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Easy Question for Jehovah's Witnesses - Page 5

post #81 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Why wouldn't she?
I guess I just find it odd that she somehow got onto this board with one post, and a join date of Dec '08, and then solicits people that she can count her time with off this discussion board. Preaching online is an act strictly forbidden by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, so I found it curious that she appeared to doing this.
post #82 of 93
I don't think she was preaching, I think she was simply trying to answer some questions. Let's not be too harsh with her; she's a newcomer, let's welcome her as we would anyone else. She may have differing beliefs than a lot of us (I'm a born again Christian, so definitely different than me as well) but I think she has a lot to contribute to the discussion. Also, it's nice to hear from an active JW.
post #83 of 93
Quote:
As far as salvation goes, Jackie75, the truth is, I have no idea whether or not you will be saved, although I certainly hope you will be. Being part of the JW organization does not guarantee individual salvation. There could very well be sick, evil people who are JWs and wonderful, faithful people who are not. Only Jehovah and Jesus know who will be saved. Anyone who tells you any different doesn't know what JWs really believe.

If we do our utmost to follow the Bible and live according to God's commandments, we show love for him and can have confidence in our salvation. But no one knows anyone well enough to say "you'll be saved." "You won't." It's playing judge, and God's word doesn't give us that right.
Well, I was a Witness for 21 years and I believe this explanation is rather disingenuous. As a former Witness who speaks out about the parts of the religion that I find inaccurate or that I am unable to believe, I am labeled an apostate. However, I am a very, very good person. But as far as the religion believes, I have positively no hope of salvation because of my apostasy. So you really can't say that you believe only Jehovah and Jesus know who will be saved, because you would know that I will not be.

And if God doesn't give you the right to judge, then why can't my family members who remain Witnesses speak to me? Why are they required to treat me as though I were dead--a ghost to them? That's judging.
post #84 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelpie545 View Post
I don't think she was preaching, I think she was simply trying to answer some questions. Let's not be too harsh with her; she's a newcomer, let's welcome her as we would anyone else. She may have differing beliefs than a lot of us (I'm a born again Christian, so definitely different than me as well) but I think she has a lot to contribute to the discussion. Also, it's nice to hear from an active JW.
Her presence here is very welcomed I really love it when JW's engage in conversations like this so that we can all learn from each other. When I said she was "preaching" I meant she was "counting her time" or "Witnessing", and was just trying to avoid talking JW speak. I really don't think her original post was doing this, but I was wondering if the invitation to speak over email was an attempt to set up a "preaching" relationship where she could count her time. I just found that curious in light of the rules of religion, that's all. I wasn't meaning to be hard on her or unwelcoming. I did think this forum was locked until 50 posts and 60 days of membership though, so I was confused about that, but maybe those rules changed without me noticing.
post #85 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post
Preaching online is an act strictly forbidden by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
That's more what I meant by my question. So email witnessing is OK but not message boards?
post #86 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
That's more what I meant by my question. So email witnessing is OK but not message boards?
I don't think email witnessing is specifically ever mentioned, it is more of an "internet" witnessing taboo. Email is part of the internet, yet a bit more private, so some may think it would be okay. However, soliciting people to preach to off of the internet is certainly not okay, according to their leaders.
post #87 of 93
Do you know the reasons for this? Ostensible and/ or real and/ or otherwise? I'm just curious.
post #88 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Do you know the reasons for this? Ostensible and/ or real and/ or otherwise? I'm just curious.
The internet is a dangerous place where "apostates" lurk. They are not supposed to be reading material by, or engaging in discussion with apostates. An apostate is a person who used to be a JW but who no longer believes. I am considered an apostate for example, so engaging me in conversation (once they know I am an apostate), even when they do not personally know me, is wrong and they could get into serious trouble for it if anyone ever found out. When they talk about not preaching on the internet, it is because they wont know who they are talking to. For example, I am very upfront about who I am and that I was a JW for 30 years. Others are not, and will pose as an interested person, asking questions that lead into subjects that are sure to upset the JW being questioned. Of course, the internet is a major information highway, and former JW's are an extremely large number of people (JW's have one of the largest turnover rates of any religion). The JW's organization do not use the internet to their advantage to preach only maintaining one small "official" website. They do not seem to be interested in doing so, and stick to knocking on doors of people who are no longer home during the day. This is quite confusing, as the internet would be a better place to preach, since that is where people are these days. Since they do not have an internet presence, and their are a massive number of "apostates" out there, if they wander onto, oh say a discussion board, they are sure to encounter them. The religion's leaders do not want them to encounter apostates, so they tell them to avoid the internet altogether. They are allowed to use it slightly, but are forbidden to go to chat rooms or porn sites, and are strongly cautioned about wandering around aimlessly or trying to preach to people there.
post #89 of 93
The 'who are the real Christians?' question is always a fun one. I think there are two different ways of defining it--the phenomenological one, and the theological one. The first is more or less 'people who say they're Christian', with perhaps a couple of exceptions; the latter, according to my theological view in any case, is 'the elect'--the invisible church, those who are saved, no matter in what denomination.

