Gods Name Is Not Yahweh or Jehovah?: -------The Gentile Church Dilemma
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Yet you hear the opposite of this preached everywhere in saying that we all deserve death and hell. There are no Bible verses saying that we all deserve death and hell, and that idea is certainly a denial of the good news. He rose again from the dead to do the same continually as our high priest.
How is it possible that the entire church in the whole world has missed this truth when it is plainly stated in Scripture?
- TruLight Radio XM.
- The Hymns of the Atharvaveda: Book V.
- Last Five Years.
Because Satan is the preacher in the mouth of all the false ministers and they have filled the world with taking Scripture out of context. It does not mean to pay for sin, but it means to say that there is no sin to be found in us. In other words, although the law of Moses says the whole world is guilty of sin, God says that there is justification for sin through Jesus Christ. Therefore people should respond to this in being reconciled to God also in their behaviour by the free gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the true grace of God which brings salvation.
You, and I, and all, have the seed of sin within us. We cannot escape it. Jesus died to absolve us from ALL sin, past, present and future. God knows we are all sinners. Be humble and thankful that God sent Jesus to forgive us. But it takes faith in that fact. Praise God that you are still here to inspire me with the wisdom He gives you! You have influenced my thinking, probably more than you know, with your faith and experienced wisdom.
That is why we all are sinners and shall continue to sin, regardless of our will or good intentions. You are right, brother. JOHN And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Fessdo, beloved bro, if I read you right here, you are saying, in the scripture you quoted, that if one knows that Jesus is The Lord and denies that knowledge, it is The Unforgivable Sin, and I agree. Fessdo, you are utterly clueless. It is God that you are rejecting in rejecting my words which are the true Scriptures, not me. There is only one true Bible, and I understand it and you most certainly do not understand the gospel.
You are quoting not from the Bible. Son, I have been very clear in what I said. If anyone rejects the gospel which I just declared they are not a Christian. If anyone says that Jesus did not die to prove our innocence, after reading what I wrote, they are condemning themselves as guilty. If you say that you are a true sinner then you are saying you cannot go to heaven. There are many Scriptures that say this. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
God only forgives what is just to forgive, and it is only just to forgive the sin of ignorance and weakness of the flesh, which is unmeaning sin, but not just to forgive willful sin. Jim T, I follow God in the true Bible, not a bunch of humans as you said. That is foolishness. And the verse you quoted is referring to God cleansing us from all sin in the flesh, not from willful sin. The literal blood of Jesus does not cleanse you like a soap on your body in a physical sense. This is symbolic language.
But I cannot prove anything to anyone who does not even believe in the actual words of Scripture. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. If anyone is really a sinner, and cannot be proven righteous indeed, you can fully expect to go to hell.
If you think you can sin willfully and get away with it and do that sin, then you are going to go to hell. You are reprobates if you believe so evilly, after what I declared clearly as the truth. Peace my friend. Richard, Let me help you here,Hebrews Living Bible If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior, If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior, If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior,,, by rejecting the Savior,,, by rejecting JESUS after knowing the truth of forgiveness. God decreed it and I believe it However, if it helps others to delve into every last little nuance of the scriptures, fine, let them indulge themselves.
I would only advise that they beware lest they become a stumbling block for another believer with their insistence that they know better than anyone else. Oh, and Carey, I truly appreciate you allowing me to participate on this forum. I do think you are doing the best you can, with a clear conscience, to serve God and inspire others to worship Him.
I am a member of the body of Christ wherever they may be which is the true church , although I am alone. I am alone because the said churches are not the church. They are not truly Christian. So my problem is in not being able to find genuine Christians because they do not pass the most basic test of being a true Christian.
They will not fellowship or come into the true church of God. The church is me, which they deny having any fellowship with simply because I do in fact declare the truth. Speak freely of our glorious Lord Jesus to anyone and everyone, brother, as His Spirit may prompt you. Share Jesus with others.
Be thankful to Him and humble. Not God, I assure you. Jesus clearly stated that the Holy Spirit will guide you to all truth. Your verbal assaults on those who are simply sharing what is in their hearts is an indicator of your inner insecurity. You tweak the scriptures to fit what you desire them to say rather than allowing them to speak to you. Case in point is your misrepresentation of Hebrews If you really take a sincere evaluation of your spiritual walk you will find that you are trying to add some old wine to the new wine…which is never good.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Jim T. What did Paul, Peter and John do when they woke up with a boner? Sin is inescapable. Jesus is The Solution to that enigma. No human will ever be perfect on this earth. Excepting Jesus, of course. I am sorry if it appeared that way. At any rate I am absolutely in agreement with your view. Why would we even need a Savior if we had even the slightest capability of becoming sinless by our efforts?
I accepted this belief because I found it impossible to be righteous continually and believed that all those people at the church could…. Of course, neither you or I view this as a license to sin. But those of true humility accept their sinful nature, are extremely grateful for the gift of a Savior, which causes us to desire sin less and less.
I agree we will not be perfect while in our flesh. Amen, brother! As you and I agree, we are sinful by nature. Wonder where HE went? Hey, btw, this church I was attending for a while, the pastor started in, suddenly, beating the drum for donations of money. I scrammed out of that church so fast you could hear the wind whistling amongst the pews, never to return.
You taught me well, dear brother. Thanks again! It was August, As I was preparing to go on a mission to Ghana with 18 young souls, I was reading a letter from the pastor of a sister church there and the activities our group was going to engage in. Preaching in various villages, worshiping, casting out demons, etc, etc. We arrived in Ghana and split in to groups of three and a guide for each group for translation. Ghana has a very distinct aroma and color. The area is lush green and the earth is a burnt orange. Vultures are in abundance like pigeons in a city.
Termites create hills that are up to six feet high and the people smile and glow. Sometimes when people greet each other and talk to one another they will hold hands for an extended time. The village we ended up in for the night had goats and chickens walking around, some huts were wood, some on the outskirts were clay with grass roofs. We set up to hold a service in the village school, a typical single-roomed wood building.
As the pastor of that village began to speak and the worship team began a guy playing a homemade drum and a girl with an angelic voice to sing to signal the start of the service. I was pacing and praying outside the building getting my being ready to be used. Off in the distance I could see a few women dancing in the moonlight to the worship music being played.
They were not on their way to attend, they were just enjoying the moment by their hut, it was beautiful. The service began and I preached about the power of prayer of a righteous man citing Elisha and how it is meant for everybody to have that power through the righteousness of Christ. As we ended the service, we started worshipping and the people lined up to be prayed over.
One by one they came forward to receive prayer. At the end of the line was a teenage girl. When she made her way to the front and spoke with the pastor it was learned that she was full of demons, my spirit leapt, this was the very moment, the very reason I was to be on this mission trip. I told the people of that vision. I prayed, the music rang, I prayed and the people sang. The service ended, I was elated and exhausted. We spent a few more days in the village walking from house to house, praying and preaching, I was never lost for the right words, reaching all sorts of souls, and seeing signs everywhere, for thus I know Christ is alive.
I have seen people from all walks of life living a life of destruction and the Church reaching out to these people changing lives, reuniting families and these people becoming whole again, I know the Church saves. I have also seen many of people strung out from condemnation and guilt, broken and hurting deep inside from the constant pressure of trying to do what is right according to the preaching and teaching of those deemed as leaders of the Church. I know the people are imperfect.
Some responded with open arms and other responded with condemnation, no uniformity, it was very confused and confusing. Unfortunately the president of the congregation I was attending announced from the pulpit as he was preaching that he would not live in a country where that allowed same sex marriage. I was like What? That stuck with me, and not in a good way. He was preaching hate and condemnation while supposed to be representing love and grace. Yes, the people are imperfect. You wrote you can not separate Church from Christ, this is truth, but where it gets convoluted is when one needs to separate the people church from the Church.
This is a main concept I have learned in my spiritual walk, follow Christ, not people. This will be and is the downfall of the Church. One must be able to separate the people of the Church from the Church itself. A man must work out his own salvation. Follow me as I follow Christ.. The Church is built on the principle of salvation and Christ is the head.
This Church shall not be overcome by anything for it resides in a realm beyond people. But the church, the people of this world with their several doctrines that conflict one another, the bingo parties and potlucks, out reaches and squabbles is not the same entity, though it carries the same name. It is not made up of Christ but people who elect to try and follow Christ to the best of their abilities. We must separate the Church from the church of people or call it something else, because it is two distinct and different entities.
One is man made, physical and completely flawed, while the other is devine and spiritual and one must be able to discern the difference for his or her own salvation and sanity. Know Christ, Know love and know the difference. I share from a heart of desiring all to have clarity regarding spiritual matters. There is no where in the New Covenant that commands the erection of buildings, whether great or quaint, in which an organized religious entity is housed. The assembly of believers mentioned within the scriptures refers to sincere believers in Christ coming together…wherever, whether in a home or in the park, on and on, and sharing from their personal experience with God and His Word under the primary guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Free from the lie! Do not take my word as gospel…ask God to reveal His truth and be open to receiving it.
