Monday, May 24, 2010

Its all up to you...good luck!

It never ceases to surprise and amaze me how the religions of men can pervert the gospel message. Page 16 of the August 15, 2010 Watchtower Study Edition does just that:

18 The theme text of this article, John 3:36, shows that exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ includes being obedient to him. Appreciation for the ransom should move us to live in harmony with Jesus’ teachings, including what he taught about morals. (Mark 7:21-23) “The wrath of God is coming” upon all who unrepentantly engage in such practices as fornication, obscene jesting, and “uncleanness of every sort,” which would encompass the persistent viewing of pornography.—Eph. 5:3-6.

19 Our appreciation for the ransom should keep us busy with “deeds of godly devotion.” (2 Pet. 3:11) Let us set aside ample time for regular and earnest prayer, personal Bible study, meeting attendance, family worship, and zealous Kingdom-preaching activity. And may we “not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” —Heb. 13:15, 16.

20 When Jehovah’s wrath breaks out upon this wicked system of things, how happy we will be that we have exercised faith in the ransom and have shown an ongoing appreciation for it! And in God’s promised new world, we will be eternally grateful for this wonderful provision that saved us from God’s wrath.—Read John 3:16; Revelation 7: 9, 10, 13, 14.

Yes, its all about you and what you did, isn't it? Upon judgment day, you will stand before an infinitely holy and righteous God, telling Him what you did? Sure, you will mention the "ransom." But that's not enough. Apparently, the Watchtower's doctrine of the atonement isn't powerful enough to save. Instead, it requires your obedience. And you better be obedient. Why? Because the moment your salvation depends on you, the Bible has this to say:

"But to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due." (Romans 4:4)

If you want to add works to the equation, then I wish you the best of luck. Pile up your good deeds as high as you possibly can. But I assure you the bar is set higher than you could ever imagine. However, this is the standard by which you are going to have to follow if you believe what the Watchtower tells you. Your good works will only give you exactly what you deserve; that is, what is due.

But why go for "what is due" when you can do the following:

"But the text collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'" (Luke 18:13)

Can you imagine how this parable would have turned out if the tax collector were boasting of his accomplishments and good works? Our boast should be in one thing and one thing only: Christ and what He has done for us.


Mark Hunter said...

But Mike, you know that the Bible says "faith without works is dead". How do you explain this?

Mike Felker said...

Good question Mark ;-)

There are two kinds of faith: true and false faith. One faith saves, and the other doesn't. True faith is the kind of faith that will inevitably lead to good works. But its not the good works that save you. Its the faith that saves you. My favorite illustration:

Dogs don't bark to become dogs; they bark because they are dogs.

Mark Hunter said...

So you're saying that true faith, which results in a new mind from Christ, results in life-transforming works? In other words, Jesus has saved you and you become a new person whose whole life is shaped around the Good News?

It sounds like the works would be organic, coming naturally from within the person, rather than prescribed by an elite group of overseers.

Mike Felker said...

Yep, you hit the nail on the head. Right now, we are running victory laps through Christ's victorious atonement in accomplishing eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12). And if we are living in this reality (as any true Christian would), then good works will, as you put it, organically and naturally flow from within the person. That is, works are the fruit of salvation, not the root of salvation.

Anonymous said...

So your good works that "organically and naturally flow" from you are not "living in harmony with Jesus’ teachings", are not “deeds of godly devotion”, are not "prayer, personal Bible study, zealous Kingdom-preaching"?

If those things aren't works that you do, then perhaps the works that you do are coming from the wrong kind of faith. (Titus 1:16)

Mike Felker said...

Anonymous, they are all that and I don't believe I suggested otherwise.

Anonymous said...

So which part of the gospel message was perverted by the Watchtower?

Mike Felker said...

"When Jehovah’s wrath breaks out upon this wicked system of things, how happy we will be that we have exercised faith in the ransom and have shown an ongoing appreciation for it!"

There is no room in the gospel for anyone to boast of their accomplishments. All boasting should be found in Christ and in Christ alone.

However, there are much clearer statements made by the Watchtower in their works salvation system as I highlighted in a recent blog:

Mark Hunter said...

"So your good works that "organically and naturally flow" from you are not "living in harmony with Jesus’ teachings", are not “deeds of godly devotion”, are not "prayer, personal Bible study, zealous Kingdom-preaching"?"

Total red-herring. Why do anonymous JWs seem to reach illogical conclusions when their beliefs are - rightly - challenged?

Mark Hunter said...

"So which part of the gospel message was perverted by the Watchtower?"

