Friday, August 22, 2008

Were Jehovah's Witnesses Chosen By God?

Jehovah's Witnesses often try to defend their religion against various charges by comparing themselves to the Israelites and then saying, "Well, the Israelites were God's chosen people even though they made mistakes. And even though we make mistakes we are still God chosen people today."
Well of course that argument simply doesn't cut it. The Israelites, according to the Bible, came into existence as a result of a promise that God made to Abraham. God caused Abraham's descendents to multiply profusely and grow into a populous nation. They existed because God said he would cause them to come into existence, and that he would make them his special people because of his promise to Abraham. Their being a chosen people had nothing to do with their conduct as individuals or as a nation -- their relationship with God had little to do with them, and everything to do with God.
Eventually God made himself known to the Israelites as "Jehovah", caused the Israelites to worship him, and gave them the Law. However, people outside of the Jewish nation could also worship Jehovah, as did Job and his friends. And as we know, God eventually abandoned the Israelites for their unfaithfulness, and formed "the Christian congregation".
The Christian congregation was different in principle from the Israelite congregation. In the latter, people had no choice whether to belong; they were Jews by birth. On the other hand, people had to make a conscious decision about joining the Christian congregation. They became or remained Christians because of their conduct and their relationship with God and Christ.
The Israelites remained Israelites no matter what bad things they did. But a Christian might no longer be a Christian for any number of reasons. In fact, the standards written by various New Testament writers were a litmus test for Christianity. Anyone violating certain standards of conduct was by definition not a Christian (of course, one can split hairs no end about the details, but we're talking about gross violations of what virtually all professed Christians agree on). Anyone who repudiated the Christian faith was no longer a Christian, whereas a Jew who repudiated his religion remained a Jew.
Jesus instituted the Christian congregation, meaning the entire body of faithful Christians, and said that he would be "with" them until he returned. Assuming that that holds true today, the entire body of faithful Christians on earth would constitute the Christian congregation. Here is where Jehovah's Witnesses get into serious trouble.
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that they and they alone are real Christians and therefore that "the entire body of faithful Christians on earth" is composed exclusively of Jehovah's Witnesses. Oh, a few individuals will allow that a few outside their organization might be true Christians, but that is not what the Jehovah's Witnesses organization that "speaks" through the printing presses of its Watchtower Society teach. The leaders have stated quite explicitly that salvation for Christians cannot be obtained outside the Jehovah's Witness organization, that it is in fact exclusively the "ark of salvation". By such teachings, Jehovah's Witnesses condemn all other supposed Christians as fakes, imposters, as members of wicked "Christendom". Therefore one should expect that Jehovah's Witnesses, both as individuals and as an organization, would be a cut above others who claim to be Christian and would always have been so. After all, no one becomes a Christian by birth, but by choice.
Jehovah's Witnesses also teach that there were no real Christians on earth until the 1870s, when the Watchtower Society's founder, Chares Taze Russell, began his Bible studies. They teach that Russell was the first modern-day member of "the anointed", of the "faithful and discreet slave class". However, this conflicts with another teaching that "one generation of the 'slave' class fed the next succeeding generation". JWs have never explained this contradiction.
At any rate, Jehovah's Witnesses teach that somehow God brought them into existence in the 1870s as "the Bible Students" under the leadership of C. T. Russell. After Russell died and J. F. Rutherford became their leader, they teach that in 1919 Christ made an inspection of all of the Christian religions on the earth, found all of them except one -- the Bible Students -- wanting, and chose their leaders "to be over all Christ's belongings." Thus we find that JWs teach not only that their religion was instituted by God himself in the 1870s, and their leaders appointed as "the faithful slave", but that Christ reaffirmed it and gave these leaders great spiritual authority over the entire body of Christians in the world in 1919.
What do Jehovah's Witnesses actually base all this reasoning on, beyond their arguable interpretations of the Bible? Why, on their claim that they and they alone were so much better than all other Christian groups that Christ specially appointed their leaders in 1919 to have spiritual authority. In other words, they base these claims on their claims that their conduct was and remains a cut above that of everyone else, and that their teachings are virtually identical to those of the early Christians.
To sum it up, Jehovah's Witnesses teach that they are God's chosen people today because of their conduct and their teachings, whereas the Israelites were God's chosen by virtue of birth. The two situations cannot be compared.
This naturally leaves the Witnesses open to criticism. What if their claims of being such good Christians are not true? What if their leadership has proved itself unfaithful to God by, say, telling lies in God's name? Making false predictions in his name? Allowing pedophiles to roam freely in the congregations? Teaching their members that salvation lies not in Christ but in attending meetings and going in field service? Not allowing Christians to think for themselves but dictating to them what their faith is? Would these disqualify them from being "God's chosen"? Of course they would! The truth of the base claim of Jehovah's Witness leaders to speak for God relies on whether they in fact speak for God. But since God doesn't answer questions of this sort, people must observe Jehovah's Witnesses and judge for themselves whether they measure up.
On this blog and other internet websites it quickly becomes evident that many Jehovah's Witness teachings, and their most fundamental one of all, cannot stand up to criticism. They have no means at all of proving that they are "God's chosen". The best they can do is compare themselves to the Israelites and whimper, "well, they were God's chosen despite their faults, and so are we". Jehovah's Witnesses, as individuals, have been so heavily indoctrinated with the fundamental teaching that theirs is the true religion they cannot fathom the fact that it is not. Their faith in the Organization is based on mere claims, not demonstrable facts -- and all Jehovah's Witnesses know this, even though they will not admit it. That's why many of them become so angry when their basic doctrine is challenged.

11 comments:

Tom Rook said...

Sigh.............

