different kinds of fundamentalist churches. Thanks.

  • Worship and obedience are not mutually exclusive. You can do both.

    Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, 9 not of works, so that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we should walk in them.
    Romans 10:9ff This is the word of faith that we preach: 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, 10 for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Galatians 3:2 I want to learn only this from you: Did you receive the Spirit through the works of the law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 6 Even Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 26 You are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

  • What scripture did the Pharisees alter because of Jews converting to Christianity?
    [no one failed to notice your odd choices on capitalization btw]

  • I don’t really care that much about anyone’s beliefs until they manifest themselves by actions that threaten the civil rights of other people.

  • Back when the Lord was guiding me away from the Fundamentalism in which I was raised, He kept telling me, “There will be no pop quiz on doctrine at the judgement seat.

    We will be judged by the standards we used to judge others, by whether we forgave others, how we treated others, the final judgment will look a lot like Matthew 25:31-46.

  • Evangelicalism dates back to the 18th Century, largely to a book by John Edwards. Neither the apostles nor Jesus would recognize it.

  • But that is very subjective. Who gets to decide the civil rights of others and who gets to decide what actions actually threaten those civil rights? Sure we have the Constitution, but for progressive liberals it is just a Boggle game to fine all kinds of rights that the founders never intended. For example, some would say polygamy is a civil right. I don’t, but some would. So those who believe that would say if you don’t allow me to marry multiple women you are threatening my civil rights. Gay marriage is another example. And abortion. Neither are actually protected by the Constitution – yet liberal courts decided they were because they knew neither would be passed by amendment. So the liberal SCOTUS made law.

  • This liberalism you hate is simply the Golden Rule (the one universal doctrine) being practiced on a secular level.

  • Even more to the point, Acts 15:20 does not even say do not “consume,” it says “abstain” from certain things, including “blood.” Everything it says to abstain from is in the context of eating. Further, on their website they do mention the several Torah verses about not eating blood, but this verb, l’echol, has always been understood as “eat.” Even the KJV translates it as “eat.” So I have never understood how the JW got from there to “consume,” to consume meaning blood transfusions.

  • Who are they?

    Nicely dressed, polite people who knock on your door just as you’re about to step into the shower.

  • My friend, the late and much missed Taylor Siluwe’, wrote about being Gay and growing up as a devout Jehovah’s Witness in a short story, “Beneath Paradise,” from his sometimes darkly erotic collection of stories, “Dancing With the Devil.”

    Of course the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the only high control religion that creates such dangerous and destructive minority stress upon their own LGBT youth.

  • Well, The Bible says what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, (and ain’t) — so we would just sit down together and compare the tenets of any of those “10K or so Christian sects” (not all 10K at once, just whatever “sect(s)” a person is sincerely interested in), against the Bible’s historical & doctrinal claims. Let’s see which “sect” is telling the truth, and which ain’t.

    On the issue of “Bible alteration,” If I were to gently tell you, “Your group has altered the Bible to support major false doctrines,” then I had would need to be ready to PROVE it on the spot, and not merely say it.

    So I need to have studied not only *my* Bible and some other books, but also studied *your* Bible and some of *your* other books too, long before we meet. (For the JW’s, I did do so.) Conversely, if somebody says that **my** church has “changed the Bible,” I would ask you to show me where it specifically got changed — that is, changed in order to initiate or support a false doctrine. Then we can check it out.

  • If, going by what you said, the following sets Bible Students apart from Jehovah’s Witnesses, then I’d like to follow up further with you, please, Aaron Leslie:

    (1) “Ransom … important, but … secondary Sin Offering … deeper” because “of the tabernacle symbols”? I’m not sure, but is the idea here something like a heavenly temple cleansing by a post-resurrection Jesus, which Seventh-Day Adventists believe to have happened in 1844? Is your point, then, that the finished saving works of Jesus through His crucifixion, burial and resurrection weren’t really all that finished after all – until, that is, this business with “secondary Sin Offering” was finally taken care of after He ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God? Do know that I’ve placed all my trust in the gospel of salvation through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Anything more, anything less, than the one and only, original gospel of Jesus Christ and His apostles and disciples, automatically smacks of a smelly false gospel to me.

    (2) How is it possible for Bible Students to “hold to a deeper personal accountability” without necessarily “agreeing on every point” of religious beliefs and practices? With the exception of JW elders under investigation in sexual abuse cases, in Australia, UK and North America, I’ve always thought highly of JWs in their principles and moral standing in society, and I still do, so I don’t know what you mean by “deeper personal accountability”. Do you question their integrity for some reason?

    (3) What’s really so bad about “the Chart of the Ages” that “JWs have rejected” it? Was it getting a bit too esoteric and new-agey, all weird and stuff, for them, and you think it’s a big mistake to think of it that way?

    (4) If “all people will be offered salvation by Jesus’ ransom” anyway, what’s the point of any of them coming to believe in such “ransom” in the first place? And why would God be so blindly gracious to save them, even though, having doubted that such “ransom” would do them any good, now and forever more they want nothing to do with Him? He doesn’t mind ending up merely as the God of unbelievers, you’re saying? What is God, then, but a pathetic deity who can’t handle or accept rejection?!

  • I’m not a “Christophobe”. It’s time for conservative christians to stop thinking their religious beliefs are the only valid ones and that they are automatically superior. In my hometown we have changed our Council of Churches to the Interfaith Coalition. People are working together to support immigrants and minorities, to be more tolerant, to become a ‘beloved community’ even if some of us are agnostics. I think Jesus would be proud.

  • amen…. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Their behaviors show that they are no longer Christians but hypocrites more concerned with power and control than with Jesus. They are so entwined with the Republican party they have lost people’s respect and are losing members. Time for extremist Christians to welcome the widow, the orphan, and the stranger (the immigrant, the LGBT, the Hispanic and Black).

  • nonsense. Our founding fathers knew that there were more rights than they enumerated and had faith/Faith that new generations would name and define and make those rights part of our governance. We have a right to healthcare, which the GOP is trying to deny by destroying the ACA and throwing 24 million of us off the healthcare rolls. That is unChristian on the face of it.

    Abortion is de facto protected in the Constitution in the right to privacy and Equal Protection. Women have the right to make health care decisions on their own behalf. Stop with this nonsense about liberal courts. Stop recycling GOP talking points. You sound like Rush Limbaugh with a keyboard. Big whoop. Time to go back to thinking “What’s the right thing to do” for ALL of us, not just you and your paltry white male ego.

