Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Asking… What Must I Do To Be Saved?

The Watchtower Says
“Yes, believing in Jesus is crucial to our salvation, but more is needed.” (The Watchtower; 9/15/89;p.6)

If you were to ask the Watchtower “What must I do to be saved?”, what would the answer be? This is no small question for it deals with the very heart of the gospel message. The Watchtower has identified several essentials that are the basis for God’s favorable judgement of you. Let’s look at what they have said. Is the Watchtower gospel truly “good news” or is it a false gospel?

Watchtower Says Works Are Essential
“What things are involved in getting “saved”? (Acts 16:30) The prime requirement is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved.” (Acts 16:31) This involves taking in accurate knowledge of God’s purposes and his way of salvation. Then faith has to be exercised in Jesus Christ as the Chief Agent of salvation. (John 3:16; Titus 2:14) This places the Christian in a saved condition, but he must now persevere in doing God’s will and continue to adhere to all of God’s requirements for the rest of his life. Only then will he be saved to eternal life. (Matthew 24:13)” (The Watchtower; 12/15/1989; p.30)

“He speaks of these [other] sheep as righteous. Not that they are at present justified by God for their faith to be acceptable for sacrifice with Christ in his death; but that they, in faith, have taken the right attitude toward Jehovah’s King and have acted right toward the King’s brothers and have joined with them in keeping God’s righteous commandments.” (This Means Everlasting Life, 1950; p.242)

The Remnant Is Key
“The other sheep come to the help of these [remnant], not just for indiscriminate, charitable, humanitarian reasons, but because they are the King’s ambassadors and preach the good news of everlasting life by God’s kingdom. In this way they do their good deeds indirectly to the King. This is the basis upon which the King’s favorable judgement rests.” (This Means Everlasting Life, 1950; p.243)

“The goats as well as the sheep work out their destiny by the way in which they treat the remnant of the King’s brothers, the remnant of the 144,000 spiritual Israelites. The reason why one’s treatment of the remnant determines one’s destiny is that the remnant have been anointed with Jehovah’s spirit in these last days and are in line for a place on the heavenly throne with the King. Mistreatment of the remnant brings the greatest punishment, for it is an overt assault against the kingdom.” (You May Survive Armageddon Into God’s New World, 1955; p.190)

“The Jehonadab “sheep” are gathered to the right hand of the King Jesus Christ, because of the loving way in which they treat the anointed remnant of Christ’s brothers.” (Let Your Name Be Sanctified, 1961; p.358)

“Why are these sheeplike ones invited to “inherit the kingdom prepared for [them] from the founding of the world? The King tells them that it is because they did good to his “brothers” and thereby did it to him. By the expression “brothers,” the King means the remnant of his spiritual brothers still on earth in this conclusion of the system of things.” (The Watchtower, 9/1/1989; p.20)

“So, then, let all continue to zealously support the faithful and discreet slave. It is only by doing this that someday very soon all sheeplike ones will be able to hear these happy words: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.'” (The Watchtower; 5/1/1993; p.21)

Deliberate Action Critical
“When we take into consideration Bible prophecies that apply at the time of Christ’s presence, along with Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, what do we see? This: It is not a case of unknowingly and by chance doing good to one of the King’s spiritual brothers that makes a person a sheep with a righteous standing before God and his King. Those of the sheep class know what they are doing, even though they do not see the reigning King with their literal eyes.” (The Watchtower; 5/1/1993; pp. 20)

Jehovah God Speaks
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9, NASB)

Jehovah God’s Answer – Grace
Jehovah God has spoken. The basis of God’s favorable judgement of anyone, including you, is contained in one word – grace. Grace is unmerited favor. It is favor which may not, cannot, and will not be based in any way on works of merit. Whether those works are performed by men of their own inherent goodness (as some believe is possible) or in concert with God’s empowerment (as others hold), they can never merit unmerited favor.

