Ten Reasons Why Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not of God

Posted by J.H. on January 19, 1997 at 11:23:37

Ten Reasons Why Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not of God

By M. James Penton

The Bible tells us to test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Over the years I have tested Jehovah's Witnesses. I was raised as one and had parents, grandparents, and great grandparents who were Bible Students and Jehovah's Witnesses. I am happy I am no longer a member of the community known as Jehovah's Witnesses because I do not believe the teachings of their organization are godly or Christian in any true sense. Some will say, well why didn't you stay and try to bring change to the movement. Many of us did try, but that was as impossible as it was for the early Christians to reform the Judaism of their day. We were driven out of the synagogues. So in order to warn others and to counter some of the silly assertions I see by people such as Steve Klemetti, I am giving concrete reasons why I think the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses is a sterile, unchristian one. While one may find Christ even in Jehovah's Witnesses, the mindset of the community is basically anti-Christ.

So here are some historical reasons why Jehovah's Witnesses, as directed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, are not of God.

1. They have consistently taught false prophecies since the beginning of their movement.

  • They falsely stated that the end of the present world or system of things would come in 1914 and 1925. They implied over and over again that it would end in 1975.

  • They indicated that the saints (the remnant of the 144,000) would be taken to heaven in 1878, 1881, 1914, 1918, and 1920.

  • They taught between 1925 and 1950 that the ancient worthies (Jesus' forefathers) would return in the resurrection prior to the battle of Armageddon.

  • They long taught that the "final end" must come by 1914. When that failed to happen, they came to assert that the end would have to come before the generation alive in 1914 would pass away. Now they have changed that.

2. They claim that the light grows brighter and brighter. In fact they have changed doctrines back and forth many times.

  • In 1880 Russell said the Church was not under the new covenant. In 1881 he said it was. In 1907 he said it wasn't. The New Covenant Schism, which included some of Russell's relatives, resulted. Later, Rutherford went back to the very position enunciated by the New Covenanters.

  • The organization has shifted its position many times on who would and who would not be resurrected. The poor Sodomites get resurrected and damned to gehenna by turns every few years.

  • The organization has vacillated time and again on medical matters, often with serious results to the lives and health of Jehovah's Witnesses. Take its many stands on vaccination, organ transplants, and blood.

  • The organization has shifted back and forth on the question of alternative civilian service.

  • The organization now takes the stand that the Higher Powers or Superior Authorities of Romans 13 are the secular rulers of the nations just as Russell and most churches have. Rutherford got new light in 1929 saying they were Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.

3. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses has not always claimed to be Spirit directed. During Russell's day, the pastor believed that he and the anointed remnant were the Church and were Spirit directed. But when Rutherford came to power, he argued that since Christ had come to the Temple in 1918 and was ruling, the Holy Spirit was no longer present with the remnant. Rutherford taught that he received messages or "lightening flashes in the Temple" from the thrones of Jehovah and Christ. Evidently "new truths" were delivered to him personally by angels. After he died, Knorr and Franz returned to teaching that Jehovah's Witnesses were Spirit directed.

4. The Jehovah's Witnesses have gone far beyond the Scriptures. Many of the rules they have developed have nothing to do with the Scriptures. The reporting of time in preaching, the creation of a hierarchical form of government, disfellowshipment for such things as smoking, celebrating Christmas and birthdays, many rules concerning what is and is not proper in the marriage bed, rules concerning voting, holding public office, etc.

5. Through the Watch Tower Society and in numerous public statements, the leadership of the movement has often told outrageous lies.

  • In 1894 C. T. Russell and wife both claimed that their marriage was most harmonious and that there was no trouble between them. Later, at the time of their divorce they both admitted that there had been trouble between them at the time. Yet they had damned various Bible House workers for saying what was true in Harvest Siftings.

  • Russell's statements about not changing doctrines in 1909 during the New Covenant Schism are simply outrageous. If he believed them, he was practicing self deception on a grand scale.

  • Rutherford and company lied openly about the reason for the dismissal of the four Watch Tower directors in 1917. The Watch Tower Society perpetuates the lie to this day. It can be shown clearly that they lied from sworn statements they made in the case of the United States vs. Rutherford et al.

  • The Watch Tower has lied consistently about the nature of its policy in Nazi Germany in 1933. The Declaration published at Berlin in 1933 was an attempt to compromise with the Nazis, was openly anti-Semitic, anti-British, and anti-American.

  • The attacks that the Society has made on various persons who have questioned the behavior of its leaders have been nothing but a through-going tissue of lies. This was the case in 1894, 1909, 1917, 1918, during Rutherford's war on the elected elders in the late 1920s and 1930s, and specifically with regard to such persons as Walter Salter, Olin Moyle, Carl Jonsson, Raymond Franz, and many thousands of others, including myself.

6. The so-called judicial committees of Jehovah's Witnesses do not operate on the basis of biblical principles where matters are open to ordinary persons as was the case in Israel and in the early Christian congregations. They follow the example of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and the Court of Star Chamber. Consequently, much injustice takes place before these bodies.

7. Watch Tower scholarship is puerile and often dishonest. It typically fails to give proper quotations for sources, quotes out of context, and puts forward ideas which are utterly bizarre.

  • The New World Translation contains a lot of special pleading and intentional mistranslations.

  • Watch Tower articles on science are extremely bad, and material on topics such as evolution are notoriously dishonest.

  • Watch Tower historical works are even worse. The latest Proclaimers book, along with Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, is a travesty from the standpoint of the professional historian. I personally resent the fact that while they continue to damn me as an apostate and to decry my publications, they feel free to "borrow" information from me and even to use my work in court.

8. Jehovah's Witnesses ignore the clear biblical instructions in James and other parts of the New Testament to carry on works of love such as caring for widows, orphans, and their fellow humans. Placing Watchtower magazines at the doors does not feed empty bellies. In this sense Jehovah's Witnesses have faith (as do the demons) but no works. They are "noisy gongs and clashing cymbals."

9. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that they (at least all but the remnant) are saved through works rather than faith. Furthermore, they are told that only the remnant have Jesus Christ as their mediator. The vast majority are told that they should not partake of communion. Since they are told that they are not members of the body of Christ, are not born again, and are not Spirit directed (except through the remnant), where are they? Romans 8:9 (RSV) says: "Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him."

10. Jehovah's Witnesses have become notorious for their roles in marriage breakdowns and in child custody cases. There are more JW child custody cases in the United States and Canada than all other religious child custody cases put together. Surely this says something about Jehovah's Witnesses that is not particularly attractive.

M. James Penton is a Emeritus Professor of History and Religious Studies from the University of Lethbridge, Canada. His family has a long history in the Bible Students and the Jehovah's Witnesses. After Jim in a letter made certain criticisms of Watchtower doctrines and what he considered unethical practices, the Jehovah's Witness leadership started a process that ended with his disfellowshipping in February 1981. The process was so obviously harsh and unchristian that it ended with more than 80 Jehovah's Witnesses in Lethbridge leaving the controversial sect. The interesting story about this incident is written by James A. Beverly in Crisis of Allegiance (Burlington, Ca: Welch Publishing, 1986).

Jim Penton has later written a number of articles on different subjects, and he also wrote the book that is the definite text on the Jehovah's Witnesses: Apocalypse Delayed -- The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985). He also has written the newest entry on the Jehovah's Witnesses in The Encyclopedia Americana, and can without any exaggeration be described as one of the world's leading authorities on the Jehovah's Witnesses. Jim lives with his wife Marilyn in Lethbridge.