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A History of Jehovah's Witnesses

Written by: Abba II    Posted on: 04/24/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

Note: (C) This textfile is copyrighted.  Christian BBS Abba II has obtained permission from the publishers to enter this article into electronic media. This file may be uploaded to, and posted by other Bulletin Boards.  However, it's content, including this notice, may not be edited in any way.  For more unique, Christian files, call Abba II at 619-487-7746.  Abba II can also be contacted via GEnie (A.HEIN), or CompuServe (76450,601).

A History of Disappointments

Charles Taze Russell was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on February 16,1852. Troubled by various church doctrines, such as teachings on hell, he became a skeptic at age 17.

In 1870 he was exposed to the teachings of William Miller, one of the originators of the Second Adventist movement. Miller had originally taught that Christ would return in October,1843. When this event failed, his followers continued to set new dates, each a complete failure as a prophecy of "things to come." But the Millerites provided Charles with (1) a religious denial of hell, and (2) stimulating studies in end-of-the age prophecies.

Russell gradually popularized his end-time studies and founded the International Bible Students Association. On December 18,1884, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society became a publishing subsidiary of the Association, extending Charles' influence through works like Millennial Dawn and Studies In The Scriptures.

By 1886 Russell had published The Divine Plan of  the Ages, projecting that 1914 would witness Armageddon and the dawn of Christ's thousand year rule on earth. He also taught that the "end times" started in 1799 and that Christ had returned in 1874. These dates were later changed when Armageddon failed to appear in 1914.

After a legal separation from his wife in 1906 and the failure of his 1914 and 1915 prophecies, Russell died on October 31,1916. Joseph ("Judge") Rutherford emerged as the new head. Reworking Russell's chronologies, he falsely predicted Armageddon would be in 1918, then 1995.

Still expecting the resurrection of Old Testament saints to take charge of God's new world order, the Society erected a house in San Diego, California,in 1929. The house, called Beth Sarim ("House of Princes"), would shelter these coming "princes of the earth," among whom would be King David, Samson, and Joseph. Again, this prophecy also failed.

Under Rutherford the publishing organization merged with the church proper and gave birth to the present religious corporation. In 1931 the title "Jehovah's Witnesses" was adopted.

A Lot of Publicity, A Lack of Integrity

In 1942 Nathan H. Knorr stepped into Rutherford's position. Knorr's most memorable accomplishment was overseeing the completion of The New World Translation of the Bible in 1961. Of the four members of the translation committee (Frederick Franz, Knorr, Albert Schroeder, and George Gangas), Frederick Franz was the only one with any exposure to the biblical languages, having studied Greek for two years at the University of Cincinnati but being self taught in Hebrew. Franz, chairman of the committee, eventually took the helm of the organization in 1977.

The Jehovah's Witnesses' growth increased dramatically when in 1966 Franz, in his Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of God, determined that "the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 CE (Christian Era)" (P 29)

This intimation became a full-blown expectation of Armageddon and the visible establishment of Christ's reign on earth. In 1974 many Witnesses even sold their homes and property in anticipation of the event. But like all the other dates set by the Watchtower, 1975 came and went uneventfully.

Despite the subsequent disillusionment of many and an internal "purging of apostates" in the Brooklyn headquarters, the Jehovah's Witnesses still continue to grow in numbers. Indicative of this growth is the massive circulation of The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, which by September of 1@90 had ballooned to 13,950,000 copies per issue.

DOCTRINE OF GOD

JW: The doctrine of the Trinity is "a false, unbiblical doctrine" originated by Satan (Make Sure Of All Things,1953 ed., p.386; Let God Be True, p.101 ).

BIBLE: There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), but three distinct Persons in the Godhead, the Father (Philippians 2:11), Jesus Christ the Son (John 5:18), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4,9).



JW: Christ the Son was originally the first created being of Jehovah God (Let God Be True, p. 32).

BIBLE: Christ the Son is eternal, uncreated God (John 8:58;cf. Revelation 1:17-18 and Isaiah 44:6).



JW: Jesus Christ was actually the incarnation of Michael the archangel; Christ resumed the name Michael when He ascended to heaven (Your Will Be Done On Earth, p.316-7; New Heavens and a New Earth, p.30).

BIBLE: Nowhere is Michael said to have become Christ or vice versa; the Bible sharply distinguishes between angels and the exalted office of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-14).



JW: Jesus Christ arose from the grave as a spirit person, Jehovah allowing Him to materialize a different body in which to appear to His disciples (Your Will Be Done On Earth, p.143; Make Sure Of All Things,1953 ed., p.314) .

BIBLE: Jesus Christ arose in the same body that was laid in the tomb, which explains the marks of crucifixion, the empty tomb, and the empty burial wrappings (Luke 24:39; John 20:20,25,27; John 20:1-9, respectively).



JW: The Holy Spirit is not a Person, but rather the impersonal, active force of God (Let God Be True, 2nd ed., p.108; The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p.24).

BIBLE: The Holy Spirit is an eternal Person, possessing all the essence of God (John 14:16- 17,26; Acts 5:3-4) .



DOCTRINE OF MAN

JW: A person's soul is an inseparable part of the body, so that when a person dies there is no continued existence of the soul (Make Sure Of All Things,1953 ed., pp.349,352) .

BIBLE: Christ taught that there is life after death (Luke 16:19-31), Christ promised continuing life the same day after death (Luke 23:39-43), and Paul taught an independent existence apart from the body after death (2 Corinthians 5:5-8; Philippians 1 :19-24).



JW: The doctrine of the immortality of the soul finds its origin with Satan (Let God Be True,2nd ed., pp.74,75).

BIBLE: The immortality of the soul is a God-inspired truth (Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:1,6-8).