Is the Mosaic Law Relevant to ANY Christians?
Your article is great in theory, but in my experience of 28 years of following Christ, most leadership is not open to any correction. Modern day churches model themselves after other churches and not the biblical church as prescribed in scripture. Call it impractical to act out Acts , but my husband and I do this twice a week with groups of believers. We are accountable to each other to make sure the word of God is not misused. Never once do I see the Body referred to as a well-oiled machine, which disposable parts. Laity is looked down upon as not being capable of exegesis or discernment.
I am the sixth of eight siblings. We ate and breathed church! It was much like the following:. Sunday Morning: Sunday School at a. Followed by Morning Worship at a. And if there was a special program planned with another church as the guest, then most likely we would eat dinner at the church and stay for the program until around p.
Or, we would return home and eat, and within an hour and a half, return to church. Friday Night: Church Service starting at p. Saturday Afternoon: Sunshine Band for the youngsters. By Saturday night, perhaps a District Meeting, a Musical Mid-night or another program , a dinner sale or special program. It could be several things planned for that night. Then start all over again on Sunday! And many times we were the guest church for other local churches, so we had to quickly eat dinner and then off to that local church or—in many cases—churches that took us out of the state.
The holidays were nonstop! There was Good Friday services around noon at the church. Then Resurrection Sunday, which was the custom. My mother would prepare Sunrise Breakfast for the members of the church on Sunday morning, and her daughters helped to prepare it prior to sunrise, around a. After that, change clothes for Sunday School and church service for the entire day. My mother also hosted Christmas dinners for the church members—preparing food and entertainment.
Christmas programs included plays, readings, and poems that meant the PKs had to participate in a big way. Also, my siblings and I were singers and instrumentalist with our own singing group. We occasionally went out of town to sing and perform on the weekends, BUT, we had to be back in time for Sunday Morning church, no matter how late we arrived home. Though I was attending a university in my hometown, there was little to no time to work on my school curriculum. I was burnt OUT! Did I have a healthy respect for Jesus Christ and the things of God? I was a decent person from the viewpoint of being moral.
No way! I was well aware that if I had died in my sins, hell would be my eternal home. I started reminiscing about Good Friday services and missing my family. So, I turned on the radio there was no Facebook, YouTube, etc. The channel had several preachers on the station, and I listened to what I had been taught all my life, but never wanted to accept. Then, I saw what appeared to a vision—a cloudlike type of vision as though it had materialized in my bedroom! The scene was extremely bright but cloudy. But it was Jesus hanging on the cross in my bedroom! His entire body hung stretched and He seemed to be breathing out His last breaths.
So, I turned my face away, crying profusely in shame and unworthiness. Those words hit me like a bolt of lightning! My husband then accepted Jesus as his Savior that following May. My husband and I did find a church that had taught us well. Unfortunately, that pastor and wife divorced a couple of years later.
But my husband and I found ourselves too busy again! I was the church secretary, also in the choir, and on the Anniversary Committee and working part-time in a secular job while trying to balance it all. It was program after program after program again. Eventually, my husband was given PCS orders to another state. We were given a letter of commendation for our church attendance and a letter to take with us with a plaque extolling our dedication from the pastor. That was in The pastor had reunited with his wife before his passing to glory.
Though we do drop in to visit one specific church in our area, we have not joined a membership. We are approaching sixty-years-old now. Though the pastors would mention the Rapture, they never went into detail about it, and rarely taught from the book of Revelation not that I could remember. So, one day I met a Catholic apologist online in a Christian forum. For nearly two years he put me in a position to defend the reason why I believed in salvation in Jesus Christ through faith in grace alone, and to prove solo scripture as sound doctrine outside of oral tradition relating to Catholic dogma.
That was around I researched, learned, and grew in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. I learned outside the organized church. YouTube is a treasure-trove of learning about eschatology I believe the Pre-tribulation viewpoint, btw. I have a true love especially for eschatology. I am yet learning and enjoying working for Jesus, and have started using a PowerPoint program as an animation-like presentation on YouTube about eschatology, starting with the Rapture.
It is time-consuming, but I am enjoying the work I was given to do by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I was brought up as a Catholic. However it can get a bit grating after years of attending and know one including the priest will even make eye contact with you. So I tried other churches I am very interested in the reformed and protestant teaching.
It was like being interrogated. In the end I persuaded her to come with me. Also they where obsessed with interviewing criminals on the stage, they were treated like rock stars and the ordinary parishioners especially the older ones, totally ignored, terrible. And then theres t5he ecstaticism with the hand waving and once people falling down in a form of mass hypnotic hysteria.
It kills my faith, so I prefer to study my bible and pray and have a close relationship with the lord and thats better for me. Sad but there it is. You are right, Mick. Worship, commune with and love Jesus in the quiet and peace of your soul, in private meditation and contemplation.
The church wants your money. You are of no use to the church except to provide money to them. What I hear through these posts is a constant whining about the faults of church. Jesus is perfect, the church not so much. As this topic is obviously coming from disappointments and wounds of the past then I suggest the constrictive response is to do 2 things. Ask Jesus to reveal the deep source of your discontent and obey what he shows you to do in your life, and secondly speak life and blessings into bad situations and be part of the solution.
That is the point. Man will never be able to create or possess a church without spot or wrinkle or any such blemish. So why are we trying to build the church for the Lord when He said He was the one who would build it? He will present to Himself a pure and spotless bride. They are not the same!!! This will be the reason for the downfall of modern churches.. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. The Bible does not instruct us to have a different church on every corner. For they that are such serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. However, according to the Bible, the most traveled route is not the way to life. Eternal life through Christ. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. They are of the world, and the world heareth them. Modern day churches want your money. Look at filthy rich Joel Osteen. Every pastor wishes they were Joel Osteen. Many are called, but few are chosen. So, among the scripture quotes which you have chosen to display, one would think this one above would help you see that the statement is not literal.
Of course there remains before and after the time of Jesus on Earth both male and female, and other beliefs, creeds, nationalities and conditions…but the Church of Christ asks us to co-exist as if these differences matter not. The shepherds are mostly wolves and their said flock become wolves themselves through dedicating themselves to them. God wants to unite the true church, however, the said churches are in the way, hindering and stopping that from happening. But church is a place to work, not to rest.
Demand, demand, demand. Not at am sharp on their only day off. Just let them come and be still and know that God is God, and that He loves them for them, not for what He can get out of them. If they want to leave right after the service, let them go. Again, awesome site! I love my church and what it does for our church community, our neighborhoods, and the world. I find that we do a lot more together than I can accomplish on my own. I see lives changed week after week. I wonder how much time we waste debating about these matters…with time we are to steward?
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping? Brother Fessdo, Brother Fessdo? Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing Ding ding dong, ding ding dong. I just find it hard to imagine that as Jesus hung on the cross He cried because He knew His sacrifice would not be sufficient to save me from myself. To save someone that played the game, knew the game, and manipulated the game of this thing we call church. And now that I am tired of playing my entire existence in eternity is to be condemned to a fiery hell? There is sure to be people that will disagree and will accept nothing less than total allegiance to the system but I refuse to bow.
It took me 36 years in the institution we call the modern-day church to find out I did not know the God I said I served. I only found Him walking down a lonely road to Golgotha. If we truly believe that the current structure of what was a construct of Constantine is the true church then I must ask the questions, is it without spot or wrinkle, or any such blemish. Any honest man would say no. That is because the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ is about individuals who have gone into a holy bed chamber and had intimate time with Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim. It is made up of the portable tabernacles that have made Him their habitation and not a group of people that have put the name Jesus on the sign of their church.
That sign is only an indication of where those people have stopped in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. As individual churches or habitations of the Most High, definitely. If they have that true 3rd dimensional relationship, then most certainly so. But those people would know that going to a building and singing, hearing a preacher, and giving money does not define their salvation nor is it a testimony of their spirituality. Their hope, faith, trust, and lives are hidden with Christ in God. The mentality of it being all about my church or your church is where we have truly missed it.
Even the word itself is an incrimination of that which the all worship. With each new church that arises after a split, or a new denomination that is added to the, now more than ones registered, we lay yet another fist to the face of Christ where He is marred to the point that no one can see who He truly is.
The allegiance to denomination rather than obedience to Him is at the heart of the illusion. First, we divided over liturgy or the manner or order of worship, then by doctrine, and ultimately by religion. The Father must be truly confused or we would have the church that He promised. Instead look at what the church, that is more the leadership, has been doing in the shadows and it is Ezekiel Chapter 8 all over again. We moved out of the shadow of what was a type and moved into the light. The construct of what it is to be is all in Him, by Him, and through Him.
