(Investigator 16, 1991 January)
In recent years
gone out from the
Watchtower Society that Jehovah's Witnesses are being "persecuted" for
their faith. It is a matter of record that at different times and in
places their religion has truly been severely harassed and individual
have been physically and psychologically mistreated, even murdered. In
this they are not alone; one need only ask any Bible-believer in the
Union or a Jew who survived the holocaust. Religious people have been
for their beliefs throughout time.
ATTACKING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES?
These days there
another kind of persecution
that the Watchtower Society is very concerned about. They warn
Today there is a growing concern among truthlovers to share the life-giving message of God's Word with Jehovah's Witnesses. In bringing this message, there is certainly no excuse for an "attack" on Jehovah's Witnesses as people. But is it a sin to oppose the teachings of the Watchtower Society if one sincerely believes they are leading Jehovah's Witnesses astray away from the truth?
LET THE PUBLIC CHOOSE THE TRUTH
Anyone who knows
history of Jehovah's
Witnesses would certainly say that they have been most vigorous in
their brand of truth to the public. As the Watchtower propagates its
to outsiders, it demonstrates the very view of those it labels
Watchtower to let
Jehovah's Witnesses have the freedom to choose too!
CRITICISM WITH A RIGHT MOTIVE
teaching can certainly
be done with a most loving attitude. The perfect example of love is
Christ. We quote at length an Awake! comment about Jesus and
Also, Jesus' frank comments could help persons. For example, what if, in learning to use a dangerous machine, you kept making a serious error. Would you not be benefited if someone corrected you before you hurt yourself or others? Accordingly, Jews hearing Jesus' truthful criticism could be helped on the way to God's approval and salvation.
Was it only Christ who could properly make such comments? No, for the Bible shows clearly that Jesus' disciples also called attention to religious error. For example, read Stephen's bold denunciation of the Jewish leaders. (Acts 7:51-54) And note that the Apostle Paul branded the Athenian worship of idols as "ignorance." (Acts 17:29, 30) Further, out of love for truth these first-century Christians exposed deviations from true Christianity by ones professing to be Christians. – 1 Tim. 1:19, 20; 2 Tim. 2:16-19.
What, though, if you had lived then and Jesus' followers criticized the religion of your friends and relatives? As now, it would have been easy to take offense. Still, we cannot deny that the disciples' comments – critical though they were – were right, and they are included in God's Word. As with Jesus, the motive behind the criticism was good. So the disciples were being Christian – not unchristian – in pointing out religious error.
Consequently, is it unchristian today to offer Bible based comments about another's religion? The Scriptural answer must be No. True, criticism that reveals faults in the teachings or practices of someone's religion might at first seem severe. Yet, how should one react? Not like those who became violently enraged over Stephen's criticism. Rather, note the fine reaction of some Athenians who heard Paul's comments. They accepted Bible truth and became believers, to their eternal benefit. – Compare Acts 17:11,12.
Far from being rejected as unchristian, then, criticism based on God's Word should be carefully considered, for it can bring real benefits. (Awake! November 22, 1974 pp. 28-29)
One can be loving and fair with Jehovah's Witnesses and still employ "frank comments" and "truthful criticism" and even the "denunciation" of Watchtower "leaders".
ARGUING WITH OPPOSERS
For one to apply
properly, it is
beneficial to understand the principles of argumentation. The
Society counsels Jehovah's Witnesses:
expect to argue with
opposers. Let us look to the Bible for our examples of those who made a
stand for the truth and a defense of the faith (1 Peter 3:15).
I HAVE MY OWN RELIGION
Jehovah's Witnesses often refuse to discuss information that outsiders claim proves that the Watchtower has lied to them. Many sincere Witnesses are not familiar with much of the history of their religion or the way that the Watchtower Society operates to "control" their thinking. Therefore, when confronted by an informed person with potentially damaging information the Witness may see no necessity to defend his Organization or "the truth". In effect, the Witness is saying, "Don't bother me with your information, I have my own religion." Of course, some Witnesses do not have this attitude and are willing to investigate their Organization with an open mind. However, it is indeed distressing to see how many simply follow the Watchtower blindly no matter what it teaches them.
for trying to convert those who already have their "own religion". In
booklet, JEHOVAH'S WJTNESSES IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (1978), the
answers questions commonly asked about Jehovah's Witnesses. On page 28
who "have their own
religion" should certainly be willing to allow Christians to "assist
to "conform with the Bible's teachings".