An Illustration
To mix grace and works is akin to saying “I will buy that free car from you and I’ll pay you top dollar for it.” You cannot pay for a free car. If you do then it is no longer free. Similarly, you cannot merit unmerited favor. If you do merit it, it is no longer unmerited. (Rom 11:6)

Grace Excludes “Works Gospel”
The Watchtower gospel is a system of works. Its gospel is not founded in God’s grace. It is a false gospel. Grace by its own definition excludes all works of any kind. Salvation is not a gift based on your works, not a gift with a view to your works, and not a reward for your works. It has absolutely nothing to do with works and everything to do with God. Truly, salvation is of the Lord.
“For we maintain that man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:28, NASB)

“Works Gospel” Rejected By Jehovah God
The gospel of God’s grace is one of the most God-honoring doctrines ever. To corrupt the gospel of grace with works is to destroy the gospel itself. It is a fatal error. God clearly condemned “works gospels” in the book of Galatians. Listen to the Lord’s rebuke of those who wanted to mix grace and works.
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6-9, NASB)

“Righteous” Works A False Hope
Dear friend, real hope is not found in the Watchtower organization. The “faithful and discreet slave” cannot save you. Your good works cannot save you – they are filthy rags in God’s sight. Your meeting attendance, door-to-door work, and Watchtower studies do not gain you acceptance in God’s sight. Concerning “righteous” works Jehovah God has said:

“For we also were once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7, NASB)

Receive The Gospel Of God’s Grace
Perhaps you can see that your hopes of salvation from God have been based on a false “works gospel”. Reject that futile, false gospel and receive the true gospel of God’s grace in Christ.

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10, NASB)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17, NASB)

“Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,…” (Romans 4:4-5, NASB)

Two Prayers to Jesus: Considerations For Jehovah’s Witnesses

At the end of I Corinthians, Paul is closing his letter with final encouragements, writing by his own hand. His heartfelt desire for the return of Christ springs forth in a brief prayer to Christ:

… O our Lord, come! (1 Corinthians 16:22, New World Translation)

In the NWT Reference Bible, there is a cross-reference at this point to Revelation 22:20, which reads as follows:

“He that bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes; I am coming quickly.’” “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20, New World Translation)

Jesus is coming! These precious prayers spring instantly from the saints, offered without hesitation in full faith in the one they call on. Both Paul and the author of Revelation pray to Jesus, asking him to come. They pray to Jesus. This is spontaneous prayer to Jesus, reflected in the Jehovah’s Witness translation of the Bible. These biblical passages contradict what the Watchtower teaches JWs worldwide. The organization tells them it is unacceptable to pray to Jesus because he is not God. And yet… their own Bible tells them otherwise. Paul and John prayed to Jesus.

Who is the Watchtower to restrict what these apostles demonstrate by their own prayers to the Coming One? Is this how the “biblical religion” of the Watchtower works? The words and rules of men overrule the Word of God? It is deadly dangerous to trust the words of men over the Word of God. You are in danger if you eat their so-called ‘food in due season’. The so-called spiritual feast of the Watchtower religion is, in reality, corruption and death, killing the soul with rules that directly contradict the Word of God.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, time and time again you go house to house and try to convince people that the Watchtower religion is the only true and biblical faith. How can a religion be called ‘true and biblical’ when it restricts people from following clear teachings of the Bible? The Watchtower places its own words as more important than the inspired text of Scripture. The Scriptures teach, proclaim, and demonstrate the faithful practices of the apostles and early church.

You are safe in following these fine examples of faith found in the Bible. Call on Jesus today! He can hear your prayer and will be faithful to answer it.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Jesus Christ / Jehovah’s Witnesses Q&A, part 1

Jesus Christ – The Answers to Our Questions

An Evangelical Response to the April 1, 2012 Watchtower

As an evangelical Christian, I count it a precious biblical truth that Jesus Christ is the Savior sent by the Father.  Jesus is a life-changer in the most profound sense. As a Christian, one of the deep impacts Jesus has had on my life is to give me a desire to speak truthfully about him. And so we arrive at the reason for this series of blog posts – a heartfelt desire to portray Jesus in the awesome light of truth contrasted with the tiny, confused, inaccurate picture of Jesus presented by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The April 1, 2012 edition of the Watchtower magazine focuses on Jesus Christ and presents the unique understanding of the Jehovah’s Witnesses concerning who he is.  Or as they have named the edition, “Jesus Christ – The Answers to Our Questions”.

