(WDGR Lesson 13: “How Can You Find the True Religion?”)
How valid is the Watchtower’s test for finding the “one” true religion? Are Jehovah’s Witnesses the only individuals that fulfill the Watchtower’s criteria of being “in the truth”?* What test does the Bible give for determining “the truth”?
CINDY: Karen, have you ever wondered why there are so many religions that claim to be Christian? Do you believe that all religions please God, or is there just one? What are your thoughts on true religion?
KAREN: Well, Cindy, when I think about the religions of the world, I think about Jesus’ words at John 14:6 in which He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus said we have to come to Him in order to get to the Father. So I believe that all religions that teach that a person can go to Jehovah God without first going to Jesus are counterfeit and are leading people astray.
CINDY: That’s right, Karen. Just as we’ll be studying today in the Watchtower brochure What Does God Require of Us? “Jesus started one true Christian religion. So today there must be just one body, or group, of true worshipers of Jehovah God.”1. Would you like to find out how you can be in the truth by finding the true religion?
KAREN: Yes, Cindy, I would.
CINDY: That’s great, Karen. At John 13:34-35 Jesus said that His true disciples have love for one another. “The most outstanding mark of true Christians is that they have real love among themselves.…They are not taught…to hate people from other countries.…So they do not share in wars.…Another mark of true religion is that its members have a deep respect for the Bible.…They treat God’s Word as being more important than human ideas or customs.”2. Because they follow the Bible, they do not accept human ideas such as the Trinity and hell doctrines; nor do they participate in pagan customs such as Christmas and Easter. “The true religion must also honor God’s name. Who are the people in your community that tell others about God’s name?”3.
KAREN: Cindy, are you familiar with the religion called the “Assemblies of Yahweh” located in Bethel, Pennsylvania? The Encyclopedia of American Religions notes that “The Assemblies teaches the necessity of believers’ affirming the divine names Yahweh and Yahshua.” So important to this group is the revealing of God’s name that “the Assemblies…publishes its own version of the Sacred Scriptures.”4.
CINDY: That’s interesting, Karen, but does this group teach the false doctrine of the Trinity and allow its members to go to war?
KAREN: Oh, no Cindy. The Encyclopedia of American Religions notes that in the Assemblies of Yahweh, “a non-Trinitarian position is maintained” and “nonviolence and conscientious objection to war are stressed.”5.
CINDY: Wow! I never knew that, Karen.
KAREN: Cindy, this is not the only religion which exalts the name of God. Many other religions such as the Assemblies of the Called out Ones of Ya, House of Yahweh, and the Assembly of YHWHHoshua proclaim God’s name6.. In fact, so important is God’s name to people in these groups that many times these religions are more particular about God’s name than even the Jehovah’s Witnesses are! For example, the doctrinal statement that every person in the Assembly of YHWHHoshua is required to believe states “The true revealed Name of the Almighty is YHWH.…It is quite clear…that His NAME is not to be changed. In the King James (KJV) and other versions of the bible; translators have mistranslated the Divine Name, YHWH, into the word ‘LORD’; and ‘GOD’.…In their former languages, the title ‘LORD’ is ‘BAAL’, which is the supreme idol of heathen Babylon. ‘ADONIS’, ‘ADONAI’, or ‘ADON’ are the Phoenician and Greek idol of beauty from whence comes the name ‘JEHOVAH’.…”7. Cindy, do you realize that if a Witness were to use the name “Jehovah” within this religion, he would be condemned for using an erroneous pronunciation of God’s name that came from Greek and Phoenician false religion? Since Jehovah’s Witnesses exult a name for God that was derived from false religion, how can the Jehovah’s Witness religion be the one true religion, when other groups are far more careful about God’s Name?
CINDY: I’m not sure, Karen. But do these groups celebrate the pagan holidays of Christmas and Easter?
KAREN: Oh, No, Cindy, many of them do not. Concerning the House of Yahweh, the Encyclopedia of American Religions notes that “holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween…are condemned as pagan and un-Biblical. Yahshua was born in the spring (around Passover), not in December.”8. Cindy, doesn’t this sound like something the Watchtower Society could have written? Since these groups believe the same things that Jehovah’s Witnesses teach about war, holidays, and God’s name, does this mean that they are “in the truth”?
CINDY: Well, I’m not sure, Karen, but do they preach about the Kingdom? “True Christians must preach about God’s Kingdom.…that only God’s Kingdom will bring true peace and security to this earth.”9. Do those groups you mentioned preach that God’s Kingdom on earth is the only hope for mankind?