  • I know you’re losing Dirty because you succumbed to the a put down. You ran out of arguments so you fell for the ad hominem argument. Classic. Typical.

  • Song Bookz, I’m on a really good Recovering Ex-Christian site. Glad you found your way and got free from the mind control. Good for you.

  • Christianity keeps splintering and its denominations, cults, splinter groups all find fault with each other. It’s falling apart. All the JWs I know are ex-JWs who were wounded by their parents/church elders/ kept from getting an education/ taught to live in fear/ and otherwise dominated and controlled.

    One told me that the older ex-JWs have spent decades trying to insist that their version of JW is the correct one. Younger JW’s have gone directly to agnosticism and atheism. And who can blame them. They’d seen the worst and how messed up Christianity can become and they Don’t Want That as adults. And so the numbers of the non-religious and the anti-theists grows, year by year. And they ARE NOT COMING BACK.

  • True. I knew some Calvinists in theology school. I thought they might grow out of it and see how nasty the theology was, but no, they got worse. Deserve your own suffering? that’s pretty nasty and sadistic.

  • The Watchtower heads over JWs have JW adults and JW children bleed to death rather than get emergency blood transfusions; have them do shunning so cruelly some have committed suicide; hide, shelter and move around pedophiles who molest JW children; and those are not all the problems that can be listed. Russia and Putin are extremist but so are the heads over JWs who mislead them to harm and who have done the same in Russia now so that they are under ban.

  • Too bad a real JW has not stepped in to set us strait. I miss Fran’s replies to these RNS articles. For those who do not remember, Fran was a JW who used to post here in a gentle but firm manner that showed us that while we might disagree, we could still love and respect one another.

  • 1) The Good News is really complex and dependent on an understanding of old testament picture. Jesus spoke not to be clear but to draw out those who would seek.
    2) I mean by personal accountability, that many JWs simply abide by doctrine provided for them by the leading body. It Their roots were in Adventism and Charles Russell’s emphasis on individuals exploring the scriptures for themselves. I don’t mean any offence, but they have become a normalized religion that accepts what other tell them to believe. It is my experience that Bible Student disagree, but by the Holy Spirit among them do find patterns in the scripture. I believe they have discovered truth, not because all align and agree, but because they allow each other to pursue and believe in alternatives. Being lead by God is accepting a journey and process where you are not always right, while allowing yourself to be humbly lead by God’s life process. It’s not a contradiction that a “little flock” of righteous seekers can do that together. I do believe lots of JWs have moral standing, just like many kind Hindus (or insert other religion) – just not doctrinal standing anymore. (Along with many bad apples with the sex abuse, and the larger perchance for suicide in the group.) From the article about outlawing JWs as a religion, I want to say it’s wrong they were outlawed in Russia as a religion. I fear that the Bible Students could be next to be singled out, specifically by association.
    3) I believe the JWs simply out grew the Chart of the Ages. It no longer represented their changing doctrines. I still find it a wonderful visual guide. That was just an example of how the two sects from the same foundation have drifted apart. It IS a little esoteric and new-agey. You are right, and that comes from the turn of the century source. Those were the years of the height of the Masons, Christian Science and Occultism in America when Charles Russell was writing, yet he rejected each of those. The artifacts of those days still carry some of the spacy vibe of those times. Myself and others can see through that to the interpretation of scripture that we can present anew in our own culture – which can also be quite esoteric in a new modern way. I’m sure the next generation will find us weird too. I don’t agree with everything Charles Russell said, but clear to me is that he was a special guide, as were many others in Christian history to confront the errors of blindly accepting orthodoxy.
    4) Love that question. That’s where the deep message of Jesus really has to be explored. I encourage you to do so and it will be quite rewarding. As Charles Russell taught (and JWs have forgotten) the door to a “high calling” is still open now for Christians to have a special role in blessing all mankind through the Ransom and future perfect government that will fill the world. Some choose God now when it’s hard, later “all the nations” will choose when it’s easy. One of the traits of God is justice. He desires all people to come to an eventual realization of the superiority of his way over anything mankind attempts to invent to rule themselves. That’s why historically Christians of all elks rejected politics. (See the book and documentary “With God On Our Side”.) In the Chart of the Ages you can see his patience in developing a method that will convince us all. There are second chances. There is a loving path for those who insist upon rejection, as they would not want to be among the righteous.

  • How long have you been having these panic attack? And these episodes of paranoia? Better use that right to health care before those nasty Republicans take it away.

  • you might learn something about the US Constitution and how it protects even you, before those rights are taken away.

  • I was a student nurse in the 1960s when thorazine was introduced into the state mental hospitals. Saw the ‘thorazine shuffle’ and good people get sent out into the community who ended up as the homelessly mentally ill. I’m not anti-medication but your comment it totally IGNORANT. Go read the book Mad in America and then maybe we can talk.

  • I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I think this article presented our beliefs very well. The only mistake is in the last paragraph. We never discuss Hitler’s birthday and this is the first time I have heard about this coincidence. The reference to a website I did not know about (https://jwitness.wordpress.com) noting the coincidence of the date is actually quoting a Russian non-Witness journalist who made that connection. His article is translated here: http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/170425b.html.

    We aren’t filled with foreboding when an event happens on someone’s birthday.

    Certainly we are not happy that our brothers and sisters in Russia are banned and risk arrest and imprisonment. We know that they will continue to appeal this decision in the courts. However, we know that Jesus and Paul said that Christians would be persecuted at some time or another, so it cannot be avoided forever.

    Jesus said: “(Matthew 5:11, 12) . . .Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake.  Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens, for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.” and “(John 15:18-20) 18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. 20 Keep in mind the word I said to you: A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have observed my word, they will also observe yours.” Paul wrote: “(2 Timothy 3:12) 12 In fact, all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.”

    Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, the Head of the Christian congregation, will help our brothers and sisters in Russia to endure, as he has helped and continue to help all of us as we put full faith in him and in his Father. We will ask Jehovah to help us manifest the fruit of the spirit and to continue to love our enemies, including those who want to imprison us or who simply criticise our beliefs and say that we are not Christian.