The answers given in the Watchtower magazine are very condensed, too brief to be truly helpful.  God willing, I will seek to provide responses that are full enough to be helpful in seeing the truth about Jesus Christ. Rather than create an overly lengthy blog post, I will be breaking my response up into a series of shorter posts. I hope the format proves to be helpful to you, dear readers.

Before Getting To The Questions

In the introduction of their magazine, the editors of the magaine spell out their method for answering the questions that will follow.

“The truth about Jesus can be discerned in his
words and actions, which are recorded in the four
Biblical Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
That inspired record is the basis for answering our

questions about Jesus.”  (Watchtower, 4/1/2012, p.4)

Before we get to the questions, let’s spend a little energy considering the impact this method could have. The Watchtower has effectively truncated the full testimony of Scripture by exclusively focusing on the four Gospels.  Is this a wise approach?  Are there important truths about Jesus Christ presented throughout the Bible?  The Watchtower leads the reader to believe that their answers to the questions are well-grounded and fully-formed.  Later in the publication, they emphasize that what we believe about Jesus really does matter (and I wholeheaertedly agree with them on that point – it truly does matter what we believe about Jesus).

Has the Watchtower decision to restrict the source material to the Gospels short-changed their answers in this issue of their magazine?  Yes.  Yes.  A thousand times, yes!  When we dive into the Biblical record, we find a rich palette painted across the canvas of the Old Testament concerning his unique sonship (Proverbs 30, Psalm 2, Isaiah 7 & 9); his unique Messiahship (Genesis 3, 9, 12, 49; Deut 18; and many others); many types and figures foreshadowing his multi-faceted uniqueness (Melchizedek, Abraham & Isaac, Boaz, Jonah, Moses, David, the entire Jewish priestly and sacrificial system, the Day of Atonement) and the list goes on.

In the New Testament we find the length and breadth revolving around Jesus Christ, bringing forth treasured view after view of his person, ministry, kingship, and Deity. It would not be unfair to describe the entire Bible as the book of Jesus Christ; for it either prefigures, predicts, or proclaims his greatness.

The Watchtower’s approach in this issue of their magazine is overly-restrictive.  The truth about Jesus reaches far beyond the four Gospels, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation.  The Watchtower limits its investigation unwisely and, in so doing, creates an incorrect caricature of Jesus Christ. 

We will see where the Watchtower misses the mark in subsequent posts in this series.  Stay tuned.

Haldane, Atonement, and the Watchtower

James Haldane wrote the following in his 1845 book, The Doctrine of the Atonement. He sees, as if by prescience, the tomfoolery of the Watchtower concerning the atonement, and destroys their vain imaginings with the glory of our Creator Redeemer.

No creature could have made an atonement for sin, or have magnified the law either by obedience or suffering. Had a body been prepared for the highest angel, his incarnation must have been an act of obedience to his Creator; and after all his humiliation, and all his sufferings, he would have been an unprofitable servant; he could have done no more than his duty. His righteousness, therefore, could not have extended to another; he could have had no superfluous merit, neither could he have offered himself a voluntary sacrifice; he could not have laid down his life, for no creature has power over his own life. No created being could have endured the curse of the broken law, or have stood as the substitute and surety of another; for every creature must bear his own burden. But the Creator, in whom was life, of whose sovereign will the law is but the expression, appeared in the form of a servant; by his obedience unto death, he magnified and made honorable the law which his people had broken; thus restoring what he took not away. In obedience to his Father’s commandment, he laid down his life, that he might take it again, and rose to the power of an endless life, as the first-born of many brethren, to whom he was in all things conformed.

