Undeserved kindness versus Grace - does it matter?

by misspeaches 23 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • stevenyc

    O'21: some read too much into things and give the boys at Bethel a little too much credit. the NWT translators rendered it "undeserved kindness" not in pursuit of any agenda other than their doggedness to butcher the poetry of the scriptures with a too literal translation.

    This maybe so, however, have you ever encountered a JDub knowing "undeserved Kindness" and understanding it as grace?


  • Oroborus21


    You know it is not something that I ever discussed with anyone - as far as their own perspective - maybe it was something that they did know and I didn't. My comment arises out of my own experience. It was until much later in life (not sure if I was an active JW or not at the time) when I realized that what other Christians called "Grace" JWs (we) were callking UK. I know that few if any JWs use the term Grace, when really, since JWs do accept usage of alternative translations, they ought to use the two terms interchangeably more often than they do. yet I have known few that ever use the term Grace. (one would think, that just in an attempt to relate to others, they would use the term Grace or say both of them together so that a non-JW would understand what they were talking about.)

    But it is interesting to note that actually even the term undeserved kindness is used sparingly or is rarely found in oral conversation or expression. Generally, the term seems to be used most frequently in written form and usually in the limited context of discussing Jehovah God's "provision" of his Son, Jesus, as a Ransom.

    If this is so, as I think it may be, it is probably reflective of the larger JW theological view which emphasize one's own part to be worthy of Grace (i.e. "works"). This is obviously in contrast to the "do-nothing" Christians who emphasize Grace and believe that works are irrelevant to Salvation.


  • stevenyc

    Eduardo: "If this is so, as I think it may be, it is probably reflective of the larger JW theological view which emphasize one's own part to be worthy of Grace (i.e. "works"). This is obviously in contrast to the "do-nothing" Christians who emphasize Grace and believe that works are irrelevant to Salvation"

    BINGO! The JDub theology regarding "U.K" instead of "Grace" is that salvation is attained through "works" rather than a gift from God / Christ. That "works" ultimately corresponds to preaching JDub theology.


  • prophecor

    Hi Miss Peaches.

    I've had the same thought for ages. The very language that is used by the WTB&TS, especially as it pertains to God's Grace and Mercy seems to but an unfortunate spin on the very concept itself.

    Undeserved kindness infects me with the thought that I am unworthy of God's goodness to be bestowed upon me, that I am less than what is required of being able to accept God's Mercy, that as far as God is concerned, I am less than dirt and should be cowering to God. Not a very loving depiction of what I perceive to be His Love. I know I'm not worthy, but do I need to be constantly reminded of that fact? None are worthy, actually, not even our beloved brothers and sisters in the KH. They should just give the guilt trip thing a rest.

    Enjoy your Autumn, Sister Peaches. Sorry Summer couldn't hang in a little longer for ya'.


  • stevenyc

    Also, by inserting the term "undeserved Kindness" instead of "grace" they create a sect colloquialism.


  • DocBob

    Lots of good comments on this one. It always seemed to me that when the term 'undeserved kindness' was used that the emphasis was on how undeserving we were rather than on how kind God is.

    To me the strangest use of the term is in the 12/93 'Our Kingdom Ministry', page 7:

    "We want to give deserving ones the opportunity to learn of Jehovah’s undeserved kindness and the Kingdom hope."

  • moggy lover
    moggy lover

    DocBob:Cracker post that! Don't those clowns at WT HQ have such a thing as a thesaurus? Could'nt they find some synonym for "diserving ones"? I mean how about "needy ones"? or "worthy ones"? I suppose "equitable ones" would be stetching their limited intellects to breaking.

    Actually, O21 had a good point which I had never considered. Even when I was a JW. The expression "undeserved kindness" has not weaved its way into WT patois, like for instance, "system of things" or "memorial emblems" or "FDS" etc. Where a Christian would not hesitate to employ a phrase such as:"By God's grace my son survived his operation" No JW in a similar situation would say "By Jehovah's Underserved Kindness ...." As far as I can remember, the only time I would have used the expression was when I was quoting WT literature.

    It goes to demonstate that the term is merely viewed by the R&F as a theological embellishment to a standard doctrinal belief, empty, in a real and personal sense, of any meaning


  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    Good comments all.

    To me it is two things;

    • Undeserved Kindness does not carry a personal, touching, moving feeling of love, compassion. It is a colder, more surgical term, though perhaps as mentioned, technically acceptable in the English language. It follows closely the WTS desire to keep the relationship with the organization foremost, with Jehovah in second place, and Christ trailing in the rear.
    • It does seem to serve as a mechanism for creating a divisive break with terminology that is interchangable within other churches, but not even heard within the Watchtower realm. It has taken it's place as a part of the 'pure language of truth', and as such serves a purpose in keeping others from even considering the other religious options.

    After leaving, I had to read a couple of books that dealt with Grace to understand it at all, it was that foreign to me, which is precisely the situation that Freddy wanted witnesses to be in, IMHO.


  • freedomlover

    I'm like Jeff - had no idea what the concept of Grace even was when I left the JW's.

    this is a subject that really gets to me. They have changed this beautiful idea of grace into something that is so guilt inducing and manipulative.
    They are the ultimate bully.

  • cosmic

    Its sort of a matter of how you view God. Grace cannotes something given with pleasure, while Undeserved Kindness images something given with reluctance.

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