Answering JW Frequently Asked Questions and Comments
Here’s answers to common JW questions and comments
- Armageddon – ‘The world is getting worse, … so the end is imminent’
- Celebrations — You should not celebrate birthdays or holidays
- False Prophets – ‘We are not false prophets; we don’t claim to be inspired or infallible’
- Internet – ‘Satan controls the Media. You can’t trust what you read in the newspapers or on the internet’
- Jehovah – ‘We are the only ones using God’s Name’
- Leaving, return? – ‘You need to return to Jehovah’
- Leaving, where go? – ‘Where else will you go? Satan’s world has nothing to offer’
- Leaving, why? – ‘People leave the Truth to pursue an immoral life’
- Light – ‘The light gets brighter’
- Love – ‘We have the only true loving brotherhood in the earth’
- Organisation – ‘God has always had an organisation on earth’
- Preaching – ‘We are the only religion that preaches worldwide’
- Shunning – ‘Shunning is an expression of love’
- Volunteers – A Religion should only use volunteers and people shouldn’t be paid
- Wait – ‘Don’t leave, wait on Jehovah’
- War – ‘We are the only religion that refuse to go to war’
- Works – ‘Faith without works is dead – to be saved works, like preaching, are required’
‘Don’t leave, wait on Jehovah’
Couldn’t any religion use these same words?
Don’t JWs tell people they meet in their ministry not to wait for reform in their church/religion but to quit and join theirs? Can “waiting on Jehovah” become an excuse for inaction?
Doesn’t the Bible instruct us not to be naïve but use our thinking ability to test and examine what we hear? (Prov 14:15,17-18; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1) Shouldn’t we have the freedom to follow our Bible trained conscience? (Rom 14:1; Gal 5:1)
Didn’t humble men of old courageously resist Jehovah’s appointed leaders at times? Eg. Jonathan (1 Sam 14:1-30;18-20) Elijah (Rom 11:2-6) Naboth (2 Kings 9:26) Obadiah (1 Kings 18:1-16) Jesus (Matt 15:1-11; 23:1-5) the apostles (Acts 4:18-20; 5:28-29).
Does God sometimes use the observations or criticisms of individuals to correct matters? Eg. Chloe’s household (1 Cor 1:11-13).
Does “wait on Jehovah” apply to reporting crimes, like child sexual abuse? (Lev 5:1; Est 2:21-23; Prov 3:27; Rom 13:4). Should bad be tolerated to protect the image of the organisation?
‘The light gets brighter’
Couldn’t any religion assert this about their changing doctrines and practices?
In context, is this expression in Proverbs 4:18 really discussing doctrinal or organisational changes? Or, was Solomon advising young ones to stick to the enlightened path they learned from their parents, in contrast to the bad life style of those ignoring such parental training? (Prov 4:3-4)
Would the Holy Spirit cause the “discreet” slave to proclaim incorrect, misleading, flipflopping and even harmful “truths”? (Jude 3) Consider the invention of an ‘overlapping generation’ or the harmful teaching that organ transplants were said to be cannibalism from 1967 to 1980.
New understanding should build off of previous understanding. The foundation can’t change. If you see a car in the distance but don’t know what make it is until it gets closer – it still remains a car and doesn’t change into a bicycle or elephant! The make, colour and registration become clarified not contradictory.
If mistakes in doctrine don’t matter as long as they eventually change, then couldn’t any religion be the truth?
If Jesus is the “Truth” and “head of the congregation” would you expect him to allow untrue statements to be made on a regular and large scale?
When the organisation gets something wrong what is their reaction? Is there an apology or is blame laid on the members? For example, the expectation that Armageddon would happen in 1975 was an incorrect/false teaching. But years later the blame was laid on the individual JW’s expectations and not on the WT leadership. The reaction is as bad, if not worse, than the error itself.