JW: Since there is no continued existence of the soul after death, Jehovah's Witnesses who die will eventually be recreated from Jehovah's memory to inhabit His kingdom (Make Sure Of All Things,1953 ed., p.311) .

BIBLE: The resurrection is a returning of the soul back to its body (1 Kings 17:17-24; Luke 7:11 -17), and will happen when Christ returns (Luke 24:36-43; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:39-54)



DOCTRINE OF SALVATION

JW: Christ's death only purchased for mankind the earthly life and earthly blessings lost when Adam sinned (Studies in the Scriptures, V. S, p.145).

BIBLE: Christ's death purchased present forgiveness of sins and blessings beyond this earthly existence (Ephesians 1:3-14).



JW: Christ's death only provides an opportunity for a person to attain eternal life through obeying God's laws. There is no assurance of eternal life (Studies in the Scriptures, V.1, pp.150,152).

BIBLE: Christ's death provides salvation from sin for all who accept by faith His sacrifice on their behalf (1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians Z:8-9). The eternal life given by grace to believers is also preserved by God (1 John 5:11 -13; John 6:39,10:28-29) .



JW: Christs blood shed on Calvary applies only to 144,000 elite JWs (the "Israel of God") and not for the "great crowd," the remainder of JWs (Aide To Bible Understanding, p.389).

BIBLE: Christ died on behalf of all men (1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Hebrews 2:9).



JW: One can live in God's paradise only through (1) studying the Bible, (2) associating with Jehovah's Witnesses, (3) changing living habits from the former way to God's way (requiring JW baptism), and (4) being a preacher and a witness of God's kingdom (From Paradise Lost To Paradise Regained, pp.242-249).

BIBLE: Salvation is offered only through trusting Jesus Christ as Savior (Acts:10-12,10:42-43; Romans 3:21-24).



JW: The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured eternally after death is false (Make Sure of All Things,1953 ed., pp.154-55) .

BIBLE: Hell is a place of everlasting torment for the unrepentant wicked (Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 13:41 -42,49-SO; Mark 9:47-48) .



Witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses

PRINCIPLE 1: Recognize that the real problem when witnessing to a Jehovah's Witness is the question of religious authority.

To a Witness, the Bible as interpreted by the Watchtower has authority, and he is trained not to trust himself or others to interpret the Bible. Even if you manage to give a Witness arguments he cannot answer, he will just contact the Watchtower and they will give him answers.

PRINCIPLE 2: To destroy a Witness' blind obedience to the Watchtower, you must demonstrate that the Watchtaower is not reliable. You must prove that the Watchtower is not "God's visible organization on earth."

Otherwise, a Witness cannot place his confidence in the Word of God alone.

PRINCIPLE 3: The most efficient way of destroying a Witness' blind allegiance to the Watchtower is to show from Scripture and official Watchtower literature that the Watchtower is a false prophet. Since it is a false prophet, it is unreliable and unworthy of trust or respect.

Throughout your discussion with a Witness, always place him on your side and stress that the Watchtower is trying to deceive both of you.  It is "We" against "them."

Step 1: Establish from Scripture that a true prophet of God will always be infallible in his prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Matthew 7:15-20). The Watchtower has claimed to be God's inspired prophet who gives prophecies under angelic direction and speaks in Jehovah's name (The Watchtower, April 1, 1 972, p. 1 97) .

Step 2: Demonstrate that in 100 years of giving prophecies the Watchtower has had a 100% failure rate. (See Dr. Morey's book listed on the resource page for full documentation of these failures.)

Step 3: According to Deuteronomy 18 and Matthew 7, the Watchtower is a false prophet and does not speak in God's name.  As such, the Scriptures commans us not to fear, respect, believe or trust what the Watchtower says. Don't be deceived. "Mistakes" are not the same as "false prophecies." We all make mistakes, but the Society claimed to predict dates on God's authority as His prophet.

Step 4: Just as the Watchtower has been false in its prophecies, it is also false in its doctrines.

PRINCIPLE 4: Do not argue doctrine or argue over biblical passages until you have caused the Witness to recognize and to acknowledge that the Watch tower is a false prophet.

PRINCIPLE 5: After instilling doubt about Watch tower authority, share your salvation testimony, point out specific verses on salvation, or leave them with a gospel tract (see bottom of RESOURCES)

Books:   

Duggar, Gordon E. Jehovah's Witnesses--Watch Out for the Watchtower. Baker Book House,1985, Gruss, Edmond C.  Apostles of Denial. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishers Co.,1970.  Morey, Robert A. How to Answer a Jehovah's Witness. Bethany House Publishers,1980.

Organizations:

Personal Freedom Outreach Box 26062, St Louis, MO 63136

Watchman Fellowship, Inc.  Box 13251, Arlington, Tx 76094 Bethel

Ministries Box 3818, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Witness, Inc.  Box 597, Clayton, CA 94517

Film:

Witnesses of Jehovah, distributed by Impact Resources,24722 Vista Verde Dr., Murrieta, CA 92362. Call 1-800-333-6475.

An evangelistic companion to this tract I Am A Witness, is available for distribution to Jehovah's Witnesses. Order from:

American Tract Society ù Box 462008 ù Carland. TX 75046

Canadian Tract Society ù Box 203, Port Credit ù Mississauga, ONT L5G 4L7

Note: (C) This textfile is copyrighted.  Christian BBS Abba II has obtained permission from the publishers to enter this article into electronic media. This file may be uploaded to, and posted by other Bulletin Boards.  However, it's content, including this notice, may not be edited in any way.  For more unique, Christian files, call Abba II at 619-487-7746.  Abba II can also be contacted via GEnie (A.HEIN), or CompuServe (76450,601).

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