Category Archives: False Doctrine Questions

(NTEB) Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception

Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception

Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843

“And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26 (KJV)

Unlike the bible which never changes, the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has changed markedly over time as the things that they have predicted to come true…haven’t. In 1920, they published a book called “Millions Now Living Will Never Die“. Well, nearly all of those people are now dead. Do they admit their false prophecy? Of course not. Instead, they simply republish the book with the title of “Millions Now Dead Will Live Again“. (Watchtower, May 1, 1990). This is what is known in the used car business as a cover up. Or a lie. Take your pick.

“The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914”- Charles Taze Russell

How the Jehovah’s Witnesses got started

Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843. His predictions of the Second Coming or Second Advent captured the imagination of thousands in Baptist and other mainline churches. Perhaps as many as 50,000 followers put their trust in Miller’s chronological calculations and prepared to welcome the Lord, while, as the appointed time approached, others watched nervously from a distance. Recalculations moved the promised second advent from March, 1843 to March, 1844, and then to October of that year. Alas, that date too passed uneventfully.

What Jehovah’s Witnesses Actually Believe:

After the “Disappointment of 1844” Miller’s following fell apart, with most of those who had looked to him returning to their respective churches before his death in 1849. But other disappointed followers kept the movement alive, although in fragmented form. Their activities eventually led to the formation of several sects under the broad heading of “Adventism” including the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and various Second Adventist groups. An interesting side-note: The Branch Davidians who died at Waco, Texas, under the leadership of David Koresh also trace their roots to the same Millerite source through a different line of descent. In 1935 the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled a Bulgarian immigrant named Victor Houteff, who had begun teaching his own views on certain passages of the Revelation or Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. Houteff set up shop on the property at Waco.

After first referring to his tiny new sect as The Shepherd’s Rod, Houteff and his people in 1942 incorporated and renamed themselves Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Houteff died in 1955, and in 1961 his wife Florence officially disbanded the sect, but a few followers under the leadership of west Texas businessman Benjamin Roden took over the real estate. Roden died in 1978, leaving behind his wife Lois and his son George to lead the group. Then, in 1987, David Koresh took over the leadership position, and the tragedy that followed is public knowledge. Jehovah’s Witnesses, likewise, trace their roots back to the Adventists. But they do not often admit this to outsiders; nor do many Witnesses know the details themselves. JWs are accustomed to defending themselves against the charge that they are a new religious cult. They will often respond that theirs is the most ancient religious group, older than Catholic and Protestant churches. In fact, their book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose asserts that “Jehovah’s witnesses have a history almost 6,000 years long, beginning while the first man, Adam, was still alive,” that Adam’s son Abel was “the first of an unbroken line of Witnesses,” and that “Jesus’ disciples were all Jehovah’s witnesses [sic] too.” (pp. 8-9) An outsider listening to such claims quickly realizes, of course, that the sect has simply appropriated unto itself all the characters named in the Bible as faithful witnesses of God. By such extrapolation the denomination is able to stretch its history back to the beginnings of the human family-at least in the eyes of adherents who are willing to accept such arguments. But outside observers generally dismiss this sort of rhetoric and instead reckon the Witnesses as dating back only to Charles Taze Russell, who was born on February 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

5 Facts Jehovah’s Witnesses Don’t Want You to Know:

Originally raised a Presbyterian, Russell was 16 years old and a member of the Congregational church in the year 1868, when he found himself losing faith. He had begun to doubt not only church creeds and doctrines, but also God and the Bible itself. At this critical juncture a chance encounter restored his faith and placed him under the influence of Second Adventist preacher Jonas Wendell. For some years after that Russell continued to study Scripture with and under the influence of various Adventist laymen and clergy, notably Advent Christian Church minister George Stetson and the Bible Examiner’s publisher George Storrs. He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor. In January, 1876, when he was 23 years old, Russell received a copy of The Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine published by Nelson H. Barbour of Rochester, New York. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour’s group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept presented in The Herald captured Russell’s attention.

