A paper submitted to Dr. Adonis Vidu
In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for
the course APOL 500-B13
Liberty Baptist Theological seminary
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Jehovah’s Witness religion/cult. The background and core beliefs of this religion will be discussed as well as the flaws that can be found in it. There will be much attention given to how proponents of this cult view Jesus and the implications that those views bring. There will also be time given to explaining how one should approach a person that is a Jehovah’s Witness in order to evangelize them. Summary
The Jehovah’s Witnesses is a modern-day cult that adheres to Gnostic beliefs and legalistic practices. It is considered a cult because it tries to correct another religion. In this case the religion that it is trying to correct is Christianity. The cult was formed by Charles Russell in the late nineteenth century as a spit-off from the Adventist movement. There Russell and his early successors were involved in a few unfulfilled prophecies of Armageddon which almost caused the movement’s following to completely fall away. Under the leadership of Frederick Franz in the 1970s, the movement began to move away from these prophecies and come back together.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah, which is God the Father, is God Almighty and they deny that Jesus was a deity. This belief forces them to deny the doctrine of the Trinity because of its teaching that all three members are equal. Through their stated beliefs and publications, they consistently hold that Jesus never claimed to be God and that he even taught that Jehovah was the only true God. In addition to this belief about Jesus, they also deny his bodily resurrection. They believe that the world is currently in the Kingdom Age, and the Church Age has passed. This belief leads them to also hold that the era of human government is over and therefore they do not pledge allegiance to any human government. They do not believe in the literal existence of Hell, but in turn believe that 144,000 people will only be allowed to enter Heaven while the rest remain on earth. They hold that salvation is attained by being obedient to the Watchtower (a magazine published by the leaders of the cult) and works. This is a brief summary of their beliefs. The beliefs are riddled with flaws which will be explored next. Flaws
We will now explore the beliefs that were mentioned earlier and highlight the many flaws that these beliefs contain. The belief that the Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere to that separates them from Christianity the most is concerning the deity of Jesus. All Christians believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man. This belief was formalized at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was not a deity and never claimed to be, but was the first creation of God. This belief is called Arianism. The flaw in this belief is that the biblical evidence is simply overwhelming that Jesus was and claimed to be deity. First, Jesus’ favorite titles for himself were Son of Man and Son of God. The title Son of Man has its roots in Daniel 7:13-14 where Daniel describes “one like a Son of Man” who went to God and God gave him dominion over the earth and its people. Jesus made direct reference to this in Mark 14:61b-62. While responding to the high priest’s question about Jesus being the Christ and the Son of God, Jesus directly responded “Yes,” that he was the Son of Man. He clearly used the names Son of God and Son of Man to mean the same person. Space does not allow for a full list of Jesus’ claims, but it is clear that there is a flaw in...