Such is the foundation which God has laid in Sion for the hope of the guilty. Such is the everlasting righteousness in which Christ’s people shall stand unrebukable. It “differs entirely from the righteousness of men and angels in its AUTHOR; for it is the righteousness not of a creature, but of the Creator. I the Lord have created it. It is a divine and infinitely perfect righteousness, wrought out by Jehovah himself, which, in the salvation of man, preserves all his attributed inviolate. The Father created it through the Son, in the same was as by the Son he created the world.

J.A. Haldane; The Doctrine of the Atonement; pp 44-45

What is the Jehovah’s Witness Concept of Salvation?

Concerning the majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses you encounter today, there are several “salvations” they look for.

1. Being saved from Armageddon, brought through living into the post-apocalyptic world.

2. If they die before Armageddon, being resurrected into the post-apocalyptic world (and thus saved from the non-existence of death – of note is the fact that this creature has no personal continuity with the one who died, this is a newly created human with the memories/personality of the formerly existing human).

Both of these salvations are only temporary. They are not eternal. I mention this because evangelicals tend to think of “being saved” as something that happens once and lasts forever. Although the JW might say the two above are salvations, they are speaking of a temporary salvation that gives them an opportunity to gain permanent salvation.

3. Successfully passing the final test at the end of the Millenium, and thus being judged by Jehovah as worthy of life. This is the only “salvation” that truly sticks in Watchtower theology. Jehovah God brings a final test upon the world of witnesses who are in the same state as Adam and Eve (sinless and brought up to human perfection). This final test lets them personally demonstrate their personal righteousness or unrighteousness, resulting either in everlasting life on earth or annihilation into non-existence. Passing this final judgment has nothing to do with faith in Jesus or salvation by God’s grace. It is a crass works-based salvation that rests squarely on the personal performance of each individual in the final test.

What are they saved from? In each salvation mentioned above the JW is saved from non-existence, either temporarily or permanently.

Sadly but not surprisingly, even the salvation granted after the final test is not truly permanent. It continues to be contingent on the performance of each individual.

This is all in contrast to the Bible’s message, which tells us that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone all to God’s glory alone.

The Christian’s Eternal Priest, the Watchtower’s Temporary Priest

‘for in witness it is said: “You are a priest forever according to the manner of Mel·chiz´e·dek.”’ (Heb 7:17, NWT, emphasis added)

Jehovah has spoken by an oath. What saith the Watchtower?

14 The very possession of human nature requires that those who will be heavenly “joint heirs with Christ” stay in the antitypical refuge city until they faithfully finish their earthly course in death. When they die, they will sacrifice human nature forever. (Romans 8:17; Revelation 2:10) Jesus’ sacrifice applies only to those having human nature. Hence, the High Priest dies toward those of spiritual Israel when they are resurrected as spirit creatures who will reside eternally in heaven as “sharers in divine nature.”—2 Peter 1:4.

15 When will the High Priest “die” with regard to the modern-day ‘alien residents’ and ‘settlers,’ allowing them to leave the antitypical city of refuge? These members of the great crowd cannot come out of this refuge city immediately after the great tribulation. Why not? Because they will still be in their imperfect, sinful flesh and will need to remain under the High Priest’s protection. By availing themselves of his atoning services during his thousand-year kingship and priesthood, they will attain to human perfection. Jesus will then present them to God for a final, eternally decisive test of their integrity by the loosing of Satan and his demons for a little while. Because they pass this test with divine approval, Jehovah will declare them righteous. Thus they will reach the very fullness of human perfection.—1 Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 20:7-10.

