QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On March 19, 2017, we received the following email:
Jesus said, "By their fruits you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:16) In my personal search for God's people (Hebrews 10:25) I have not found a gathering of people producing as much good fruit as 'Jehovah's Witnesses.' So I have in me a great inclination to rest from my searching and remain among them. However, even after much studying with the witnesses over these past months I remain at odds with them over the 'good new' [or gospel] they are preaching.
In the first century, the 'good news' that was being declared caused those who heard it and believed to become 'born again' (1 Peter 23-25; Ephesians 1:13; 1 John 5:1) and being found in [or in union with] Christ (Galatians 3:26-29) they would have rightfully expected to be with him 'where he is' (John 14:3; 17:20, 24)
This is something that does not seem to be occurring in their door to door ministry [at least they themselves do not even believe so] which makes me doubt whether they are preaching the rightful good news (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Ephesians 4:4-6) which is an extremely serious matter.
It almost seems they are like an angel from heaven declaring 'something beyond the good news' that was originally declared and that they 'have entirely forgotten the exhortation that addresses them as sons' (Hebrews 12:5)
You paint the Watchtower and Governing Body as being quite guilty of evil. That may be but I do not yet presume such things against them with finality, but I have been lead to a decision making point where I essentially have to either believe whatever they teach, since they claim to be the sole channel of truth, or entirely remove myself from them all together (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
I have noticed that there are others besides myself in this situation. A tremendously stressful situation it is. What are your experiences?
To the author, thank you for your question, and it’s good to hear from you again. From what you have written it is apparent you clearly understand what the true good news of the kingdom was that Jesus and his disciples preached and is not being preached by Jehovah’s Witnesses. You also correctly and scripturally acknowledge that the Watchtower organization does not believe that all followers of Jesus must become born again with the destiny to be with him in the places he has prepared for them in heaven. You also say that to you this “is an extremely serious matter.” We totally agree that this is an extremely serious matter.
What puzzles us is your statement, “but I have been lead to a decision making point where I essentially have to either believe whatever they teach, since they claim to be the sole channel of truth, or entirely remove myself from them all together.”
Since it appears you are studying with the Witnesses, we assume you attend their congregation meetings and participate in the study of their most important publication, the Study Edition of the Watchtower magazine. If so, you must be familiar with the recent Watchtower study magazine dated January 2017, which contains the study article: “Treasure Your Gift of Free Will.” Paragraph 1 states,
“When faced with making a personal choice, one woman told a friend: “Do not make me think; just tell me what to do. That is easier.” The woman preferred being told what to do instead of using a precious gift from her Creator, the gift of free will. What about you? Do you like making your own decisions, or do you prefer that others decide for you? How do you view the matter of free will?”
From what is stated here, you do not “have to believe whatever they teach.” This article suggests that they recognize your God-given free will to choose obedience to the scriptures you outlined which discuss the anointing as a son of God, being born again and our destiny in the heavenly places Jesus has prepared for those who love him.
Regarding what you wrote about their claim as the sole channel of truth, we refer you to that same study article where paragraph 15 states:
“One of the limitations on our freedom is that we must respect the right that others have to make their own decisions in life. Why? Since we all have the gift of free will, no two Christians will always make exactly the same decision. This is true even in matters that involve our conduct and worship. Remember the principle found at Galatians 6:5. When we recognize that each Christian must “carry his own load,” we will respect the right that others have to use their own gift of free will.”
From what is written here, the Governing Body recognizes that their claim to be “the sole channel of truth” does not supersede your God-given gift of free will, and this even includes matters of worship. The invitation to anointed sonship with God and the freedom to use your God-given free will to declare the true good news of the Kingdom has just been granted to you, and to all Jehovah’s Witnesses, to exercise in the midst of your association with the congregation.
However, you also realize that if you act in accordance with your spiritual enlightenment and what has just been stated in this Watchtower study article, and you will be censured by the congregation elders. Accordingly, you need to ask yourself whether what you perceive as good within the Watchtower organization compensates for the denial of your God-given freewill. And further, can what was published in this article be trusted as a true guiding principle of the Watchtower organization?
We want you to contemplate these matters as you determine how you will move forward. Since matters of doctrine and worship as approved by the Governing Body are given primarily in the Watchtower Study Edition, this is a good opportunity for you to see if what is written comports with what is actually practiced. Let us know if exercising your freewill according to your understanding of anointing, being born again and the heavenly destiny raise any conflicts in your congregation or with your study conductor. In our experiences, such freewill does not really exist. Either way, exercising your freewill will give you direction.
Nevertheless we look forward to hearing from you again to see how this works out for you.
On March 4, 2017, we received the following email:
I wanted to know if one should be of a minimum age in order to partake in the Memorial of Christ's death. Thank you very much.
To the author, thank you for your question. We suspect many Witnesses wonder the same thing so we are answering your question publicly.
The answer may be found in the following scripture:
“Then young children were brought to him for him to place his hands on them and offer prayer, but the disciples reprimanded them. Jesus, however, said: “Let the young children alone, and do not try to stop them from coming to me, for the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to such ones.” And he placed his hands on them and departed from there.”
– Matthew 19:13-15
Accordingly, if a young child desires to ‘come to Jesus’ and confess union with him, he or she should not be restrained.
Keep in mind, too, that there is no minimum age for survival. Once you recognize that the heavenly hope is the only hope proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles, and the only hope for survival after death, it would be unloving to restrain our children from making a personal decision to seek life and union with Christ Jesus and demonstrating it in a tangible way.