Introduction to Cults Part Two
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Read the first part of the topic first. Click HERE to read the part one.
1. It's historical background.
a. The founder of Jehovah's Witnesses is "Pastor" Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) in Pennsylvania, USA.
b. He got his title "Pastor" because he taught a small bible class and his students gave him the title but he was never ordained or theologically trained.
c. In 1884, he formed Zion's Watchtower Tract Society, it was renamed the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1896 and moved its headquaters to Brooklyn, New York.
d. He was an extremely egotistic man and made many absurd claims about himself and his writings like claiming he was as good as St. Paul or Martin Luther. He also said that it was better to read his books (a seven volume series called Studies in the Scriptures) than the Bible. Nothe - his books were filled with errors.
e. His wife successfully sued him for divorce in 1913 on the grounds of adultery, conceit, egoism and domination.
f. In 1917, Joseph Franklin Rutherford succeeded "Pastor" Russell as president. Rutherford was a lawyer and an assistant judge. Using Isaiah 41:10, he decided to rename the movement Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931.
g. Groups meeting together are called congregrations, but the places they meet are called Kingdom Halls and not churches.
h. Total membership in the JW is around 6.1 million as at end 2001 with 5.1 million members outside of the USA.
2. The theology of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
a. Generally the members are very zealous and missionary minded with a "door to door" approach to evangelism.
b. They claim to accept the Bible as the only authority for truth but in reality, the only real authority is the official system of interpretation and no devotion are tolerated.
c. Their theology denies every cardinal belief in historic Christianity including the Trinity, the diety of Jesus Christ, His bodily resurrection, salvation by grace through faith and eternal punishment for the wicked.
d. JW uses the name "Jehovah" for God and believe that Jehvah is the only true name for God.
3. The Trinity and the Deity of Jesus Christ.
a. The Watchtower makes it very clear it does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. They say that Satan was in the inventor of this doctrine. With the denial of this doctrine, they also do not believe that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit is God.
b. JW says that Jesus Christ was a created being, the second greatest personage of the universe. Eg. If JEsus Christ was God, then during Jesus' death, God was dead in the grave?
c. This denial of the deity of Jesus Christ is not new in the history of the Church. It is merely a revival of the teaching known as Arianism (named after a man called Arius, declared as a heretic in the 4th century).
d. To the JW, Jesus is not equal to Jehovah God. He was rather, Michael the Archangel in his preexistent state, having a brother named Lucifer, who rebelled against God while he (known then as Michael) who remained obedient.
e. During his earthly exisence Michael was transformed into a man - Jesus and upon his death and resurrection, he went back to his former state as an invisible spirit. This is an attempt by the JW to show that Jesus Christ is not God and they appeal to the Bible to support their teachings but it is clear that the Bible contradicts their theology.
4. Salvation by Grace and eternal punishment.
a. In JW theology, salvation is not a free gift from God based the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Rather their doctrines teach a salvation by works.
b. The Bible teaches clearly that we cannot earn our salvation by our good works in Titues 3:5 "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy."(NIV)
c. JW denies the existence of hell as a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. Instead they argue for painless extinction (absence of being) or the doctrine of "annihilationism".
5. False Prophecies and the "New World Translation" bible.
a. The JW teach that second coming of Jesus Christ will take place in 1914 to set up a kingdom of God. Of course in 1914 nothing happened, so they now change their teachings to say that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 and set up His kingdom in heaven.
b. Jesus return is not an invisble as the Bible clearly teaches that "He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him."(Rev 1:7)
c. To the JW, only 144,000 best and most faithful JW servants will live with Jesus in heaven and quote Rev 7:4 and 14:1,3 but fail to notice that the 144,000 are the tribes of Israel. All the rest of the JW will are barred from heaven and live instead on Paradise earth.
c. In 1961, the JW published their own translation of the bible with the word" Jehovah" used for God in the entire New Testament. None of the authors and translators were credited or named. Many passages in their bible translation were changed to support their doctrines.
a. Uninformed Christians are easy prey for the JW who know proof texts for all their doctrines. They are taught to quote "Greek" and the "Hebrew" to confuse most Christians. Christians should spend time in systematic Bible study so that they know how to bibically support true doctrines.
b. The deity of Jesus Christ should be the central issues in any discussion with JWs. We should be able to present a clear biblical case for the Christ's deity because their system crumbles when Christ is seen as Jehovah God.
c. They too need to be loved and not hated, for sadly they have been deceived by a cultic system that does not allow them to think for themselves to see the true claims of Jesus.
PS:Use the BibleGateWay link at the sidebar to search for the verses in this post.
Sources: Kenneth Boa, Cults, World Religions and the Occults, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1990
Walter Martine, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, 2003
Josh McDowell, Don Stewart, Concise Guide to Today's Religions.
This full article was written by a teacher in my Sunday School.