WHY PICK ON ME?
Sometimes Witnesses will ask an "opposer" why he has singled them out to talk to. They wonder why he has bothered to gather all this information to "witness" to Witnesses–why not pick on other people? Certainly the Christian is duty-bound to share the Gospel with everyone. Jesus said, "And you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
Therefore is it ever appropriate to single out certain religious groups for a special witness? This seems a good question to ask the Watchtower Society which has had an active campaign for decades to undermine the Catholic religion. While it is not our purpose here to either defend or criticize, we want to draw attention to Roman Catholicism as one good example of a religion specifically "exposed" by the Watchtower Society as false religion. A few statements from the Watchtower publications will suffice to prove a concentrated anti-Catholic effort on the part of the Society:
president, Joseph F.
Rutherford affectionately called the "Judge", certainly judged the
faith to be false religion!:
In a personal letter to the Society's head legal counsel, Olin Moyle, Rutherford said:
March 3lst. 1938.
My dear brother Moyle;
Your report or the case in which the Catholic priest repeatedly declined to testify until he could first consult with his bishop, will be of interest to the people of good will, as well as to the remnant. Please write that up in the proper form and furnish it to Consolation for publication at an early issue. This may help to encourage some other priests to consult the bishop before he is put on the witness stand. You want to take occasion to rub it into these roosters as much as possible and wherever you have any intimation that a Catholic priest is back of the persecution of our people summons that priest as a witness and put him on the stand and bore into him properly.
Furthermore concerning the Griffin case: The more I think about it the more I am inclined to think we should move against that city. While I cannot form a definite opinion until I see the opinion riled in the case in the Supreme Court, I leave it to you and if you conclude that our people that were arrested have a cause of action, file a suit in each and every one of the cases, against the city, against the city manager, the chief of police, against the city attorney, the commissioner, the mayor, and particularly the Catholic priest, and every other SOB, that incited the mob, and see if we can't excite those roosters somewhat.
With much love and best wishes, I remain Your brother & servant by his grace,
J F Rutherford
Witnesses utilized his recorded lectures in their door-to-door
Many of the records were extremely critical of Catholicism and many
found themselves in court. Hayden C. Covington, former General Counsel
for Jehovah's Witnesses stated:
These days Rutherford's records are not used to proselytize the public. The Organization employs more tactful measures to win Catholics out of their faith.
But articles on
"evils" of Catholicism
are still published. Awake! magazine 1960 October 8 was devoted
wholly to exposing Catholicism as being anti-Bible, anti-freedom of
collaborators with communism, immoral, etc. The Society's true feelings
can be summed up by a quote in their 1938 CONVENTION REPORT:
DON'T FORGET THE PROTESTANTS!
not the only target
of the Watchtower Society.
specifically designed to get their membership to resign. In their
book, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN THE DIVINE PURPOSE (1959), the Society
a number of these campaigns. (See for example pp. 39 - 40)
LEAVING A FALSE ORGANIZATION
claim to be associated
with God's true organization. What is the Watchtower's counsel for
in other religious organzations? Their book RICHES (1936) pp 178-179
doctrines, when measured
by the Word of God, are contrary to the Word of God, then it is certain
that such teachings are lies and that they proceed from the Devil, the
originator or father of lies. If you find that a doctrine or
is a lie, you should quickly forsake it, regardless of who teaches it
or how long you have believed that teaching to be true. Your own
and your duty to God demand that you abandon lies, no matter who
them, for the reason that the end of the maker and supporter of lies is
eternal death. –Revelation 21:8, 27.
of lies. (Proverbs 6:1-l9)
"A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies
perish." (Proverbs 19:9) The Devil lied to and deceived the perfect
Eve. It is certain, then, that the Devil by and through his agents lies
to and deceives many imperfect creatures. There is only one possible
to find safety, and that is to learn the truth of God's Word and follow
that and keep away from the teachings of men which are contrary to the
Word of God. If you find that you have been for some time in an
called "the church", and that such organization teaches that which is
to God's Word of truth, then you will have to choose whether you will
in accord with that so-called "church" organisation and its teachings
will forsake the same and rely upon the Word of God.
A WARM INVITATION
Fair is fair! If
Watchtower expects others
to investigate their own religious organizations, would we not expect
them to allow us the opportunity to check them out also? We have an
to do just that!