It meant that this Adventist splinter group had not remained defeated, as others had, when Christ failed to appear in 1874 as Adventist leaders had predicted; somehow this small group had managed to hold onto the date by affirming that the Lord had indeed returned at the appointed time, only invisibly. Was this mere wishful thinking, coupled with a stubborn refusal to admit the error of failed chronological calculations? Perhaps, but Barbour had some arguments to offer in support of his assertions. In particular, he came up with a basis for reinterpreting the Second Coming as an invisible event: In Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott translation of the New Testament the word rendered coming in the King James Version at Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 is translated presence instead. This served as the basis for Barbour’s group to advocate, in addition to their time calculations, an invisible presence of Christ. Although the idea appealed to young Charles Taze Russell, the reading public apparently refused to ‘buy’ the story of an invisible Second Coming, with the result that N. H. Barbour’s publication The Herald of the Morning was failing financially.

In the summer of 1876 wealthy Russell paid Barbour’s way to Philadelphia and met with him to discuss both beliefs and finances. The upshot was that Russell became the magazine’s financial backer and was added to the masthead as an Assistant Editor. He contributed articles for publication as well as monetary gifts, and Russell’s small study group similarly became affiliated with Barbour’s. Russell and Barbour believed and taught that Christ’s invisible return in 1874 would be followed soon afterward, in the spring of 1878 to be exact, by the Rapture-the bodily snatching away of believers to heaven. When this expected Rapture failed to occur on time in 1878, The Herald’s editor, Mr. Barbour, came up with “new light” on this and other doctrines. Russell, however, rejected some of the new ideas and persuaded other members to oppose them. Finally, Russell quit the staff of the Adventist magazine and started his own. He called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879. In the beginning it had the same mailing list as The Herald of the Morning and considerable space was devoted to refuting the latter on points of disagreement, Russell having taken with him a copy of that magazine’s mailing list when he resigned as assistant editor. At this point Charles Russell no longer wanted to consider himself an Adventist, nor a Millerite. But, he continued to view Miller and Barbour as instruments chosen by God to lead His people in the past. The formation of a distinct denomination around Russell was a gradual development.

False teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • On the nature of God. They deny the triune nature of God and teaches that such a belief is inspired by Satan and teaches that Jehovah, the name of the one true God, corresponds only to God the Father. JWs also deny that Jesus is God (see next point). They deny the Holy Spirit is a person, and instead teach he is merely God’s active force, similar to electricity.
  • On the deity of Jesus Christ. The JW’s that Jesus is a created being who existed as Michael the archangel before being born as a perfect man. JWs believe that after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. He was raised a spiritual creature and “materialized” to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is once again known as Michael the archangel.
  • On salvation. The JW’s teach that only an elite group of Witnesses, known as “the 144,000,” or the “anointed ones” are presently credited with Christ’s righteousness. Only the 144,000 are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of remaining JWs, known as the “other sheep” or the “great crowd,” the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth. This is interesting because in the bible, the 144,000 are all males, all Jewish, and all from the nation of Israel. This is very much in contrast to the JW teaching on the 144,000.
  • On Hell and eternal punishment. Jehovah’s Witness denies eternal punishment and teaches that the soul cannot exist apart from the body. JWs believe that death ends all conscious existence. Hell refers to the grave and those who are ultimately judged by God will be annihilated and simply cease to exist.
  • On the Bible. Jehovah’s Witness teaches that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Watchtower Society and no individual can learn the truth apart from them.

Failed prophecies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Jehovah’s Witness leaders for over 100 years have claimed to be God’s only living “prophet” on the face of the earth. However, if one looks at their record, the documented evidence proves they are what Jesus described as “false prophets!” Most Jehovah’s Witneses have no clue about the true history of their organization. The false prophecies that we will list here are barely 10% of the total of false prophecies they have made since 1877.

