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Understanding & Evangelizing Jehovah’s Witnesses Source: Cky Carrigan, Ph.D. Interfaith Evangelism, www.namb.net.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding & Evangelizing Jehovah’s Witnesses Source: Cky Carrigan, Ph.D. Interfaith Evangelism, www.namb.net."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding & Evangelizing Jehovah’s Witnesses Source: Cky Carrigan, Ph.D. Interfaith Evangelism,

2 Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?   Official Organization called “The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.” (WBTS)   Also known abroad as “The International Bible Students Association” (IBSA)

3 J.W. Who, When, Where   Founder - Charles Taze Russell ( )   Presently headed by “Governing Body”   World Headquarters - “Bethel” Brooklyn, New York, NY

4 J.W. Numbers and Lingo   Worldwide membership million in 232 countries – –N. American membership million   Meeting places called “Kingdom Hall”   Active Participants called “Publishers”

5 Publications The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom 22 million copies published semi- monthly in 132 languages Awake! 20 million copies published semi-monthly in 78 languages

6 Bibles, etc.   New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures   Kingdom Interlinear Translation ( of the New Testament)   Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life   The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived

7 J.W. History: The Russell Era   1870: Russell begins Bible study group in PA focusing on End Times doctrines   1884: Russell became president of “The Zion Watchtower and Tract Society, Inc.” – –wrote - Studies in the Scriptures - which set forth his program of theology   Russell was president from 1884 to 1916

8 J.W. Governance after Russell   Four presidents followed Russell till 2001   “Judge” Joseph F. Rutherford ( )   Nathan H. Knorr ( )   Fredrick W. Franz ( )   Milton G. Henschel ( )   Since 2001, WBTS is organized by a sophisticated plan that separates corporate governance from theological governance to protect its assets

9 What J.W. believe: The Bible   Divinely inspired, infallible, scientifically accurate   Canon of 66 books, OT and NT   New World Translation is the most accurate translation of original languages   NWT reflects WBTS theology (i.e., John 1:1)

10 What J.W. believe: The Bible   “Governing Body” is the only channel of accurate biblical interpretation   a.k.a. “The Faithful & Discreet Slave”   Salvation depends upon association with this exclusive channel of interpretation

11 What J.W. believe: God   Jehovah is the one true name of the one true God – –German (mis)transliteration of YHWH   Jehovah is “spirit being” with a “spirit body” and is not omnipresent   To J.W., the doctrine of the trinity is heretical and a gross misrepresentation of the true nature of God

12 What J.W. believe: Jesus Christ   Jesus Christ was “created” by Jehovah in ages past as an angel, or a “son of God” – –In ages past, Jesus Christ was Michael the Archangel who created all [other] things   He was born of a virgin, executed as a “ransom for many”   He “became” Messiah at his baptism

13 What J.W. believe: Jesus Christ – –Killed on a “torture stake,” not crucified on a cross – –Arose from the dead “spiritually,” not bodily – –Returned to earth in 1878?, 1914?, 1915?, 1918?, 1925?, 1975? – –Presently reigning as king in heaven, and will soon return openly

14 What J.W. believe: What J.W. believe: Humanity   The spirit of a human being departs at death   “life-force”   There is no conscious existence at death   “soul sleep”   There is no assurance of salvation, only hope of resurrection

15 What J.W. believe: Salvation   Heaven and Paradise are different   Heaven is the location of Jehovah   Paradise is the “New Earth”   There are two classes of “saved” witnesses 1. 1.“Anointed Class” or “Little Flock”- 144,000 who are so righteous that they bypass spirit unconsciousness at death, spirit goes directly to Heaven   est. 8,700 alive today 2. 2.“Great Crowds” - resurrected after Armageddon & the Millennium, then live forever in Paradise (New Earth)

16 What J.W. believe: Salvation   Hell is only the place of the dead, not a place of lasting punishment   All the unfaithful will be annihilated with Satan and the demons at the end of the Millennium   Variously predicted to arrive in 1874, 1914, 1925, and 1975

17 What J.W. believe: Culture – –Don’t celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, Easter, Christmas, etc.; annual “Lord’s Evening Meal” is only approved celebration – –Don’t vote or participate in civil government – –Don’t pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag – –Don’t volunteer for armed forces, but not because of pacifism – –Don’t have professional clergy – –Don’t accept blood transfusions

18 First Steps to Evangelizing J.W Develop sincere relationships first Let witnesses observe genuine Christianity in you (holy living) Be prepared to use Scripture positively to explain & defend key Christian doctrines.   Focus points:   Trinity, Full Deity of Christ, Salvation for all through faith alone

19 Evangelizing J.W. – Next steps Gently undermine confidence in WBTS by noting errors in WBTS interpretations about prophecy and changes to key doctrines Gently undermine their confidence in the New Word Translation. (YHWH) Be prepared to speak as to why J.W. is not an authentic expression of biblical Christianity.

20 Evangelizing J.W. – Conversion Invite them to test their beliefs by reading Scripture alone, without consulting any extra- biblical materials (Watchtower, etc.) for 30 days 2. Make sure the J.W. is able to experience conversations within authentic Christian community  Many are refugees from lax SBC churches  Are J.W. more fervent in their faith than we are in ours?  We have to become a more thorough expression of authentic faith

21 Other helps   –Belief bulletins, comparison charts, pdf files  Video resource:

22 Understanding & Evangelizing Jehovah’s Witnesses John Chandler


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