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Featured JWs & The Bible

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by nPeace, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Do they follow it?

    For about a century, Jehovah's Witnesses were known as Bible students.
    It was not a name they gave themselves, but as they were keen students of the Bible, the name was stuck on them. Though they called themselves Christians.
    Over time, they accepted that they could be appropriately called Bible Students (students of the Bible).
    A little over two decades after, in 1935, they came to be called Jehovah's Witnesses.

    There were not only changes in name, but there were also many changes in what they taught. Even today, though the changes are very few in number, changes still occur.
    Do changes however, disqualify Jehovah's Witnesses from being an instrument of God to declare his word / truth?

    That will be the focus of this thread, as I seek to consider the question(s), of (1) whether or not changes in understanding disqualifies one as a servant of God. (2) Whether the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses have become more in line with the Bible, or have deviated away, and comparatively (3) Are the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses more in line, or less in line with scripture than other ['Christian'] religions?

    This thread was influenced by a conversation @Brian2 and I are having, where he describes how he sees the Governing Body of Jehovah's witnesses.
    I want to see the scriptural reasons for these and other assertions.
    It is one thing to give an opinion on how we feel about something, but if our opinions do not have a scriptural basis... what of it.
    For example, if I were to say, I don't think I should do xyz, but the scriptures say God's servants must do xyz, then I have no scriptural basis for why I should not do xyz, I am simply giving my opinion, and should declare happily that I do not fit the description of God's servant, nor qualify to be such. Isn't that true?

    This thread was not opened to have people state their opinions, but it's a Bible based discussion on the aforementioned questions. Scriptural use is appreciated, when making assertions.
    However, anyone is free to give their opinion, and base that opinion on scripture.
     
    #1 nPeace, Mar 31, 2021
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  2. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    @Brian2 as far as I know, based on what i have read, it is the scriptures which said the things you buck against.
    I previously quoted the scriptures where jesus commanded his followers to go into the world, and preach and teach the good news, and he said that it will be done as a witness to all the nations, before the end comes. Matthew 24:14 ; Matthew 28:18-20.
    Jesus is the one who instructed us in the method - Matthew 9:35-38 ; Luke 8:1 ; 10:1, 2 ; Romans 10:13-15, the message (the kingdom of God), the territory (all the nations of the earth), and the duration (until the end of the world, before the end comes).
    Therefore, questions: how is it you say, these are commands of men? Did I misquote a scriptural text? Which command did we alter? Please state.

    Questions: Do you believe that God has an organization on earth?
    Then would Jesus not be the one running that organization? Would that organization not be the one carrying out the commands and the work the Lord Jesus started, and ordered his followers to continue?

    Jehovah's witnesses are obeying the orders of Jesus Christ. Is that not so?

    1. They preach and teach about the kingdom to every tribe and nation throughout the earth.
    2. They follow Jesus example in his method of organizing in twos (two by two) those sent out to preach.
    3. They go to the homes of people, and stay in the homes of those who show interest - teaching them, and making disciples... baptizing them. Those in turn become disciples - followers of Christ.
    4. They do this urgently, and continually.

    Question: Which one of these, is a commandment of men, and not from the lord Jesus Christ?
    Another question: Apart from Jehovah's Witnesses, which organization on earth do you know of that does these things, or compares?

    The words of the Lord Jesus Christ...
    “Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens. Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his soul will lose it, and whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:32-39)

    Then Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and keep following me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24, 25)

    And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29)

    If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

    Whoever does not carry his torture stake and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

    Can someone please tell me, are these the same words (not in exact wording) you find in your Bible, said by jesus christ himself?
    Are these therefore the word of men, or is it not true that Jesus said we must disown ourselves, and put him and the will of his father first, in order to be his disciple.
    Thus family and friends should not be allowed to prevent one from following Jesus. Is this not what we are reading in the scriptures?

    Question Brian: Does jesus not ask us to live a life of sacrifice, if we are to be accepted by him? How are these the word of men?

    It is clear, and I hope it is to everyone, the only one holding what you described as a whip, is Jesus Christ, because what you have a problem with, is from him, and not any man, that is, if you are using the Bible.
    Other than that, I would have to wonder if you take the Bible seriously.

    You say...
    To my mind, this seems to highlight the crux of the matter.
    I think most Atheists - not all - dismiss the Bible, because there are certain things it says, that they don't want to follow.
    Someone told me, there is one word he hates, which the Bible mentions a lot... "Don't. Don't do this. don't do that. Don't..." So because he likes to do certain things, for which the Bible says "Don't", he has a problem with it.
    It seems to me, this is the same problem you are having, Brian. In fact, I mentioned before that many people join a religion, not because they think it speaks the truth, but because it is a part of the world. in other words, because it claims to represent Christ, but it offers its members "a taste of the things of the world".
    It's as Paul describes... (2 Timothy 4:3, 4) 3 For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.

    However, such a position benefits no one, as the apostle John says.
    (1 John 2:15-17) 15 Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; 16 because everything in the world - the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life - does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. 17 Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
    (James 4:4) Adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is making himself an enemy of God.