  • 1877 ‘The End Of This World; that is the end of the gospel and the beginning of the millennial age is nearer than most men suppose; indeed we have already entered the transition period, which is to be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation Dan. 12:3.” (N.H. Barbour and C.T. Russell, Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World, p. 17).
  • 1879 “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)
  • 1880 “We need not here repeat the evidences that the “seventh trump” began its sounding A.D., 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of “The times of the Gentiles,” A.D., 1914, and that it is the trouble of this “Great day,” which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. xii. 1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age. (Zion’s Watchtower November, 1880 p. 1)
  • 1886 “The outlook at the opening of the New Year has some very encouraging features. The outward evidences are that the marshaling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing. … The time is come for Messiah to take the dominion of earth and to overthrow the oppressors and corrupters of the earth, (Rev. 19:15 and 11:17, 18) preparatory to the establishment of everlasting peace upon the only firm foundation of righteousness and truth.” (Zion’s Watchtower, January, 1886;Watchtower reprints I, p. 817)
  • 1889 “Remember that the forty years’ Jewish Harvest ended October A.D. 69, and was followed by the complete overthrow of that nation; and that likewise the forty years of the Gospel age harvest will end October, 1914, and that likewise the overthrow of ‘Christendom,’ so-called, must be expected to immediately follow.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 245)
  • 1908 “True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)
  • 1914 “While it’s possible that Armageddon may begin next Spring, yet this purely speculation to attempt to say just when. We see, however, that there are parallels between the close of the Jewish age and this Gospel age. These parallels seem to point to the year just before us part particularly the early months.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1914, p. 5527)
  • 1917 “And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy.” (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)
  • 1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)
  • 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3

Can YOU trust an organization with a 100% FAILURE rate?

Questions about False Doctrine: What Is Baptismal Regeneration?

 

Baptismal regeneration is the belief that baptism is necessary for salvation, or, more precisely, that regeneration does not occur until a person is water baptized. Baptismal regeneration is a tenant of numerous Christian denominations, but is most strenuously promoted by churches in the Restoration Movement, specifically the Church of Christ and the International Church of Christ.

Advocates of baptismal regeneration point to Scripture verses such as Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:27, and 1 Peter 3:21 for biblical support. And, granted, those verses seem to indicate that baptism is necessary for salvation. However, there are biblically and contextually sound interpretations of those verses that do not support baptismal regeneration. Please see the following articles:

Does Mark 16:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Does John 3:5 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Does Acts 2:38 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Does Acts 22:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Does Galatians 3:27 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Does 1 Peter 3:21 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Advocates of baptismal regeneration typically have a four-part formula for how salvation is received. They believe that a person must believe, repent, confess, and be baptized in order to be saved. They believe this way because there are biblical passages that seem to indicate that each of these actions is necessary for salvation. For example, Romans 10:9–10 links salvation with confession. Acts 2:38 links salvation with repentance and baptism.

Repentance, understood biblically, is required for salvation. Repentance is a change of mind. Repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to acceptance of Christ. It is not a separate step from saving faith. Rather, it is an essential aspect of saving faith. One cannot receive Jesus Christ as Savior, by grace through faith, without a change of mind about who He is and what He did.

Confession, understood biblically, is a demonstration of faith. If a person has truly received Jesus Christ as Savior, proclaiming that faith to others will be a result. If a person is ashamed of Christ and/or ashamed of the message of the gospel, it is highly unlikely that the person has understood the gospel or experienced the salvation that Christ provides.

Baptism, understood biblically, is an identification with Christ. Christian baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3–4). As with confession, if a person is unwilling to be baptized—unwilling to identify his/her life as being redeemed by Jesus Christ—that person has very likely not been made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) through faith in Jesus Christ.

Those who contend for baptismal regeneration and/or this four-part formula for receiving salvation do not view these actions as meritorious works that earn salvation. Repenting, confessing, etc., do not make a person worthy of salvation. Rather, the official view is that faith, repentance, confession, and baptism are “works of obedience,” things a person must do before God grants salvation. While the standard Protestant understanding is that faith is the one thing God requires before salvation is granted, those of the baptismal regeneration persuasion believe that baptism—and, for some, repentance and confession—are additional things God requires before He grants salvation.

