Thursday, September 23, 2010

Witnessing to Witnesses Part 9

The Watchtower Gospel and it's Implications

Defending the biblical gospel is every Christian’s responsibility and privilege. The Witnesses have corrupted the gospel of grace in two ways: (1) they limit the benefits of the New Covenant and the Gospel to a measly 144,000 and (2) they have created a gospel that teaches a works based salvation.
The Witnesses are taught that there are two distinct classes of Christians in their organization. These two classes of Christians do not share a common relationship with God through Christ, nor do they share a common hope. Yet, according to their view, each group is fully Christian and fully acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. At the outset, it must be pointed out that this contradicts a basic Christian tenet, namely, that Christians are “called to the one hope that belongs to your call.” (Ephesians 4:4 ESV) All Christians share a common hope of future spiritual life.

Witnesses teach that from the days of Jesus to the end of the world there will only be 144,000 born-again Christians. These are said to have a heavenly hope and will reign with Christ as kings and priests in his kingdom. The second class, called the Great Crowd, is an unlimited number who are given an earthly hope of life. These millions believe that the world will soon end and they will pass alive into an earthly paradise created by Christ’s reign. There are only a few thousand Witnesses who claim to be one of the 144,000.

The Great Crowd, are said to have an earthly hope of life. They can't take communion and can't claim to be sons of God. They are not part of the seed of Abraham. They are not in the new covenant. They are not born again. Jesus is not their mediator. They are not the elect and cannot claim to be saints. No adoption, no justification, no union with Christ, no assurance. The Witness who is at your door will be in this group.

Once again a quote form Organization is apt. From "The Desire for Peace and Security Worldwide," 1986, p. 10

"Likewise, the Greater Moses, 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."

Please consider the impact of this. We know that in the epistle to the Romans, Paul clearly teaches that the only hope for fallen humanity to be at peace with God is through Justification by Faith. However, Romans is written, "to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints" (Romans 1:7 ESV). From the Witness standpoint this means that Paul is speaking only to those who make up the Church—the 144,000—they are the only saints. The letter of Romans (along with his other letters) were all written to those making up a part of the 144000. Forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ is only given to those who are part of the Israel of God which the WT Society says is limited to 144,000. To apply the promise of the Justification by faith to a group Paul is not addressing is to go beyond the biblical good news. The Watchtower Society tells the Witnesses that they are excluded from being "holy ones" because they are not part of the 144,000. The Society is telling literally 99.9 % of their membership that the gifts and promises of the Gospel do not apply to them!

An illustration may help here. You receive a beautiful, personal letter from your father confirming his love for you and explaining in great detail what he has done and will yet do to guarantee a rich inheritance for you as his beloved child. The letter is so delightful that you share its contents with a close friend. Your friend reads this letter and shares in your joy but understands the letter is not addressed to him. All the love and good things promised are addressed only to you. Your friend will not benefit. He is not your father’s son. That, in essence, is the situation with millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. On one hand they are told that they are excluded from being a part of the New Covenant—one the other hand they are some how, convoluted, man-made way, promised eternal life.

So how are you saved according to the Watchtower? According to the Watchtower (Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1983, pages 12-13 & Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1997, pages 18-22), there are four requirements for salvation. First, you must take in Knowledge. This means learning the Watchtower system of theology. The second requirement is to conform one's life to the moral requirements set out in the Bible. You must obey all of God's laws for the rest of your life in order to be worthy of salvation. Unless you measure up to God's moral standards, you can't be saved. Third, you must be part of, serve in, and submit to, the Watchtower Organization. Outside of the Organization there is no salvation. Fourthly, you must proselytize regularly.

Notice a quote from the Watchtower, March 1, 1960, p. 134,
"When a person, on the basis of the Scriptural knowledge he has gained, has belief in Christ as the Savior whom God provided and shows that faith by his works, he can consider himself as being on the way to salvation. It would be a mistake for him to think that he is now saved and cannot fall. He must show by his endurance in the Christian faith that he is worthy of salvation. 'Let him that thinks he has a firm position beware that he does not fall.'1 Cor. 10:12... Salvation from death is a gift from God to those that obey him, not to those that disobey."

If you accomplish these four things during your life, you will be rewarded with salvation. If you are one of the chosen few, the 144000, at death you will be immediately rewarded by resurrection into heaven. If you are part of the vast number who get life on earth, you will be resurrected after Armageddon, and only then will Christ's death be applied to you to take away original sin. This is the uncertain result of following Watchtower's way to salvation.

It's like the Witnesses expect that God works like an employer. On the day of judgment they will get to stand before God and share with him their resume. They say in effect, “God, here's my life. I did a good job. I think I deserve to be justified and allowed into heaven.” It's like they're applying for a job. God has 144 000 management positions, and a multitude of employee positions available in his company and there are six billion applicants so you'd better make sure your resume is top notch. You'd better look better, be better, have more experience, make a better impression, if you expect to get the job. That's salvation according to the Watchtower.

Notice again, Watchtower, March 1, 1960, p. 134-135,

"For the select few that have been chosen to rule with Christ in the heavens salvation comes by resurrection from the condition of death. But for the great multitude of people of all kinds that anticipate eternal life on earth salvation will come during Christ's thousand-year reign. Christ will at that time apply toward them the benefits of his ransom sacrifice, that they may be released from Adamic sin, made free from death and lifted to human perfection in an earthly paradise. This is the certain result of following God's way to salvation."

It has been said often, but it deserves repetition: there are only two types of belief systems in the world, those that trust in their own works, and those that trust in the work of another, which is the Gospel. In fact, the bedrock and foundation of all false religion is the claim that the only way to be justified in God's eyes is to earn it by doing your best and obeying the rules. This is exactly the way the Watchtower expects it's members to be saved.

If that's not the Gospel, what is and how can we share it with the Witnesses.

3 comments:

Katoikei's Jukebox said...

I am greatly enjoying your gentle manner. It is a way that I have found too. May the Lord continue to guide you in this word, in His Word.

christian peper said...

It is hard to witness to a Jehovah’s Witness member because the organization uses cultic tools such as: love bombing, loading the language, spying on each other, using thought stopping techniques, and control of information. I lived with a JW cult member in 2004 and in short order my rights were taken away from me.

Matthew said...

@Christian Peper.

You are so right. Especially with the loaded language part. I thank God that the WT Society is neutral and has no love for Politics. If they did, they'd be worse then the Catholic Church ever was.