But while I don't believe one is saved or unsaved simply according to what 'brand' one holds, there are certainly some 'brands' more likely to contain saved individuals, and some 'brands' which by their very nature are not likely to, as their doctrines are contradictory to Christianity. It's all very well to say 'we worship the same God', but frankly, we don't. The God of JWs is unary, the God of most Christians is Trinitarian. An Arminian view of God is vastly different to a Calvinist view of God. Nor do we worship the same Jesus, if the conception of one Jesus is a person who offers salvation to all, to be rejected or accepted due to free will, and another Jesus is a person who irresistably thrusts His grace upon the elect. Even more obviously, a Jesus who is divine is not the same as a Jesus who isn't!

This thread has already discussed how 'we all believe the same Bible' is problematic--the Apocrypha? KJV only? Douay-Rheims only? The Bible-as-interpreted-by-a-particular-teaching-authority, or sola (or solo) Scriptura? 'We all have faith' is equally so--DH is currently debating online with a Catholic girl who believes 'faith' is an emotional rather than intellectual faculty, and which can be used to smooth over logical contradictions (ie., she feels it is possible to accept mutually contradictory statements due to faith); this is a completely different definition of faith from the Reformed one.

In other words, our common ground isn't as common as we might like to think for the sake of appearing peaceable. We're using the same words to mean vastly different things. Now, obviously not all denominational differences are 'deal-breakers', as it were. The Bible is pretty clear that the elect aren't determined on the grounds of whether or not they baptise babies. Other issues are bigger--free will vs predestination, for instance--but as ardent a Calvinist as I am, I don't think Arminians are damned just because of what I see as a faulty understanding of the mechanics of salvation. So where does one draw the line--what is the absolute essential of the Gospel, without which one cannot be saved?

I tend to agree with my husband on this one, who feels that the core of the Gospel is salvation by grace through faith alone, and that (as per Galatians 1:9) anyone who preaches a different Gospel will be accursed, no matter what their apparent authority. But obviously, opinions will differ! And unless people are wanting to join our local church, whereupon I think it is our duty to ascertain where they stand spiritually (insofar as that's possible), I don't think it is the job of Christians to spend too much time worrying about who is One of Us. Working out our own salvation in fear and trembling is commanded.
post #90 of 93

the Witness girl returns

Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner, mommas. I disappeared for a week and then the forums were closed. I see that there are numerous comments, questions, and criticisms regarding Witnesses, and I’ll do my best to address some of those.

1. NEW WORLD TRANSLATION– I could spend time defending the NWT, but I don’t mind just using another translation. I own 10 different ones, NIV included, and I think you can get God’s truth from any translation. When one seems to contradict the other, I like to use a concordance or interlinear (I have the Zondervan RSV Greek Interlinear, Protestant-approved) to verify the meanings of the original words, phrases, or grammatical structures in question. Thus, out of respect for your concerns, I’ll be sure the scriptures I use in discussion are NOT from the NWT.

2. SALVATION - Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that as Christians we’re assured of salvation. We also believe that it is by God’s grace alone that we’re saved. No matter how hard we work, we can’t bring about our own salvation. That’s why we need Jesus' sacrifice. Faith in it is the only thing that makes salvation possible. We can do works to show our love, but they don't save us.