    I no longer get into long discussions on doctrines. I realise that Jesus commission was to preach the good news and to make disciples, obviously of people who were not satisfied with their religion or their lack of relationship with God. I don’t believe he wanted us to argue doctrine with those who are happy with their beliefs, so I don’t do it anymore. Everyone of us has a very short lifespan to find out what God wants to reveal to him or her, in the midst of the bewildering array of beliefs on earth. I have found what satisfies me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If I am wrong, I will either burn in hell forever according to the will of a god I cannot worship, or be reincarnated, or cease to exist. If I am right, I will live forever in a paradise to be made on this earth. Either way, I will try to love all people, believers and unbelievers alike.

  • If that’s the case then why does Isaiah 26:4 say JEHOVAH is the “LORD”!?!? And why does the Bible say Jesus did not make himself equal to God??

  • Thanks for reply. “they are willing to let their minor children die rather than submit to a transfusion.”

    Is there unholy alliance between govt medical system and churches, even “cult/sects” like Jehovah’s Witnesses embrace medical system for most part.

    Think of blood transfusion as sort of a “sacrament” for medical system.

    Can you site one case in which child died? It is theologically possible in their religious thinking. Are you willing to give govt medical system ultimate authority over your children on question in which you might differ? Same debate on vaccinations is current. Also medical marijuana.

    Currently reading https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Edge-Bizarre-William-Stewart/dp/1607148587 Discusses first transfusion in 1881. Search “transfuson” Took blood from himself & gave to sister “taking great risk”.

    Very seldom, if ever, is blood transfusion necessary to “save” life. Medical system realizes problems with transfusions.

  • “sow peanuts and reap monkeys”

    Be informed and truly discuss (and not make ignorant comments)
    and we’ll all have more helpful and informed discussions.

  • You know Pennywise, Practice what you preach…and who said I wanted to talk to you?

  • I meant in general discussion online. Be informed and articulate, it’s the work of a life time. But only then do you get a respectful reading.

  • The problem is the bible has hundreds of inconsistencies and many could never be reconciled. Some flat out contradict each other.
    And I think anyone who says they ‘know’ what god thinks or speaks for god, or their interpretation is the only right interpretation, is a fool.

  • Seriously – I knew I heard you somewhere before:
    Hamlet Act I.sc.3
    There; my blessing with thee!
    And these few precepts in thy memory
    See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
    Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
    Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
    Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
    Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
    Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
    Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
    Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
    And they in France of the best rank and station
    Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
    Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
    This above all: to thine ownself be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

    Thanks, but no thanks, Pennywise.

  • Now, see, Aaron Leslie, this talking in circles and doublespeak won’t do me any good. All it does is end and waste the conversation on point “1) The Good News is really complex and dependent on an understanding of old testament picture. Jesus spoke not to be clear but to draw out those who would seek.” Whatever that means, and never mind.

    Much better next, because you’re actually responding, is your answer to question “2) … (that) a normalized religion … accepts what other tell them to believe” – whether Jehovah’s Witnesses, conservative Evangelicalism, Progressive Christianity, the Religion of Doubt (a.k.a. atheism). I doubt, however, that this idea is of any good either to anyone, of “being led by God” – since by that is meant, “accepting a journey and process where you are not always right, while allowing yourself to be humbly led by God’s life process.” Whatever that means, it goes to show that this deity is playing hard to get, knowing that you’re just going to be extra nice and super-accommodating to it.

    If, per answer “3) … many others in Christian history (did) confront the errors of blindly accepting orthodoxy” but, then, like Charles Russell, resorted to the ways of “Masons, Christian Science and Occultism” available to them at the time, I can understand why JWs “outgrew the Chart of the Ages.” They just didn’t want to risk dabbling into possible demonic activities, I guess. Good for them, I thought, after reading a chapter in their booklet, What Does the Bible Really Teach?, that deals with occultism.

    About that Bible Students eschatology of yours, I must say it’s rather anti-climactic and nonplus. After all that went down in human history from time beginning, what fairy tale are we writing as the ending? “4) … Choose God … ‘all the nations’ will” do in the end, because up to now He has been “developing a method that will convince us all” in the end to do precisely that? Oh, come on now, Aaron Leslie, no such “method” exists! Other than His one and only, original gospel “method” of salvation, there’s none! His “method” then and now and in the endtimes will never change. It’s always by God’s grace and through our faith that He saves us and that we’re saved – but with both grace and faith being rooted and grounded – not in “Ransom” – but only in the cruxifixion, burial and resurrection of His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ. It’s this Jesus-factor or precondition that spoils all the fun for everybody who’s otherwise religiously minded and inclined, and that prevents “all the nations” to ever “choose God” as their ruler.

  • Since you say, Daniel Metz, “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses” (JWs), well, then, you’re probably the 57th JW with whom I’m now trying again to discuss the religion out in the open. In my experience, though, they ALL say pretty much the same thing that you now do as to the limit of discussion, like this one that follows, which sounds like the echo or mantra I’m used to hearing from 56 JWs before you:

    “I no longer get into long discussions on doctrines. … I don’t believe (God) wanted us to argue doctrine with those who are happy with their beliefs … I have found what satisfies me mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

    TRANSLATION: Although “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses”, I feel insecure to witness to “those who(se) beliefs” are arguably more open to scrutiny and criticism yet less prooftext-reliant scripturally than mine, because, “hav(ing) found what satisfies me mentally, emotionally and spiritually”, I dare not risk losing it and being excommunicated by the board of elders.

    I hear you and know where you’re coming from, Daniel Metz. And that’s why you cite “Matthew 5:11, 12 … John 15:18-20 … 2 Timothy 3:12”. Not because you wish the readers you’re witnessing to, to compare the gospel truths in those scriptures with the gist of the usual JW-talking point you’re now replaying, which is only that:

    “Jesus and Paul said that Christians would be persecuted at some time or another, so it cannot be avoided forever.”

    But because you’ll feel insecure with your religion otherwise, if, in the interest of an open and honest discussion, your readers actually look those verses up, then come back to you with probing questions, like:

    (1) But “Jesus and Paul (didn’t say only or any of) that” – so how come you misleadingly claim that they did? Or,

    (2) But “Jesus and Paul said that” not with JWs in the future in mind – so how come you misleadingly claim that they were referring to your religious group?

  • HpO, I don’t agree with your translation of what I said.

    I don’t feel insecure about witnessing to others. I used to discuss the Trinity at length with people who wanted to prove to me that the Trinity is true. Before I got baptized, I even read a booklet defending the Trinity and did a very deep study on this matter, in which Jehovah’s Witnesses are clearly in the minority. I finally drew my conclusion on the matter. I was baptized in 1978. In 2 years, I will have been a baptized Witness for 40 years. My security about my faith is stronger than ever before. I do not fear losing it, nor do I fear excommunication by a body of elders. I love my faith. I love the people who really believe and practice my faith. I love how it has improved over the years. I am excited by the recent changes in our practices and style of witnessing.