The problem with this viewpoint is that there are biblical passages that clearly and explicitly declare faith to be the only requirement for salvation. John 3:16, one of the most well-known verses in the Bible, states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In Acts 16:30, the Philippian jailer asks the apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” If there was ever an opportunity for Paul to present a four-part formula, this was it. Paul’s response was simple: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). No baptism, no confession, just faith.

There are literally dozens of verses in the New Testament that attribute salvation to faith/belief with no other requirement mentioned in the context. If baptism, or anything else, is necessary for salvation, all of these verses are wrong, and the Bible contains errors and is therefore no longer worthy of our trust.

An exhaustive study of the New Testament on various requirements for salvation is not necessary. Receiving salvation is not a process or a multi-step formula. Salvation is a finished product, not a recipe. What must we do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be saved.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: What Is Prophetic Worship?

 

Prophetic worship is a trending activity within the Charismatic movement that combines spontaneous music, dance, and other art forms to present a “new” word from God. The word prophetic in this context means “hearing God in your heart and communicating what He says.” To prophesy is to speak (or sing) by “inspiration.” Sometimes the music and lyrics during a prophetic worship service are said to be “the song of the Lord,” because of the belief that the musicians and song leaders were “inspired” to speak God’s word—in the same way that the Old Testament prophets were.

There is an emphasis on spontaneity in prophetic worship. There are no programs to follow, no lyrics on the screen, and no rehearsals ahead of time. Words to the songs just “come” to the singer, as the Spirit supposedly directs him or her, and the musicians play along. Whatever the Spirit wants to sing is sung. Prophetic worship services often include other Charismatic elements such as tongues-speaking, ecstatic utterances, and claims of healing. There is much talk of “the spirit of Elijah,” “Jehoshaphat worship style,” “anointing,” and “soaking.”

Those who promote prophetic worship use several passages of Scripture (almost exclusively Old Testament) to support their practice. For example, the fact that Habakkuk included a song at the end of his prophecy shows a link between music and the “prophetic” (Habakkuk 3:1–19). And, since David was a prophet and a musician, and since he did a spontaneous dance “before the Lord” (2 Samuel 6:14), we should do the same. (Using this passage has an added benefit: anyone who criticizes the prophetic worship style is considered a “Michal,” verse 16.)

Is there anything wrong with spontaneity in worship? Absolutely not. Can the Holy Spirit use our artistic ability for the glory of God? Yes, He can, and He does. Is music an important tool in the communication of God’s Word? Yes, and Spirit-filled believers will be characterized by song (Ephesians 5:18–19).

However, prophetic worship goes beyond simply praising God with its claim that God is still giving “new” revelation to His people today. In prophetic worship, glossolalia, a “small inner voice,” and whatever lyrics being sung at the moment are all equated with the Holy Scriptures. And therein lies the danger. To place anything on par with Scripture is to diminish God’s Word and open the door to deception. For anyone to claim the role of prophet or apostle, on par with Elijah or Paul, is to invite God’s resistance of the proud (James 4:6) and bring confusion to the church. Prophetic worship may offer opportunities for musical creativity, but it is not “inspired” in the sense that the Bible is, and it does not provide any new revelation from God.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: Is the Idea of Chi Compatible with the Christian Faith?

 

Chi (also spelled ch’i or qi) can be defined as “the energy force that gives life to all things.” The idea of chi comes from Taoism, which teaches that there are spiritual and health benefits to developing and strengthening one’s inner chi. This is done through meditation, exercise, and other techniques. Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and some martial arts like Tai Chi have an ultimate purpose of balancing and enhancing one’s chi on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.

By definition alone, the idea of chi is not compatible with the Christian faith. A foundational doctrine of Christianity is that God created all things through Jesus (see Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1–4). It is God who gives life, and by God, through Jesus, all things are sustained (see Psalm 147:9 and Colossians 1:16–17).