Russell’s own illustration from 1881 WT Feb p188, “A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. “New light” never extinguishes older “light,” but adds to it. If you were lighting up a building containing seven gas jets you would not extinguish one every time vou lighted another, but would add one light to another and they would be in harmony and thus give increase of light: So is it with the light of truth: the true increase is bv adding to, not by substituting one for another.” Link
JW Facts Article on Light Getting Brighter
‘The world is getting worse, … so the end is imminent’
Or, are things in fact getting better?
These 23 charts show falling poverty, hunger, child labour, child mortality, various diseases, homicide, nuclear weapons and rising literacy and life expectancy.
The world may face some big challenges like climate change, but wars and conflicts are at an all-time low and the levels of crime in the US and UK are generally falling.
What period of history would you prefer to live in?
Has the end always been imminent for WT?
“When the many factors are put together, we find that our generation, our day is the one that is identified in the Bible as the “last days.” In fact, in this year 1967 we are actually living in the final part of that time! This can be compared to, not just the last day of a week, but, rather, the last part of that last day.” WOL Link
‘We are not false prophets; we don’t claim to be inspired or infallible’
How does Deuteronomy 18:20-22 identify a false prophet? He is identified by speaking an unfulfilled prediction in the name of Jehovah. Since JWs claim that they out of all other churches use the “divine name”, they must be the only organization on earth today that has the potential for being false prophets.
Does the Organisation claim to be God’s spirit-directed, yet uninspired true prophet? (Holy Spirit p.175; Wt April 1, 1972, p.197; Nations Will Know p.292) But according to the Bible there are only two kinds of prophets:
True prophets inspired by God
False prophets uninspired by God
Couldn’t any religion gloss over their errors and false predictions by using the same excuse?
Can you name any Watchtower prediction that has come true?
Could the Governing Body be likened to a pharmacist dispensing medicine that Jehovah, like a doctor, prescribes? Why does Jehovah allow the GB pharmacist to give the wrong medicine to sick people rather than using a pharmacist that will get the prescription right in the first place?
Would you put in your mouth a lollipop found in the gutter?
‘God has always had an organisation on earth’
Does the Bible ever use the word “organisation”? Rather, it simply describes God as a God of “peace and order” (1 Cor 14:33,40).
For 2,500 years, from Adam to Moses, did God work through an organisation? No, God dealt directly with individuals based on grace.
For 1,500 years, from Moses to Christ, why did God give the Law to Israel? To point them to Christ (Gal 3:19,23-25). The organised nation apostatized.
Since Pentecost 33 AD how were autonomous congregations meeting in house groups kept united? They were united by God’s Word, Spirit and love – not micro-management by a central body (2 Cor 1:24; 1 John 2:26-27). [After the one-off Acts 15 gathering in Jerusalem there were no more councils for 100 years.] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_church_councils_(pre-ecumenical)
Where are members of Christ’s true bride today? Like wheat amidst weeds, scattered throughout Christendom until the future harvest (Matt 13:29-30).
Should any religious group presume to be the exclusive channel to God? Jesus is all sufficient as your mediator into a new covenant relationship with God (1 Tim 2:5; 2 Tim 2:10). In 2015 Geoffrey Jackson denied that the organisation was the only channel.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlsVPTsUnnI
‘We are the only ones using God’s Name’
Would it surprise you to learn that essentially all Christian groups, including Mormons, believe that the Hebrew word transliterated as YHWH and commonly represented as Jehovah or Yahweh, is God’s personal name? The “Assemblies of Yahweh” in 115 countries emphasise the divine name in their radio broadcasts and witnessing. (They are non-Trinitarian and conscientious objectors.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assemblies_of_Yahweh
When Jesus prayed why didn’t he use the name Jehovah? Rather he used “Our Father” or “Abba”. He made God “known” by exalting His entire personality and ways. (Ps 9:10)
Out of the 86,000 quotations of the Christian Greek Scriptures that are in the writings of the Church Fathers, how many contain the divine name? None!