    Also I don’t know why you believe that I believe that Jesus and Paul were speaking about only about Jehovah’s Witnesses. I believe that they were speaking about all true Christians. History shows me that true Christians have been persecuted throughout the centuries. I believe that sincere, honest Jehovah’s Witnesses, who really believe and practice what they teach, are true Christians, and so for that reason I believe that those verses apply to them.

    I have not “misleadingly claimed” anything. I have said what I sincerely believe. I have given a sincere witness to my faith. I will continue to do so. I just will not waste a lot of time trying to convince believers in the Trinity that it is not true. I now encourage them to read our literature, which is available online. If it doesn’t convince them, as it has me, and if the arguments for the Trinity that they have heard or read convince them, even though they don’t convince me, then there is really no point wasting time discussing it. I believe that the Father will lead people to the true Jesus and help them identify falsehoods about Jesus, with the help of the holy spirit. I am not the judge of anyone, and I know that many who believe the Trinity sincerely believe it to be true. Christ is the Judge, and we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. He will determine who were true Christians and were “workers of lawlessness”, whom he “never knew”; not me.

  • Your original comments states, “I no longer get into long discussions on doctrines” – i.e. DOCTRINES. PLURAL. Not just Trinity stuff.

    Your 2nd comment states, “I just will not waste a lot of time trying to convince believers in the Trinity that it is not true” – i.e. just Trinity stuff. DOCTRINE. SINGULAR.

    This is exactly what I mean about you guys, JWs. I never know what they mean, even though they already know I’m not into Trinity stuff, all proto-Catholic Church Fathers’ pet divisive doctrine anyway.

  • I mentioned the Trinity in my second comment because that is the doctrinal subject that comes up the most often in my experience. A friend of mine said that the person she studied the Bible with tried to prove to her that eternal torment in hell was true. So when I mentioned “doctrines” in my first comment, I was mainly thinking about the long discussions about the Trinity that I have had with people who wanted to discuss that subject with me.

  • You, of course, are entitled to your opinion. However your attempt to label and package every individual worshipper seems heavy handed and highly prejudicial. Imitating Christ and walking in his footsteps is the easy part. Cherishing all the traditions and doctrines of men simply confuses ordinary Christians like me who simply want to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. You remind me of a meddlesome neighbor who keeps adding ingredients to my favorite recipe until the resulting dinner is inedible. Thanks be to God that Jesus can and does read my heart and judges me accordingly. Men are such arrogant and truly fearful judges. ( I tremble at the very thought!.)

  • To evangelize simple means to preach the gospel or good news of the kingdom throughout the World. I do not belong to any movement since I dedicated my life to God through Jesus Christ many years ago. The Bible is my text book and God’s spirit is the fuel that keeps me going.

  • Change the JW to Mormon or nearly any other religion and you will be writing the same thing. The love of the greater number cools off. Remember? I’m and ex JW and Mormon so I know whereof I speak.

  • After spending years not voting and then years immersed in politics, I have concluded that the vast majority of politicians cannot be trusted and I won’t take credit for any of them. However that does not mean that I do not have an opinion concerning my health insurance or anything else and since my taxes are paying their salaries, I often contact my Senators and Representatives through Facebook. There is nothing in the Constitution that says I have to vote in order to be considered a citizen.

  • You are a good example of why these intellectual gymnastics are frowned upon by both Witnesses and Mormons. They simply won’t argue with you because that’s part of their training. They will “Shake the dust from their feet,” and leave. If you want to tell them why you disagree with them, I suggest you use a copy of the Bible to do it (or The Book of Mormon if they are LDS missionaries.) Why not rise above your own preconceived ideas and ask them why they don’t believe in the Trinity? Mormons don’t believe Jesus was the Creator or Heavenly Father either although they believe Ex. 6:3 refers to Jesus, a belief I always found confusing and they don’t like being questioned, (especially by an elderly female convert) so I never got the answer. The Catholic Priest I questioned years ago told me it was a “Mystery” and more recently an Assembly of God preacher told me he was unable to explain it either. (At least they admitted it. Mormons just act as though you’re a pain in the neck when you question them. I’m a retired journalist so I always ask questions and am not easily deterred.)

  • I think I agree with you. Name some of those beliefs. I am dismayed by the number of so-called Christians who think they have been called by God to rule the rest of us.

  • I think you misunderstand my point. The different theological disputes have only minimal interest for me, because I am an atheist, though like many atheists, I am somewhat knowledgeable and find some grist for the mill, as it were.

    My point is about tolerance, respecting boundaries, understanding and living in peace with your neighbors. It’s what I am always writing about, though I also like to stand up to bigotry and for MY people.

    BTW! My Catholic neighbor when I was a child, when asked to explain some particularly odd or troubling point, always responded, “That,s the mystery of it all!” I still remember this 60 years later.

  • Evangelicals firmly use the Great Commandment to go forth and conquer the world. That is totalitarianism and leads, ultimately to a christian fascism. Pence is very attended to this ideology/theology and so are the preponderance of those on Supreme court. Other lands and other people’s have their own faiths and understandings. Most egregiously, the American treatment of Native Americans has been particularly harsh and horrid.

  • I think Marco Rubio was both Catholic and Mormon in the past. Pretty hard to reconcile two religions as JW and Mormon. I believe you, June.

  • In my local (small) City the Republicans and Democrats have to work together so there’s more interaction and things are more pragmatic than on the State and Federal level. Still, being a Democrat, I am leery of the local Republicans. For example, the City Council and Mayor’s position are both dominated by R-s and it shows in how hidebound some are.

  • Secular Humanists these days are working hard to serve the poor and disenfranchised. What an irony. Most or the hidebound Christians (Catholic and Evangelical) I know treat their church and it’s teachings on on Servant Leadership as an option they’d rather avoid. In this way, the church becomes a country club.
    I’m a Humanist and spent my life serving others, first as an RN, raising our son, going to college, church work and later after going to theology school, as a hospice chaplain. And I’m not alone.

  • You are taking the scripture literally which I don’t do. When I served as a missionary I was “conquering” my world with words of salvation. There are some churches that believe in a theocratic democracy. I see no Biblical basis for that. I don’t get carried away with hyperbole. I simply share the Gospel and let others decide what to do with it.