16 So, then, survivors of the great tribulation will have to maintain a good conscience by staying in the antitypical refuge city until the end of Christ’s Thousand Year Reign. As perfected humans, they will have no further need for the High Priest’s atoning services and will come out from under his protection. Jesus will then die to them as High Priest, for he will no longer need to act in their behalf with the cleansing blood of his sacrifice. At that time they will leave the antitypical city of refuge. (The Watchtower, November 15, 1995, Stay in the ‘City of Refuge’ and Live!, emphasis added)

Filth spills from the mouth of the “faithful(?) slave”. Did God stutter? Has he lied? Will he change his mind? NEVER! Jesus is the priest for his people forever. Come to the Savior today. He calls you to himself for forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace with God.

Jehovah has sworn by an unalterable oath. The organization says “not so”.

Believe Jehovah, not the Watchtower! Come to Jesus for forgiveness, not to an organization that stinks of death. His word is true. His priesthood is true. The life he gives is true life.

Response to pseudo-JW T

I received the following email recently.

well let me first say that i don’t think you’ve studied enough of the jehovahs witnesses material on the subject to state what they believe and why. i am not a JW but i did study with them for quite some time and i do have a basic idea on they’re beliefs and reasoning behind them. and quite frankly i was offended when you segragate the Jw and christians, what is your definition of a christian? by definition it is anybody who follows the teachings of christ, and that is exactly what the witnesses do, so you see they are christians. the second thing is addressing your trinity belief, if god and jesus and holy spirit are all one in the same, then lets go back to the time when john the baptist was baptising jesus and at the very moment that he was in the water the heavens opened up and from a cloud a dove appeared and a voice came down exclaiming “this is my son, the beloved, of whom i approve!” now if the trinity is as you say godhead in his human form, who was the godhead talking about when he said this is my son? coincidence that it happened in the middle of a baptism? i don’t think so. And according to all accounts of jesus’s life on earth there are numerous refferences to him saying that he is here on his FATHERS behalf. why would he be calling himself the father? Now you can put any kind of spin on it that you want to try and make it make sense but as far as i see it the truth is not complicated at all. and the fact that you have to put a spin on it at all should tell you something as well. so i hope you will be fair enough to post this comment on your website, unless you are afraid that it’s to contraversal! wich i am sure will be the case, anyways you and i both know that i have posted some valid statements and weather you are as you say “doing gods work” by slandering his people on your website or not, remains to be seen. here’s something else for you to think about, did you know that false religion is satan’s greatest work?

Dear T,
It seems odd that you feel compelled to speak in defense of a religion that you do not follow. Nonetheless, your complaint of my ignorance of the Watchtower religion is unfounded. I’ve been studying the Watchtower religion for over 20 years. I have one of the oldest websites responding to and interacting with Jehovah’s Witnesses, starting in the early 90’s. I have a large personal library of Watchtower books and magazines and have spent countless hours interacting with active JWs. I take pains to represent their beliefs with accuracy, and have been complimented by active Jehovah’s Witnesses for the accurate treatment their religion receives in my critiques.

You are offended when Jehovah’s Witnesses are contrasted with Christians? Here is a news flash for you (and this is a big one so hold on to your seat). Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are following the only true religion, contrasting themselves with all other religions including “Christendom”. Why you are offended when I draw the same contrast they already do is beyond me.

It is not my definition of what a Christian is that matters. What does God’s Word say and how does the Watchtower religion compare? They differ with the Bible on nearly every major belief: God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the gospel, salvation, and the list continues. You cannot be a Christian without Christ. Watchtower leadership claims exclusive insight into the real meaning of the Bible, teaching that no one can understand it without their help. With this so-called insight they deliver a false gospel to the world, heaping up God’s judgment against them for delivering a false message and a false hope.

It wouldn’t make any sense for me to criticize the design of a nuclear reactor, since I have absolutely no idea how one works. Similarly, you should hold your tongue from criticizing the Trinity. It is obvious that you have absolutely no idea what the Trinity is, as your statements clearly reveal.

Your defense of the Watchtower is empty. This is fitting and echoes the nature of the Watchtower religion itself. Empty, devoid of hope, filled with falsehood.

It is my great hope and prayer for you to come to a saving knowledge of the Messiah of Scripture, not the false religion held forth by the Watchtower. Please open your Bible and read it.