This was much more to be desired than a humble and giving form of relationship with the Father and with their fellow man. And this is what we call the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I weep because so many have been bewitched into believing that they will never have any more of God than the pastor will allow. The princes of the pulpits that have no understanding beyond the elementary principles of Christ are somehow thought of as seasoned men of the word because they wear the three piece suit just right, and the handkerchief is held with the grip of a master mason.
All of these are styling cues that are paraded as their bona fides of spirituality. It seems that we all worship that which we do not understand. How did this whole thing begin? All we did was take an ear from here, and nose from there, an eye from that and then called it God and told the world to bow down and worship it.
We created something to be sure, a graven image. The truth? Man wants the control over the masses. What they say, where they go, what they believe. Self-preservation is the first instinct of man. My friend and brother Fessdo where are you, ole buddy? If going to church brings one peace, how can that be a bad thing? He told us that if we believe in Him, we will be given eternal life. I believe Him. John Amen, we have been conditioned to attached the completed work of Christ to our ability to join a church and show up for every service. It is interesting to me that Jesus Himself never preached a gospel that was church attending centric.
He continually spoke about the secrets of the Kingdom of God. Do not be mistaken I believe that it is both good and pleasant that we live together in unity but that does not imply that we having to meet at a specific location with a steeple and choir. Some of the most enlightening and glorious times that I have had in my communion with the Father has been in the middle of nowhere with a roaring campfire. Sometimes alone and sometimes with a few others. It is such a contrast to what I had been a part of for 36yrs.
Though it may be a personal indictment about me I often tell people that I was a professional Christian. Now I am a nobody to that world but have found solace in the shadows of the almighty and would never go back. I am so humbled by His presence. At times, I think that the highest form of worship is utter and complete silence.
It might sound crazy but the loudest sound in the world is silence before the Father. We are always too busy talking, singing, shouting, dancing, laughing, of which all are good at the right time, but being quiet and still as He rises from within you becomes a crescendo of sound unlike anything ever heard. That is because glory never comes down but rather it goes up.
It is diametrically opposed to what I call pseudo evangelism propagated by the system. They made us believe that making converts and saving souls were up to us but that is not the case. Winning souls simply means that we are to sow the seed of Christ, then another waters, but He gives the increase. What we are to be about doing is making disciples. But that that is not something that happens for 1 hour at 5pm on Sunday evenings. It is the pouring of your life in Christ into another person.
At the end of it all only those whom He knows will be welcomed to share in the Kingdom of God that has been prepared for them. It so wonderful to know that a person that He does not know can never be saved and a person He does know can never be lost. That is why He is the only Lord of the universe.
Everything happens for His pleasure, all things are naked before Him, He is the beginning and the end at the same time. So, we can take our rest in knowing that no person will ever go to hell because we failed to witness to them. There is a much deeper revelation here but not for this time. Thank you for your words of life brother they have brought peace and comfort to me.
I appreciate you indulging me. This truly is all that I have left in the world, to continue my search for the height, width, and breadth of Him and His love, and to speak with others of His goodness and mercy as well all cry Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Thank you for being a part of bringing glory to Him by your beautiful words.
Amen, brother Todd. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. That was beautiful and blsssed, what you said and how you said it. Count me in among the church quitters. Faithfully attended church and served for many years. Churches are full of imperfect people. I get it. Do imperfect people have free reign to be appalling in their behavior? When I see things from the pastor and his wife that would never fly even in the most secular business office, what am I supposed to think? Why should I attend every Sunday to hear kindergarden teaching from a baby Christian behind the pulpit who slapped together a sermon from internet blogs?
We complain and complain about this, but it falls on deaf ears. Counting the number of donuts people take? Watching their children like a hawk when they go to a bathroom? How many times do we have to see this junk, and how many times do we have to complain, before pastors get the message?? And then with the music. Just ditch the worship team and play iTiunes from the stage already. It would certainly save the church a lot of time and money. Or maybe choose some less ambitious songs for their ability to induce real worship.
I have a group of Spirit-filled friends who join me in fellowship all throughout the week. We have Bible study, prayer meetings, counseling, everything the church is supposed to be. We financially assist those in need. We support ministries we believe in. We witness to people and pray for healings and stimulate each other to good works. Why is it that my complaints are always dismissed?
Why has a pastor never once called on me to explain why I disappeared? Why are there so many blogs like this that misrepresent us? I want nothing more than to find a group of nice people who study the Bible together with no egos or agendas. Why is that too much to ask??? Welcome to this blog and hope you can contribute through His Spirit. I wonder if the churches at Galatia or Corinth, at Laodicea or in Thyatira, or any of them were better than they are today.
When Jesus saw sin, he did not remain quiet, but called it out. Yet, still, he loved and died for his Church; he did not abandon it. In Thyatira, where Jezebel encouraged its members into sexual perversion, what did Jesus say? Did he tell his followers to leave? We have become grumblers and complainers. It only took three days after the Red Sea was parted that thousands resumed grumbling—except for two: Joshua and Caleb. They were the only ones to make it. Are we only joyful when circumstances please us?
No, I am not any greater than you. But I am twice as old, and by virtue of the fact I had to wait to get there, I am that much more patient. You see things you do not see when you are half as old. You experience things I would not dare have dreamt when I was young, like you. If you have been given wisdom from God, share it with those who are without it.
If you do not sin, cast the first stone. God will exalt the humble. Jesus paid it all so that you could have what he deserved. Stu, that all sounds great. Let me share with you my experience with the church I just quit. When I first began attending, about two months ago, I felt edified by the pastor and his sermons, comfortable with the welcoming, warm and friendly congregation and a sense of satisfaction when I left a service.
I had met him while attending a study group session that he led. I sent him a text, asking him to please call me. That was the final straw. That was his approach. Gimme aa bucket for that bs. Thank you, dear, blessed, holy Lord Jesus, for never leaving or forsaking me and for always walking right beside me as I and my brethren in the Grace of Your Spilled Blood patiently, eagerly await your return to make everything right. Come soon, Lord! I remember one church where we attended weeknight Bible study led by the pastor.
I humbly offered an answer. I saw the room light up including the pastor when they realized I was right. The pastor never spoke to me directly again. There was no follow-up to that conversation, not one person in the room asking me out for coffee afterward. Not that I care to be popular, but there was no curiosity to see what else I knew. In churches these days you are punished if you display knowledge or maturity above the leadership team. You are marked as a know-it-all. If you want to get along with people, you have to play dumb. Amen, you hit the mark! The prince in the pulpit saw a king and was embarrassed.
I can bet after that you became a threat to him. To use a worldly metaphor, the emperor had no clothes not because you told everyone he was naked but you showed everyone he was by being clothed. Well done. The whole of the earth groans and travails as a woman in labor. Everyone that reads this blog please here this. The groans and travails of the earth are not because of sin, wickedness, evil, or any other such force or action, not even the devil is the cause. The reason for the earths groaning and travailing is that it is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God, Romans The sons that are to be birthed out in the latter days to follow the one and only Son of God and they are be the light in this world, the bridge builders of His kingdom, dare I say it, the Melchizedek Priesthood for the end times.
The church of Ephesus self-destructed due to ravenous wolves in leadership. None of the 7 churches in Revelation exist today.. Jesus overturned the tables in the temple — then He spoke eight woes over Jersusalem, called the Pharisees children of the devil, and sent His church to the Gentiles. There are only so many times you can overturn the tables. You think pastors want to hear my wisdom? My chair-setting and floor-mopping skills are in high demand, but not my opinions. Why ask for my home address if you will literally never visit my house?
So my choices are either to sit in the back reading my Bible while no one cares to engage me after puzzlingly interrogating me on my background , or stay home in my pajamas and fellowship with real friends. Instead of browbeating us to undertake heroic Jericho efforts, perhaps, just perhaps, the shepherds over the sheep should do their job. We are the Church! There are more like you out there, Take some comfort in knowing that others also feel what you feel and see what you see.
There is a remnant people that He the Lord has set aside for these latter times. This that have been hidden away in the house of God eating and drinking the substance of Christ. They are those that hunger and thirst for Him more than their daily bread. We have no Father but God. There are no men, no institution or denomination that can lay claim to us as being their sons.
It is the reason that you leave that building feeling the way you do. There is a priesthood that is being but already has been built that will show forth the praises of Him who called us out of the dark into His marvelous light. This priesthood is the reflection of the Father and the Son and it will be the counter balance to evil in these last days. I believe that you are on the right path dear brother. Keep pressing, keep pushing, keep tapping into that 3rd dimension and when the time comes you will do the works of your Father. Thank you Todd. I continually grow as I learn more about our Savior.
