Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jehovah's Witnesses: How does your preaching work compare with this?

Before I delve into this question, i'd like to display The Watchtower's own thoughts concerning their preaching work and how it compares to the rest of so-called "Christendom":

*** w55 10/15 p. 624 par. 9 The Triumphant Message of “The Kingdom” ***
The missionaries of Christendom throughout the earth number into the thousands. Despite all these, it is not too much to say that Jehovah’s witnesses are the only ones preaching “this good news of the kingdom.” Why? Because they are the only ones that see the established kingdom in the light of modern events interpreted by Bible prophecy, and they are the only ones with the faith and courage from God to preach it.

There cannot be a more exclusive claim than this.  Indeed, Jehovah's Witnesses (over 6 million worldwide in a concerted effort) are preaching "The Kingdom" and "Bible prophecy."  Of course, many in "Christendom" would proclaim a similar message.  But The Watchtower is very clear in their exclusive distinction:

*** w81 5/1 p. 17 par. 3 If God Has an Organization, What Is It? ***
Let the honest-hearted person compare the kind of preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom done by the religious systems of Christendom during all the centuries with that done by Jehovah’s Witnesses since the end of World War I in 1918. They are not one and the same kind. 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. (Luke 21:24)

Though the Society will admit that there are missionaries in Christendom that "preach," they place themselves in stark contrast by the fact that they are the only ones preaching 1914 as Christ's enthronement.  In light of this, they emphatically proclaim the nearness of God's judgment on babylon the great (i.e. "Christendom") and the rest of wicked mankind.  

But is there even the possibility that non-Jehovah's Witnesses are preaching the gospel?  According to The Watchtower:

*** w95 9/1 p. 18 par. 18 Christian Witnesses for Divine Sovereignty ***
18 The worldwide preaching of the good news helps to prove that Jesus’ royal presence has begun. (Matthew 24:3) Further, it is the main means by which “the harvest of the earth” is being reaped, as it points people to the only true hope for mankind, Jehovah’s Kingdom. (Revelation 14:15, 16) Since only genuine Christians share in the preaching of the good news, this important work helps to distinguish the true Christians from the false. (Malachi 3:18) 

Since the Jehovah's Witnesses are the only ones proclaiming "the gospel of 1914," then all non-Jehovah's Witnesses are false Christians.  They are nothing more than sincere messengers proclaiming a false gospel that will ultimately incur the judgment of God upon themselves and the rest who were deceived by their false gospel.  

At this point, i'd like any Jehovah's Witnesses watching this to give consideration to the following video, whereby one of "Christendom's" missionaries preaches what he believes to be the "gospel" to two individuals.  In doing so, please think about the following:

1. Is this a false gospel?
2. Is this a false gospel because he neglected to mention 1914?
3.  Was it a false gospel because he neglected to mention how "close we are to the end?"
4.  Is it a false gospel because he failed to mention that salvation can only be found in being in association with his organization?
5.  Is it a false gospel because he never mentioned "Jehovah?"
6.  Should he have left out all the stuff about repentance and placing faith in Jesus' atoning work in favor of proclaiming 1914 and "how close we are to the end?"
7.  In one encounter, could you as a Jehovah's Witness provide the necessary information whereby one could avoid the impending judgment that could come on that very day?
8.  What other approaches did this man use that were wrong and worthy of being called a "false gospel?"

If you would, please watch the following video and provide some commentary on how "Christendom" needs to abandon this message and proclaim the true gospel:




13 comments:

FredTorres said...

Hello Mike:

Just a few quick thoughts....

1. Is this a false gospel? Yes.

2. Is this a false gospel because he neglected to mention 1914?

No

3. Was it a false gospel because he neglected to mention how "close we are to the end?"

No.

4.Is it a false gospel because he failed to mention that salvation can only be found in being in association with his organization?


No.

5. Is it a false gospel because he never mentioned "Jehovah?"

No


6. Should he have left out all the stuff about repentance and placing faith in Jesus' atoning work in favor of proclaiming 1914 and "how close we are to the end?"

No.

7. In one encounter, could you as a Jehovah's Witness provide the necessary information whereby one could avoid the impending judgment that could come on that very day?

Yes

8. What other approaches did this man use that were wrong and worthy of being called a "false gospel?"

a. The speaker assumes the listener understands the concept of God, the blood of Jesus and atonement. The blood of Jesus is what forgives sin, and this is not explained. He builds upon this assumption by contuining to speak.

b. The speaker uses what I consider a fear tactic of eternal torture in Hell if listener does not repent.

c. The speaker proclaims in public that the loving God he is witnesing about also tortures unrepentant persons in Hell with the Satan.