  • I certainly did misunderstand. Why in the World would you bother having a discussion with any of us if you are an Atheist? Proselytizing is protected in the United States, but you can politely refuse to hear them out.

  • I agree. However we all can do a better job of researching and studying the Bible so we at least know what we’re talking about. The Mormons, for example, criticize the King James Bible and claim it is not inspired by God as The Book of Mormon is. Yet the only Bible they use is that battered 1611 edition. They won’t even consider an updated version.

  • That 144,000 is mentioned in two places in Revelation chapters 7 and 14. J.W.’s explanations are good enough for me since I’m not able to decipher it. Will you tell me what you think it means?

  • That’s because the Bible emphasizes all these numbers and I seldom can understand them. When I was a J.W. I simply avoided talking about dates and no one ever questioned me. (Sorry, but I rarely can even balance my check book.)

  • Your version of Christianity may be salubrious and do some good but Evangelicals/the religious right is busy trying to make themselves the into the Establishment church and make their brand of ‘christianity’ the arbiter of what the religion is and does. I have no quarrel with those who serve with a pure heart and gentle spirit. They are the literalists and I only take them at their word. So does Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
    http://www.au.org

  • Who are you to judge another? I have been a Christian since I nearly died of Rheumatic Fever at age 8 and got my first Bible from a nurse as I recovered. She was a true evangelist. Don’t get so carried away with your own intellectual brilliance.

  • Why in the world?

    Because I believe in defending religious freedom. Because I don’t approve of Christians attacking other Christians for not bring the right sort of Christian. Because I don’t like the fascistic tendencies of certain governments, certain faiths, certain individuals.. Because religion has always interested me.

    If you need more reasons, please ask. I’m sure I can come up with a few.

  • I think I can help you understand, Larry Valin and Arbustin. If you look at Acts 15:20 again, you will see that not everything it says to abstain from is in the context of eating. It says, according to the New International Version:

    “Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.”

    Does abstaining from “sexual immorality” have anything to do with eating? Obviously, here “abstaining” means “not doing something”.

    It is true that the commands in Genesis 9 and Leviticus 17 told the Israelites not to eat blood or unbled meat, but did you notice why they were not to eat blood? What were the reasons given?

    “The soul [or, life] of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it. That is why I have said to the sons of Israel: ‘No soul of you must eat blood.’”—Leviticus 17:11, 12.

    On the ancient festival called Atonement Day, Israel’s high priest took blood of sacrificed animals into the most sacred part of the temple, the center of God’s worship. Doing that was a symbolic way of asking God to cover the people’s sins.

    In accord with his right as Creator, he determined its exclusive usefulness. Israelites of old may have reaped health benefits by not taking in animal or human blood, but that was not the most important point. (Isaiah 48:17) They had to avoid sustaining their lives with blood, not primarily because doing otherwise was unhealthy, but because it was unholy to God. They were to abstain from blood, not because it was polluted, but because it was precious in obtaining forgiveness.

    In the same way, Jehovah’s Witnesses, who believe that they are not under the Torah, obey the command to Christians in Acts 15:20 by “abstaining from blood” because they have understood how God has viewed blood as expressed in the command to all humans in Genesis and to his Jewish servants in Leviticus.

    Personally, I don’t see how I could conscientiously say to God: “I will abstain from blood by not eating or drinking animal blood, but I think that I can still put human blood into my veins and still “abstain from it”, because blood transfusion didn’t exist in Bible times and so the original readers would only have thought of not eating blood.” Sorry, that doesn’t make any sense to me.

    In a similar way, the Torah says in The Ten Commandments not to “murder”. Does that mean that murder is only forbidden in the ways that people were murdered in Moses day, or by any means? There were not guns in Moses’ day, only knives or swords or spears or arrows or stones to murder people. I can’t believe that murder would be OK as long as we use a method that didn’t exist in Bible times.

    I understand that many people don’t understand why we are so firm on this matter. I think one factor is that we don’t believe that this life is all there is. We believe that this life is only a prelude to everlasting life, either in heaven for a few or on this earth returned to the garden of Eden that Adam and Eve lost for us. Faithfulness to God’s commands, even if life is in danger, as in the case of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and of those who refused to change their faith, even in the face of death, are the examples that we follow.

  • I explain how we understand the prohibition on eating blood to include blood transfusions below, Larry Valin.

  • Thanks for the info on Acts 15:20 and how it informs the JW view of abstaining from blood. I don’t mind you being firm on the matter and if you wish to abstain from blood by not getting a blood transfusion then great. Still, my main focus here is on the text of the Torah verses, which prohibit “eating” blood. It does not say “avoid sustaining your life with blood” or to “abstain from blood.” A blood transfusion is not “eating” blood. Intentionally and unjustifiably killing someone with a firearm is still murder.

  • I understand your point of view and I understand why Jews do not believe that blood transfusion does not violate Genesis 9 and Leviticus 17.

  • Since I wrote my comment below, more details have come out about the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. It certainly is not pleasant for my brothers and sisters there, but their endurance is certainly serving as a witness. So is the opposition and criticism that people there read in the news and on the internet. Praise or criticism serve to make Jehovah’s Witnesses more known, and for that I am thankful to Jehovah God for what he allows.

  • Thanks for your reply. I agree with your concerns about transfusion, but if it indeed “saves life”…? Recent Rep Scalise comes to mind. Do you indeed avoid “eating blood” by eating kosher? Don’t know if medical science is getting closer to non-blood replacement fluid.

    Is this your opinion or based on JW teaching?

    Have you ever considered medical system as form of idolatry according to Torah?

    Knew Orthodox rabbi who had pig heart valve replacement.

    Sigmund Freud in Totem & Taboo gives best explanation I have heard of meaning of Communion in relation to taboo of “eating blood”

  • Hi Larry Valin. It is under Arbustin’s comment under your reply to Jim Johnson below.

  • Sorry, Larry, I don’t quite understand your first question. I think I explained why “saving life” is not a sufficient reason to disobey what we believe is God’s law on the use of blood. If we only obey God’s laws as long as our life is not in danger, then our faith in the resurrection and in the promise of eternal life that the Bible gives is obviously not as strong as those of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the prophets killed by Queen Jezebel, and the Christians, men, women and children, martyred in the Roman arenas because they would not burn a pinch of incense to the genius (the guardian spirit) of the emperor. If “saving life” is the most important thing, then Jehovah’s Witnesses would have said “Heil Hitler” and would have renounced their faith in Nazi Germany and in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and avoided a lot of persecution and death.

