We continue on our journey through the neighborhood of our neighbor’s beliefs. After the past three weeks of this series I have received numerous responses from some whose faith I wrote about. If anyone would like for me to verify chapter and verse of what has been written here please notify me.
Today we look at a couple other neighbors. This information is only that, information. In no way am I affirming, de-affirming, recommending, or demeaning our neighbor’s faith. Many have already told me they appreciated understanding their neighbors to a greater degree than before. Never-the-less, some are determined to be defensive and combative and if that is their response then so-be-it.
We have all encountered the evangelism of Jehovah’s Witness believers. I wish Orthodox Christians were as evangelistic about our faith as some of these others. We have much to learn from them. The JW (Jehovah’s Witnesses) best known source of information is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WTB&TS). Through those publications they claim to be the only true religion and sole source of correct Bible teaching. Please note how many of our neighbors claim to be the only true religion or denomination.
It is much like the man who died and went to the Pearly Gates of Heaven. An angel met him and invited him in. The two of them are walking down this long hall. As they pass each door there is a group of Christians worshipping. The new arrival asks the angel, “Who are those people with their hands in the air singing at the top of their voices?” The angel says, “Those are the Pentecostals having a great time.” A few doors down they see a group on their knees praying quietly with melodic chanting in the background. Again the “newbie” asks who they are. The angel says, “Those are the Catholics in a prayer service.” Down the hall a way is another door. The new arrival says in a loud voice, “And who are they?” The angel says, “Quiet, quiet, those are the __________ and they think they are the only ones up here.” Well, point made. God Almighty is the final arbiter of the wheat, and not the tares, who will have eternal life and let us thank God we do not make those judgments.
The WTB&TS believes Jehovah corresponds only to God the Father. They deny the Holy Spirit is a third part of the Trinity and is merely God’s active force, much like electricity. They teach Jesus is a created being. They teach after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. Jesus was raised as a spirit creature and materialized flesh and bone to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is known as Michael the archangel.
As for eternal life the WTB&TS teaches that only an elite group of Witnesses, known as the 144,000 and the “anointed ones,” are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of the remaining Jehovah’s Witnesses, known as the “other sheep” or the “great crowd,” the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth.
They teach we must earn our own salvation. That is to say, salvation and eternal life will depend on one’s works. A person must first come to the Jehovah’s organization for salvation and then comply with everything they teach. They also deny eternal punishment and teach a person does not have a spirit that survives the death of the body. Those who die and do not have salvation just merely cease to exist.
Well, my time and space is up. Thank you for reading and thinking about our neighbor’s faith. Wish I had time and space to write about so many other groups who disagree with Orthodox Christianity. It is a fascinating Sunday School study series and I pray God’s blessings on you and yours.