If you would, please watch the following video and provide some commentary on how "Christendom" needs to abandon this message and proclaim the true gospel:


1. This is a false gospel because it is premised on a distorted view of God and His justice. This presentation contains elementary components of true gospel, ie. reliability of scripture, need for repentance, the name of Jesus, and urgency to consider the gospel and the need for further reading.

Just a technical observation: the speaker comes across as somewhat too aggressive for my taste....
He is asking direct and leading questions in a interview style, and stands square and over them while he is speaking with direct eye contact.
It is clear that the gentlemen were nervous and unsure.

The Apologetic Front said...

Hey Fred, good to hear from you!

I appreciate your taking the time to answer these questions. Maybe just a few follow ups:

1. Given a short amount of time on a street encounter, wouldn't one have to assume some things on the listener's part? In other words, given that this man is ignorant of God and the atonement, what misconceptions would he have had that would have kept him from true salvation?

2. If this guy had left, gone home, repented and received this message and sought out to live a life honoring Jehovah and his new profession of faith, would he still be destroyed at armageddon?

3. If 1914 is the good news that contrasts the true gospel from the false (per the WT own words), then how was it not a false gospel on that basis?

FredTorres said...

Hi Mike:

If there is something that stands out is that these young men have no inkling of what is being said.
How else are they going to answer when the speaker is invoking something that he "knows" is a cause of fear. That alone could keep him from getting saved. We worship in truth. Now, I wont go as far as to say that he "won't" be saved because Jesus is ultimately the judge of that.

2. I don't know.

3. 1914 is a date in a calendar. As you know, we believe that Jesus has returned (Matt 24:3) on what corresponds to that date. If this is true, then it is part of the gospel.

....
that's my cents worth. Good discussion Mike.

Mark Hunter said...

"3. 1914 is a date in a calendar. As you know, we believe that Jesus has returned (Matt 24:3) on what corresponds to that date. If this is true, then it is part of the gospel. "

Big if.

What's it based on? 607? That sort of thing?

What part does "the vindication of Jehovah's universal sovereignty" play in the gospel, I'm curious?

StandFirm said...

I agree with FredTorres. I think he hit the nail right on the head.

The Apologetic Front, I think you think we focus on 1914 more than we do. If I had to tell someone in one encounter what they needed to do for salvation, I would say to continue taking in knowledge (or, getting to know) God and Christ (John 17:3). Since, after all, to be saved by Jesus, they would have to know him and his Father. Although the man in the video did have some things right, such as the prophecy about Jesus (a very good point), I heavily disagree with his what I feel is a confrontational demeanor. He did not put them at ease. He also seemed to use hell as a sort of fear tactic. Also, he failed to explain just how one is to become a Christian.

The Apologetic Front said...

StandFirm, while it may be true that many or most JW's don't focus on 1914, the Society's own words on this issue speak for themselves.

As to the "fear tactic," would it be such to speak of the wrath of God which abides on all those who reject the Son of God, as John 3:36 says? Regardless of what you think about "hell," the wrath of God is a terrifying thing that Jesus and the apostles spoke a lot about. Are you suggesting one should avoid such when proclaiming the gospel?

Mark Hunter said...

StandFirm, are you suggesting that Jehovah's Witnesses hold back on talking about 1914?

You see, I was a pioneer in the late 80s and early 90s and 1914 was very much part of the "gospel" I was instructed to preach. The whole "generation that will not pass away" was a big part of the message, along with talking about the signs in Matthew 24.

We made no bones about it; Christ returned (invisibly) in 1914 and there wasn't much time until Armageddon.

But you're right, these days you hardly ever hear about 1914. The last District Convention I attended had 1914 only mentioned once over the 3 days. And even then the mention was part of the Watchtower article covered on the Sunday afternoon.

So, has the "gospel" changed?

If nowadays JWs don't mention 1914 as much, my questions are;
- why, if Jesus returned then, shouldn't you be proclaiming that fact?
- when do "interested ones" get to know about 1914?
- is 1914 actually quite hard to explain and defend?
- how does it make you feel personally that we're only a few short years away from 2010?
- is 607 actually an embarrassment to the Governing Body, and has this led to a gradual "shushing" of 1914?

You see, if 1914 isn't true, then how does that impact the 1919 selection of Jehovah's Witnesses as the only true religion?

BTW, brand new website coming soon - www.TheGoverningBody.org

Mark Hunter said...

2014 not 2010

StandFirm said...

@The Apologetic Front

"StandFirm, while it may be true that many or most JW's don't focus on 1914, the Society's own words on this issue speak for themselves."

That's true. We do consider 1914 and Christ's rule as heavenly King to be an essential part of the true gospel. But that doesn't mean we harp on it a lot, especially with new ones; rather, we consider it as one of many facets of the truth.

