.:OUR RESPONSE TO A LETTER FROM A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS ASKING: “WHO ARE YOU? – Are You a Bunch of Apostates Who Don’t Believe Bible Teachings?”
“I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I read some of your statements on the website, it made me upset to think that there are really people out there like all of you who talk bad about us. Jehovah’s organization is the Truth, and some of you know that deep down in your hearts. But if this is your choice, I know it certainly will never be my choice. I will always praise and love Jehovah. I would never turn my back on Him and leave. Do you believe you are the true religion? How can you believe you are in the truth if you do not go door-to-door preaching the Kingdom? Are you just a bunch of ‘apostates’ who left the Watchtower because you don’t want to adhere to Bible standards? Do you celebrate pagan holidays, believe in war and the Trinity?”
Dear Jehovah’s Witness friend,
We want to thank you for taking the time to write to us and express your concerns over our website. It is very commendable that you love Jehovah the way that you do and that you will never leave Jehovah. It is this devotion to HIM that is SO important in seeking Truth, and we find it admirable that you have such a heart to seek and serve Him.
We too strongly believe in being loyal to Jehovah and to His Son Jesus Christ. And this is the very reason we do what we are doing. It is because Jehovah God is a God of truth. Truth does not fear examination. If an organization cannot stand up under examination, it is not the truth but is rather a counterfeit and loyalty to a counterfeit is disloyalty to Jehovah God.
WHAT DECISION DID JESUS’ DISCIPLES MAKE?
We are reminded about the disciples in Jesus’ day and how they were pressured by the Pharisees to return to what was at that time “Jehovah’s Organization” (also known as the Jewish “priestly” arrangement). The disciples were faced with the choice of whether to continue their association in an organization that had become corrupt or whether to turn away from this “channel” that Jehovah had been using in order to recognize the new arrangement in His Son Jesus Christ. Were they going to remain loyal to an earthly organization? Or were they going to be loyal to Jehovah God and go where His “new light” was leading them? Rather than following the earthly organization God had setup through Moses in previous years, Jesus disciples placed their loyalty completely in the hands of Jehovah God and embraced His new heavenly arrangement through Jesus Christ— the REAL “Truth!”
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’”—John 14:6
Indeed, the question facing the disciples in Jesus’ day is not much unlike the question facing us today. When we consider the fact that the Watchtower organization is guilty of violating God’s Word (the Bible) in the following ways, one has to ask, “How can this organization truly qualify to be God’s representative on earth?”
1. DISTORTING GOD’S WORD (Proverbs 30:6): The Watchtower claims that the translators of their New World Translation remained anonymous, but when research uncovered who the translators were, it was discovered that most of the translators were on the Watchtower Governing Body and all of them lacked the necessary education needed to produce an accurate translation. Greek Scholars have consistently found it to be a biased translation by distorting verses to fit Watchtower doctrine and adding to God’s Word by inserting “Jehovah” in the Christian Greek Scriptures against all Christian Greek manuscripts. Would Jehovah be behind an organization that “adds” and “takes away” from His Word? Click HERE for more information and supporting documentation regarding this.
2. LYING IN ITS LITERATURE (Titus 1:2): The Watchtower denied that they published Russell’s Biography because they did not want people to know that early Jehovah’s Witnesses “worshipped” Russell. They covered up with excuses their history of quoting books connected with the “spirit world” of Satan, and they lied about the true teachings of the early Church Fathers in order to support their belief that the Trinity doctrine was derived from paganism. Would Jehovah who is the God of “truth” be behind a dishonest organization? Click HERE for more information and supporting documentation.
3. VIOLATING THE PRINCIPLES OF NEUTRALITY (John 18:36): While claiming that the United Nations represents the “Wild Beast” of Revelation 17, the Watchtower associated with the United Nations for 10-years. They also claim that they were “neutral” during World War II, but in a letter to Hitler in 1933, they admitted to him that they supported the “principles” of his regime. Is this true neutrality or compromise? Click HERE for more information and supporting documentation.
4. FALSE PROPHECYING (Deuteronomy 18:20-22): While proclaiming to be “God’s Prophet” and speaking “in the name of Jehovah,” the Watchtower announced several false dates for the end of the world and even proclaimed that Christ’s presence had began in 1874. This false proclamation of Christ’s presence is the precise warning that Jesus gave to His followers when He said that “false prophets” would proclaim this in the last days! (See Matthew 24:11, 23-24) Why would Jehovah appoint a group to represent Him that was doing the very thing Jesus warned “false prophets” would do in the last days? Click HERE for more information and supporting documentation.