With all the issues I have with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the fact of the matter is that they ARE a "cut above" everybody else, but only in the sense that "in a world of blind people, the one-eyed man is King".

Just as God's love for Abraham gave his descendants, particular advantage over the Nations, Jehovah's Witnesses are above the nations and religions of today because of God's love for them.

The weeds and the wheat are growing up together, inside and outside the organization.

Unfortunately, because they write like seventh graders, they have begun to think in the patterns of seventh graders. It embarrasses me to tears.

What is even more disconcerting is that they encourage seventh grade thinking.

But a 7th grader with the Truth about a matter is better than a tenured professor teaching crap.

Jehovah has blessed Jehovah's Witnesses with spiritual truth that is progressive...when you climb out of a cesspool like Christendom, it takes a LONG time to get the smell off.

Jehovah has NOT blessed the WTB&TS with common sense.

...there is a difference.

Tom.Rook@Technik-SA.US

frank said...

Ok you ask for it
first lets take you governing body
can you really challenge the basic doctrines first of all you never did, what are the basic doctrines?
not believe in the trinity, hell fire, immortality of the soul, there will be a paradise on earth, I never see you challenging these we just talking craps.
do you really call your craps criticism? or hatred?

hey by the way I wasn't finish with you with your previous post
was philip part of an organization?
REad Acts 6:16
acts 8:12-14
it is only your craps that are based on mere claims not facts.
how many pedophiles do you know that are part of the organization?

keep yakkeee yak and enjoy it for now.


hey you Jehovah witnesses encourage 7th grade thinking
do you know what you are talking about or are you just blind?

does awake magazine encourage 7th grade thinking?
oh what about the evolution book,or the creator book, even the watchtower magazine?
let's say you too pride that the language used in this magazines sound like 7th grader to you, to simple to you.
the language use in our magazines proof that Jehovah witnesses can explain complicated subject using simple language, so everybody can understand.
go figure

kimmy jo said...

GBL,

Thank you for presenting such a well written, reasonable, simply stated argument about JW's being "chosen" by Jehovah God and special.

frank and tom rook,

You are looking at a very minute portion of the bigger picture and saying that the little speck of correctness makes the whole picture a master piece. Step back, way back and see the BIG, COMPLETE, WHOLE picture, looking with contemplation. NOW, think about the things you have learned from the watchtower/bible regarding worldly things and worldly involvement, now use that same judgement as you look on.

Thanks again, GBL.

Ronde said...

""Well, the Israelites were God's chosen people even though they made mistakes. And even though we make mistakes we are still God chosen people today."
Well of course that argument simply doesn't cut it. "

Well, it is a correct comparison.

Israel foreshadowed the spiritual Israel - the Christian congregation.
What better comparison is there.

"The Israelites, according to the Bible, came into existence as a result of a promise that God made to Abraham."

No, Israel came about as a prophesy of the new covenant and the spiritual temple.

0 for 2 so far

"Their being a chosen people had nothing to do with their conduct as individuals or as a nation -- their relationship with God had little to do with them, and everything to do with God."

You still had not mentioned the true religion's role in that.

"The Christian congregation was different in principle from the Israelite congregation. In the latter, people had no choice whether to belong; they were Jews by birth. On the other hand, people had to make a conscious decision about joining the Christian congregation."

That is what being 'born again' is about. Those born as Israelites under the covenant, had to be born into a new covenant.

"Anyone who repudiated the Christian faith was no longer a Christian, whereas a Jew who repudiated his religion remained a Jew."

Not true. Any Israelite who repudiated his religion was put to death.

"Jehovah's Witnesses teach that they and they alone are real Christians and therefore that "the entire body of faithful Christians on earth" is composed exclusively of Jehovah's Witnesses."

No, evidence teaches that.

Since no one else has stepped forward to make any such claims, no one else wants it.

Anonymous said...

You'd have to first believe in 'God', and then perform further mental gymnastics to convince yourself a group of self-absorbed, mostly imbecilic idiots somehow have divine favour... *sigh* It's not just enough to realise the WTBS is full of crap - dig a bit further, be a bit more discriminating about what you actually believe in, particularly when there's absolutely no proof for it.
But hey - this isn't my blog, and I think GBL does a fantastic job nonetheless.

kevin said...

Well said, GBL. Indeed, Israel came about solely by God's fulfilling His promise to Abraham. God's choice, not man's righteousness.

Yes, the time element is crucial, also. If Christ hasn't arrived yet, then the F&DS hasn't been identified and appointed over His belongings yet.

Yes, Tom and others, even as a JW 20-some-odd years ago, the WT's 7th-grade writing level embarrassed me. Today, the writing style has not changed, and its childish, condescending attitude is sickening.

Ronde said...

Kevin

"Yes, Tom and others, even as a JW 20-some-odd years ago, the WT's 7th-grade writing level embarrassed me. Today, the writing style has not changed, and its childish, condescending attitude is sickening. "

Your writing and attitude is sickening.

kevin said...

Hi Ronde,

Any honest-hearted one, who loves Jehovah and his organization, would certainly agree with you.

Ronde said...

Kevin,

Thank you. Honest hearted ones and lovers of Jehovah God do agree with me.

kevin said...

By the way, Ronde, my comment was a simple, visceral reaction, I'm sure, having spent seven years being brow-beaten into the idea that the WT magazine was from God, even though its childish, self-serving, condescending language always bothered me. Now having the freedom to speak my mind, it's refreshing for me to say publicly how I always disliked the awful "honest-hearted ones always agree with us, and anyone who doesn't hates God" etc., writing style.

Ronde said...

Kevin,

That is the way it is.
We can't do anything about it.