    I think that's a sad way to end, don't you?
     
    #2 nPeace, Mar 31, 2021
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  3. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Seems to me the first thing you need to determine is if their Bible is "acceptable" to you as being the word of god, right?
     
  4. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    A discussion on whether or not the Bible is authentic / the word of God, can be considered in another thread... for those interested.
    I have one here, where I welcome any to discuss that topic.
    Or, you can start a new thread, and invite me on it.
     
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  5. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Ah...
    So you are basically saying that everyone will be using the JW version of the Bible for this discussion, right?
     
  6. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    No. How did you arrive at that? Use whatever translation you like.
     
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  7. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Mestemia....jumping to conclusions based on limited knowledge is like convicting someone of murder because someone assumes that they are guilty based on hearsay. What something "looks like" is often not what it is at all.

    Are there people here with open minds or closed ones? Do they want the truth or is the truth an inconvenience to what they choose to believe?

    Jesus said.... “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me." (John 15:18-21 ESV)

    Who is this describing? Was Jesus hated because he lied, or because he spoke the truth?
     
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  8. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    The JW's & me got along really well, there were a lot of things we had in common.

    What really put a damper on it all though was when we started reading Bible together about the return of the Spirit of Christ --Mathew 23 iirc. It was the reference to Daniel where we parted company & I've always found that unfortunate. Please let me know if ur interested in going over that part w/ me again.
     
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  9. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Hi Pete.
    I take it, you mean by "a lot of things we had in common", that you agreed with most of what JWs teach about the Bible.
    That's good to know.
    It's expected though, we wouldn't agree on everything, but I think it's possible to discuss the Bible teachings on a topic, and reach a conclusion, using the scriptures.

    I'm more interested though in hearing your thoughts on the questions in the OP, before we look at any teaching you disagree on... if you don't mind.
    It's important to me, since it's a complaint of a number of people. I'm interested in your thoughts.

    Do you think changes in understanding disqualifies one as a servant of God. Do you think the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses have become more in line with the Bible, or have deviated away, and comparatively Do you think the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses are more in line, or less in line with scripture than other ['Christian'] religions?

    I must also let you know that since having discussions with Bahais on these forums, I don't know how far we will get, if anywhere discussing the topic you mentioned.
    The reason being, Bahais have an interpretation for everything in the Bible, so that every scripture seems to mean something other than what it says... in order to fit the infallible Bahaullah.
    So for example, a scripture may say the donkey brayed, and a Bahai would say, it doesn't mean the donkey brayed, it means something else.. . Exaggerating :D

    So I find a conversation with Bahais on the Bible, quite unpleasant.
    However, I don't like to paint everyone with the same brush, so I will give you the opportunity. I think that would be fair to you.
    Although I likely heard it already... What do you find the JWs teach about Christ's return, that is not scriptural?
     
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  10. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    Maybe we work together on what the Bible says about the "end times" so we can harmonize our approach. We don't want a JW/Baha'i contest, just the two of us together coming w/ blank slates where we can write what the Bible builds for us.

    Off hand for me the easiest place to begin is Matthew 24 where the disciples asked about the "coming at the end", it seemed to have neat stuff. Your thoughts?
     
  11. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Working together sounds like a good idea to me.
    Coming with a blank slate we both know is impossible at this stage, but it is possible to look at what the Bible says without bringing in our ideas... I'm all for that.

    In that case, I think to really do both of those, it's important to understand why there is even a returning of Christ, and what it is all about.

    So I think the best approach is to make sure we are both standing on the same street first - that is we both are on common ground, before we start traveling any road, because we could be on two different streets, with similar looking paths, but on two completely different worlds, and thus be at a total disconnect.

    So here is what we will do. We'll start at the very foundation of all of this - God's overall purpose, and where it all started - the heavenly realm, and see where that leads us.
    If we do reach the reason for the return of the Christ, then we can proceed from there.
    Sounds good?

    I'll abbreviate it so that it's not lengthy.
    Foundation
    1. A universal family both in heaven and earth was God's overall original purpose.
    2. The family would function unitedly only under God's universal sovereignty.
    3. Paradise on earth was God's original purpose for mankind.
    Do we agree on that?
    None of this has changed, despite the actions of God's chief adversary - an angel who opposed and slandered God - thus called Satan and Devil.
    It is still God's purpose, and he is accomplishing that purpose, right now.
    (Ephesians 1:8-10) 8 This undeserved kindness he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding 9 by making known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure that he himself purposed 10 for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, to gather all things together in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. Yes, in him
    See also 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 ; Colossians 1:19, 20

    Where it started
    I won't go into details on what happened prior to the incident in the Garden of Eden onward, which directly involves the Devil, God's purpose and mankind's future... unless you want to, but that seems to me, a potential dead end, because Bahais do not accept that Satan the Devil is a real entity, much less a wicked angel.
    So right away, I would say we have some problems.