He is truly our light in the darkness! Oh how desperately we need Him. Amen, brother. What would we do without Jesus? Thank you, Jesus, for coming to save us and thank you, Father, for giving us your own begotten Son Jesus! We have no life without Him because we are dead and our lives are hidden with Christ in God. So the only true way to know who you are is to know who He is because you find your true life and identity in Him. You are so dead on, we need Him more than ever. That being said the Father purposely chose to need us to complete himself.
He emptied out different parts of His personality and nature and then put it in His sons, i. So when the God part you have connects with the God part I have He is connecting Himself to Himself thus fulfilling the high priestly prayer of Christ in John Chapter 17, Father make them one even as we are one. So there are none outside the ONE. All those that the Father gave to Him He kept. What a beautiful savior we have and what a glorious privilege it is to know Him and those that carry a part of Him inside their temple.
These are the true riches of Christ, to love one another as He has loved us is greater than all of the prosperity of all the churches, denomination, religions, and ministries combined. Interesting that money has denominations as well. Just a thought. All one has to do is look at the demographics data and see that there are alot more grey hairs than younguns in the seats and that trend is not about to reverse any time soon. And its not just a matter of location, either. Congregations are stagnating and dying in better populated areas just as they are in rural small towns. I live in an urban sprawl with plenty of young people, highscool, college age, young families.
But I look around at our church and even on the busiest of Sundays, well over 70 percent in attendance is 55 or much older. It is dying in the West because it is indeed an institution in which many degenerates hide themselves, and where these princes of the pulpit, as you say, come to craft a career that most often requires little to no education.
They often gain the status of CEO immediately, as they are not required to work their way up the ladder to get what they want. And it shows. The message is always the same recycled themes, and none of them are inspiring. It feels like showing up to a banquet hall expecting a sumptuous feast for that is what church touts itself to be, spiritual nourishment only to be served up dry toast. But whatever.
It needs to be said. Its a marketing ploy to get people who show up to nice restaraunts in ripped jeans, sandals, and refusing to take their ball caps off, to see church as more relatable to them. Just another fall in standards, as you said. I realize not everyone has a suit and tie or fancy dress, but anyone can do a bit better than bermuda shorts and spaghetti straps! Blessings to you and your small body of believers who are doing exactly what the early Christians did!
It does indeed seem like the barbarians crashed the gate. Church is mostly a big party with a vaguely inspirational message to entertain the hordes of carnal prosperity seekers. Then the responsible Christians are left to pay the tab. No thanks. During the Gulf War when all the oil wells were lit ablaze I was attacked by a demon on three separate occasions all at night. This is what happened. While I slept a demon flew through my window and attack me. The spirit inside me fought this demon briefly until I awoke.
Then it made me take over. I leaped out of bed trying to defend myself. This demon was horrid and spun circles around me thrashing through my soul with its hands, then it left as fast as it came. The demon radiated from the pains associated with the abyss. He was like a coal pulled from the fire, with the pains of the abyss Rev 9, 3. This attack happened on three separate occasions as I have stated.
The third time it attacked me however was different from the rest. As before the demon attacked me, but this time I had enough since to command it to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. What happened next is even more amazing. After commanding this demon to leave in the name of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit delivered me outside my bedroom into the hallway. The demon followed. We were brought into the presence of the Lord. The Demon stood to my left and grabbing my hand, it placed its tail on top of my left hand. It was the sting of the scorpion and it went like this.
It sent waves of fire through my soul Rev 9, The demon then left. Maybe the spiritual bondage occurred after playing a Ouija board or Tarot cards as a young boy. They appeared at that time just to be games, and were sold in the kids section at stores or at least the Ouija board was. I was forced to go through said esoteric initiation through methods including witchcraft, demonology, and subversive acts of terrorism.
They informed me that in excepting one of there gods I accepted them all. One of there gods was the Devil, another they named Jesus, but they appeared to have a demon for every occasion. They informed me through methods of telepathy , that in accepting the worship of one, I accepted them all. What better way to join all religions of the world together under one banner of spiritually enslaving society?
David Spengler of the United Nations says that all people must go through a esoteric initiation and worship Lucifer to enter the New Age of Enlightenment. Helen Blavatsky calls it a Christ like consciousness, universal mind set. Benjamin Cream states that after said initiation all its members will be able to hear ancient wisdom spoken telepathically at the same moment by ascended Masters.
I knew nothing of this group at that time or there Luciferian agenda of a One World Government. Take a guess what method is used for this initiation? Only a dozen major works have appeared in the last twenty- five years, and most of these are now out of print or too dated to be of any real use to persons seeking information on current Watch Tower issues and teachings. An overall review of the books reveals that most aspects of the New World Society have been fairly well covered. Only in the field of apologetics — Christian answers to the Watch Tower's false teachings — has this treatment been inadequate.
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The notable exception to this was Martin and Klann's Jehovah of the Watchtower; although even this book did not deal exclusively with apologetics, but also delved into the history of the movement. Nor was it as comprehensive as it could have been; for it left many of the minor, but nonetheless important. Watch Tower teachings unanswered.
For many years unobtainable, this book was revised and reissued in Most of its contents, along with additional information, was incor- porated into Walter Martin's monumental work, The Kingdom of the Cults. Another book in the same vein as The Kingdom of the Cults is Anthony Hoekema's The Four Major Cults, which has an excellent section also available separately in booklet form , dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses.
Both attempt to bolster their arguments, especially in regard to the deity of Christ and the immortahty of the human soul, on unsound Scriptural texts, which alert Witnesses could triumphantly point to as incorrect. In many cases the fault Ues in the sometimes inaccurate translation of the King James Version of the Bible, which both authors have used as their basic text. But this is no excuse, and from previous experience as Jehovah's Witnesses, the authois should have been aware that the use of faulty texts reveals their own ignorance and confirms the vigilant Witness in his belief of his superior knowledge of the Bible.
Stroup's Jehovah's Witnesses have been out of print for many years, and though Stroup's pioneer study was re-issued in , its text is of little use in describing present-day conditions in the Society. This, then, is another book on Jehovah's Witnesses. Does it have a purpose? Does it fulfil a need? Does it have anything to say that has not already been said? AU three questions can be answered affirmatively. Its purpose is to acquaint or reacquaint a Christian with the Scripturally unsound foundations upon which Pastor Russell's Watch Tower Society has been erected.
It fulfils a need in supplying a sound Scriptural basis for every important Christian doctrine. Incorporating much of what has already been said on the Watch Tower's major Scriptural deviations, this study also examines many of the minor, but equally important. Christian doctrines that are constantly being attacked by the Jehovah's Witnesses. But despite the Watch Tower's invective and its predictions that these divisions will continue, the Churches are drawing closer together as the Holy Spirit continues to make them more aware of the scandal of their divisions, and their mutual need for each other in the face of the growing com- plexity of the problems of the modem world.
Preface ix A closer study of each other's doctrines is revealing that there is a far greater field of agreement than was previously thought; and there is every reason to hope that the Spirit who has begun this work of reunion will not fail to bring it to fruition. Aware of the unity that has already been achieved between Catholics and Protestants and the Eastern Rite Churches, and the common hope that they have in Christ Jesus, the author, who is himself a Roman Catholic, has not hesitated to speak of the "Christian Church" and the "Christian Faith" when comparing the doctrinal differences that exist between them and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
This is not an attempt to minimize the divisions that still separate orthodox Christianity, but these divisions are not so great that one or another of the above groups can no longer be called Christian; and as there is but "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" Eph , then to a greater or lesser extent, all must belong to that one Church founded by Christ; and being in the one house of God, they must continue to strive for that unity of mind and heart that brothers in Christ should have Jn There is every likelihood that Jehovah's Witnesses would not be swayed by any amount of Scriptural evidence that is contrary to the Watch Tower's teachings, but this should in no way be construed as a sign of bad faith.
It is a sign of immaturity in a person's Christian development that immediately causes him to consign a Witness, or any other cult member, to eternal damnation because he is preaching radical doctrines under the guise of authentic Christianity. The thorough indoctrination the Witnesses have received has conditioned them to see everything through Watch-Tower-coloured spectacles. They have developed a faith in the Watch Tower so great that it is inconceivable to them that their interpretation of the Scriptures could be wrong.
As far as they are concerned, the Watch Tower Society alone, out of all faiths, offers the true apostolic faith that is without mystery and without contradiction. Everything else is coimterfeit and an abomination in the sight of Jehovah God. The bishop rephed that Augustine was too thoroughly ensnared in the novelties of his new- found religion to be able to benefit from sound reasoning. He cautioned patience until the initial enthusiasm had waned, and he comforted her with the assurance that it was not possible for the child of so many tears to perish Confessions of St Augustine, Book 3, Chapter Most of them have probably entered the New World Society within the past ten years or so, and because of the careful training of the Society, and the feeling of expectancy it constantly engenders, their original fervour may still be reasonably strong.