"As to the "fear tactic," would it be such to speak of the wrath of God which abides on all those who reject the Son of God, as John 3:36 says? Regardless of what you think about "hell," the wrath of God is a terrifying thing that Jesus and the apostles spoke a lot about. Are you suggesting one should avoid such when proclaiming the gospel?"

It's not that one should avoid mentioning it, but one needs to be very careful as to when and how they say it. Fear tactics have turned many away from belief in God and religion. It's worth noting that the Apostle Paul in his speech at the Areopagus in Acts 17 that he did not mention the wrath of God. It need not be mentioned right away.

StandFirm said...

"StandFirm, are you suggesting that Jehovah's Witnesses hold back on talking about 1914? You see, I was a pioneer in the late 80s and early 90s and 1914 was very much part of the "gospel" I was instructed to preach. The whole "generation that will not pass away" was a big part of the message, along with talking about the signs in Matthew 24. We made no bones about it; Christ returned (invisibly) in 1914 and there wasn't much time until Armageddon. But you're right, these days you hardly ever hear about 1914. The last District Convention I attended had 1914 only mentioned once over the 3 days. And even then the mention was part of the Watchtower article covered on the Sunday afternoon. So, has the "gospel" changed?"

The publications from that time period show that it was not mentioned more or less than today. I highly doubt that you mentioned it at the doors or to your return visits. Likely, you saved it, as one of the deeper things and solid food, for those who were more mature spiritually. If it is mentioned less today, that is because it might be considered too deep for those unfamiliar with the Bible.

"If nowadays JWs don't mention 1914 as much, my questions are;
- why, if Jesus returned then, shouldn't you be proclaiming that fact?"


We do.

"- when do "interested ones" get to know about 1914?"

They can ask right off; otherwise, when they receive the What Does the Bible Really Teach? book, where it is described on pages 215-218. We are encouraged to offer that book and start studies on a regular basis.

"- is 1914 actually quite hard to explain and defend?"

Not in my view. If someone finds it hard to explain they should brush up on it.

"- how does it make you feel personally that we're only a few short years away from [2014]?"

The last days of Noah lasted 120 years, (Genesis 6:3) so it presents no problem.

"- is 607 actually an embarrassment to the Governing Body, and has this led to a gradual "shushing" of 1914?"

No, it isn't, and it hasn't.

"You see, if 1914 isn't true, then how does that impact the 1919 selection of Jehovah's Witnesses as the only true religion?"

If 1914 were false, then 1919 would also be false. But it has nothing to do with whether there is a Trinity, whether Jehovah's Witnesses cover up child abuse, and whether taking the Oath of Allegiance was hypocrisy. That is why it is a red herring, to divert away from the real issue.

"BTW, brand new website coming soon - www.TheGoverningBody.org"

Be careful. A website that presents itself as representing an entity it does not represent opens itself up to legal issues. You may want to put a disclaimer on your new site.

Mark Hunter said...

Actually, we did use 1914 on the doors. It was part of the fear tactic to alarm people that we are so very, very close to the end. I suppose it was a bit like those articles in the Awake! about 1975.

Turned out that wasn't true, so...

As for it being "too deep", that perhaps may be true. And of course there's the small issue of it not being part of Christian gospel.

"They can ask right off; otherwise, when they receive the What Does the Bible Really Teach? book, where it is described on pages 215-218. We are encouraged to offer that book and start studies on a regular basis."

Yeah, but they're not going to ask right off, are they? You see, like the Governing Body, JWs are trained to speak out of both sides of their mouth.

On the one hand, they love to show everything that's wrong with all other religions.

But then they fail to from the outset transparently outline why they believe all other religions are false; namely because they believe there's was chosen in 1919. The only reason you end up on a person's doorstep on a Saturday morning is, fundamentally, because you believe your religion - and yours alone - is true. Everything you do, religiously, cascades down from that.

Why not just fess up with people right away;
"Look, I know you're saying you have a "belief in God", but here's the skinny: your beliefs are false because ours were chosen as true in 1919, and that's because Jesus returned [ahem]invisibly[ahem] in 1914."?

"Not in my view. If someone finds it hard to explain they should brush up on it."

Can it be explained only using the Bible? Also, where did the concept of 607+2520=1914(Christ's Return) come from?

"No, it isn't, and it hasn't"

The problem with defending 607 is 1) you can't (the link defends something that's indefensible by making statements like "The Bible says Jerusalem was devastated for seventy years, starting in 607 BCE" when we all know the Bible mentions no dates!), 2) the Governing Body don't even attempt to and finally 3) your own publications don't support it.

Try the Insight book test on the Babylonian kings...Credit to the Governing Body on that one, they haven't tried to re-write ancient history the way they liberally re-write their own.

What I find hi-larious is that the local congregations take little pilgrimages to London Bethel ("oh, the privilege...look! There's a printing press...") and while in the capital visit the British Museum. However, while there they are careful kept away from the exhibits that prove 607 can't be the year of Jerusalem's destruction.