5. BLOOD GUILTY ACTIONS (Jeremiah 22:17): The Watchtower has misinterpreted God’s Law on Blood and this misinterpretation of God’s Word has lead to the innocent deaths of countless children. Jehovah’s Witnesses have perished, not only by the Watchtower Society’s current rejection of all blood transfusions, but by its earlier rejection of hemophiliac preparations, vaccinations and organ transplants — all of which it now accepts as no longer violating God’s Blood Law! Did the people who died under the Watchtower’s misapplication of God’s Blood Law, die in vain? Click HERE for more information and supporting documentation.
Having reviewed the evidence that convicts the Watchtower organization of failing the test to be God’s “channel” of communication to mankind, we will now turn our attention to your questions regarding what we believe concerning “the truth.”
You asked whether we believe we are “the true religion.” In answer, we do not believe we are “the true religion,” but we do believe we are “in the Truth.” This is because we do not believe “truth” is a religion, but rather a Person — Jesus Christ Himself! 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, 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 every Jehovah’s Witness 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)
ARE WE “APOSTATES” THAT ARE AGAINST BIBLE TEACHINGS?
We would now like to address your concern over us being “apostates” because we “do not want to adhere to Bible teachings.” Your accusation is inaccurate. On the contrary, it is because of our loyalty to Jehovah God and His Bible teachings that we cannot support an organization that falsely represents Jehovah and His Truth. For a list of Watchtower doctrines that are incompatible with Scripture, we encourage you to check out our “Christian Conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses – Biblical Answers to Questions Jehovah’s Witnesses Ask” series, but for now we will address the specific concerns you mentioned.
You asked how we could be in the Truth if we do not go “door-to-door preaching the Kingdom.” We would answer that nowhere in Scripture is “door to door” preaching specifically mentioned. The few verses that the Watchtower points to for its “door to door” activity (Acts 2:46; 5:42 and 20:20), discuss how believers met publicly in the temple and privately from “house to house” for sharing meals and teaching. This is no different from mid-week Jehovah’s Witness book studies that are often held in various private homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just because mid-week Jehovah’s Witness meetings vary “from house to house,” does not mean that they actually meet in every house of the neighborhood. And we would argue that if they attempted to do so, there would be many non-Jehovah’s Witness neighbors who would object to their homes being used in such a way.
In the same way, first-century believers met for public preaching at the temple, and privately “from house to house” for sharing meals and intimate teaching and fellowship time afterward. Just as Acts 2:46 notes, “day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord, and they took their meals in private homes and partook of food with great rejoicing and sincerity of heart.” (NWT)
Furthermore, as we examine the book of Acts, we see that most of the converts to the early congregation came not from “house to house” meetings, but from public preaching in the temple and market place. At Acts 17:1-4, we see the apostle Paul preaching publicly in the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica and then publicly in the market place of Athens at Acts 17:16-34. No mention is made of Paul ever preaching in any of the homes of these cities. Are we to argue that Paul was not engaged in “Kingdom preaching” because he did not preach door to door in these cities? I’m sure you can see the fallacy of such reasoning. In the same way, we are involved in kingdom preaching through personal friendships with unbelievers, church-led public activities and our online website ministry.
It is true that many celebrations people engage in today have their origin in pagan, occult activities. Such is true of the Roman festival Saturnalia, which lasted from December 17-24 and was later converted to the “Christmas” celebration of Jesus’ birth on December 25th. Another pagan celebration converted to a Christian holiday is “Easter,” a celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It has its origin in the “Ostara” celebration of fertility on March 20-21st.
We admit that there is no historic support for the celebration of Christ’s birth in December as it most likely occurred in the spring or the fall. Christ’s resurrection occurred during the time of the Jewish Passover, celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish religious calendar. Due to the difficulty of correlating the Jewish calendar with the Julian and Gregorian Calendars over the centuries, Christians adopted the Sunday closest to the “Ostara” celebration or “Easter” as the date to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Thus, in both cases, Christians took dates that were purportedly used for “pagan” celebrations and claimed them for Christ, turning them into holidays that few today recognize as having any connection with their former “pagan” roots.
The Society said it best in their Awake! of January 8, 2000. In the article entitled, “A Balanced View of Popular Customs,” they noted on pages 26-27, “Customs have been profoundly influenced by religion. Many, in fact, arose from old superstitions and non-Biblical religious ideas… But what about customs that may once have been linked to questionable practices but that today are primarily viewed as social etiquette? …Does this mean that Christians are forbidden to observe such customs? …Although there may be reason to examine the origin of a particular custom, in some cases it is more important to consider what the custom means to people at the time and in the place where one now lives.”
