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