However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t ever lose God’s favor. Even devoted Christians need to be careful not to be overconfident, and as Smokering says, “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” The Bible teaches that even a strong Christian can lose favor with God. I challenge anyone who disagrees to share their own interpretation of these scriptures:

Hebrews 6:4-8 - “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (NIV)

Hebrews 10:26-27 – “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (NIV)

2 Peter 2:20 – “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” (NIV)


Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t teach “once saved, always saved.” We have to maintain a relationship with God, taking care to preserve our good standing:

Hebrews 3:12-13 – “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (NIV)


3. DISFELLOWSHIPPING AND SALVATION - Those who are disfellowshipped are those who have unrepentantly and deliberately committed one or more of the very serious sins listed in the Bible as offenses deserving of expulsion (1Corinthians 5:11,12; Titus 3:10, 11; 1Timothy 1:19, 20; Hebrews 12:15, 16). I emphasize “unrepentantly” because you don’t get disfellowshipped if you’re truly sorry. We all commit many sins; we’re human.

It is reasonable, therefore, to consider that according to these scriptural precedents (Hebrews 6:4-8, 10:27-28 and 2Peter 2:20), a disfellowshipped one may have lost God’s favor and his promise of salvation. HOWEVER, Jehovah’s Witnesses don't even make that claim with any certainty. Why?

1) An error in judgment on the part of the judicial committee could have contributed to one’s being wrongfully disfellowshipped. This happened in the first century (3 John 9,10)

2) There is a loving provision to reinstate a disfellowshipped person into the congregation (2 Corinthians 2:7, 8) whereby, presumably, he has mended his relationship with God.

3) God is the ultimate judge and he could know things about a person that we don’t.

Interestingly enough, one main purpose of disfellowshipping is to help a person regain the promise of salvation they may have lost. Disfellowshipping forces people to strengthen their relationship with God alone, not relying on their family members or organization for their faith. This is a big problem for some Witnesses; they focus on obeying and fearing man and not God…which is wrong, according to the Bible and the organization. Then, they resent the congregation for their own mistaken approach to the faith. Disfellowshipping is meant to help individuals whose willful sinning and brazen attitude reflect a loss of love for the truth. All hope they will mend their relationship with God.

4. INTERNET “WITNESSING” - Although I’m not in any way forbidden by the Bible or the Watchtower Society to engage in message boards, I do prefer email for practical reasons. Forums are all over the place – people often attack each other, change the subject, and talk about too many things in too little depth. I’m in my first trimester, I work full time, and I have a 15 month-old, husband, and home to care for. I’m sure you are all quite busy, too! Spending hours trying to responsibly read and respond to a hundred random claims, questions, and criticisms from numerous individuals at once is time consuming, and let’s be honest, most people don’t even read the extremely long post required to cover all the points brought up. Most only respond to what they want, nitpicking and using each others posts as a way to air their opinions before an audience. I’m not trying to be critical; I’m guilty of this myself. Though I would have had a ball with this medium in college, my current circumstances don’t allow me to use it effectively or responsibly. I’d love to talk via email with anyone who would like to have a focused conversation based on mutual respect. I'm open to "thinking outside the box" and even changing my religion. I'm interested in the Bible, in the truth, not any given organization.

Write to me at any time at savina37@hotmail.com. Thanks and have a wonderful weekend, ladies! My name is Savina.
post #91 of 93
Tookery (Savina),

Hello again, and welcome back to the forum! Thanks for continuing our open discussion. I think you'll find that most people would prefer to keep discussion to the board rather then email. This is because posting on the board supports and adds to our community, and then we can all share in the discussion at hand. I think you'll find that MDC is a pretty respectful community, and hopefully you wont feel attacked. This specific board though does allow deeper discussion and we are allowed to ask "the tough questions", so if you choose to post here, be prepared for a little bit of questioning of your views If you would prefer some lighter discussion of spirituality, head on over to the "spirituality" board.

With that in mind, I have a few responses and questions about your last post.

Quote:
However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t ever lose God’s favor. Even devoted Christians need to be careful not to be overconfident, and as Smokering says, “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” The Bible teaches that even a strong Christian can lose favor with God. I challenge anyone who disagrees to share their own interpretation of these scriptures:
If I remember right, I think the issue about salvation was whether or not only Jehovah's Witnesses are saved, not whether or not a "Christian" in general can lose god's favor.

Quote:
Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t teach “once saved, always saved.” We have to maintain a relationship with God, taking care to preserve our good standing:
Our good standing with god, or our good standing within the Jehovah's Witnesses religion? If a person leaves the Jehovah's Witnesses because they believe they found something more true for them, and they are still Christians, are they still in good standing with god? Are they still in good standing with other JW's?