We think this is good advice that every Christian should apply in determining if conscience will allow one to celebrate Christian holidays that have lost their pagan significance. When we consider that Christianity is all about how God transformed our lives from “pagan” anti-God actions and attitudes, we can appreciate what Christianity has done in transforming “pagan” dates that Satan had claimed, into days to glorify God. In Christ, there is no requirement to either celebrate or not celebrate holidays. Every Christian can have the freedom to decide, as Paul admits in Romans 14:5-6, “One [man] judges one day as above another; another [man] judges one day as all others; let each [man] be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it to Jehovah.”
A lot of controversy surrounds the subject of “war” and Christian involvement in it. How does the Bible’s justification of self-defense at Exodus 22:2 play into the defense of a nation during war? To aid in evaluating the moral ethnicity of a given war, in the 13th century, Saint Thomas Aquinas formulated an outline of principles that eventually became known as the “Just War Theory.” The principles have been used by nations with Judeo-Christian based values to determine when and how a righteous war could be waged. Because these principles can be applied at any time to national wars, our position is that Christians who evaluate which side of a particular battle falls under the principles of a righteous war and only serve on that side of the battle would not end up killing their Christian “brothers” in war.
Furthermore, there is no clear injunction in Scripture against Christian involvement in war. At Acts 10, Cornelius, a Christian centurion (captain of 100 Roman soldiers) was commended as a “righteous and God-fearing man,” and at Luke 3:14, John the Baptist’s advice to the soldiers of his day was to “be content” with their wages. They could only be “content” if they remained soldiers! Ecclesiastes 3:1,3, and 8 states, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven….A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up….A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.”
For more information on this subject, see our article on “War and Neutrality—Should Christians Remain Neutral During War?”
The Trinity is the view that the three persons mentioned in the Bible: Father, Son (i.e., Jesus) and Holy Spirit are one God. They are distinct in their Personhoods, yet they maintain unity of substance as one God. The Watchtower correctly defines the “Trinity” doctrine in some of its statements regarding it, but in many other statements, the way it is presented often leads people to believe that the Trinity consists of three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in one person, but such is an inaccurate concept of the doctrine. The following examples demonstrate some of the ways the Watchtower misrepresents this doctrine in its literature:
“Here Jesus shows that he and the Father, that is, Almighty God, must be two distinct entities, for how else could there truly be two witnesses? …Was God saying that he was his own son, that he approved himself, that he sent himself? No.…To whom was he praying? To a part of himself? No….To whom was Jesus crying out? To himself or to part of himself? …If you appear in someone else’s presence, how can you be that person? You cannot. You must be different and separate.…Someone who is ‘with’ another person cannot also be that other person.” —Should You Believe in the Trinity?, pp. 17-19, 27
We would agree that several passages demonstrate the distinction between the Person of the Father and the Person of the Son, but such arguments have no bearing against the Trinity doctrine because it teaches, “there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost… For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic [Christian] Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords.” (The Creed of Athanasius) Since the Trinity teaches the distinction of each of the “Persons” of the Godhead, all arguments demonstrating this are invalid.
Another argument proposed by the Watchtower that becomes inconsequential when the Trinity doctrine is accurately defined is the claim that Jesus cannot be “equal” to the Father if He is in subjection to Him. The Watchtower asserts, “The Bible’s position is clear. Not only is Almighty God, Jehovah, a personality separate from Jesus but He is at all times his superior….And this is why Jesus himself said: ‘The Father is greater than I.’—John 14:28” (Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 20)
Here again, the Watchtower arguments fail when the Trinity doctrine is accurately defined. Concerning the nature of Jesus Christ, the Creed of Athanasius notes, “Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.” When Jesus made the claim that “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), was He here on earth operating under the limitations of His “manhood”? Or was He in Heaven operating in His divine essence? Context reveals that Jesus was speaking of His human nature when He claimed that the Father was in a “greater” position than He.
Furthermore, the fact that Jesus is “subject” to God, His Father, does not indicate that He is any less “God” than His Father is. At Luke 2:51, Jesus was “subject” to Mary and Joseph. Are we to argue that Jesus is “inferior” in nature to Mary and Joseph because He was “subject” to them? Of course not! We believe that just as a “son” is no less human than his father is, so Jesus being “God’s Son” is no less “God” than His Father is.
“On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.” (John 5:18, NWT)
For more information concerning the “Trinity” doctrine and responses to common Scriptural verses used against it as well as an expose’ of the faulty Watchtower claim that the doctrine was derived from paganism, see “How can Anyone Believe Jesus is God” and “Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity.”