Jehovah’s Witnesses’ ask us “What does the bible really teach?”


what does the bible really teachI have been really impressed by the recent appearance of a number of street stalls hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses which ask clearly and simply “What does the bible really teach?” I am impressed because many JWs are out on the streets doing mission work. I am impressed because the question invites people to ask one vitally important question. I am concerned for JWs, however, and for those with whom they engage because of the question.

First, my concerns for those with whom they seek to engage in bible study. If the question is addressed to unbelievers who have never read the bible or have misconceptions about it, then it is an important yet innocuous question. It’s a good thing to ask people to explore the bible. Jesus promised that by the work of the Holy Spirit his disciples would be led into the truth, as the Holy Spirit illuminates the word of God (John 16:13).

Yet, now imagine that someone becomes a believer though this street work. This is my concern. The question ceases to be innocuous if what is meant by “what does the bible REALLY teach?” means “only Jehovah’s Witnesses really know what the bible really teaches” or “we’re right and every other believer in the Lord Jesus in other denominations is wrong.” This is an arrogant and unbiblical position to hold. Not even the Apostle Paul claimed to have a handle on everything because he knew that he could only see in part (1 Corinthians 13:12).  And as Don Carson explained, in his lecture to St Andrew the Great members in 1996, the bible is true but our individual grasp of the truth is always being formed and is expanding.

And so, to be truly concerned with the answer to the question, we must be willing to engage with people who love the word of God and yet with whom we disagree about what the bible teaches. The word of God is living and active and so it is meant to be studied by all believers together (believers being those who have been saved by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9)). We are to maintain the bond of peace and the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3) as we attain to practical unity through the teaching and preaching of the word of God (Ephesians 4:13). The word of the LORD works in us as we study together and our knowledge increases (2 Peter 3:17-18).

And so, anyone who is really interested in what the bible teaches will be willing to open the bible with any other believers. I would be happy to sit with anyone, JWs included, who knows the LORD and loves his word. We all know in part, and so we should have valuable insights to share, if we are illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Then we’ll both see what the bible really teaches and reach unity as the Apsotle Paul wrote. So, if you are reading this as a Jehovah’s Wtiness, or anyone else who loves the Lord and his word, then please feel free to knock on my door next time you are in West Bromwich and we’ll get our bibles open together.

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12 Responses to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ ask us “What does the bible really teach?”

  1. T. Scharrer says:

    Ask a Jehovah Witness about their shunning doctrine. They will shun anyone who voluntarily withdraws from their membership or anyone who is disfellowshipped (excommunicated) from the religion. In other words, they will not share a meal with such ones who fits the criteria. A loyal JW will not associate with or speak with family members, including adult children, who voluntarily quit the religion or are disfellowshipped. I know – I was a Jehovah Witness for over 30 years before withdrawing membership.

  2. Hello. My name is Stephen, and I have been one of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses since 1985.
    Your concern about unbelievers or for that matter any one interested in “What The Bible Really Teaches” is rightly valid. I for one was interested but as a Catholic I did not study the Bible. As I searched for answers to serious questions, local “churches” could not or did not want to take the time to sit with me. The Witnesses did not try to force any belief or doctrine during my study. They only showed what the Bible really says and allowed me to see the difference between tradition teaching and the Bible. For example, I said the rosary a million times but Jesus said “Do not say the same things over and over again.” I was totally shaken by this and wanted more. Since then I have come to know that 99% of what the Christian Churches teach are based on false doctrines from long ago enforced by the “Church” to believe or die. These teachings were kept by the break-offs from the Church while arguing about non-Biblical teachings. I have studied – questioned – researched – and questioned again until I was satisfied by a world wide organization that is only dedicated to bringing the good news of the Kingdom to any one interested. Exactly what that Kingdom is and what it will do is something that “Christian Churches” can not answer with Biblical proof, but only using traditional teachings.
    Yes there are certain things within the organization that caused many to leave or find too hard to follow, but for those who recognize why it is important to listen and obey God’s simple laws know the Kingdom is real and will be established very soon. So if you want to discuss this further feel free to email me. Otherwise, next time you pass the witnesses on the street, stop and say Hello and ask them a few questions. You may be surprised at the answer. Thank you for listening.
    Stephen

    • neilrobbie says:

      Hi Stephen and welcome to Transforming Grace. I have been surpised by the response to this post and trust that the LORD will use it all for his glory.

      This post itself arose out of a conversation with two Witnesses I have gotten to know over the past few months.

      I have regular contact and biblical conversation with a number of witnesses.

      I think you need to be careful before saying that “Christian Churches” cannot answer questions about the kingdom of God with biblical proof. I do not have time this week to engage with you on these posts, but, if you are happy to read around as you have done, you’ll find there are answers to your questions on this blog.

      I have written a post on the three kingdoms of God which might be of interest to you. http://transforminggrace.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/the-3-kingdoms-of-god/

      May the LORD bless you and thank you again for your gracious comments.

      Neil

  3. Vinny says:

    So why are most people today opposed to Jehovah’s Witness and their policies, including blood?

    DEAD PEOPLE is why.

    RUINED LIVES is why.