Some may argue that chi is just a different term for the “life” that God breathed into Adam (Genesis 2:7). But we can’t transplant the term chi into the Christian faith because the philosophy behind chi (Taoism) is also incompatible with Christianity. For example, the Taoist view of “God” is that each person has his or her own definition of what “god” is, and each definition is perfectly acceptable—neither right nor wrong. In the Christian faith, God is not defined by people’s perceptions. Rather, He reveals who He is to us (see Jeremiah 29:13–14). While God is infinite and beyond full human understanding, He has revealed certain things about Himself and is able to be known personally. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is the only way to a real relationship with God (see John 14:5–7).

The idea of chi cannot be separated from the spiritual realm. When one engages with the spiritual realm, he or she will either encounter God or the demonic. In the Old Testament, God forbade Israel to engage in certain occult practices. This was for their own protection; the forbidden practices would have put them in contact with demonic forces (see Deuteronomy 18:9–13).

Seemingly innocent practices, like trying to balance or strengthen one’s chi, may in fact produce some perceived benefits—or at least no “bad” effects—but if those practices are not in line with a biblical worldview, then they are to be avoided. Chi is a counterfeit of the kind of life offered by Christ (see John 10:10).[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: What Are Angelic Humans? Is the Idea of Angelic Humans Biblical?

 

An “angelic human,” according to some New Age teachers, is a person who has been “awakened” to his or her “divine nature” and true “mission” on earth. Angelic humans, sometimes called “earth angels” or “Homo Angelus,” listen to divine messages within their hearts and act on those messages. According to this teaching, humanity is in a process of spiritual evolution as more and more angelic humans realize their place in the cosmos and their duty to enlighten mankind. When enough angelic humans have been awakened to who they really are and the world is full of their acts of goodness and love, the world will enter a new era of peace and goodness. Humanity will finally become one with the Divine Consciousness.

According to promulgators of the angelic human belief, angelic humans are akin to celestial angels; the difference is that celestial angels have no physical body, but earth angels do. Some New Age teachers think that angelic humans have invisible wings that can be felt with the psyche and used to perform powerful works. Externally, angelic humans look like “normal” humans, but they differ emotionally, psychologically, and, of course, spiritually. They are angelic spirits who are indwelling human bodies. As philosopher and Jesuit mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put it, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Le Phénomène Humain, 1955).

Some New Agers attempt to incorporate the Bible with their teaching. For example, some use Psalm 8:5, “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor,” to “prove” the Bible teaches the idea of angelic humans. Many also speak of a universal “Christ consciousness” that enfolds a person with non-judgmental, unconditional love. Jesus, according to New Age theology, was the epitome of someone who learned to channel the “Christ consciousness” and fully realized his divinity.

The problems with a belief in angelic humans are many. The Bible says that God created “all angels” as “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14). If “all” of the angels are “spirits,” then there are none created with human bodies. The Bible says that mankind was formed of physical material and animated by the breath of God (Genesis 2:7). No human-angel hybrid or special class of “earth angel” is ever mentioned in the Bible. Psalm 8:5 is speaking of humans, not angels in human form.

The teaching of angelic humans recycles many old lies. It says that Jesus was nothing more than an enlightened man. The Bible says Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). The angelic human theory says the answers we seek reside within us. All we must do is listen to our hearts and understand that God is speaking to us. This directly contradicts the Bible’s teaching of the depravity of man and the danger of trusting ourselves (Isaiah 53:6; Proverbs 3:5–6). The false New Age teaching of angelic humans also says that we possess the divine, that we will one day usher in a utopia on earth, and that we will become one with God. The Bible refutes all of this. Mankind is separated from God, and “there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). Man’s sin will bring destruction to the earth in the form of plagues during the Tribulation (Revelation 16–18). We will never become one with God; rather, believers in Jesus Christ will be granted eternal life with God in heaven (John 17:2).

Those who believe they are angelic humans reject the Word of God in favor of their own feelings and imaginations. In seeking spiritual guidance and power apart from the Holy Spirit, they open themselves up to demonic influence and satanic lies. Satan wants to be seen as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), and one of his deceptions is to convince humans that they, too, can be “angels” if they focus hard enough on their own divinity. We know Satan’s end: “The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10). We dare not fall prey to his deceit.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.