I think the best place is starting with 1914 and the teaching that a person needs to be associated with the Watch Tower Society to get salvation.

Mike Felker said...

Not only that Mark, but the Watchtower claims that 1914 is the gospel:

*** w81 5/1 p. 17 par. 3 If God Has an Organization, What Is It? ***

That of Jehovah’s Witnesses is really “gospel,” or “good news,” as of God’s heavenly kingdom that was established by the enthronement of his Son Jesus Christ at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914

Anonymous said...

In all the New Testament, the Apostles encouraged Christians to do things, good works.* So the Watchtower encourages believers to continue on.

Though "there is no room in the gospel for anyone to boast of their accomplishments" Paul tells Timothy to "preach the word". (2 Tim 4:2)

So the reason we do good: not to just save ourselves or brag, but to "save some". (Rom 9:15-23)

*Good point Mark Hunter, we should leave the illogical conclusions to "christians" who believe in the a triune God that they can't explain.

Mark Hunter said...

"Good point Mark Hunter, we should leave the illogical conclusions to "christians" who believe in the a triune God that they can't explain."

We could go all tit-for-tat here and ask JWs to explain why they believe in a generation that actually spans several generations, per the Governing Body's new teaching.

However, that would be pointless and I've no desire to get into a discussion with someone who can call me "Mark Hunter" but chooses to remain anonymous.

Mike, do you want to take this strawman about the unexplainable Trinity?

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Anonymous said...

Please spare me the "strawman".

I am anonymous because I don't have a google account. Mike and I have talked, but frankly a name doesn't matter.

I know you are Mark Hunter, but your words would have the same value if your name Bassam Abdel Majeed. Names don't really matter. Words do.

Mark Hunter said...

You don't need a Google account to put a name. See the box below where you enter text. It allows you to simply type in your name.

Why are JW apologists/Watch Tower defenders reluctant to publicly identify themselves? Is it linked to the Watch Tower Society's published comments about visiting websites like this one? Would publicly identifying oneself on a site like this fall outside of the "good works" Jehovah's Witnesses believe they need to do in order to be kept in God's love?

However, you're right, words do matter. And thus far, reading over your words, I remain unconvinced that you understand where or how you find and achieve salvation.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Mark Hunter posted at 4:12AM. That is incredible support you have here Mike.

Why do "christian" apologists/Watchtower bashers beg for attention from JW's and then when they get said attention, accuse such persons with breaking Watch Tower laws? Be happy that you have made me 'think on my own'.

Whether you are convinced or not, I believe I know where salvation is and I pray each day that I should have it. (Zeph 2:3)

I have a simple question for you Mark Hunter, is there nothing that can remove you from God's love?

Mark Hunter said...

Anonymous, firstly, I live in the UK, so there's a disparity between the time you see displayed on the posts and time I actually posted. Just so you know.

Secondly, where's the evidence of this alleged begging of attention from JWs? I personally blog to hopefully convince no one to ever become a JW in the first place. I need to assume that any JW worth their book bag wouldn't be on an apostate site in the first place. However, if anyone Googles Jehovah's Witness or Watchtower I hope they find sites like this one that present a truthful historical and theological picture of what the Governing Body is peddling.

Thirdly, I'm sorry to see you having to rely on the the words of Old Testament prophets to get a handle on how you might be spared when Jehovah annihilates all non-JWs. However, I'm of the opinion that Jesus said "it is finished" and he fulfilled all the words of the OT (Jewish) prophets.

I'm pleased that I fall under New Covenant guarantees such as Romans 8:1 Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. 2 For the law of that spirit which gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Just as Christ cannot be loved less by our Heavenly Father, those who are in Christ and are covered by the value of his spilt blood can't be loved less - or more - by the Father.

But I understand that you, as a faithful Jehovah's Witness, will continue to believe that a certain percentage of your salvation depends on what you do, including your righteous works.

Good luck with that, by the way.

Anonymous said...

How about you do nothing but believe and see how that works for you. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)

I will just try hard. No luck needed.

Mark Hunter said...

"I will just try hard. No luck needed."

Or you could repent of your religion and simply trust Jesus, like the Bible asks us to.

Again, how much of your salvation is dependent on you? 25%? 13% 72.5%

Mark Hunter said...

Btw, Anonymous, you're trying hard right now, doing what the Watch Tower Society asks you to do, I'm assuming.

But considering that the Watch Tower Society frequently has to adjust, scrap or U-turn on their doctrines, how do you know you're trying hard to do the things God actually wants you to do?