    FALSE PROPHECIES is why.

    An arrogant, controlling Religious Institution is why.

    They are WRONG ON BLOOD TODAY (for 68 years now).

    They are WRONG ON SHUNNING those that simply walk away from the JW religion today. (nowhere in bible)

    They are WRONG 607 BCE and 1914.

    They were WRONG ABOUT FORBIDDING Vaccinations, Organ Transplants, Alternative Service and much more.

    They were wrong on ALL OF THEIR End of World Predictions in writing. Wrong on marital infidelity rules, rape rules, beards, 1935, Beth Sarim and too many things to bother listing here.

    Did ((( GOD ))) make all of these terrible decisions to force on all the JW’s as “food at the proper time”, and then change his mind later on?

    Or was is just a bunch of MEN, that make up the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses (sitting up in some Brooklyn office somewhere) making these poor decisions, FORCING them on all JW’s and then afterwards conveniently change their mind?

    JW’s are told they cannot take blood transfusions in situations where they might need one (such as through accidents or complications with surgery, pregnancy or child birth etc).

    So, naturally, more JW’s will DIE.

    Just like this mother died unnecessarily!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/shropshire/7078455.stm

    And now her husband has no wife and her two new twins have no mother.

    And all for what?

    Or this teenager that also DIED:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/8690785.stm

    This is very simple. JW’s NEEDLESSLY die for this sorry blood policy today.

    From the same organization that has an entire 100 + year history of similar bad and embarrasing policies.

    The facts prove without a doubt that God was never behind any of THIS:

    http://home.tiscali.nl/t661020/wtcitaten/part1.htm

    ALL FROM THEIR OWN LITERATURE WITH DATES AND PAGES TO SEE FOR YOURSELVES!!!

    We got False End of the World Predictions all over the place, medically disasterous policies – (blood) FORCED on JW’s at risk of extreme shunning.

    We got flip flops, blinking lights, wacky science, historical failures, arrogance, judging other religions and people of those religions and LOADS of WT Society embarrassments and humiliations throughout their entire 100+ year history!

    God had nothing to do with all that nonsense that was called, “Food from God” by all JW’s even down to this day.

    It was WRONG when it first came off the presses!

    This is why I suggest to anybody thinking of becoming a JW … to READ READ AND READ UP ON THIS RELIGION FIRST!

    The proof will clearly stand out that the JW faith is not what they try to tell people they are and why sooo many sincere and good people are opposed to Jehovah’s Witnesses and their beliefs!

    The facts are Irrefutable.

    Vinny

    • neilrobbie says:

      Hello Vinny and welcome to Transforming Grace. You have very clearly and quite forcably pointed out many of the errors made by the Watchtower society down the years. I have written my post to encourage everyone, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, to engage with each other in reading the bible to come to a unity in the knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).

      I have written a post elsewhere on an exegesis of Acts 15, the Jerusalem council, and why the Watchtower got it wrong on blood. I would be interested to hear a reasoned engagement with that work.

      http://transforminggrace.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/the-watchtower-and-blood-transfusions/

      God bless

      Neil

  4. Do not assume “Vinney” (not his real name) is a Christian. He is a well-known dissenter and although he targets Jehovah’s Witnesses in his rants, he does not practice any religion. He is the copy-and-paste king of blogs, frequently making comments that are neither relative or honest and often posts under several different names to create the illusion the his view is broadly supported. Is it a coincidence that he often brags about withdrawing membership after 30 years, as T. Scharrer does? They both know equally well that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a membership. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 lists the type of persons who are “shunned”; draw your own conclusions. I can’t imagine anyone who want to have fellowship with such individuals. When you can no longer help such a willful sinner, the scriptures are clear “Remove the wicked [man] from among yourselves.” They/he would do well to consider “What the Bible REALLY Teaches”.

    • T. Scharrer says:

      It is a fact that each congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has a “PUBLISHER’S CARD” complete with one’s baptism date. A PERMANENT record is kept about each member’s activities, including how many hours they spend going from door to door, Bible studies, return visits, and placements made. To say that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have membership is error. If there is no membership, there can be no excommunication. When a JW leaves the congregation to attend a different congregation, the PUBLISHER’S CARD is sent to the new congregation where the member will be evaluated by the elders. When a JW decides to voluntarily quit the religion or is excommunicated, the PUBLISHER’S CARD is marked as such and notification is sent to the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Also, a pubic announcement is given in the local congregation that (name) is no longer a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In addition, for your information I am not “Vinney.” This is the first time I have posted in this forum.