The remarkable growth of Jehovah's Witnesses from an insignificant sect to an activist organization numbering almost two and a quarter million is reason enough for a book such as this to be written. Figures released in The Watchtower, January 1, , pp. See also, the Witnesses Yearbook for full Service Year reports. Although this book is a study of the Watch Tower's teachings in the light of the Holy Scriptures, it should not be regarded as a textbook of chapters and verses necessary to answer the Witnesses' arguments.
It sets out a concise explanation of a doctrine as it is held by orthodox Christians, and it gives the Watch Tower's definition of the same doctrine from their official publications. It then discusses relevant Scriptural texts that are most used to prove or disprove the truth of the doctrine. Because of the nature of this study the text may sometimes appear quite technical, but this is necessary in order to answer as fully as possible the arguments put forward by the- Witnesses to bolster their teachings.
Students of the New World Society, on the other hand, are likely to object that I have failed to give sufficient space to other important points.
But I have not been unmindful or indifferent. It is indeed a problem of space, and because of this, the original text has been shortened by some 30, words.
I hope there are still sufficient indicators along the way to lead the interested student to the answers he may be seeking. Meanwhile, I will be happy, within the limits of time available, to enter into correspondence with any readers concerning questions arising from the contents of this book. All correspondence should be addressed to the author through his publishers. Knowing full well that Jehovah's Witnesses thrive on Scriptural debate, I am firmly convinced that discussions with the Witnesses can be fruitful only if they are based on the Bible.
Personal testimonies and historical reasoning may benefit a few individuals, but in the end, a dialogue between Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses must always return to the Bible. Former President Nathan Homer Knorr did not like it said that his organization was "founded" only in ; he preferred to say that the Witnesses "broke in on history" a century ago, thereby suggest- ing a continuity preceding The year marked the commencement of a Bible-study class conducted by a twenty -year-old draper's assistant named Charles Taze Russell.
Having listened in to a Second Adventist meeting held in Pitts- burg, Pennsylvania, two years earlier, the young Presbyterian-tumed- Congregationalist was very impressed by their teaching on the imminence of Christ's Second Coming.
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He began an intense study of the Bible, especially, the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation, and two years later he felt competent enough to form his own study class with a handful of like-minded Bible devotees. When the Adventist predictions for the expected return of Christ were not realized in , Charles Russell was led to adopt the proposal of a Rochester Adventist leader named Nelson Barbour, that Christ had actually returned in , but invisibly.
Russell himself had been think- ing along these lines, and he was delighted that someone else was of the same mind. Barbour had reached his conclusion through the study of Benjamin Wilson's newly published Emphatic Diaglott, a Greek-English inter- linear translation of the Bible.
Wilson had translated parousia, the Greek word for "coming", as "presence", and in accepting this rendering of the Greek, Barbour concluded that Christ could be "present" without being seen. Finding themselves in complete agreement on the supposed invisible presence of Christ, the Pittsburg Adventists under Russell decided to amalgamate with Barbour's Rochester Adventists so that they could provide a more effective witness to Christ. With Second Adventism built on the belief that Christ's return was imminent, it was natural to expect that there would be further specu- lation as to when this would occur.
Russell had already written a booklet on the supposed invisible Second Coming, called The Object and Manner of the Lord's Return, but it still left unanswered the question of the visible manifestation of Christ at the end of time. Realizing the consequences of failure, Russell was content to remain uncommitted on an exact date for Christ's Second Coming, but not so with Barbour. The Rochester Adventist leader remained fimdy convinced that the exact date of Christ's visible manifestation was hidden somewhere in the Bible and that it was only necessary to find the right key to unlock the secret knowledge that the Scriptures tell us is known only to God cf.
Mt ; Acts Further jugging of Scripture passages from the Book of Daniel led Barbour to believe that — three and a half years from the invisible return of October, — was to be the date of the Second Coming. In the meantime, Russell and Barbour were beginning to have differences of opinion over certain doctrinal issues, and the failure of Barbour's latest prediction that would usher in the end of the world, brought matters to a head.
Beheving that the writing was on the wall for Second Adventism, Russell resigned as co-editor of the Herald and withdrew his financial support. The loose links he had with the Second Adventists were thus finally severed, and Russell was on his own. Henceforth, he and the Adventists were enemies. He still retained the Adventist title of "Pastor" Russell, which had been conferred upon him by his Bible-study class, but within a few short years the avowed an ti- Adventist crusader would be able to point to a higher proportion of Russellite beliefs than Adventist teachings in his growing organization.
The Watchtower Following his break with Second Adventism, Charles Russell, now 26 years old, made some important decisions. Convinced that he was not cut out to be a draper, he sold the shares he held in his father's chain of clothing stores and resolved to use the money for the further advancement of his evolving beliefs. Published today as The Watchtower Announc- ing Jehovah 's Kingdom, the bi-monthly magazine now boasts an average printing run of 9,, copies per issue January 1, figures.
In Charles Russell married Maria Ackley, a young student from his Bible-study class, and for a time she became his partner in the Watch Tower enterprise which he and his associates had founded in Another corporation was established in New York in , as the Peoples Pulpit Association of New York, but this name was also changed in to the same name as its sister corporation in Pennsylvania.
A third corporation was formed in England in as the International Bible Students Association, and it is through these three corporations that Russell and his successors have governed the activities of their followers until this present day. Pastor Russell's literary career is mainly centered around the six volumes of his Studies in the Scriptures. The first volume, The Divine Plan of the Ages, appeared in , and the sixth volume, called The Finished Mystery, which was made up from Pastor Russell's unpublished writings and sermons, was published posthumously in It is estimated that the seven volumes of the Pastor's writings sold something Uke sixteen million copies.
During his lifetime Pastor Russell became quite a notorious figure. His public and private life was hardly compatible with the sort of life one might expect from a "man of God"; but as these aspectsof thePastor's checkered career have been well chronicled elsewhere by other writers, there is no need to list them here. Joseph Franklin Rutherford Charles Taze Russell died on October 31, , and the transition from Russellism to Rutherfordism proved to be rather stormy.
More than one corporation member aspired to the post of the presidency, but by skilful manoeuvering, the former lawyer for the Watch Tower organization, "Judge" Joseph Franklin Rutherford, not only gained complete control of the Society but also eliminated all internal opposition to his leadership by falling back on a constitutional techni- cality of the corporation charter, whereby all officers of the corporation who had not been elected in Pennsylvania, were not legally entitled to hold office. A short term in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for his rabid anti-war efforts during the early years of his reign failed to silence the vociferous Judge, and his incarceration made him a hero in the eyes of his followers.
From the time of his release in , when the Appeals Court reversed the sentence against him, the Judge began the work of rebuilding the Society along the lines he wanted. The official recognition of the break with Russellism came in , when Judge Rutherford gave the Pastor's International Bible Students their new name of Jehovah's Witnesses. Aside from his aggressiveness towards all other religions, the Judge proved to be an able leader.
During the quarter-century of his reign he introduced many innovations that greatly increased the Watch Tower's field of influence. All modem means of communication were utilized by the Witnesses in the spreading of their "Kingdom Message". The Watch Tower broadcast over its own radio station, WBBR; "Kingdom Publishers" carried portable gramophones to play recordings of Judge Rutherford's sermons; and even sound trucks were used to carry the "good news" of the coming Battle of Armageddon, when the wicked would be destroyed, Satan overthrown, and a paradisiacal kingdom would be established on earth for all the faithful Witnesses who were not destined to be among the , "Anointed Ones" who would be taken to heaven as "spirit creatures".
That he expected the great Battle of Armageddon to take place within his own lifetime, or the lifetime of his followers, is evident from his famous slogan: "Millions now living will never die". Unfortunately, cancer robbed the seventy-two-years-old Joseph Franklin Rutherford of his chance of being amongst the "millions who would never taste death", and today he is hardly mentioned in official Watch Tower publications.
The voluminous writings of the Judge, of which his twenty-two full length books were only a part, have long since been consigned to the scrap heap of human ignorance, where he himself assigned the seven volumes of Pastor Russell's discredited Scripture Studies, after he had weeded out the remainder of the Pastor's faithful followers.
The cults that grew up around the personalities of Russell and Rutherford have been effectively eradicated in favour of the more A Short History 5 impersonal anonymity that now pervades the Watch Tower organization from the top down. Nathan Homer Knorr, whose unanimous election to the top post of the Watch Tower contrasted sharply with the struggle that marked his predecessor's rise to power, was bom in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in He joined Pastor Russell's organization as a young lad of sixteen and began work as a packer in the Watch Tower printing plant His steady rise through the ranks to the presidency gave him firsthand knowledge of every phase of Watch Tower administration and eminently fitted him for the task of leading the Witnesses to glory.