    Here is why?
    The reason the Christ was made manifest, is stated at 1 John 3:8 "For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, to break up the works of the Devil."
    In other words, none of this would have been been necessary had it not been for the works of the wicked one - Satan the Devil. What he did, called for the son of God, having to take on the role he did, and come to earth - give his life as a ransom for mankind, and... cliff hanger for later.

    However, you did recommend we start with a clean slate, so I must put out of my mind what Bahais accept or don't accept, and let's just deal with the scriptures.

    What I see from scripture, is that this is a real situation involving real entities in the realm of the most powerful spirit being - Almighty God.
    The trouble started in heaven, with a real person - a spirit rebel, who opposed God, and made trouble for the rest of the family members, and then he extended that to the earthly family - disrupting a potentially good relationship between God's heavenly and earthly family.
    Hence, the reason the son of God was made manifest.
    The scriptures say, he is the one who will break up the works of the Devil.
    Progress...
    1. Tempted by the Devil, he resisted - keeping integrity, and proving the Devil a liar. The Devil failed to break him. - Matthew 4:1-11
    2. Attacked by Satan's minions, he defied their efforts to kill him before his hour, and the death he was to accomplish. Satan failed to stop him from dying a Sacrificial death. -
      Mark 14:41 ; John 8:20 ; John 7:30 ; John 12:23-27 ; John 13:1 ;
    3. Resurrected by his father, and seated at his right hand, until his time to go subduing in the midst of his enemies. - Acts 2:23-36
    4. Crowned King... the Devil along with his rebel clan, is ousted from heaven. Revelation 12
    5. Next... cliff hanger for later.
    What do you see?
    The cliff hanger will eventually cover Daniel, but feel free to mention it, whenever you desire to.
    So far though, where are we standing - on common ground... side by side? Please, let me know your thoughts.
     
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  12. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    The idea is that we put aside all our accumulated dogma/orthodoxy and say you and I are two collaborators investigating as a team just what the Divine guidance is. We just work w/ what's in the Bible passage by passage that we check out together agreeing all the way or defining what we can't reconcile where ever we hit a snag.

    Like we could say, look at Matthew 24 & agree on what it says and elaborate only by referring to other passages in the Bible. Probably we'll be tempted to cite authorities from our particular religious organizations but given our relationship that would have to be on a fwiw basis.

    If Mat24 doesn't work for u maybe there's somewhere else in the Bible u'd like to look? To me the advantage of 24 is it seems to be to the point we're interested in.
     
  13. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but I like to build on a foundation. a good house is built on a foundation.
    Anyone can pick up a Bible and read it, and not understand it, simply because they don't have the basic foundation.
    Everything they build will be torn down, or they will find themselve taking material from elsewhere to try and patch up glaring faults.
    That's what I see happening in religion.

    I studied the Bible with little understanding. Only when I got the understanding of the foundation, did everything else fall into place, and everything else fitted nicely.

    So to prevent us getting into what you say you don't want, we start with the foundation.
    If there is none, then there is nothing to build.

    @Pete in Panama I cannot just start from Matthew without a background, and expect to understand what jesus is talking about.
    If we are starting from scratch, we need a background, that's how it works.
     
    #13 nPeace, Apr 1, 2021
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  14. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Okay. I'll give you the chance to build without a foundation. You go first. Matthew 24... which verse are we starting with?
     
    #14 nPeace, Apr 1, 2021
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  15. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    huh, there's something missing here. On face value that would mean that you're not in fact basing your faith on the Bible but rather on someone else's explanation/interpretation/guidance whatever. That simply can't be what's really happening because my personal suspicion is that you care about the Bible, you accept it as the Divine Word.

    Either you're a hypocrite (which I personally doubt) or I'm not explaining something. Please work w/ me on this.
     
  16. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    huh, I just saw ur next post.
     
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  17. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    Personally I'd have thought that the Bible itself was the best foundation, but I may be talking about something different than what u mean.

    At any rate, I'm looking at the chapter right now & what I see at the beginning is Jesus commenting that everything's going to be torn down & the disciples ask when this is going to happen & how will we know. Sound like what u see at the beginning?
     
  18. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm. You are not saying to me, when you start from scratch, you bypass elementary school and start advanced. Or when you read a novel, you start from the middle. Why is the Bible any different?

    Anyhow, I gave you the rope. You can proceed.
     
    #18 nPeace, Apr 1, 2021
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  19. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    When you say everything, do you mean the beloved city of Jerusalem with its temple?
    @Pete in Panama do you realize what just happened here?
     
  20. Pete in Panama

    Pete in Panama Active Member

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    --as in "give 'em enough rope & he'll hang himself?" My thinking is that we want to collaborate on this, not debate it. There are things I'm trying to find out here about what's in the Sacred Text, if that's ur interest too then we can go for it but if ur just interested in some kind of food fight then let's be on the same side & through our green beans at say, atheists.
    That very well may be the case but I'm more interested in getting into the end times & whether Jerusalem is beloved or not is not my focus. Was there something critical to you here? My preference atm is that we move forward if we can.
     
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