    But that is the point, Larry. We are believers. We are people of faith in the Bible. For us, as for past believers in the Bible, faithfulness to God is more important than the present, very short life.

    I think my answer above is both my opinion and is based on JW teaching.

  • Aaron, I would invite you to read our latest official statement of belief as to whether those who reject us now will be condemned to the second death. It is here:

    https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/who-saved/#?insight

    We are serving Jehovah as we believe he wants to be worshipped, but this new expression of our view explains that it is not we who are authorized to condemn anyone. Jesus will do the judging, not us.

    Our faith has been gradually changing from the way it was when I was young. For example, we used to comment on the statements of the Pope a lot. We no longer do this. Rather than discuss what other churches are doing, our website and literature emphasize what we believe the Bible teaches.

  • Found it. Thanks.

    Any comment on Bible Chronology?

    JW legalistic? Rabbi Nataf has related commentary about “authority” vs chaos.

    This week’s Torah http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/3704737/jewish/Korach-and-Anarchy.htm http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2958/jewish/Korach-in-a-Nutshell.htm

    See also https://twitter.com/RNS/status/877149042433806337

    Connection between church & medical system also “Whore of Babylon”?

    Tried to bring teen sex to church discipline process. Govt medical system & @ELCA agreed medical confidentiality ruled against it. Excommunicated. Used Watchtower Sept. 87 for opinion re: medical professionals mandate to bring to church sins like fornication, when they become aware of them in practices.

  • To answer another of your questions, yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses abstain from foods containing blood, such as blood sausage (even though it is popular in Europe and in South Korea, where I used to live), although we don’t eat kosher in the sense of avoiding pork, shrimp, etc.

    I have never considered the medical system as an idolatry.

    Representative Scalise was given blood transfusions to replace the blood that he lost. Was this the only possible life-saving treatment, or could something else have been used? Dr. Aryeh Shander, a doctor who has pioneered non-blood treatment, and other doctors, explain what they do when he has a trauma patient who has lost a lot of blood and who doesn’t accept blood transfusions in one of our videos about blood transfusions. See 24 minutes into the video https://www.jw.org/en/medical-library/videos/blood-transfusion-alternative-strategies/

  • Sorry for the delay. I was very busy at work and then I was sick yesterday.
    I have heard about this. I know that Johnsson and others say that our chronology is wrong. They would have us believe that the start of the First World War in the same year as the Bible Students 40-year preaching, pointing to the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, was pure coincidence.

    Leonard and Marjorie Chretien, in the reference that you mention, claim that the chronology, giving 607 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, is necessary to support the belief in the “cleansing of the temple” in 1918 and the appointment of the “faithful and discreet slave” class. I don’t agree with that analysis at all.

    I have looked into that and so have other Witnesses. One defence of 607 BCE is found here: http://thirdwitness.com/607_BCE/www.jehovahsjudgment.co.uk/607/

    Here is my take on all of this. In 1914, the First World War began. My two grandfathers were soldiers in that war. Our family lost one of my great-grandfathers and a grand-uncle in that conflict. I have studied that war and the Second World War, the horrors of Nazism, Stalinism and the Cultural Revolution in China. These events are facts that don’t depend on any chronology.

    In 1918, the work of the Bible Students seemed destroyed forever, and in 1919, it was revived, and it hasn’t stopped since.

    We Jehovah’s Witnesses take this as the fulfilment of certain prophecies in the Bible. They don’t depend on any chronology.

    The reason I believe that the “faithful and discreet slave” predicted by Jesus is today the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is simply because of the quality of the spiritual food. It was excellent when I first began reading it and it has only gotten better and better since. As the Watchtower said recently in an article considered by all Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, this spiritual food is not perfect, not infallible, but we find it nourishing. It has strengthened our faith in Jehovah, the God of the Bible, and developed our love for him. Jehovah answers my prayers and has helped me through difficulties in my life. I am loyal to him.

    Johnsson and the Chretiens were no longer satisfied with the spiritual food from the Watchtower Society. The Chretiens have adopted Evangelical Christianity and I don’t know what Johnsson believes in now, but I know that they don’t love Jehovah the way I do. Maybe they love their conception of Jehovah, but not mine.

    Does that answer your question?

  • Jim, I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t believe that Jesus is part of a Trinity. I don’t believe that he was resurrected as a man, but as a spirit. I do believe in salvation by grace, by faith in Christ. I don’t believe that salvation can be earned by any kind of works. Those are the official beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses as expressed in our publications for as long as I can remember.

    People have claimed that we preach publicly because we believe it will give us salvation. Anyone who believes that has not studied the Bible or our publications thoroughly, and will probably not do it for long. The right motive for witnessing, constantly emphasized in our literature, is love for Jehovah and Jesus Christ. It should be done out of appreciation for God’s love for us in saving us from eventual eternal death and revealing his purpose to give eternal life to those who have faith in the ransom.

  • Thanks for this answer. My interest in chronology was because of seemingly chance meeting of Gene, who had dedicated his life to studying it. He knew JW based theology on chronology and he used his understanding of correct chronology as benchmark in judging other religions. http://biblechronologybooks.com/hebrewkings.html Chapter 2 focus is establishment of 588 BC for Temple Destruction. This is based on Bible. 587 BC depends on secular historical records. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(587_BC) Believe Ref 14 wrong. Steinmann.

    The intra-Witness conflict came later for me.

    588 BC works as anchor date and is key for chronology of Hebrew Kings.

    I and medical system agrees with you about blood transfusion. Recently read this which describes one of first transfusions done on Halsted’s sister https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Edge-Bizarre-William-Stewart/dp/1607148587
    “Halsted also performed one of the first blood transfusions in the United States. He had been called to see his sister after she had given birth. He found her moribund from blood loss, and in a bold move withdrew his own blood, transfused his blood into his sister, and then operated on her to save her life.[citation needed] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stewart_Halsted
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_and_blood_transfusions

    Why is trust in medical system not form of idolatry and worshiping of other gods contrary to First Commandment?

  • Daniel, I sure appreciate you pointing me to your updated statements of faith. I learned a lot. I realize I have a lot of history of my own beliefs which are tied up with the separation after Judge Rutherford. I appreciate the agreement that Jesus will do the judging in a future Kingdom. I realize there are still doctrinal differences. I see them outlined here: http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/

  • Yes we have changed over the years. Certainly our tone has changed since Brother Rutherford’s time and since Brother Knorr’s time as president, which I remember. That tone was probably appropriate for the times, but the times and thinking have changed so much that our approach had to change.