FoUovmig Nathan Knorr 's accession, the cultic overtones surrounding the personalities of Russell and Rutherford began to be played down. Rutherford had already done much to lay the ghost of the former Pastor, and now he began to suffer the same fate. Circulation of his books was slowly curtailed, and he was less frequently, quoted in the Watch Tower's publications.
Knowledge of God's plan for mankind was said to be still evolving towards perfection, and because of the progressive stages of revelation, the Watch Tower now stated that there were many things of which Russell and Rutherford were in ignorance.
To lessen further the chance of personality cults forming around individual members of the organization, the Watch Tower ceased to publish the names of the authors in its official publications. The reason given for the anonymity was that the increasing complexity of the subjects often required that more than one author contribute to the work and that crediting multiple authorship was neither desirable nor necessary. This procedure has the added advantage of shielding the reputation of any prominent individual authors against charges of ignorance or falsehood. No doubt, this latter consideration was taken into account when the new move towards anonymity was first pro- posed.
One of the effects of this anonymity on the rank and file Jehovah's Witnesses is to make them less conscious of the fact that they are being guided by individuals. By transferring all emphasis from fallible indi- 6 The Gospel According to Jehovah's Witnesses viduals to an organization, the Watch Tower has less difficulty in getting its members to accept this organization as divinely guided. By emphasizing the organization rather than the individual, the Watch Tower has been able to achieve an equality of the masses so that each member is now made to feel that because he is part of the organization, he is in no way inferior to any other member.
In practical terms, this beautiful ideal remains far from realized, and no Jehovah's Witness is an authority unto himself, however much he might proclaim it. His interpretation of the Bible conforms exactly to the Watch Tower's interpretation, otherwise he does not remain a Witness for very long. Nathan Knorr died on June 8, , after a long illness, and Frederick W.
Franz, the eighty-three-years-old vice-president was elected to the post of president on June 22, On September 7, , the govern- ing body of Jehovah's Witnesses was enlarged, and it now has eighteen members to direct the world-wide growth of the New World Society. There is no doubt that the Jehovah's Witnesses are on the march. Because the nature of this study is doctrinal rather than historical, it has been necessary to omit much that is interesting in the lives of its past and present leaders, some of which gives valuable insight into their personalities, but this has been necessary to allow the greatest possible coverage of Watch Tower teachings.
The books listed in the Preface and the Bibliography will be of assistance to readers seeking a more comprehensive history of the movement. The Witnesses and the Bible The Bible is one of the best known books in the world. Either whole or in part, it is reverenced as the Word of God by more than twelve hundred million people. Seldom does a year pass without the appearance of a new translation that seeks to clarify still further the meaning of the ancient text and make it more readable for modem man.
As each new translation appears it is usually subjected to careful scrutiny by com- petent scholars to see whether it is a faithful rendering of the original languages and conveys the generally accepted meaning intended by the inspired authors. The reviews of Scripture scholars of other faiths were not so kind. Rowley of the University of Manchester, a most distinguished and able Scripture scholar, took the New World Translators to task for their duplicity. He wrote: "They profess to offer a rendering into modern English which is as faithful as possible.
In fact, the jargon which they use is often scarcely English at aU, and it reminds one of nothing so much as a schoolboy s first painful beginnings in translating Latin into English. The translation is marked by a wooden Uterahsm which will only exasperate any intelligent reader — if such it finds — and instead of showing the reverence for the Bible which the translators profess, it is an insult to the Word of God.
The general consensus of opinion among the reviewers was that where no sectarian issues were involved, the New World Translation was acceptable. But there was unanimous agreement that certain words and passages had definitely been tailored to fit preconceived doctrinal ideas. The Hebrew Scriptures Undismayed by the poor reception their New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures received from non-sectarian scholars, the Watch Towers Translating Committee immediately went ahead with their plans to publish the Old Testament in five volumes.
The first volume, covering the first eight books of the Bible, from Genesis to Ruth, appeared in , and the other four volumes appeared at inter- vals over the next seven years. The fifth and final volume was published in We are informed that it now sets itself to go over the entire translation and work out certain refinements in it and bring it all together in one volume, without the copious footnotes and appendixes.
Then it can be easily carried in one hand, for efficient use in the world-wide field of Jehovah's Witnesses' ministry. Although the Witnesses are prepared to argue their beliefs from any version of the Bible, they naturally attempt to have their own New The Witnesses and the Bible 9 World Translation accepted as the standard text by claiming that it is a modem translation by reputable scholars who prefer to remain anonymous — see Chapter One and is uninfluenced by the religious traditions that have coloured all previous translations of the Bible.
In the Foreword to the edition of the Christian Greek Scriptures the Watch Tower mentions the good that has been accomplished by making the Bible readily available to the people in their own language. It continues: "But honesty compels us to remark that, while each of them has its points of merit, they have fallen victim to the power of human traditionalism in varying degrees. Conse- quently, religious traditions, hoary with age, have been taken for granted and gone unchallenged and uninvestigated. These have been interwoven into the translations to colour the thought.
In support of a preferred religious view, an inconsistency and unreasonableness have been insinuated into the teachings of the inspired writings. Perhaps these terms are not as precise as possible, but they have become accepted as a standard literary device for distinguishing between the pre-Christian and post-Christian books of the Bible, and it is unlikely that the Watch Tower Society will ever succeed in getting people to use the terms preferred in the Witnesses' "Christian Greek Scriptures" and "Hebrew Scriptures".
Authority of the Scriptures Before we consider various features of the Witnesses 's New World Translation, it will be well to pause for a moment and examine the position the Bible holds in Watch Tower theology. Although the Witnesses make bold statements about the Bible being their sole authority, the issue becomes somewhat clouded when it is held up to close investigation. A typical statement regarding the position of the Bible is found in the Watch Tower textbook. To please God, then, one's religion must be in full harmony with the Bible and be applied in every activity of life.
These statements may all seem quite unequivocal, but if they are to be properly understood, they should all have the rider: "The Bible is the ultimate authority — but only when it is interpreted by the Watch Tower hierarchy". That this rider reflects the true Watch Tower attitude towards the Bible is evident from the following quotation: "Today Jehovah has an organization to help you put the word of truth deep into your heart. Jehovah is giving spiritual nourishment to all fioiit-producing branches through study of the Bible and the study helps provided through the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in regular weekly meet- ings.
If one believes he can derive all needed benefit from personal study at home, without going to meetings and studying in company with others, he is deceiving himself. The congregation is as a lifeline for all Christians. But if one begins to think wrongly in his heart towards the organization of Jehovah, he will begin to show it. This becomes apparent as soon as a comparison is made with other versions.
In view of this, it is well to be aware of a few of the more obvious defects and errors of the Witnesses' Bible. Ever since Judge The Witnesses and the Bible 11 Rutherford designated the bitemational Bible Students as the Witnesses of Jehovah, they have felt obliged to proclaim this name from the housetops, and to defend it against anyone who would dare to minimize its importance: "True Christians are therefore under the obUgation to bear God's name or be called by God's name, that is, to be called the people of Jehovah, God's people.
So what about Christendom? She has acted Contrary to the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God: 'Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven' Matt. Christendom has not sanctified the name of the heavenly Father, Jehovah. In most recent times her effort has been to leave that sacred name out of English translations of the Bible completely.
Should the name "Jehovah" have the significance for Christians that Jehovah's Witnesses claim? The answers to these questions are long and involved, but because of the emphasis the Witnesses place on the use of God's name, it will be well to give a brief explanation of its origin and significance. The following quotation points out the reason for the confusion surrounding the pronunciation of God's name: "In Hebrew, God's name comes from the four letters YHWH, which are all consonants.
Since ancient written Hebrew had no vowels. The reader had to supply the vowel sounds. However, over the centuries, the correct pro- nunciation became uncertain. The name 'Jehovah' preserves the four letters representing God's name in Hebrew and has long been recognized as his personal name. It distinguishes him from the millions of man-made gods, such as the million gods of India, which cannot be said for the common title 'Lord'.
While rejecting the name Jehovah, claiming that it is not the accurate Hebrew pronunciation of God's name, the churches inconsistently use the proper name Jesus, although that is not the accurate Hebrew or Greek pronunciation of the name of the Son of God. By suppressing Jehovah's name and substituting titles for it, the churches misrepresent him, making him appear to be nameless. Add to this the fact that Hebrew writing contained no punctuation marks or capital letters, and that confusion often developed over the similarity between certain Hebrew characters, one can readily appreciate the difficulties confronting the translators.
Hebrew speech naturally contained vowel sounds, but the indication of vowels in Hebrew writing was a development that did not occur until sometime after the 6th or 7th centuries A. By the 10th century A. The earliest use of the word Jehovah belongs to this later period, and it is to the translating of this word that we now turn our attention. Yahweh — which most scholars now agree is the more correct pronunciation of God's name — began to be replaced with Adonai, both in ordinary speech and in liturgical use, the exception being its use by the high priest on solemn festivals.
