Jehovah Witness History & Doctrine





I HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT: made up of three key leaders

1a Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916)

1b Background

1c Born and raised in Allegheny, PA, and brought up in a Congregational Church and his first job was a clothing store manager in N. Pittsburgh

2c As a young man he came into contact with the SDA movement and was greatly influenced by their teaching, he later joined the group and began to write and teach for them gaining the title, Pastor Russell (never ordained)

3c He eventually began to disagree with the SDA and struck out on his own

1d Establishes the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1884 located in Brooklyn, NY

2d Develops, teachings, and records the groups core beliefs

4c From this new headquarters, he established a group that would become the Jehovah Witness movement and produce many of their key doctrinal writings including the 7 volume series, “Studies in Scripture”

5c 1914 was the end of the Times of the Gentiles – also 1918, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1984,

2b Character: Russell has become an embarrassment to the JW

1c Kenneth Boa writes, “Russell was an egotistical man who made absurd claims about himself and his writings” seeing himself on the level of the Apostle Paul and his writings as greater than even the Scriptures – in fact he is quoted as saying if one had only one book, they would be better off with his writings rather than the Scriptures. (Cults, World Religions, and the Occult)

2c In 1913, his wife successfully sued him for divorce on the grounds of adultery, conceit, egotism, and domination

3c Russell owned 990 out of the 1000 shares of the tract society and was subsequently charged with fraudulent activities – in court he perjured himself when he claimed he knew the Greek language but could not give the Greek alphabet

2a Joseph F. Rutherford

1b A lawyer and assistant judge, he was elected president of the organization in 1917 and served until his death in 1942

2b A quiet man, often surrounded in an air of mystery, he was effective administrator and did much to strengthen the organization

3b He is best known for

1c Denying all organized religions as being of God

2c Reworking Russell’s writings and ideas to make them his own

3a Nathan H. Knorr: serving from 1942-1977, he further strengthened the movement

1b Increased the emphasis on the teaching and training of the people

2b Increased the emphasis in the use of publication – to publish them anonymously

3b Translation of the New World Translation – in their view it was the only version without mistakes; its translation reflects JW doctrine more than the original text!

1c John 1:1 – “the Word was a God” rather than “the Word was God” (Colwel Rule)

2c “qeo\$” is translated Jehovah rather than God

3c Col. 1:16 – “My means of him all “other” things were created” – the word “other” is not in the original – added because of their denial of the deity of Christ

II Doctrine of the Movement:concerning God falls under two distinctive views

1a Distinctive #1: God’s personal name is Jehovah (Yaweh - LORD)

1b Stated

1c The name “God” is too impersonal and can and is applied to a number of “beings” Ps 83:18 yh`wh

2c In order to set Himself apart from the other gods, God chose the name of Jehovah (Psa. 83:18; Acts 15:17)

2b Reviewed

1c The pronunciation of the Hebrew word has been lost

2c Acts 15:17 never states what the name is and Psa.. 83:18 never says it is the only name but rather God is the only One that it applies too

3c The name is not used in the NT

4c It makes the name Jehovah an essential element of salvation: (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21)

2a Distinction #2: Denial of the Trinity

1b Stated

1c The Doctrine of the Trinity is irrational to human thinking, unscriptural, and the product of Satan who introduced it through a Babylonian Religion

2c They believe there is only one God, and He is only one person, the Father, or Jehovah

3c They believe that the other “so called” members of the Trinity are viewed as follows:

1d Holy Spirit: Impersonal Force

1e The Holy Spirit is not God, not a member of the Trinity, not coequal, and is not even a person – just a force

2e In translations and writings:

1f Always use impersonal pronouns “it” or “which” – all nouns have a gender however the gender does not always reflect the gender of the person or object it refers too

2f Never capitalize the name or use “the” before it – see illustration from kid’s book

2d Jesus Christ: Creation of the Father

1e Christ was the first creation of Jehovah who created all things through Christ

2e Before His incarnation, he was Michael the archangel, the prince of Israel (Dan. 10:21; 12:1) – however note:

1f Christ in the Old Testament is associated with the Angel of the Lord but never Michael (Ex. 3:1-4, 15)

2f Jude 9, Michael is seen in a lesser than Satan in power and authority

3f Michael is never worshipped

4f Michael is considered on an equal footing with other angels (Dan.10:13)

3e Christ was not God becoming man, but rather going from spirit creature to human as he did with Abraham (Gen. 18:4-6)

2b Discussed: arguments used to defend their doctrine

1c Argument #1: The Term Trinity is not found in the Scriptures

1d Even though the term is not found there, the doctrine is (Eph. 4:4-6; 5:18-20; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:2-3; Heb. 1:8; Lk. 1:35; John 14:16, 26; 15:26)

2d Interesting the terms soul sleep and annihilation are not terms found in the Scriptures yet they believe them

2c Argument #2: The doctrine of the Trinity is not taught in the Scriptures

1d No where is it found in the Old Testament – its presence is there (Gen. 3:22; 11:5-7; Psa. 45:6-7)

2d Doctrine dates about 350 AD when it was adopted by the church – but this has to do with its recognition as orthodox, not with its origins

3c Argument #3: Christ never claims to be God or equal to the Father

1d They point out in Mk. 13:32 that Christ was limited in knowledge and dependent on the Father for help (Lk. 22:41-42) – however they forget the declaration of Phil. 2:6-8

2d They change (John 1:10) or delete (Rev. 15:3-4 first section) those passages that clearly go against their doctrine

3d God is the head of Christ so inferior to the Father – but remember he is in the same sense as the wife to her husband

4d Ignore the testimony of Christ Himself (Jn. 5:18)

4c Argument #4: The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a person

1d It was a force that came upon Samson in the Judges 14:6 – this addresses God’s work not His personality

2d However they ignore passages which speak clearly to this truth

1e Comforter as Christ (Jn. 14:16-17)

2e Grieving (Eph. 4:30)

3b Applied: this is crucial doctrine to ones salvation (2 John 7-11; 1 John 4:2-3)