    I notice that we used to comment a lot on statements by the Pope and leaders of other large Protestant churches, but we don’t do that anymore, either in our magazines or on our website. We now simply explain what we believe.

    When I was younger, I took other beliefs as a challenge. I felt that I need to prove others wrong so that I could feel confident in my own faith. Now I feel more secure in my own beliefs. I realized recently that the Bible says faith is a fruit of God’s spirit. In other words, faith is not only the result of being exposed to logical arguments, but is a gift from Jehovah as he opens the heart (the inner person) to get to know him. Hence, I realize that all I need to do is be a witness to what has touched my heart, deeply love other people who believe other things, and let Jehovah do the internal work that he wants to do. It has made me a much happier person.

  • I don’t really believe in Sigmund Freud’s theory of the meaning of the Lord’s Evening Meal. For me, it is symbolic of putting faith that Jesus’ death covers sins, since the symbolism is not only “eating blood” but also “eating flesh”, which was never prohibited in the Torah.

  • Thanks for reply.

    Have you read his book Totem and Taboo? He explains how Totem/God is not eaten except once a year or something like that. Never had heard discussed what seems to be form of cannibalism–eating body and drinking blood of Jesus.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Jesus-Deepens-Scandal-Eat-My-Flesh-Drink

    He writes according to interpretation of ancient practices, not Torah.

    Still interested in your opinion about medical system as idolatry or form of religion and violation of First Command. Believe all denominational 501c3 churches are “in bed” with government, Whore of Babylon churches as in Hosea/Revelations Part of Gospel last week, still true today. 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

    Finally read through article above. There is lot there. https://www.quora.com/Are-there-Jehovahs-Witness-churches-in-North-Korea-If-not-why-arent-there-any

    See my comments at article on sex in Catholic colleges. Used Watchtower magazine from Sept ’87 in addressing role of medical confidentiality in situations of church discipline. Jehovah’s Witness church would not communicate openly with me about subject. They are also “government church” that Hosea spoke about. https://twitter.com/stmark/status/878267815211352068 See verse 10 cross references.

  • I have never read Totem and Taboo but I read a description of Freud’s theory. I don’t believe it. It is an attempt by an atheist to explain why Jesus instituted this celebration when the much simpler reason explained in the Bible is much more logical to me.

    Maybe some people idolize the medical system. I think many people are sceptical about common medical treatments. When others are sick, I think that they are hopeful that doctors can help them.

    I don’t know if there are Witnesses in North Korea. If so, they are probably in prison or work camps.

  • See my reply to Jim Johnson.
    “That’s because the Bible emphasizes all these numbers and I seldom can understand them.” You are very right with the first statement and probably the second for all of us..

    Gene believed Hitler was part of God’s plan. He also did not believe in Lutheran Church Missouri Synod doctrine of supersessionism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersessionism He believed chronology of modern State of Israel was connected to chronology of Biblical judaism and Jesus.
    Interesting to compare with Charles Taze Russell’s views on Christian Zionism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Taze_Russell#Theology_and_teachings

  • Thank you for your reply.
    I don’t think it’s matter of “belief”. I think Freud was attempting to explain what seems to be cannibalism. I have never heard anyone within church attempt to explain it.

    Do you believe bread and wine are Jesus’ true body and blood? If so, would eating them seem to be cannibalism or taboo?

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6.25-69&version=NIV

    Think all institutional churches embrace or are “in bed with” government medical system for healing. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea+2.23%2C+Romans+9.25-26%2C1+Peter+2.9-10&version=NIV

    Jakob Jocz believed church was “not my people” and “children of the Living God” at the same time. He also believed in proselytizing of Jews contrary to Charles Taze Russell. See my reply Jim Johnson, June Newbery. https://www.amazon.com/Christians-Jews-Encounter-JAKOB-JOCZ/dp/B0000CMU85/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494699029&sr=1-10&refinements=p_27%3AJakob+Jocz

  • No I don’t believe that the bread and wine are Jesus’ true body and blood. I believe that they are simply symbols of his body and blood. This is the view of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the view of some other churches.

    One reason that I believe it is a symbol is that Jesus also said at Luke 22:19: “This cup is the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.” The cup is not “changed” into a covenant. I believe that it is a symbol of a covenant, “by virtue” of Christ’s blood.

    The symbolism is that the offering in sacrifice of Jesus’ body and blood covers our sins and is essential for everlasting life, just as bread and wine are food which sustains our present physical life.

  • Thanks again for your response.

    If it is just symbol, why were people put off and turning away from Jesus in John 6. It seems like something more than symbol is implied. It implies maybe “taboo”. https://www.google.com/search?q=totem+and+taboo+freud+summary&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS520US520&oq=totem+and+taboo&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l5.6669j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=totem+and+taboo+freud+communion+cannibalism&nirf=totem%20and%20taboos%20freud%20communion%20cannibalism

    (Just heard discussion on Donner party on public radio yesterday. http://iowapublicradio.org/post/what-would-you-do-author-wants-stop-sensationalizing-donner-party)

    I watched http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162577/. Borrowed from person at local school. The worst thing about martyrdom is if you are doing it contrary to God’s will and for some other purpose. I thought of this as the case in this movie. I admire their faith and willingness to die for it. Just thought of it as misinformed.

    Have also been skeptical of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “martyrdom”. He is Lutheran version, My baptismal faith tradition. Was excommunicated and alienated.

    Prohibition on blood related to boundaries and “discerning the body”. https://books.google.com/books?id=jlFKK7xkxJsC&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=numbers+boundaries+olson&source=bl&ots=tOEykTNJiA&sig=WPQswSIKKtA-IlK3qVNCR-tdEHs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjv5tWCo9LUAhVK5IMKHX8PAxEQ6AEILzAC#v=onepage&q=numbers%20boundaries%20olson&f=false

    Weekly Torah includes https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+21.4-9&version=NIV May be form of totem and relate to medical Staff of Aesculapius http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3660-brazen-serpent
    “The name “neḥushtan” suggests some interesting questions. To judge from the form, the name belongs to an old period of the language, but the explanation of it as a “brazen” object appears to be due to a species of popular etymology, “naḥash” signifying in Hebrew “brass” as well as “serpent.” It is likely that neḥushtan as an object used in the ancient Semitic cult was a species of totem-pole, surmounted by the reproduction-perhaps in wood—of a serpent, and was placed before tents or rude dwellings as a means of driving off evil spirits, who were supposed to be lurking everywhere.”