But an interpretation which was proposed by W. Albright has found a measure of acceptance by many scholars. After years of intensive study of the subject, the late Professor Albright suggested that Yahweh was only the first word of the entire name Yahweh Asher Yihweh — "He causes to be what comes into existence" — thereby designating God as creator.
The "Jehovah" of the Witnesses, which has resulted from a mistaken apphcation of the vowels of Adonai, is therefore erroneous and no justification exists for its continued use. More than forty years ago, when Judge Rutherford thought to distinguish his followers by calling them Witnesses of Jehovah, this was the popular pronunciation of the personal name of the God of Israel. But today, while admitting that Jehovah may not be the correct form of God's name, they prefer to retain it "because of people's familiarity with it since the 14th century ".
The following example of pseudo-scholarship is just one of the means the Watch Tower organization employs to justify the use of "Jehovah" in the New Testament, but it reveals the lengths to which it is prepared to go to defend the indefensible. What the Witnesses fail to realize, or make clear, is that the Gospel of Luke is not recording the text of Isaiah, but the words of Jesus; and following the customary practice of the Jews of his day, Jesus would have substituted Adonai LORD , for the tetragrammaton, so he would have said: "The Spirit of Adonai is upon me This isolated fragment was supposed to "flatly disprove" the "popular theory" that the reason for the absence of the divine name in the New Testament resulted from its absence in the LXX.
And, at least from the 3rd century A. Fortunately, the evidence to support such a systematic conspiracy is not as Jehovah s Witnesses would have us believe. As in the case of the LXX versions, many new discoveries of New Testament manuscripts have come to light since the publication of the Christian Greek Scriptures in , so that the earliest witness to the authenticity of our copies of the New Testament can now be pushed back to about A. From the more than seventy papyrus manuscripts discovered since the late I9th century until the present time, there is not a single witness to the New World Translators' absurd claim that the New Testament has been deliberately corrupted in some places.
Until such "evidence" can be brought to light, nothing further need be said. This may have been the way he needed to be known in pre-Christian times, but since the advent of Jesus into human history, Christians have now entered into a new relationship with God, and he is now truly "Father" to his people and is spoken of in this way by his spiritual children cf Mk ; Rom ; Gal They claim that Jesus was concerned with the restoration of the divine name to common use and would not have been afraid to pronounce it whenever it occurred in the Hebrew Scriptures.
An example of the Semitic use of speaking of the name of God can be found in Malachi , where the prophet speaks of those who are thinking on God's name. A careful reading of the text reveals that Malachi is praising those who are ever mindful of God and keeping his commandments. Likewise, when the Psalmist calls on God to glorify his own name i.
The warrior king, David, was urged by Joab to take possession of the city of Rabbah, lest it be called by his own name. By this, Joab did not mean that the city would actually bear his personal name, but rather, it would belong to him and become his possession 2 Sam In the New Testament, we find the apostles using similar expressions to refer to the Person of God and his claims upon us.
In Acts , Ananias is told by Jesus to go and visit Paul, for the former persecutor had been chosen by Christ to carry his name before the Gentiles. Here, again, it is not simply the name of Jesus that is to be taken before the Gentiles, but the claims of Jesus and his purpose in regard to them. Note also, the parallelism between the carrying of God's name and the carrying of Jesus' name. Other Changes in the New World Translation Although the unwarranted attempts to have the name "Jehovah" inserted into the New Testament are blatantly dishonest, a far more serious deception is practised when deliberate changes are made to many key texts touching on doctrinal issues, thus altering completely their meaning.
Many of these texts will be examined in their proper place throughout this study and will highlight the generally unreHable character of the New World Translation and the dangers it holds for people not entirely familiar with the Bible. For a comparison of the textual changes in the New World Trans- lation henceforth, N. The R. Almost immediately one becomes aware of the irreconcilable differences that exist between Watch Tower theology and that of orthodox Christianity. As the doQtrine of the Incarnation God becoming man will be fuUy examined in the following chapter, and the personality of the Holy Spirit is to be studied in Chapter Nine, this study will be confined to establishing the Scriptural and historical foundations for our acceptance of the doctrine as authentic Christian teaching.
According to Watch Tower sources, the doctrine originated in ancient Babylon, where pagan triads of gods and demons were common. In studying the Watch Tower s case against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, one gets the impression that the Witnesses are deliberately trying to confuse the issue by resorting to misrepresentation. Jehovah's Witnesses Deny the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity; "Jehovah God is one, and Jesus Christ is his creature Son, and the holy spirit is Jehovah's active force, and therefore the doctrine of a trinity is unchristian and reaUy of pagan ongm.
Doubtlessly so. Any trying to reason out the Trinity teaching leads to confusion of mind. So the Trinity teaching confuses the meaning of John l:li 2; it does not simplify it or make it clear or easily understandable. No, there is no trinity. Was he Jehovah God who came to earth in human form? It means that the Almighty crawled on his hands and knees as an infant. Do you really believe this to be the case? Would he teach his followers to pray to someone else and thus deceive them? Matt , Also, when Jesus died, did God Almighty die?
It is true that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a "mystery" — a word which the Jehovah's Witnesses have seized upon and use to ridicule all who accept this teaching. They claim that early Christian theologians took over this doctrine from ancient pagan sources, and being unable to give it an adequate explanation, they invented the word "mystery" to cover up their foUy. No Christian theologian claims that nothing at all can be known about the Holy Trinity. It is a mystery, this simply means that we can never hope fully to understand it, either in this life, or in the next; for it touches upon the very nature of God himself, and, as the Scriptures teU us, the infinite nature of God is forever beyond the limited capacity of man to grasp Ps ; ; Rom ; 1 Cor Because of the Watch Towers erroneous definition of the Holy Trinity as "three gods in one", it is necessary to define the doctrine correctly, give the Scriptural basis for its acceptance, and give a reasonable explanation of what is meant by "three Persons in one God".
Whenever the Witnesses mention the Trinity they are at pains to point out that the word "Trinity" is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and because of this omission, they claim that the Trinity is unscriptural. It could also be pointed out that the word "theocracy" God's rule , a favorite expression of Jehovah's Witnesses, is likewise nowhere to be found in the Bible, but that does not prevent the Witnesses from using it as a legitimate description of God's rule over mankind.
In the same way, the word "Trinity" is simply the term used to describe the doctrine of the three Persons in one God. The Trinity in Credal Formula The simplest Trinitarian formula defines the doctrine as "In one God, there are three really distinct Persons, equal in all things, and possessing one and the same divine nature". Care should therefore be taken to avoid using them solely as "proof texts" for the Trinity, without due regard for their proper historical setting. A study of these words reveals the way in which the New Testament advances beyond the revelation of the Old Testa- ment, and the way in which somewhat nebulous terms became personi- fied in the New Testament as a result of the revelation of the Son of God.
This is truly the "mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" Eph The Scriptural foundation for the doctrine of the Trinity rests on such texts as Matthew ; ; Luke ; John , 26; ; Acts ; 1 Cor ; 2 Cor ; 1 Peter ; Jude The doctrine does not have to rely on these texts alone. Although each of the texts makes expUcit mention of the three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses can accept these texts as Scripture yet still reject the Trinity doctrine, simply proves that no Scripture is so strong that it is immune from misinterpretation.
An Understanding of Trinity Texts An examination of some of the above texts shows the way in which the threefold Personality of God was revealed. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would conceive a Son through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and that the child bom to her would be known as the Son of the Most High Lk As the announcement of Jesus' birth contained a reference to the Trinity, so too, the commencement of his pubUc ministry was also marked by a further reference to the Trinity.
At the river where John baptized Jesus, the heavens were said to have opened, and the Holy Spirit, manifested in the form of a dove a symbol of love , descended upon Jesus, and a voice was heard from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" Mt Li these two passages all three Persons are represented as distinct realities, but it remained for Matthew to record the most explicit Trinitarian references in the Gospels: Jesus' commission to his disciples The Witnesses and the Holy Trinity 21 to baptize believers in the name singular of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Mt In rejecting the Christian interpretation of Matthew , Jehovah's Witnesses state: "As for Matthew and 2 Corinthians , [these texts] say nothing about there being three coequal persons in one God.
They do not say that each of these mentioned is a God. They do not say that all three are equal in sub- stance, power and eternity. They do not say all are to be worshipped. Since they do not say these things, then they do not teach the Trinity, for all those claims are made concerning the Trinity. Because the texts do not speD out the complete doctrine in clear-cut detail the Witnesses deny that they can be understood as referring to the Trinity. But that this is the conclusion to be drawn from an unbiased reading of these texts becomes evident after one has studied the abundant references that are made to the Persons of the Trinity and their relationship with one another.
