A common trait in religions that claim to be the only way to God is to compile a list of unique requirements that they believe proves that they are the one and only true religion. Mormons, for example, produced a pamphlet for prospective converts entitled, “17 Points of the Only True Church.” Since the Mormon Church is the only church that claims to meet all of these 17 requirements that they list in their pamphlet, Mormons believe one cannot obtain salvation in the highest level of glory apart from joining their Church.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are no different than Mormons in this aspect. In many of the brochures designed to attract potential converts to their religion, the Watchtower sets forth a unique list of criteria to determine what they call “the Truth.” To Jehovah’s Witnesses, this criteria proves that the Watchtower organization is the only true Christian religion on earth today.
DOES WATCHTOWER CRITERIA PROVE IT IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION?
The following is a list of criteria the Watchtower gives to determine the “one true religion.” This particular list is found on pages 26-27 of the 1996 Watchtower publication, What Does God Require of Us?:
- Avoid War and Politics
- Avoid Pagan Holidays
- Reject the Trinity Doctrine
- Reject the Immortality of the Soul and Hell
- Must Preach the Kingdom
- Must Proclaim the Name “Jehovah” for God
The Watchtower claims that this criteria proves that its religion is the only true religion, but is this criteria unique to the Watchtower organization? Our studies reveal that this criteria is not, for the following religions also embrace these doctrines:
- Assemblies of Yahweh
- Assemblies of the Called out Ones of Ya
- House of Yahweh
- Assembly of YHWH Yeshua
Since the Watchtower claims that there is only one true Christian religion, how can its criteria to determine “the Truth” prove that it is the only true religion, when other religions also fulfill its criteria? It is evident by the fact that the Watchtower religion is not unique in its beliefs and practices on what it calls “the Truth,” the criteria it gives cannot be used to determine that it is the “only true religion.”
WHO IS “THE TRUTH”?
While it is important to believe the teachings of the Bible in order to come into “the Truth,” the Bible does not point to a certain religion or religious organization as being “the Truth.” On the contrary, it points to a Person, rather than a religion as being “the Truth.” At John 14:6, Jesus proclaimed, “I am …the truth,” and in His prayer to the Father, He said, “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, New World Translation – NWT) Who is the living “Word” who is “Truth”? John 1:14 tells us, “…the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father.” (John 1:14, NWT) Not only do we see Jesus being identified in Scripture as “the Truth,” but He proclaims at John 5:39-40 that all of Scripture was written to “bear witness” about Him!
The apostle Peter did not say “to what” shall we go away to. No! He said, “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You [Jesus] have sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68, NWT) He recognized that with the coming of Christ, God’s arrangement changed from operating through an organization (Jewish system), to operating directly through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2) and the guidance of His Holy Spirit (John 16:13). No longer do we need a priestly organization to bring us to Jehovah God. We now have direct access through Jesus Christ as our only “High Priest” and “Mediator” between us and God (Hebrew 7:25-26; 2 Timothy 2:5).
DOES THE WATCHTOWER LEAD PEOPLE TO “THE TRUTH”?
Instead of leading people to “the Truth,” the Watchtower sets itself up in the place of Christ by proclaiming, “Jesus Christ, is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members.” (Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace,” 1986, p. 10) Rather than to encourage Jehovah’s Witnesses to go to Jesus alone for “the Truth” and “eternal life” (John 10:28; 14:6), the Watchtower proclaims that its organization is “the Truth” and tells Jehovah’s Witnesses that one must “come to” it “for salvation.” (The Watchtower, November 15, 1981, p. 21). The Watchtower claims “there is nowhere else to go for divine favor and life eternal,” (The Watchtower, November 15, 1992, p. 21), but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Not only does the Watchtower exclude Jehovah’s Witnesses from eternal life by preventing them from coming to Jesus as their “mediator,” but the Watchtower cuts them short of Jehovah’s approval when it tells Jehovah’s Witnesses that the “New Covenant” does not apply to them and that they are not permitted to be “adopted” into God’s spiritual family (The Watchtower, February 1, 1998, pp. 19-20). Romans 8:8-9, proclaims that unless one has God’s Spirit which one receives only through “adoption” (Romans 8:14-16), one cannot “please God,” nor does he “belong to Christ.” Thus, Watchtower teaching leaves Jehovah’s Witnesses with no hope for divine favor or eternal life!