‘We are the only religion that preaches worldwide’
What do the facts show?
- JWs (est.1870; ww 8 million; increase 300,000 year)
- Mormons (est.1830; ww 16 million; increase 200,000 year)
- 7th-day Adventists (est.1863; ww 20 million; increase 600,000 year)
- Pentecostals (est.1904; ww 300 million; increase 12,000,000 year)
- Baptists (est.1612; ww 40 million; increase 600,000 year)
- YouVersion freely offers 2,023 Bible versions in 1,351 languages. Link
Jesus Film by 2018 available in 1,724 languages, viewed 375 million times. The “Most Translated Film” in history resulting in over 200 million people deciding to accept Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch.html
Gideons International distribute over 80 million Bibles annually – more than two copies per second! By 2015 they had distributed over two billion Bibles in over 100 languages. The NWT 220 million in about 200 languages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gideons_International
“House to house” in Acts 20:17-20 is not referring to public preaching but the teaching of those already Christians in their homes (Acts 2:46).
2 to 3 billion people have never heard the message of JWs. Every day on average over 303,000 people are born, but the number of active JWs increases by only 830. This means that each day Armageddon is delayed there are at least an extra 302,000 people that will die!
Are JWs witnesses for Jesus? (Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8; 13:31; Col 1:28) The Good News of the Kingdom is a message focusing on Jesus who saves us and reigns as king in our hearts. In the 1000 years this kingdom will expand and all things will be restored.
What is the scriptural basis for reporting hours? JWs report 2 billion hours a year preaching but it is predominantly spent knocking at empty houses, silently standing at carts or traveling. Presently, 7,000 hours per baptism! https://www.jwfacts.com/verdadtj/atalaya/predicacion.php
‘We have the only true loving brotherhood in the earth’
Is abandonment love? The isolation of shunning plus the emotional blackmail to regain family by returning, have driven some to depression, even suicide – how is this showing Christ’s love? (John 9:34-35)
Does refusing to kill others in war really prove anything about showing active love for our fellowman?
Can you go anywhere in the world and be welcomed among JWs as a brother and a friend? Most Witnesses are unaware that the same can be said of other Christian denominations.
Aside from preaching, do JWs show practical love by participating in local community projects to help the homeless or victims of abuse, like other Christian?
How is it loving to children in the local non-jw community for the JW branch office to refuse to hand over files containing lists of paedophiles?
‘We are the only religion that refuse to go to war’
Are there other Christian churches known for their stance against war?
- Church of the Brethren
- Anabaptist groups:
- Society of Friends (Quakers)
- Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship
- Seventh Day Adventists
- Community of Christ
- Worldwide Church of God
- Pax Christi
- Fellowship of Reconciliation:
- Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
- Methodist Peace Fellowship
- Baptist Peace Fellowship
- Orthodox Peace Fellowship
- Lutheran Peace Fellowship
- Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
More Info https://www.jwfacts.com/verdadtj/atalaya/guerra.php
‘People leave the Truth to pursue an immoral life’
Couldn’t there be many reasons why people leave?
Doctrine: JWs claim Jesus is not mediator but Michael and invisible king since 1914. Routine of works (study, meetings, preaching) overshadow and even replace a relationship with Jesus.
High control of the self-appointed Governing Body: dress, education, etc
Child Sexual Abuse 2015 ARC (case 29) 1006 unreported cases. https://youtu.be/Y0kYYxh2Hrc?list=PLtizNalcHHE-nfRihJfOCI-_kA4Pis_JK
Shunning: loss of all his social circle and family. Did Jesus shun anyone? Did the Pharisees? (John 9:22,35-38) https://youtu.be/L_6SYNPwQ6o
False predictions: 1799, 1874, 1914, 1925, 1975, overlapping generation.
Higher education rejected; avoid critical thinking skills.
Financial appeals increasing; no community charitable works, only preaching.