Although many of the references will be examined in their proper place; a few of them are listed here to show the basis for their acceptance as an implicit admission of the Trinity. As can be readily seen from any reputable translation, the equality of Jesus with the Father was not even mentioned; rather, St Paul was speaking of the willingness of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity to accept the limitations of humanity in order to accomplish mankind's salvation. The Jews themselves had more understanding of the claims of Jesus than the Jehovah's Witnesses, and for this reason they were ready to stone him to death, "because you, being a man, make yomrself God" Jn And in a dispute with the Jews over his mission and authority, Jesus again asserted his equality with the Father by claiming to be one and the same God who revealed himself to Moses as the "I AM" Jn ; cf.
Ex Furthermore, he said to the Jews: "I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he" Jn The intimate relationship between Jesus and the Father is mentioned frequently by John, but only rarely in the Synoptic Gospels. Matthew and Luke both record one such statement which Jesus made following the return of the seventy disciples from their mission of preparation. On that occasion, Jesus declared: "All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" Lk ; Mt The Fourth Gospel, which was written to prove that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" Jn , also records a number of other statements that highlight the intimate relationship that exists between God and his Word: "But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working still, and I am working' " Jn After the resurrection of Jesus, the unbelieving Thomas uttered the most explicit act of faith in the deity of Christ by addressing him as: "My Lord and my God" Jn The efforts of the Jehovah's Witnesses to have us believe that Jesus was nothing more than the iirst creative work of God, and that he is Son only by adoption, are seen to be in direct contradiction to the New Testament witness.
Even this brief review of some of the more explicit Scriptural refer- ences to Christ's divinity, which will be further enlarged and elaborated upon in the next chapter, is enough to show that Christians are more than justified in claiming that the Bible teaches an absolute equality between God and Jesus that would be impossible if Jesus was anything less than God himself. Even in the first two Synoptic Gospels it is sometimes difficult to distinguish whether the writers are speaking of the Holy Spirit as a person, or if they are merely referring to the divine activity of God.
Only in Matthew , where the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned under the "name" singular do we have an unequivocal declaration of the personality of the Holy Spirit. While the terms "Father" and "Son" are readily associated with per- sons, the word "Spirit" implies that the personality of the Holy Spirit is not to be understood in the conventional manner. In Luke's Gospel, and in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit begins to be spoken of more frequently as a personal being. Although at times this personality remains ambiguous, and is not very different from the accounts in Matthew and Mark, Luke is the first to declare that it is Jesus himself who will send the Holy Spirit upon the Church Lk ; Acts This "sending" of the Holy Spirit by Jesus is particidarly prominent in the Gospel of John, where the Spirit is given the new title of Paraclete Jn , 26; ; Only a person, such as an apostle or the Holy Spirit, can regard a decision as "good".
Further evidence of the personality of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the following texts: He may be lied to Acts He makes intercession Rom He may be grieved Eph He may be outraged Heb He speaks to the churches Rev Since lying, interceding, grieving, outraging, and speaking are per- sonal characteristics and cannot be ascribed to an "active force", the Christian teaching of the personality of the Holy Spirit is seen to have a basis well founded on Scripture.
Once the foundation for our acceptance of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity has been reasonably established from the Scriptures, and the respective roles of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have been set forth, we can move on to a brief explanation of what belief in the Trinity entails. This Son is called the "only begotten" Son Jn ; ; 18; ljn Being the Son of God, and begotten of God, the Word Greek: Logos could seem to us to have been created by the Father, and therefore inferior to the Father.
But such is not the case. In order to arrive at any understanding of this seeming impasse, John's description of the Word must be used as a starting-point. A word is a meaningful phonetic sound uttered from the mouth bv which we give expression to our thoughts. However, dnce God is a spirit Jn4;24 , he has no mouth unless, of course, we are speaking anthropomorphicaUy , so his Word must be said to come from his mind again, humanly speaking.
This esplanatioii is not The Witnesses and the Holy Trinity 25 new. As early as the 2nd century A. From time to time, the New World Society has seen fit to appeal to this early Christian witness when they wished to defend one of their teachings. In , for example, the Awake featured an article on early Christian beliefs and actually quoted Irenaeus in support of their denial of the divinity of Christ. When it is a matter of obtaining favorable corroboration for a particular teaching, the Witnesses will not hesitate to quote or misquote anyone who might help to lend weight to their claims.
But let these same authorities dare to contradict them elsewhere and they are immediately arraigned as enemies of God and under the influence of Satan. Not only is difficulty experienced in attempting to give a satisfactory explanation to the way in which the Word is "emitted" or begotten of God, but also to the translation of the word Logos itself. The Word is also co-equal with God, for as God's self-expression, it cannot be less than God. A formula of the basic Christian faith that became known as the Nicene Creed, after the famous Council of A. This, of course, is an echo of the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel, which speaks of the Word as "begotten of the Father" Jn , and it brings us to an examination of the terms "person" and "nature", which is essential to any study of the Holy Trinity.
You and I are both persons, and each of us possesses but one nature — a human nature that was transmitted to us by our parents.
Our nature tells us what we are — human beings. The person or ego, the "I" in us, answers the question who we are. Jesus Christ is unique in that he 26 The Gospel According to Jehovah 's Witnesses possesses not one, but two natures — a divine nature, and a human nature. The divine nature in Christ is his by virtue of his being begotten of the Father.
Begotten of the Father, the uncreated Word possesses the same nature as the Father; not a nature like the Father's, but the same nature, without difference or distinction. It is not a nature distinct from the Father's, as that would mean that there were two Gods, and as we have already seen, such a thing is impossible. By becoming man and "emptying himself, taking the form of a servant" Phil the Word also came to possess a created human nature, so that he was, at the same time, both true God and true man.
The paradox of this hypostatic union of the two natures in one person Greek: hypostasis in Christ is that they are both possessed by the same person of the Holy Trinity — the Word. The theology of the word is not always easy to grasp, especially when it is encountered for the first time. But careful reflection on relevant Scriptural references that highlight the intimate relationship that exists between the Father and the Son — some of which were quoted earlier in this chapter — will help to make the doctrine a little more understandable. The "Procession" of the Holy Spirit Once the relationship between the Father and the Son has been established, we can proceed to an examination of the role of the Holy Spirit.
After a thorough study of the Sacred Scriptures, and after the careful dehberations of the Councils of Nicaea A. As we have al- ready seen the Word is the perfect self-expression of the Father. Between the Father and his Word, there is an interchange of perfect love that is personified in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not have love, but is love. Everything God has, he has wholly. The usual interpretation of God's name. Every man loves himself Eph , or rather, the idea he has of himself — that is, his ideal. God also loves the Idea he has of himself, although in this case, God's Ideal is his perfect self-expression, personi- fied in his Word, and capable of returning the intensity of love to the same infinite extent to which it is given.
God's love for his Word, and the reciprocated love with which the Word responds, finds its perfect self-expression in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who is himself the personification of the infinite love that exists between God and his Word. Not one Person, but three Persons; not three Gods, but one God. An utterly perfect, humanly in- comprehensible union of three Persons in one God. This is a mystery so profound that the unaided human mind could never have arrived at this knowledge unless it was first revealed to it by God himself. The Athanasian Creed so called after Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, , which was drawn up to prevent further mis- conceptions of the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, leaves no room for doubt on the plurality of Persons subsisting in the one God.
It reads, in part: "The Christian faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity; neither confounding the Per- sons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. Although from time to time, doubts were raised in the early Church over the deity of Jesus Christ, the teaching was never seriously disputed until the 4th century, when a young Alexandrian priest named Arius, began teaching that the Word Greek: Logos was begotten by the Father — that is, he came after the Father, and for this reason, he could not be co-etemal with the Father.
Using the analogy of human fatherhood, Arius pointed out that a father necessarily ante-dates his Son, and in applying this reasoning to the Father-Word relationship, he coined the clever phrase: "There once was a time when the Word was not". Arius refused to heed the warnings of the Bishop of Alexandria that his teachings were not in accord with the true Christian faith, and he continued to preach his heretical doctrine that Christ was not the true God, but only "a god". The Influence of Arius A synod of bishops was convened to deal with the Arian question, and, after due examination of the evidence, Arius was deposed, his priestly faculties withdrawn, and his teachings condemned as erroneous.
Although this should have been the end of the dispute, the conflict had hardly begun. Arius was a persuasive speaker, and he succeeded in winning the support of a number of influential people. Not only government officials, but even bishops and clergy lent their weight to have Arius reinstated again. What had started out as one man's denial of a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith, in two short years erupted into a major crisis that threatened to split the eastern provinces of the Christian Church in two.
With outbreaks of violence and rioting over the contentious issue of the deity of Christ disrupting the peace and unity of his empire, Constantine readily agreed to the suggestion, and immediately summoned all the bishops of the Eastern Church to attend a General Council to be held in Nicaea on May 20, A.