Quote:
DISFELLOWSHIPPING AND SALVATION - Those who are disfellowshipped are those who have unrepentantly and deliberately committed one or more of the very serious sins listed in the Bible as offenses deserving of expulsion (1Corinthians 5:11,12; Titus 3:10, 11; 1Timothy 1:19, 20; Hebrews 12:15, 16). I emphasize “unrepentantly” because you don’t get disfellowshipped if you’re truly sorry. We all commit many sins; we’re human.
Many people were df'd for taking organ transplants. The Watchtower later said it was okay to take organ transplants and stopped df'ing people for doing so. However, they didn't automatically reinstate those who they had df'd for having an organ transplant. Many JW's were df'd for taking blood fractions. The Watchtower now allows blood fractions and does not df it's members for taking them. However the Watchtower did not reinstate automatically those who had been df'd for taking blood fractions. Obviously, these people didn't break any of god's laws, because these things are now allowed to happen. So what laws did these people break? They were simply disobedient to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. They could have chosen to be obedient to them, even though they knew they weren't breaking god's laws, and likely be very ill or die from their malady. Or, they could have chosen to be disobedient to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, even though they knew they were not breaking god's laws, and get df'd.

I'm just giving the above example to show that it is not always as clear cut as you are suggesting. A lot of people get df'd for things that are not clear cut laws in the bible. For example: having doubts about the Watchtower's teachings, questioning the Watchtower's teachings, privately holding beliefs contrary to the Watchtower's teachings, attending another religion's Church, talking to another df'd person (such as a parent or a child) on a regular basis, being employed at a company that makes weapons, carrying a weapon for your job (e.g. a police officer), voting, celebrating a birthday, celebrating any holiday, taking a blood transfusion, witnessing someone else in the congregation committing one of these "wrongdoings" and not telling the elders about it, etc. Many things that you can get df'd for are simply the rules of the Watchtower Society, and highly debatable when you go to the scriptures for back up. As we know from my above examples, the Watchtower changes their teachings on a regular basis, so making a life or death (in the case of blood or organ transplant) decision based on their current "light" or teachings may not be a wise thing to do.

Quote:
Interestingly enough, one main purpose of disfellowshipping is to help a person regain the promise of salvation they may have lost. Disfellowshipping forces people to strengthen their relationship with God alone, not relying on their family members or organization for their faith. This is a big problem for some Witnesses; they focus on obeying and fearing man and not God…which is wrong, according to the Bible and the organization. Then, they resent the congregation for their own mistaken approach to the faith. Disfellowshipping is meant to help individuals whose willful sinning and brazen attitude reflect a loss of love for the truth. All hope they will mend their relationship with God.
What if one simply does not believe in the Watchtower's teaching on a certain issue, like the organ transplant or blood fraction issue I mentioned above? How are they willfully sinning against god, when it is the Watchtower that made the mistake? Also, what if someone simply discovers things that make them believe that it is not the true religion. Perhaps they become some other sort of Christian, or perhaps they just give up religion all together. If their perception is that it is not "The Truth", then how would being cut off from all of their friends and family members bring them back to that religion? Their choice then is that they either live a lie, or they live without their family in their lives at all. That doesn't necessarily bring someone closer to god, to be treated in such a harsh way by his supposed followers. Also, I am sure you are not aware, but df'ing is a practice that induces a lot of trauma on the person being df'd. That person loses everyone in their life, their entire community, and if they are not "repentant", in other words, if they no longer believe the religion is true, then they have no hope of ever seeing their family again. This is a great loss and drives many to have serious issues, even becoming suicidal, because the situation is just so devastating to their lives. It is a very sad thing, and by your own admittance elders make mistakes in df'ing people. So, some people have suffered this horrible thing for no reason at all.

Quote:
Although I’m not in any way forbidden by the Bible or the Watchtower Society to engage in message boards, I do prefer email for practical reasons.
You can use them, but I am pretty sure you are not supposed to be discussing religion on them. I can find the quotes I guess...

Quote:
Forums are all over the place – people often attack each other, change the subject, and talk about too many things in too little depth.
Wow, with such a low opinion of forums, I just have to wonder why you signed on?

