Now, I mentioned earlier that I spent a year or just under studying with them and learning about how their organization works.  I have absolutely nothing against any of the people I met within the organization.  They were all very nice, polite, and informative.  I just think that it’s a shame they have such misguided leadership.

Point 1– their Bible .. Now, every religion has their bible/religious text preference, but when the Bible translation has been written to suit ones purpose, and translated by unqualified (allegedly) individuals… then I have to wonder.   I’ll give you an example from the ever-controversial text in their minds John 1:1-3, this is their words, now : “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.  This one was in [the] beginning with God.  All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”  They insert “a god” as part of their translation.  Now, from what i’ve read, this particular insertion was in part from guidance by a man named JS Thompson (if I remember correctly), who is actually a spiritist that talks about a violent encounter with “God” who directed Mr Thompson to translate this particular verse as such.  The RSV version of those same three verses: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” 

You see, the reason that their translation is different is because they do not believe in the Trinity….. which brings me to the next point:

Point 2 — Trinitarians believe in multiple gods and that they took the triune God from the ancient Egyptian belief of three gods making up a more powerful god.  And, nowhere in the Bible does the word “trinity” show up.     See, i have to laugh at this because nowhere does the word “atheist” show up, yet Paul speaks of those who do not believe in God’s existence (sorry, I should have written that chapter down in my notes)…which is the very definition of Atheist, no? … 

As well, to say that the Trinitarians are wrong is very baseless.  If you want to prove them wrong on this point, because they are very strong in their belief that the Bible (their version) is the inerrant Word of God..  SO, they use Hebrews 1 to prove that Jesus was a co-creator, not THE creator.  Which is fine, but then you show them in Genesis 1 (their version says “active force”) where the Spirit of God moves over the waters and creates according to God’s command.  Then you ask them, if Jesus was the co-creator in Hebrews, then why is he called the “active force” or Spirit of God in Genesis?  They will be stumped because then they will have to realize that the Trinity DOES exist. 

If they still dont’ get it, then you explain it this way:  Are we not all made in God’s image?  Do we not all possess a physical body, a mind, and a spirit or soul?  But are we not just one being? God’s physical presence was Jesus on earth; God’s mind is his own mind; and God’s spirit is the Holy Spirit. … This is what true Trinitarians believe.  It is not  a three gods in one as they are convinced to believe we believe.

I was reading last night in the Bible how Jesus has full deity.  The Bible says it, and again, I didn’t write the verse down… I want to say Acts, but I was also skimming a few other New Testament books.  So to deny the Trinity is to deny the full deity of Christ, which the Bible explicity states that he had.

Point 3:  They believe that Jesus = Michael the Archangel.  Their main reason?  Because Jesus commands with an archangel’s voice in Revelations.   Fuzzy logic, I know.  What they forget is that later in Revelations, John sees an angel and I believe 3x bows to worship this angel. Each time he is scolded and told that he is not to worship and angel, but to worship our Lord.  Another minor point they seem to miss is that Jesus was given command over all angels. This does not mean he is the archangel, because how can an angel worship himself?  And we aren’t to worship angels, anyhow, right?  So there is some slight fuzzy logic going on in that religion.

Point 4— They are not allowed to question their elders.  They are not allowed to put images of Christ in their homes or in their meeting halls.  Their reasoning for the images is because of Exodus where it states the commandment “thou shall not make unto thee any graven image… not of the heavens above nor of the earth below”… so, they put earthly images on their main hall murals… but is that not contradicting their own rule? 

The reason they do not put images of Christ in their home is because it means they are worshipping an image, or an idol.  So, that means they shouldn’t have images of nature in their homes, either, because that means they are worshipping earth, no? …  Yet, many of them do have nature images in their homes donning their walls.   Yes, people do put statues of Christ in their homes and worship them as if they are worshipping Christ, himself, but that is wrong.  And with that point, I do agree.  However, to say that all people who have images of Christ in their homes are worshipping those images is terribly inaccurate. 

As for the whole not questioning your elders… I have to disagree, and here’s why.  Remember the story where Jesus is with his disciples and a group of children come running to him?  The disciples are trying to usher the children away, but Jesus says “let the children come to me”.. and continues on explaining that only those who are like children will enter the kingdom of heaven.  This doesn’t mean that only children will be allowed in heaven.  What this means (to me anyhow) is that we should be like children–inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge.  These are the ones who will enter the kingdom–those who are asking questions and looking for answers.  Do you remember, Jesus was but 10 when he went to the synagogues to question the Jewish priests on their own beliefs–to challenge what they believe and make them think about their own religious activities?  He was a very inquisitive child seeking knowledge about them as a human would do.  If we are not allowed to ask our elders questions and challenge their reasonings, how will we understand what led them to church-leading decisions? 