      • seanthesheepish says:

        The correct term for the cards referred to is a “Congregation’s Publisher Record Card”. The congregation keeps accurate records of the “PUBLISHERS” field service activity. This individual record is added together with other “PUBLISHERS” totals and included in the congregations monthly report which are, in turn, forwarded to the world headquarters in NY where they are tabulated to form the world-wide total. This is the main purpose of the card in question. This serves many purposes such as language needs (our literature is available in 100’s of languages), where is there a good response, where is additional help needed, etc. It is all part the proof of the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, which has to do with the preaching of the good new of the Kingdom” world-wide. Of course, if someone moves, his card follows him, as it is no longer useful in the previous congregation. It is also consulted when he may be considered for appointment to a position of responsibility, although it is not the only consideration, but it will indicate support for the scriptural requirements. But none of this has anything to do with a “MEMBERSHIP”. Not a single congregation (there are more than 110,000) in the world has a membership list or pays/accepts membership dues. The author is confusing “preachers (publishers of the good news of the Kingdom) with “members”.

        member = “a person who belongs to a club, political party, etc” (not preachers)
        publish = “to announce formally or officially; proclaim; promulgate.” (ie: preachers)

        (see Matthew 28:19,20-KJV) – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”)
        Jesus did not have a membership and neither do we, but we have a command to proclaim “the good news of the Kingdom”, that is what matters. They did not keep a record then but the apostles did give him verbal reports and now that we are doing works greater than he did; [(KJV)- “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do”..ie: (preaching world-wide)], paper and computers made a global report possible. Otherwise, how could we say with authority that in 2013, 7,965,954 ministers, spent 1,841,180,235 hours preaching and conducting 9,254,963 Bible Studies in 236 lands? By word of mouth?

      • T. Scharrer says:

        You failed to address the question: If Jehovah’s Witnesses have no membership, how can they practice excommunication from a church of which there is no membership? You also spoke about the world wide preaching work. How many JW are there in China, Asia, India, and Moslem countries doing the “preaching work?” Perhaps there is a ratio of one JW preacher to ten million people in the countries I mentioned. That cannot accomplish anything. You also failed to address the claim that I made that once a JW is excommunicated, that information is put on the “Congregation’s Publisher Record Card” and such information is then sent to the World Wide Headquarters of the Watchtower Society. Also, you distorted the definition of the word “member” to support your Jehovah Witness church. According to Word Web 7. the word “member” means: “One of the persons who compose a social group (especially individuals who have joined and participate in a group organization) -End quote. Notice: You also put in your definition in parenthesis “not preachers”. Nowhere in the definition of the word “member” do you find “not preachers.” If Jehovah’s Witness have the truth, there would be no need to distort the facts.

  5. Seanthesheepish says:

    You have the wrong religion. “Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or (as in the case of the Catholic Church) to restrict certain rights within it, such as the reception to Holy Communion. Some Protestant groups use the term disfellowship instead.(“Wikipedia)
    When a Christian no longer wishes to practice God’s standards and despite help offered, reverts to practices that God condemns (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-13), he is no longer considered one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and is not fit to fellowship with. A reading of that scripture should make it clear exactly what Jesus apostles did – “remove the wicked man”. That admonition had nothing to do with membership then or now. I don’t know why you are making an issue of it. Shouldn’t ALL Christian religions practice God’s/Jesus and his apostles standards? Why would membership be required? Our CONDUCT confirms our claim to be Christian.
    The information is NOT put on the “Congregation’s Publisher Record Card”. You are simply wrong. A letter is sent to the branch office of that country, NOT “the world-wide headquarters”. This protects other congregations, in case such a scriptural offender would relocate and practice the same things somewhere else. In the case of serious crimes, the legal authorities would require it. Have you not heard of the UN’s global criticism of the Vatican for not keeping such records? What good would they do in another country? FYI, In the last 10 years our congregation has had only one “disfellowshipping” for moral reasons, not criminal ones. So again, I don’t see why this is such a big deal to you.
    The comments in parenthesis were specifically for clarification and emphasis, in case you missed it. If I was intentionally “distorting the facts”, my comments would be within the quote. The definition provided was straight out of the dictionary; my comments were outside of that. That should have been clear to you.
    I have spoken honestly and for clarification. You seem to be intent on misrepresenting what I have stated, although it is the truth. To what end, I don’t know.
    FYI, the latest printed statistics for the countries you inquired about are as follows;
    China – this is a communist country and so numbers are known but not published, to protect the preachers
    Asia – not a country
    India – 36,319 (2012)
    Moslem countries – too vague; many countries include Muslims and allow freedom of religion but others don’t. So, these would be in excess of the 7,965,954 active publishers (or preachers, if you prefer) I cited in my previous post. Even if we only save 1 person, as you suggest, that person would be worth it.
    I have provided facts to you which are 100% true. I don’t know what all this has to do with membership but from the information I’ve provided you should be able see clearly that our standards are set in scripture and applied today, just as the Christian congregations of the first century. We do not have memberships ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! We are simply a world-wide Christian congregation, organized to accomplish the most important work Jesus ever assigned Christians in Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19,20. And we are doing it by holy spirit, not by membership.
    I hope this additional information satisfies you. Any other questions you have can probably best be answered on jw.org
    Shalom

  6. Ashley says:

    Many opposed Jesus’ teachings of Jehovah’s kingdom. Many opposed Moses. Many opposed Noah. The same thing is happening here. A biblical prophesy is being fulfilled. We do not expect all to accept the bible’s truths, we don’t care to convert people. We are only concerned about preaching the good news about God’s kingdom, as we were instructed to do, before the end comes. Matt 24:14. No one is doing that on a worldwide scale than Jehovah’s people.

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