A common trait of false religions is to set themselves up as “mediator” between their followers and God. Whether we’re talking about Mormonism with its prophet Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets, Islam with its prophet Mohammed, New Age with its gurus and spirit-guides, or Jehovah’s Witnesses with the so-called “Faithful and Discreet Slave” organization, Satan’s tactic is always the same: Convince people that they cannot receive communication directly from God and require them to look to human leaders for spiritual guidance and support. But the Bible says, “As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.” (1 John 2:27, NWT). We do not need an organization to “teach” us spiritual truth for we have Christ and the “anointing” of His Spirit to lead us. Just like first-century Christians, God’s Holy Spirit is the one who “guides” us into “all truth” (John 16:13).
Contrary to the claims of the Watchtower organization, when we look at Scripture, we see that no “governing body” in Jerusalem existed to lead first-century followers of Jesus. Congregations and individuals were led directly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the following Scriptures illustrate:
- At Acts 13:2-4, we see the Holy Spirit directing the congregation at Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas out on their first missionary journey without any approval from a “governing body” in Jerusalem.
- When they returned from their missionary journey at Acts 14:26-28, they did not report to a “governing body” in Jerusalem, but rather, to the congregation at Antioch which had sent them out.
- In the same way, at Acts 18:22, we see Paul and Silas returning from Paul’s second missionary journey—not to a “governing body” in Jerusalem—but to the congregation at Antioch. At Acts 18:23 Paul went out again on his third missionary journey from this same congregation. If a “governing body” in Jerusalem existed, where was its leadership in all of this?
- Who commissioned Philip at Acts 8:5 to preach to the city of Samaria? It wasn’t until verse 14, that the “apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God.” At Acts 8:26, 29, and 40, we read that the Holy Spirit is the One who directed Philip to the territories he preached in.
- Who prevented Paul and Silas from preaching in Asia at Acts 16:6-7? Was it a “governing body” in Jerusalem or was it the “Spirit of Jesus”?
As can be seen by the above passages, it was Christ’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) who directed the preaching work of first-century Christians, but what about the passages that the Watchtower appeals to for support of their view of a “governing body” in Jerusalem? At Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas went up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to settle a dispute involving the circumcision of Christian non-Jews, and at Acts 16:4, Paul and Silas delivered the “decrees” that the apostles and elders in Jerusalem had determined. Does this prove that a “governing body” in Jerusalem existed? No, it does not.
If we look carefully at Acts 15:1-2, we see that the dispute had arisen when men from the area of Jerusalem (i.e., Judea) had come down to the congregation at Antioch and proclaimed that these believers needed to be circumcised according to Jewish custom. Is it any wonder they went to Jerusalem to settle the dispute that had been caused by men from that area? At Acts 16, these “decrees” that Paul and Silas were delivering had to do with the decision that had just been reached concerning circumcision. There is no indication that these “decrees” involved any other issue. Thus, we see that there is no basis for the claim that an “organization” is needed to lead God’s people today.
WHO THEN IS THE “FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE”?
At Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus describes two types of slaves (or servants) who were put in charge of their master’s belongings while their master was away. Upon his master’s return, one slave was found “faithful” and rewarded by being appointed over “all” of his master’s possessions. The other slave proved unfaithful in his tasks and when his master arrived, he was thrown out with the hypocrites. The point of Jesus’ parable is that we all are to strive to be a “faithful” to our Lord so that when our King Jesus comes for His people, He will find us “faithful” and reward us with more authority and responsibility. Nothing in this passage indicates that the faithful “slave” is speaking prophetically of an organization that would be “appointed” over Jehovah’s belongings. On the contrary, just as any individual can become part of the evil “slave” group by being unfaithful to God, so anyone can become part of the faithful “slave” group by being faithful in the tasks given by the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, we place our souls in great peril if we entrust our eternal destiny to the hands of human leaders for spiritual security. The Bible says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength.” (Jeremiah 17:5). The only One we are to look to for eternal life and spiritual Truth is Jesus Christ. He declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)
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