KAREN: Yes, they do Cindy. Listen to this statement about the Christadelphians found in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. “Christadelphians reject the Trinity. They believe in one supreme God.…in Jesus Christ…who died for the offenses of sinners.…in one eternal punishment of the wicked, but not in eternal torment; in hell, not as a place of torment, but as the grave; in the resurrection of the just and unjust; in the utter annihilation of the wicked.…in a second coming of Christ to establish his kingdom on earth, which is to be fitted for the everlasting abode of the saints.…in the millennial reign of Christ on earth over the nations.…”10. Since Christadelphians and other religious groups believe in life forever on earth and preach about the Kingdom as the only hope for mankind, does this mean that they are the true religion?
CINDY: Well, Karen, maybe they teach the same things about the Kingdom, but do they have an organized preaching work like Jehovah’s Witnesses do? I’ve never seen them go door-to-door.
KAREN: Cindy, there are many ways to preach the Kingdom message door-to-door that do not require religious members to knock on the doors of a city. For example, many religious groups take their message door-to-door through radio broadcasts and tracts distributed in public places. Even the Apostle Paul at Acts 17 took the Kingdom message to the people in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens—not by knocking on the doors of those cities—but by preaching in the temple and public square. If the door-to-door ministry of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the only correct way to preach the Kingdom message, are we to argue that the Apostle Paul was not involved in the preaching work because he failed to knock on the doors of those cities?
CINDY: Well, no.
KAREN: Then why do Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that other religious groups are not involved in an organized preaching work, simply because they take their message door-to-door in a different way than Jehovah’s Witnesses do?
CINDY: That’s a good point, Karen. But many religions get involved in politics. Jesus said that his “disciples must be no part of this wicked world.…They do not get involved in the world’s political affairs and social controversies.… Can you identify a religious group in your community that has these marks of true Christianity?” 11.
KAREN: Cindy, the Jehovah’s Witness religion isn’t the only religion that doesn’t get involved in politics. The Christadelphian religion does not take part “in politics, voting, or military service,” and the doctrinal statement of the Assembly of YHWHHoshua states that “The members of the assembly of YHWHHoshua are to be separate from the institutions, customs, traditions, styles and carnal pleasures of…the world.…YHWHHoshua is our government.…In no way should we participate in the charities of the world, for these charities are not for YHWH’S people. Thus a servant of YHWH can not vote or contribute to or accept any benefits from the institutions of the United States, such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment Compensation, etc.…nor shall he be allowed to be a government official, to be a juror, or to serve in the Armed Forces.”12. Cindy, do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept government aid or any benefits from Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Compensation?
CINDY: Well, yes, Karen they do.
KAREN: Since Jesus said His followers are to be separate from the world, why do Jehovah’s Witnesses participate in this worldly system by receiving aid from governmental and social institutions? It sure looks like the Assembly of YHWHHoshua is far more neutral and non-political than the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion is. Doesn’t this prove that the Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot possibly be the only true religion? How can Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that they are the only ones with “the truth” when other groups believe and practice the exact same things that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe?
CINDY: Well, I’m not sure Karen, but if Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t “in the truth,” then who do you think is?
KAREN: Cindy, have you noticed how a person can do all the right things and believe all the right doctrines,** but not know God personally? On the outside, that person may appear to be perfectly happy in his religion, but inwardly, there is a gnawing sense of uneasiness that he is not in the truth. Cindy, I believe this is because the Bible reveals that there is only one test we should use to determine if we are “in the Truth.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 states “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”13.
Friends, when it comes to eternity, the only question Jehovah God will ask you is “What did you do with My Son Jesus?” Just as Jesus said “I am…the truth and the life” so 1 John 5:11-12 states: “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”14. Have you come into the truth by asking Jesus to give you His righteousness in exchange for your sin?
* In this dialogue, Karen does not attempt to refute the false doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses belief system that comprise their claim to be the one and only “true religion.” Rather, the point of this discussion is to prove that “the truth” claims of the Jehovah’s Witness religion are not unique to them. Thus, since other religions claim to adhere to the same “truth” criteria used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they cannot possibly be “the only true religion” and their “truth” criteria is now open to debate.
1. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 26:1
2. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 26:3-4
3. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 26:5
4. Encyclopedia of American Religions, 5th Edition, by J. Gordon Melton, 1996, p. 529
5. Encyclopedia of American Religions, p. 529
6. See Encyclopedia of American Religions, pp. 528, 531; Encyclopedia of American Religions: Religious Creeds, vol. II, (Gale Research Company), p. 398
7. Encyclopedia of American Religions: Religious Creeds, vol. II, p. 398
8. Encyclopedia of American Religions, p. 986
9. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 27:5
10.The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol III, p. 38; See also Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, John Bowker ed. (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 216
11. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 27:7
12. Encyclopedia of American Religions: Religious Creeds, vol. II, p. 399
** By talking as if the Jehovah’s Witnesses “believe all the right doctrines,” Karen is NOT saying that the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses are Biblical or that Christians agree with their doctrines. Rather, she is making the point that no matter what a person believes, even if it is all correct, this does not prove that this person is “in the truth.”
13. New International Version
14. New American Standard Bible