Point 5 — Faith through works. Now, they will vehemently deny that this is not what they believe.  However, they are told to keep tally of hours spent in meetings, hours spent in private study–in-home study–and when they are behind the “goal”, they are told to step up the pace.  Get crackin’ at recruiting more weakened believers.   They do not understand that it is through our works that we show our faith.  They seem to relate the two as inseparable.  The more hours of study, the more faithful.  However, we Christians believe that it is through our works that we show our faith.  The way we live, the way we swagger, the way we speak…  The things we do outside the home, as well as inside, are how Christians show their faith.  It does not matter how many hours we spend in Bible lessons every week, but rather how we incorporate that lesson into our daily lives which strengthens our faith.  

They don’t understand the concept of “Grace alone”.  I find this too bad that their leadership refuses to see these things.

Point 6 — the 144,000 -strong army of Christ… They believe that a remnant of that 144,000 is in their congregation.  And that these 144,000 know who they are, and are the ONLY ones who are allowed to take bread and wine at ther annual Communion ritual.  They say if you don’t know, then  you aren’t part of that remnant.  What they seem to forget is that these 144,000 men are “undefiled by woman”–they are virgins.  They are not married/married with families.  They are virgin men.  So when I was told that this woman’s husband was one of the remnant, I had to hold my tongue as a student.  They  have their beliefs, I have mine.  I was there to learn about their religion–their organization.

Point 7 — Communion is only held ONCE a year.  Now, I can understand where this comes from — Passover is onlly once a year.  However, Jesus tells his disciples to keep eating until they are certain that He has returned to earth.  So, if we are to keep breaking bread, then does this mean more than an annual event?  I don’t know. I tend to think yes, but is that partly because this is how i was brought up?  Maybe, but to me, to continually break bread means a bit more frequently than once a year. 

Point 8 — Their hymns.  If you have never attended one of their meetings, then it is quite the experience, for sure.  Their Sunday meetings consist of an elder leading the service –which I have no problem with — but their hymns?  The ones I heard when attending their service wasn’t even remotely close to the beautifully created melodies that we are used to in the traditional sense (think Old Rugged Cross, for instance).  These are a mish-mash of notes put to tune after the “verse” has been written.. These “songs” sound more like cult chants than actual hymns… go out and preach to others, do not be discouraged, keep pushing on… that sort of stuff.  It’s not even really a verse, as we are used to verse, but rather a bunch of mini-lectures, “encouragements”, to keep working in the field–door to door.  It’s a very strange thing to be a witness to. 

Then after their service–they have Bible session.  Only, their session is based upon their literature that they circulate around the town–their tracts.  And in these tracts is the date of the Sunday service, and at the bottom (now, maybe they have changed this since my time studying with them) is the questions that are going to be asked at this particular session… and the answers to those questions. . There isn’t a lot of outside thinking–basically just regurgitating, in their own words, the same answer over and over again.  It’s a question/answer session like you’d expect a teacher to give you in school–read this story, and be prepared to answer questions on Monday. .. It’s a very odd thing to be part of, honestly.  It is very odd that you don’t feel God’s presence in that room.. like at all.  They are all very convinced and will say “Wasn’t that a beautiful service today?  Werent those songs lovely?”  I smile and nod in politeness as I didn’t have the heart to say that there is no Godly presence in that room.  There is just, I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s just cold.  Just very odd and very different from what I grew up on.

Point 9 — The Ancient Prophets are not in heaven with Jesus.   Now, this is terribly inaccurate.  How can you contradict the Bible telling you that the prophets of old are eating with Jesus and seeing what is going on?  Where do they think Jesus is if he is dining with Elijah and Moses? And when Elijah is taken up into the clouds, not even perishing as we think of perishing, where has he gone if he is not in heaven with Jesus? I actually asked this once.  They say that because flesh and blood can not enter heaven, that this is a perverbial cloud, not a literal cloud that Elijah has been taken up on. …  That NOBODY enters heaven until Christ has come to earth for a 2nd time.   

Point 10 — Flesh and blood can not enter heaven, therefore Jesus did  not come back in the flesh.  However, as we good Bible students know, Jesus DID come back in flesh and bone.. he has no blood, but he has flesh and bone.  … So flesh and blood can not enter the kingdom of heaven, BUT flesh and BONE can. …

Point 11 — Charity work. .. they just don’t believe in it.  The Bible says that we should help the widowed and the poor, the needy. … So, if that isn’t charitable work, I don’t know why they don’t do any of that. It is what the Bible directs us to do. 

