Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Watchtower: God's Organization or Agent of Deception?


It is my intent in this post to provide a brief history of the Jehovah's Witnesses and provide answers to common questions asked about the Watchtower Society and it's followers.

Apologist Josh McDowell gives a brief history of the Watchtower Society:

"Officially known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a product of the life work of Charles Taze Russell, born February 16, 1852, near Pittsburgh, PA. In 1870, while still in his teens and without a formal theological education, Russell organized a Bible class whose members eventually made him “pastor.”

In 1879 he founded the magazine Zion’s Watchtower in which he published his own unique interpretation of the Bible, and in 1886, the first volume of seven books (six written by Russell) entitled The Millennial Dawn was published. (These later were retitled Studies in the Scriptures.)

By the time of his death in 1916, Russell, according to the Watchtower, traveled more than a million miles, gave more than thirty thousand sermons, and wrote books totaling over fifty thousand pages.

A few months after the death of Charles Taze Russell, the society’s legal counselor, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, became the second President of the Watchtower Society. It was under his leadership that the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted.

Ruthorford died in 1942 and was succeeded by Nathan H. Knorr. It was during Knorr’s presidency that the society increased from 115,000 to more than 2 million members. In 1961, under Knorr’s leadership, the society produced its own English translation of the Bible entitled The New World Translation of Holy Scriptures." [1]

For more on the history that the Watchtower doesn't want you to read, see here.

What do JW’s believe?
Answer

Is the Jehovah's Witness religion Christian?
Answer

Is The New World Translation of Holy Scriptures an accurate translation of the Bible?
Answer

Do Greek Scholars recommend the NWT?
Answer

Does the Watchtower honestly quote scholars regarding the NWT?
Answer

What Do Greek Scholars think about the NWT treatment of John 1:1?
Answer

Who is the God of the Watchtower?
Answer

Does the Watchtower portray the Trinity honestly?

Answer

Is the Watchtower claims to be the "Faithful and Discreet Slave;" is it?
Answer

Is "Jehovah" the authentic name of God inserted in the NWT?

Answer

Is Jesus the Archangel Michael, as JW's believe?

Answer

Is Jesus simply a "mighty god" compared to Jehovah?
Answer

Is Jesus 'The God?'
Answer

According to the Watchtower, who's sin did Jesus pay for?
Answer

What do JW's believe about the Holy Spirit?
Answer

Are Jehovah's Witnesses encouraged to think for themselves?

Answer
Answer

The JW's teach that only 144,000 people are going to make it to heaven; is that true?
Answer

The Watchtower claims to be God's prophet here on earth; do they pass the test God Himself puts forth in Deuteronomy 18:22? The Watchtower invites you to check it out!
Answer

How does a JW's receive salvation?
Answer

What is the JW’s final authority on doctrinal matters?

Answer

I'm a JW's who is considering leaving the Watchtower Society? Where can I get help?
Answer

Two more JWs posts to go and then it's on to Mormonism!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:

1. Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense, p. 332-333.

For Further research, I would recommend:

1. The Apologetic Front- maintained by Mike Felker

2. Witness Inc.- Reaching JW's since 1975

3. Tower to Truth Ministries

4. Free Minds- Discover the truth about Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower Society

5. Watchman Fellowship- Various articles

6. Jehovah's Witnesses...For Jehovah God!

7. Jesus is Jehovah!

8. David Reed's (former JWs) Biblie Answers for Jehovah's Witnesses

5 comments:

Brian said...

That's a very useful source of info, Chad. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't find this relevant.

You write about the Watchtower Society. Who cares?

Either God is a trinity or not.

The Bible says not. WTS put downs then not relevant.

You write about the NWT, but that which you disagree on is the controversial trinity scriptures. The rest you have no quarrel with.

So it seems your bias is that you think Jesus is God and the JWs don't.

Can't you deal with that issue alone?

Chad said...

Brian,

Thank you and I hope it comes in handy!

Godspeed

Chad said...

Anonymous (TJ?),

If you are not TJ, I apologize; however, I am going to assume you are unless otherwise told.

1. If you read the post carefully, you will see that I wrote, "Two more JWs posts to go..."

If you were assuming that this was the post dealing with, "Why isn't Moses God?," you are mistaken.

2. Are you actually willing to say, as a Jehvoah's Witness, that you "don't care" about the Watchtower? That you "don't care" about the accuracy of the New World Translation of the Bible, the very translation created by the Watchtower?! Surely I am misunderstanding you.

As Mike F. pointed out in another comment section, for the JWs, the Watchtower is absolutely necessary for biblical understanding.

Watchtower Quote:

"They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago, and some have even returned to celebrating Christendom’s festivals again, such as the Roman Saturnalia of December 25! Jesus and his apostles warned against such lawless ones."

Reference:
(w81 8/15 pp. 28-29 par. 14 Serving Jehovah “Shoulder to Shoulder”)

Mike elaborates:

"This quote is certainly an interesting observation in light of the fact that the Bible must be read with Watchtower literature in order to be understood.

So the attempt to convince us through the Scriptures is almost futile on TJ's part because, under the Watchtower view, he'd have to first convince us that they are the "faithful slave" and once this is done, we would have to submit to everything they say."

3. Finally, if you will revisit the post, there are articles that DO deal with Jesus as God and the Trinity.

Thanks very much and I hope you are well

Anonymous said...

This is a great web site. I have been a student of the apologetics, in reference to the Jehovah's Witnesses. I have read all of your comments on the topic and most of the links provided and found them to be factual and straight forward. Thanks for your works