    Was denied privileges Lutheran Hospital for advocating fasting prayer for inpatients based on https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9.14-29&version=NIV

  • People were put off by Jesus’ words because they took them literally. They thought that Jesus was teaching that they literally had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. A large number of the crowd and even many of his disciples stopped following him. Jesus did not correct their false understanding. Why he didn’t do that is clear to me from this passage (John 6:60-71):

    When they heard this, many of his disciples said: “This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were murmuring about this, said to them: “Does this stumble you? 62 What, therefore, if you should see the Son of man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him. 65 He went on to say: “This is why I have said to you, no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
    66 Because of this, many of his disciples went off to the things behind and would no longer walk with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve: “You do not want to go also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them: “I chose you twelve, did I not? Yet one of you is a slanderer.” 71 He was, in fact, speaking of Judas the son of Simon Is·carʹi·ot, for this one was going to betray him, although he was one of the Twelve.

    Jesus knew that not all who became his disciples really believed in him. They followed Jesus for personal advantage. As he had said earlier (John 6:25-27):

    25 When they found him across the sea, they said to him: “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered them: “Most truly I say to you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate from the loaves and were satisfied. 27 Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for everlasting life, which the Son of man will give you; for on this one the Father, God himself, has put his seal of approval.”

    The way I see it, Jesus gave them a test of faith: if he taught them something that was difficult to accept, would they faithfully continue to follow him, looking for clarification in the future, or would they manifest a lack of faith that he really was the Messiah, the Son of God? Jesus was obviously not interested in quantity but in quality of his disciples.

  • Thanks for response.

    Spoke with Catholic guy Wed, who was doing adoration of Eucharist 11-12 pm that evening. Believes it is truly Jesus’ Body and Blood. Recently had Festival of Corpus Christi.

    Which is more of “test of faith”? Spiritual understanding or true body and blood?

    Knew Catholic neurosurgeon who told me Host had been examined under microscope and showed cardiac muscle.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+9.1-8&version=NIV

    Have you ever seen anybody whose sins have been forgiven? and then rose and walked inspiring awe?

  • “why would the Russian, or any, government consider them to be a threat?”

    Don’t see this addressed by this article.

    It seems to me it is issue of nationalism verses globalism similar to what’s happening in this country and Nazi Germany.

  • My point is that it’s hard to tell what should be taken “literally” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11.1-6&version=NIV Some people “see” these Messianic events as not literal.

    https://twitter.com/TGC/status/881091270667579392

    Another comment I made “”why would the Russian, or any, government consider them to be a threat?”

    Don’t see this addressed by this article.

    It seems to me it is issue of nationalism verses globalism similar to what’s happening in this country and Nazi Germany.”

    Do you know why Russians consider JW a threat?

    Tweet to Russian professor in Seoul at Yonsei University. https://twitter.com/lcvalin/status/880710230350471168

  • I think it is because of our political neutrality and support of God’s Kingdom as the only hope for mankind. President Putin is very nationalistic and wants all Russian citizens to be such and we won’t do it.

  • Thanks for your reply.

    It seems that article did not really address issues.

    Totalitarianism? Orwell’s 1984? Chekhov’s Ward 6? Russian Orthodox Church role?

    Do you go on Twitter? Russian Professor Olga K tweets #ScienceDiplomacy #Russia Tried to elicit response on JW from her.

  • Yes I know that some people see Jesus’ miracles as not literal. For example, they don’t believe that Jesus healed that paralysed man or did any of the other miracles described in the Gospels.

    I however believe that they really happened. For me the message of the Gospels has the ring of truth. The Bible says that “faith is not a possession of all people” (1 Thess. 3:2) and that God gives faith as part of the “fruit of the holy spirit” (Gal. 5:22) and that to some people “God has given a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). I believe that he has given that to me.

    As for the meaning of the bread and the wine, I think that it is symbolic for several reasons, based on the Biblical text, one of which I wrote earlier, and not because I lack faith that they could never be miraculously transformed into the body and blood of Jesus. For that reason, I don’t believe that it is less a “test of faith” to believe that the bread and wine are symbolic.

  • I do look at Twitter sometimes. I do believe that the Russian Orthodox Church, which has been critical of Jehovah’s Witnesses for many years, has been a big factor in President Putin and his government deciding to prohibit Jehovah’s Witnesses using laws framed to target at least us, and maybe others.

  • Mr Schmalz, congratulations on a fine, fair intro to our faith. The best I’ve seen from a outsider.
    I can suggest our website for those interested in more information. Jw.org

  • It’s common to see Polonius as a pompous ass; I don’t know what WS intended.
    We know this, from the text: He was a loving father. Much of his counsel is valuable to a Laertes, setting out in the world. It’s common for the young to ignore the advice of their elders.

    You disagree.

  • Daniel, thanks for the clarifying links. I had never heard of such an idea.

    BTW this is a good place to be aware of 2John 9-11; Rom 16:17; 1Cor 5:11. You can expect to be treated as warned at Mt 24:48,49.

  • Bill, you may know that a copy of Tyndale’s Bible, the basis for almost all of the KJV, is being auctioned. So, I make free to discuss it here.
    One of its most famous passages is at 1John 5:7,8.
    “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
    And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

    Certainly that states that Jesus [the Word] and the Father are one. It’s also a clear, unambiguous statement of the Trinity doctrine. It is also the only such statement I’m aware of, in the KJV and the contemporaneus Douay.

    Modern Bibles omit v. 7 or explain in a footnote that it’s of doubtful authority, as not being found in the oldest and best mss. Is this what you mean by “changing NT to accommodate a theology”?

  • I see your point, but I question your quickness to assign labels. They’re convenient but promote lazy thinking. The groups you mention are made of individuals, not from cookie cutters.
    (You, and many Methodists, may not know that their church name was originally a mocking of the habits in college of the Wesley brothers.)

    If we use the Bible as a standard, as written by the only one capable of judging all of us, we’ll be on safer ground.

  • Governments want control of the governed. Various levels of control, for various reasons.
    Xi and Putin are at the extreme end of the spectrum. Irony: We won’t be controlled in our religious practices, so he says we’re “extremists”.
    Same with Hitler, Stalin, Hastings Banda, Woodrow Wilson …

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