There are some things they do that ARE Biblical:

A- central treasury . … this is how Paul ran his congregation.  Everyone put their earnings into a central treasury, and it was allocated as needed for travel purposes, mostly.   They do this, and I get it.  I think it’s a grande idea–although very difficult to do in this day and age of money-run society.  Why do you think Paul had asked the rich man if he could give up his riches to follow along?  The rich man couldn’t, but was still polite and helpful.  The man couldn’t part with his abundance of money to follow the path Christ wants us to follow.  The Bible even tells us that “money is the root of all evil”… and it is, you see it when you start researching into the schematics behind vaccines, food chemicals, etc.  Money is the root of all that corruptness. …

B) They ostracize any member who refuses to follow the rules.  Now, at first I admit I thought this was ludacrous.  However, when I read that this is what Paul told his followers–to disassociate with those brethren who chose not to follow church guidelines–I was shocked.  I found it to be harsh punishment-even for those days.  Now, Paul does go on to say that these brethren should be treated as unbelievers and re-taught the truth (if i remember correctly).   Still, I find it harsh and almost inhumane if we are to love one another.

C) Celebrations of the person are not allowed.  I understand where they are coming from — we shouldn’t exhalt ourselves on particular days of the year, but should rather give thanks for another day.  This is their reasoning behind not celebrating birthdays, although they do celebrate anniversaries… which is contradictory as anniversaries are celebrations of ourselves, in essence.  However, they did, in ancient times, celebrate the “day of weaning” with a great family feast  This “day of weaning”, when I questioned them, is actually a birthday.  When I questioned them at what age this day of weaning occurred, they said about 5 or 6.  So I said “But isn’t that a birthday?”  And I was told “not really, because it may not have been their actual day of birth that they had their day of weaning celebration” … which is interesting.  It is a birthday without saying its a birthday.  But they are correct — birthdays celebrated in teh Bible were  usually of the pharoah’s and in vain–not to give thanks, but to partake in ungodly activities.  So, from this standpoint, i can see why they don’t celebrate birthdays, but the Bible doesn’t say much about anniversaries, either, from what i remember.  So why do they celebrate wedding anniversaries??  …  maybe some choose not to, some choose to, I don’t know. …

D) Christmas is not celebrated.  They say it is because 1-Christ was not born in December, but rather earlier in the calendar year based upon the weather conditions at the time of his birth, and the attire of those who came to see him.. and 2-because Christmas was an invention by the Catholic church to bring worshippers into the church during the Winter Solstice celebrations in the.. i think 1400s or something like that–which occured during the time we celebrate Christmas today.  The invention of Christ’s birth being in Dec was to bring parishoners into the church and give them a serious guilt trip for being part of the pagan Solstice festivities.   Now, I admit, their reasoning makes sense, but the birth of Christ is so pivotal in the church, how can you NOT make a point to emphasize it?  How can you celebrate  his death during Passover, but  not the start of his life on earth?   I think the birth of Christ is so terribly important that it deserves it’s own chapter in church curriculum.   Just as Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist was so pivotal, as well. 

E) baptism .. They believe that baptism can only happen as an adult, as it is only adults who are baptised in the Bible through submersion in water.  It is only as an adult that we can have enough understanding of God’s word to adequately be worthy of baptism–that we’ll have enough knowledge to be baptised.   This is, from my very vague understanding of the Baptists, what the Baptists believe as well.  However, they do not partake “baptising households” as households with children.  They believe that households, when baptized by the disciples, included only adults.  Which I would strongly disagree with.  How many households have only adults?  How many households in the ancient times would be made up with ZERO children?  This is why some Christian sects believe in infant baptism.  You can not have a spirit to guide you if you are not baptised, from what I understand.   So a child’s chance to go to  heaven is greatly increased by being baptised as an infant, to get that extra spirit guidance from the start. 

The method of baptism – is it REALLY that important? Baptism is symbolic of shedding the old you and putting on the clothes of the new, spiritual you.  You die the old life and are given a new life.  A life in Christ.  I don’t know that HOW you are baptized matters so much that you ARE baptized.  The Bible says that there is only ONE baptism.  If you are baptized in Christ as an infant/young child, then why do you need to be RE-baptized a second time?  This is one thing about both the JWs adn the Baptists that I could never really understand.  If there is only one baptism, you should not NEED to be baptized a second time to be a member of the church/organization.  That is silly, really. … if you have already been baptized in Christ, regardless of age, it should carry forward the rest of your life, whether you switch religious sects or not. …

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I’m sure I’ll think of more, but it’s late here in the West… and honestly, I need sleep.

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