"If 1914 were false, then 1919 would also be false. But it has nothing to do with whether there is a Trinity, whether Jehovah's Witnesses cover up child abuse, and whether taking the Oath of Allegiance was hypocrisy. That is why it is a red herring, to divert away from the real issue."

Excellent. So, we know that 1914 is false. Therefore, the Bible Students weren't chosen in 1919.

Glad we've been able to establish it.

Regarding the Trinity, it would be helpful if Jehovah's Witnesses understood the concept in the first place; keep on denying Jesus if that makes you happy....

And Jehovah's Witnesses, ie, rank and file serfs, don't cover over child abuse; their masters at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses do. There's a difference.

Of course, they do it believing they speak for God, so I'm not sure what's worse.

Mark Hunter said...

"Be careful. A website that presents itself as representing an entity it does not represent opens itself up to legal issues. You may want to put a disclaimer on your new site."

Point taken;
http://thegoverningbody.org/about/we-are-not/;
LEGAL STUFF


This blog is in no way affiliated with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, we have disassociated them.

It’s not affiliated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Inc.
Neither is it affiliated with the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Nor the [insert corporate/legal name pertaining to the religious entity known as "Jehovah's Witnesses"]
For the record, this blog, the articles published on it, the editors and administrators, have nothing to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
We are not Jehovah’s Witnesses
We are not the Governing Body of the religious order known as Jehovah’s Witnesses
However, as Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught (by the Governing Body) that the Governing Body exclusively speaks for God, ie. is God’s sole channel of communication on earth, it’s sensible to look long and hard at the history and teachings of this esoteric group that places itself on – or above – the elevated platform currently occupied by Jesus Christ.

Either they speak for God or they don’t.

Either they were chosen by Jesus in 1919 or they weren’t.

This should absolutely be open for debate and discussion without censure.
Hence this blog.

FredTorres said...

Hello Mike, how goes it?

I came back to re- read our dialogue and I realized that some of my comments were incomplete. It looks like I misread one of the follow up questions, and for what it's worth, I wanted to expand my comments just a bit, if you will allow me to.

You had asked:
"3. If 1914 is the good news that contrasts the true gospel from the false (per the WT own words), then how was it not a false gospel on that basis?"

As you know, our eschatology has a unique feature. Yes, we point to 1914 as outward evidence of what we believe can be systemically demonstrated from the Bible, namely that we are in the last days and that Jesus is our now-reigning King. Because we believe that to be true, you would expect a large number of references in our publications. I do not see why that should not be the case.

In the field, we point to that already established Kingdom as the only solution to mankind's troubles, not just a gospel of personal salvation, or, as I previously believed, a social gospel.And yes, the year of 1914 is spoken of, and is not avoided. But barring a specific question about chronology, we typically will appeal to what is written in the gospels about the "last days", and how that is impacting their lives. More often than not, that is more than sufficient at that moment in time. It is interesting to note that many we speak to, including evangelicals, agree that we are in the end times, based on passages such as Matthew 24. They may disagree with us, and amongst themselves, on the timing and manner of Jesus’ ”coming” but they can relate to the sense of urgency depicted in the Bible. In fact, our very presence (pardon the pun) at their doorstep is presented in itself as living testimony of visible sign of Jesus invisible return (Matt 24:14), and this is something that is spoken of in our ministry.
If our listeners would like to gain accurate knowledge of that kingdom , such as further proof of how can we know that we live during the foretold parousia, we will usually arrange for a follow up visit, even if they live out of town. A Witness would have tactfully asked the young man in the video for an address or phone # to do just that.

Your suggestion that I do not consider your depiction of the gospel as false on the basis that the preacher does not pronounce the date "1914" on the initial contact is, IMHO, an overly simplistic characterization of the Jehovah's Witnesses' ministry presentations.
I believe your question centered around information given at the initial contact, unless I misunderstood.

Regarding fear tactics and Hell, perhaps it is my aversion as former Catholic to the doctrine of hell-fire that strikes a chord with me. Maybe I am wrong but I think you are dismissive of the point that such a doctrine could potentially make this a false gospel, since you say ”regardless of what you believe about hell….”. Is it not the point of this exercise to examine how this is not a false gospel?
Jesus did speak of execution of adverse judgment in his sermons. God’s justice requires that his listeners know that. But when Jesus spoke to individuals, such as in this video, he did not tell them they would go to a hell fire for eternity (which is insinuated in the video as a certainty) if they did not repent. This is, as I previously stated, a distorted view of God’s justice, and should be rightly questioned. One example I recall of how Jesus preached to individuals is the Samaritan woman as recorded in John Chp 4.

Again, just my two cents. I did not want you to think that I ignored your question.
Kinds regards,
Fred