Quote:
I'm interested in the Bible, in the truth, not any given organization.
post #92 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tookery View Post

2. SALVATION - Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that as Christians we’re assured of salvation. We also believe that it is by God’s grace alone that we’re saved. No matter how hard we work, we can’t bring about our own salvation. That’s why we need Jesus' sacrifice. Faith in it is the only thing that makes salvation possible. We can do works to show our love, but they don't save us.

However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t ever lose God’s favor. Even devoted Christians need to be careful not to be overconfident, and as Smokering says, “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” The Bible teaches that even a strong Christian can lose favor with God. I challenge anyone who disagrees to share their own interpretation of these scriptures:

Hebrews 6:4-8 - “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (NIV)

Hebrews 10:26-27 – “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (NIV)

2 Peter 2:20 – “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” (NIV)


Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t teach “once saved, always saved.” We have to maintain a relationship with God, taking care to preserve our good standing:

Hebrews 3:12-13 – “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (NIV)


3.

Now, this is *by no means* a challenge of your belief system-but rather a sharing of different interpretations of the verses you quoted. I'll share mine (quoted from the Recovery Version Bible - interpretation explanations come from the Recovery Version footnotes). Tookery- this might have been a typo but you actually only quoted Hebrews 6:4-6, without verses 7 and 8, so I'll just quote those.

Hebrews 6:4 "For it is impossible for those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit" - basically what this verse refers to is that for one who has already repented and received God's gift of salvation by grace, but has fallen away, does not need to receive salvation again, or lay the foundation again, because it has already been laid (explanation based on footnotes from verse 6-not an exact quote because the actual footnote was quite lengthy). The only need now is to pursue Christ. Hebrews 6:5 - "And have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come" - powers here refers to the divine power, and the age to come refers to the age of the coming Kingdom (excerpt from footnotes on verse 5) Hebrews 6:6 "And yet have fallen away, to renew themselves again unto repentance, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God and putting Him to open shame" -"fallen away" can be applied to any Christians who fall away from the right track of God's way (excerpt from first footnote on verse 6) Footnote number 2 reads: Crucifying (the word crucifying in italics) and putting modify (the word modify also in italics) the predicate renew. To renew unto repentance means to repeat the repentance that has been made already; this is not needed. To do this is to crucify again the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Basically, what I get from this is that once we are saved, we are so eternally, and there is no need repeat that first repentance.


Hebrews 10:26 "For when we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice of bulls and goats ("of bulls and goats" is in italics) for sins", - "to sin willfully here means to abandon one's own assembling together with the church (excerpt, basically to willfully disobey God when you have already received the knowledge of the truth)...."Truth refers to the things disclosed in the foregoing chapters and verses; those things afforded the Hebrew believers the full knowledge that God had annulled the old covenant and had established the new" (in this verse, the author was speaking about the Hebrew believers, or Christians, which is why the footnote includes "Hebrew", but I believe that the teaching applies to all Christians, this is an excerpt quote also)......."for all sacrifices from the old covenant had been altogether replaced by the one sacrifice of Christ. Since Christ offered Himself once for all as the sacrifice for all our since (7:27, 10:10, 12) the sacrifice for our sins ceased (v. 2). It was taken away by Christ (v. 9) who offered Himself to God as the real sacrifice for our sins. Hebrews 10:27 reads "But a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fervor of fire, which is to consume the adversaries.

Although some verses if seen in a certain way can lead to misunderstanding, I personally do believe that the Bible does teach "once saved, always saved". There are many verses to support that:

John 3:15-16: 15: "That every one who believes into Him may have eternal life" 16:"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that every one who believes into Him would not perish, but have eternal life"

John 10:28-30: 28:" And I give them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand." 29: "My Father, who has given them (them in italics) to Me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them (them in italics) out of My Father's hand." 20: "I and the Father are one".

Romans 8:38-39-28: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers" 39: "Nor height nor depth nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".

Ephesians 4:30 "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption".

John 6:40 "For this is the will of My Father, that every one who beholds the Son and believes into Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day".

John 11:25-25: "Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes into Me, even if he should die, shall live;" 26: "And every one who lives and believes into Me shall by no means die forever. Do you believe this?"

John 5:24 "Truly, truly I say to you, He who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life".


*just to clarify, the footnotes are interpretations of the verses written down after much prayer and study, but they are not in any way meant to substitute for the Word of God.
post #93 of 93
I have other questions but for you, Tookery, I am curious to know how long you have been a baptized JW?
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