‘Where else will you go? Satan’s world has nothing to offer’
Did Peter say, “Lord, where shall we go?” or “Lord, whom shall we go away to?” A true Christian goes to Christ, enjoying a personal relationship with him (1 Cor 1:9; John 15:5).
If your house was burning down would you first contact an estate agent to buy a new property before you got out of the burning building? (2 Cor 6:17-18)
‘You need to return to Jehovah’
May I read Heb 11:15-16? Men of old “had opportunity to return” to their own homeland and people but “they reached for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven.” I follow their courageous example, by “going to him (Jesus) outside the camp” of organised religion “bearing the reproach he bore.” (Heb 13:12-14)
I pray that the Organisation may return to Jehovah. Mal 3:7 was addressed to the nation of Israel.
‘Shunning is an expression of love’
Should a person be free to leave a religion without fear of forfeiting their family and friends? Some would view this as a hostage situation.
Can you recall a time when Jesus shunned sinners? Or was that the Pharisees? (Matt 9:10-13; Luke 10:25-37)
If someone’s motive in returning to the congregation is to fill the emotional vacuum of missing family and “friends” – would this be true repentance?
When the prodigal son returned, was he given a probation period of silent treatment to test his resolve? (2 Cor 2:5-8)
Is 2 John 7-11 talking about “antichrists” who deny Jesus? Clearly, not all who are disfellowshipped cease to be believing Christians.
‘Satan controls the Media. You can’t trust what you read in the newspapers or on the internet’
Would you refuse to read and believe a report in the media that put JWs in a good light?
Would you dismiss an article or news report that castigated another religion, for example, child sexual abuse in the Catholic religion?
What are a couple of specific things you least like about your organisation?
‘Faith without works is dead – to be saved works, like preaching, are required’
Ask the JW to explain why Paul spoke against works to be saved, and James spoke in favour of works? (Read: Rom 4:4-5; 11:6)
Answer: Paul spoke against working for salvation because it is of grace, a free gift; whereas James says once you have faith and have been saved then you will do works empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Is Christ’s sacrifice like a down payment but it’s up to us to keep up the instalments by our good works?
Not at all: If Jesus is truly 100% sufficient for the payment of my sin-debt why do I need to add “my best” for Jehovah’s acceptance of me? Are you saying Jesus sacrifice is not enough? (Col 2:13-14; Heb 10:11,14) If anything I do, can cause Jehovah to love and accept me more, how can His love and gift of salvation be said to be free and unconditional?
If we need some works to be saved, just how much work is sufficient?
Fact: We are not saved by our works (or ‘doing our best’) but saved by Jesus’ finished ransom work, for works (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 3:5).
Would you give someone a free gift but warn them that unless they work so many hours a month for you, you will take it back?
Does James mention preaching as a good work?
No. James talks about helped the poor out materially (Jas 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 Tim 5:3-10).
See Scripture Explainer Jas 2:26
You should not celebrate birthdays or holidays
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that celebrating birthdays as well as holidays such as Christmas, Easter, New Year’s, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and political holidays is not biblical, either because these days are associated with pagan origins and practices or because they run counter to Jesus’ statement that his followers are “no part of the world” (John 15:19, RNWT)
The Watchtower cites an additional reason for prohibiting birthday celebrations. The only two birthdays referenced in the Bible are those of Pharaoh and Herod the tetrarch. Both of these events are mentioned in an unfavorable light.
Christians believe that what days we do or do not choose to observe is a matter of individual conscience, so long as any celebrations are carried out in a righteous manner. Christians should not pass judgment on one another with regard to such issues (Romans 14:5-6; Colossians 2:16-17).
A Religion should only use volunteers and people shouldn’t be paid
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that a separate clergy class is unbiblical. Christian workers in local congregations should be volunteers
Christians believe that clergy should be paid because the worker is entitled to his wages (1 Corinthians 9:13-14; 2 Corinthians 11:8; 1 Timothy 5:17-18).