Interfaith at the Kingdom Hall

by barry 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • barry

    Some of you know me now and I just thought you might like to know how I got to know Jehovahs Witnesses and whats an SDA bloke doing on a JW board.
    Well it all started in the mid 80s when I got to be friends with a JW bloke who was working bricklaying for my Dad invited me to the memorial. I said I would go but i felt i would be happier going with someone else that I knew better to go with me there as I didnt quite know what to expect there.
    I asked some friends to accompany me to the meeting with no success so I assked my minister to come along not really expecting a positive response and whenever i saw him over the next week or so he was undecided, I didnt let up on him not really expecting any think positive on his part but just to pressure him in a joking sort of way. Anyway Ross finally decided to come with me to the meeting. We arrived at the meeting together and met up with my bricklayer friend, he seemed a bit reserved toward me and when he got a chance to talk to me privately said, 'Why did you bring him'. Right then I started to feel pretty small and I wondered why he thought that way. Anyway we were there no good backing out now and the meeting was about to start. The sermon was very thorough, lots of scriptures reffered to and the 144000 and great crowd distinguished as having a heavenly and an earthly hope. Also it was made very clear the elements of bread and wine were only for the annointed class of 144,000. You all know the drill. Well I didnt see anyone touch the bread and wine but it was passed around. After the meeting Im still wondering if Ive done the right thing but my anxiety was soon put to rest when the leading elder came over shook our hand. It turned out Ross and the leading Elder knew each other and they both got on famously, and we didnt get away until everyone else had long gone. My bricklaying friend didnt talk to me again about spiritual things and it was quite a few years later when I moved from Tumut to Canberra and studied with the Witnesses.
    Is interfaith the way to increase friendship and understanding between denominations?
    Most SDAs are trinitarian some are Arian there is a group 100 miles from Canberra the Witnesses would find a common belief with that particular group.

  • Thirdson

    Hi Barry,

    You said:

    Is interfaith the way to increase friendship and understanding between denominations?

    Of course it is. But it has to be a 2-way thing. JWs love it when people of other faiths worship with them. However, they don't reciprocate. Many won't even go to family weddings that are held in churches.

    The Watchtower is dead against interfaith. They fear that members will see that nice people who do good works attend other churches. (My opinion anyway because I see nice people do good works in many different churches.)

    Like Jesus, Jehovah's Witnesses "are no part of the world." (John 17:14) How could they ally themselves through interfaith movements with religious organizations that promote unchristian conduct and beliefs? Watchtower 7/1/93 Page 16

    Surely, then, we should do nothing to support interfaith movements or perpetuate false religion. Watchtower 7/15/89 Page 25

    Would not offering prayers at an interfaith meeting on a Buddhist holy mountain amount to a Christian's 'becoming unevenly yoked'?
    Watchtower 3/15/88 Page 9

    mostly Catholics, that have noticed religion's drifting toward politics and its acceptance and approval of un-Biblical practices like interfaith, immorality, and violence. Watchtower 1/1/87 Page 29

    Questions From Readers

    • Why have Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for apostasy some who still profess belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ?

    Those who voice such an objection point out that many religious organizations claiming to be Christian allow dissident views...

    However, such examples provide no grounds for our doing the same. Why not? Many of such denominations allow widely divergent views among the clergy and the laity because they feel they cannot be certain as to just what is Bible truth...

    Moreover, to the extent that religionists believe in interfaith, they are obligated not to take divergent beliefs too seriously...

    Obviously, a basis for approved fellowship with Jehovah's Witnesses cannot rest merely on a belief in God, in the Bible, in Jesus Christ, and so forth. The Roman Catholic pope, as well as the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, professes such beliefs, yet their church memberships are exclusive of each other. Likewise, simply professing to have such beliefs would not authorize one to be known as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Approved association with Jehovah's Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah's Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?

    That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah's sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a "faithful and discreet slave" upon earth today 'entrusted with all of Jesus' earthly interests,' which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ's foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15-12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ's Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present "great crowd" of Jesus' "other sheep."...

    ...the apostle John termed as antichrists those who did not believe that Jesus had come in the flesh. They may well have believed in God, in the Hebrew Scriptures, in Jesus as God's Son, and so on.

    Following such Scriptural patterns, if a Christian (who claims belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus) unrepentantly promotes false teachings, it may be necessary for him to be expelled from the congregation. (See Titus 3:10, 11.) Watchtower 4/1/86 Page 30-31 (selected quotes)

    Not much chance of interfaith with words like that. Attend another church and worship and a JW could be disfellowshipped for being an anti-Christ.

    Interfaith has done a huge amount of good. Christians of various denominations along with Jews (and Muslins now) come together in inter-denominational meetings frequently not far from where I live. Does everyone argue or change their beliefs? No. Do people come to a better understanding an appreciation of other faiths? Yes.
    Will we see JWs at these meetings soon? I guess not.


    'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing'

  • Eyebrow

    What is SDA?

  • Thirdson

    SDA = Seventh Day Adventist

    'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing'

  • barry

    Dont get me wrong Thirdson Ross is an extremely nice bloke most SDA ministers probably wouldnt go and some are the same as the witnessesI think hes in New Zealand now the last I heard.

  • Eyebrow

    Ahhh...thanks for the clarification!

    Too bad your friend couldn't get over you bringing the minister guy. I think it is great he has an open mind.

    Correct me if I am wrong (as I often am, heehee!) But didn't the SDA church and JWs have a pretty close history? Weren't they spun off from the same religion?

  • WildHorses

    Eye, from my understanding, Russell started out as an SDA.

    "I don't want someone in my life I can live with, I want someone in my life I can't live without."

  • bluesapphire

    Lilac, I don't think Russell was an "SDA" But rather both the Bible Students and the SDA's stem from the ADVENTIST movement of the 1800's.

  • barry

    Just to clear up the history, the SDAs started from the teachings of William
    Miller who predicted the second comming of Christ in 1844 from various scriptures the primary one being Daniel 8.14 and using the year day principle for the caculation. When this prophecy failed the date was retained but different doctrine was used to explain it [ sounds like 1914 doesnt it]. Russell picked up on this idea I beleive knowing he had an exit strategy if it was required. And yes there similarities in doctrine a small number of SDAs are Arian [the belief that Jesus is a created being and the holy spirit is a force same as the witness belief], the Historicist system of prophetic interpretation. I think Russell was involved with second Adventists who set a date in 1874 while the SDAs only retain the 1844 date and that is finding less favour because of its unscriptural base.
    Has interfaith helped the SDA communion?
    In regard to scolarly output i would have to say undoughtedly yes. In the 50s Evangelicals Barnhouse and Martin met with SDA scolars and after 100s of hours of research resulted in greater understanding of biblical truth and from these meetings the book Questions on Doctrine was produced. These meetings have produced better understanding but also more agreement on biblical truth regardless of denominational affiliation. In the 80s an Anglican wrote a book 'The Shaking of Adventism' just to name a few. This book was written by him as a friend of Adventism.

Share this