I am a follower of Christ, a "Christian," a believer in the One true God, named in the Old Testament with the letters YHWH. The Father who's only begotten, not made, son Jesus died and whose blood cleanses the sin of all who call on him for forgiveness, and the Spirit who himself calls for repentance and fills the believer with light and understanding.
I have spoken to a number of Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's) and have found a number of characteristics which they, apart from the majority of the population, have.
They use certain words that others never use. The greatest example of which is the term "do obeiscence." They use this term to keep Jesus from being worshiped as God. No one uses this term. No one but JW's. This is how you can spot them a mile away. In the post below, you can see an email sent to me under the auspices that the person who wrote the book mentioned therein was not a JW. I almost laughed out loud. JW's are so disconnected with the rest of society that they can't discern their own writings and beliefs from those of others, and any attempt by them to use the "Reductio ad Absurdum" argument suffers for it. JW's are not allowed to read materials not explicitly published or OK'd by the Watchtower people. So all the materials they read say the same thing, and they believe it because that's what they are told. I have to admit, they have very good memories, but they have nothing new or fresh. And I know this to be true. Their arguments go the same direction every time, and I know this to be true, because I have had plenty of arguments with them. They have nothing new because they don't have the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but I'll talk more about that later.
I am a studier Christian Apologetics, because first of all, we don't all have to agree on every tiny point. There are differing points of view on minor subjects, and that's OK. There are unlimited numbers of arguments in Christian Apologetics and they change daily because of a changing world and philosophical marketplace, and they can compete in the philosophical marketplace and they always have. But the truth at the center remains the same. Because Christianity is about a set of ideas that are really true to paraphrase J.P. Moreland. I also study Christian Apologetics because I believe the the historic Christian faith can be defended and championed because it is true objectively.
It also is my belief that life should be fun, love of God should be wonderful, life should be about enjoying the LORD, and making him known. Living in his grace and growing in his love is the way of life for a Christian. Fun, because God invented fun. I can say from personal experience that missions work is fun. I do not see much fun in the lives of Jehovah's Witnesses.
I have heard that many JW's will never led anyone to their faith. That is not fun. Spending a lifetime of proselytizing on a daily or weekly basis and seeing no result is not fun. And I know why it happens. JW's do not believe in the person of the Holy Spirit. How can the Spirit lead someone to repentance in Jesus Christ if there is no Spirit? Thats why true JW's number well less than 10,000,000 in the entire world while other Christians number around 2,000,000,000. Now I am not saying that all those are true believers, but there is a point there.
On the subject of fun, I enjoy listening to good contemporary Christian and Gospel music. I don't know of any Contemporary JW musicians. Point made.
I also love good philosophical conversation. I know of no well known or even not so well known JW philosophers, while I know of tons of Christian philosophers and thinkers.
I even love celebrating holidays, even if what I am celebrating did not actually take place on that date. Take Christmas, Jesus was born on the Day of Atonement in September, but he was still born, and if everyone else celebrates his birth in December, I'm ok with that. I also enjoy having a birthday every year, and celebrating with others when they have a birthday. I enjoy Valentine's Day which is also my wife's birthday, and named after a Roman Catholic saint. But I am ok with that because it is a chance to celebrate love, and love is good. I enjoy Independence Day, because it signifies the founding of a country where I am free to have all these opinions. I enjoy Mother's and Father's Day, as well as Labor Day, and Presidents Day, and New Years, and even Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Name one JW holiday. Point.
I would also be glad to accept the gift of life of someone else's blood or body tissue, not only to save my life, but to add credit to their spiritual account for saving my life. Jesus said that no one has greater love than someone who lays down their life for a friend.
I read a story written by a man who used to be a Jehovah's Witness, and decided to leave the church. The problem was, his coworkers at work were also JW's. They effectively kept him from being promoted, or even to perform his job to the best of his ability. He eventually had to quit. A true Christian would never do something like that. Former believers are of all people to be pitied and loved, not tortured.
Let's explore the concept of Hell. In the JW view, believers spend eternity on earth while Jehovah, Jesus, and the 144,000 (filled up in the 1930's by the way) rule in Heaven. There is also no hell. People are just blinked out of existence, end of show, as if they had never existed. In my view, heaven comes to earth and believers get to spend eternity with the risen Christ as the faithful bride and Church. Hell is a place of eternal conscious torment that Jesus himself spoke endlessly about with the strongest of warnings. I don't know about you, but I think there is much more to be both gained and lost in my view and the orthodox Christian view. JW Salvation and damnation is kinda "eh."
And the final reason why I am not a Jehovah's Witness is this. Jesus. Jesus is life and love. Jesus, my creator, died for me of his own free will. You see if Jesus was created himself, it means that the Father in his omnipotent way would have known that Jesus would have to die. He would have therefore been created to die, only to be recreated after death by the Father in the JW view. This is no savior, he'd be a pawn, maybe a rook. If God created somebody named Bob to die for my sins, it would mean nothing. But if the Father, the Son, and the Spirit have existed in perfect union and love from eternity past, then none was created by, for, or to do, anything, and they'd be free to create and love and to die for what they willed. That is the meaning of a true sacrifice.
And that my friends is a reason for the hope that I have, and it is a real hope.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Why I am not a Jehovah's Witness
Which is to say, why I do not attend a Kingdom Hall, why I do not belong to or am not affiliated with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Because I am not a witness of "Jehovah," for that is not his name, just as the Allah of Islam is not God and the Jesus of the LDS church is not Jesus.