On what basis do you claim the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses are false? Is it that you do not believe anyone has the truth, let alone the ability to teach someone else this truth? You evidently are of the opinion -- which is fine with me, btw -- that God is doing something quite different in our day than He did formerly during the first century AD such that when Jesus related that parable about the two roads -- one of them being "narrow" and the other "broad" -- you opine that God is blessing both roads, is that it? Let me give an example that distinguishes Jehovah's Witnesses from other Christian denominations. Again, this is just an example.
Some of so-called Christians in today's churches -- the ones that you might believe are receiving God's blessing despite the fact that they are on that "broad" road -- are being taught by church leaders that one can take moral liberties as long as they don't hurt anyone. So, then, if you were to ask a person, "Well, is fornication wrong?" or if it's adultery or homosexuality, "Are these things wrong?" they'll say, "Well, it depends upon the circumstances."
Even their church leaders have said fornication, adultery and homosexuality may not be wrong, saying, "Well, as long as you're not hurting anyone, then it's alright ..." Or, they might even add, "... as long as you really love the person, and if you should say this, then you really better mean it." Not among Jehovah's Witnesses are such things taught, because we are about the truth and we believe we have the truth and are teaching it to others.
And then, if that's the case, these church leaders will say, "If it is a loving, committed, meaningful relationship and if you are not hurting anyone, then it's alright." They call all of this "situational ethics." Now these church leaders I'm talking about here like to call this teaching a new morality, but it's not new; it's just an old way of people trying to get their own way about sex, to be able to indulge in sex, to be able to lie down with whomever they wish, and wherever they can.
I don't know how much you are aware of what the Bible has to say about this, I'm supposing here that you were once associated with Jehovah's Witnesses and now you're here where you've taken a different viewpoint on whether anyone can claim a monopoly on truth, but I do make such a claim, for I believe that no one has it, but Jehovah's Witnesses. That's right, I believe we have it, but you are free to believe otherwise, I'm not mad, angry or jealous that you made a decision of your own based on how you might feel on this particular topic or some other.
But you should know as having been once associated with God's people on earth that the Bible speaks against this distorted viewpoint that some of these people that are calling themselves Christians feel, or are being told by church leaders is ok, as to their taking moral liberties as long as they aren't hurting anyone
Now see if you notice anything at all that is vague about this matter of fornication anywhere at 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8. I want you to see if after reading this you are confused about what the true God would require of his servants. See, if you are either puzzled or perplexed about what the apostle Paul is saying in this particular Bible passage. I'm going to use my copy of the New World Translation Bible ("NWT").
"For this is what God wills, the sanctifying of you, that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you should know how to get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in covetous sexual appetite such as also those nations have which do not know God; that no one go to the point of harming and encroach upon the rights of his brother in this matter, because Jehovah is one who exacts punishment for all these things, just as we told you beforehand and also gave you a thorough witness. For God called us, not with allowance for uncleanness, but in connection with sanctification. So, then, the man that shows disregard is disregarding, not man, but God, who puts his holy spirit in you." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 , NWT)
Now are you confused as to what to do about fornication after reading this? Does it sound like a situation could come up that would make this behavior acceptable to the true God? Did you notice right there how I just slipped in the word "true" when referring to Jehovah, not as God, but as the true God?
Pick some other Bible translation if the NWT's rendering of this passage should prove to be a bit much with the many other excellent Bible translations out there like that wonderful King James Version Bible (KJV) with its Shakespearean English and like that more recent one, the English-language New International Version Bible (NIV) that is just waiting for someone to pick it up and read from its pages. See how either or both of these Bible translations renders this same Bible passage. I realize that some do like the way certain verses are rendered in the KJV and the NIV.
Well, I'm about the truth and it says right there in the Bible text itself, "abstain from fornication" -- and "abstain" means to keep away from it altogether. This means that if you are a single person, then you are not having sexual relations with anyone. It means that if you are a married person, then you are having sexual relations with one person and that's your legal mate, for that's all the Bible permits. Anything other than these two things would be, of course, outside of the Bible's moral requirements and that's why it says there, 'each one ought to know how to get possession of his own vessel.'
Now your "vessel" is your body, and so each Christian ought to know how to control it to the limits that the true God places upon it and here's the reasoning behind it: Your vessel -- your body -- as one of God's servants is dedicated to Him. This means you if you have attached yourself to God, then when you became a Christian, you disowned yourself and now belong to God, and it's as simple as that. Your body -- your "vessel" -- is not yours any longer, for it belongs to God.
Now a person that goes out and commits fornication, whose property has he misused? God's property. Now will God permit that? No, not my God, Jehovah. He won't permit this, for as it clearly states there at verse 6 of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, God "exacts punishment" for a servant of His that would misuse His property, and that's why those who are serving God are keeping their bodies clean and free of fornication. Like I said before, I believe in the truth; I believe in God's righteous standards and I don't believe in "situational ethics." I believe in Jehovah, He is my God, and it is my delight to do His will. But that's me.
As far as this example is concerned though, the point of it is just to say that no matter how many preachers or clergyman or others say that a "situation" could exist that would make fornication acceptable, those who are travelling that cramped road to life (Matthew 7:13, 14) -- and one can only be on one of these roads, either the narrow, cramped road or the broad, wide road to destruction -- are following what 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 says, they're following the truth that only we, as a holy people, are obeying, about which we are teaching others, and thus we are the ones that are able to please God. Not those that are saying "Jesus," but who have no interest whatsoever in doing the will of the Father. (Matthew 7:21)
Well, now, I think we've established a principle, we can reach a conclusion. It's not just what we think about doing . It's not a matter of what pleases us. It's not a matter of the way we feel about something when it comes to saying "Jehovah is my God," but it is a matter of actually pleasing God by the things that you are doing and not doing. Why not take a right viewpoint?
As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, you did learn at one time about Jehovah's channel of communication, did you not? Jehovah isn't omnipresent; he's nowhere to be found in our material universe. You learned that Jehovah makes his lofty abode in heaven, an abode of "holiness and beauty." (Isaiah 63:15) So if you could get out of our universe, out of our physical dimension into the spiritual heavens, you would find Jehovah in the spiritual dimension where He resides, you would see the palatial home that He himself put up, the palace where He lives and thrones. You would also see Jesus, our High Priest, the One about whom you learned that sits at God's right hand. (Hebrews 8:1, 2)
Jesus is called "The Word of God," and, as such, he was God's spokesman, first, to the angels of heaven, and later on to human beings here on the earth, starting with Adam. All communications from God were transmitted through The Word by means of an angel or by means of God's holy spirit to a prophet While Jesus eventually became one of God's prophets, he wasn't the first one. Adam was the first prophet of God and he was God's earthly channel of communication, until he was forever relieved of being God's first prophet and Abel became God's channel of communication. Eventually Noah came on the scene and become God's prophet to that ancient world, God's only channel of communication, and as a preacher of righteousness, Noah only did he belong to the true religion, there being just one of such, but through this channel, seven others survived the global deluge with Noah.
Then there was the patriarch Abraham, who was God's prophet, and it was through this man of faith that God's channel of communication operated for the blessing of the organization that was eventually produced from his loins. Abraham was associated with the true religion and through his seed, all of the nations of the earth are today are being blessed because of his faith and through folks exercising faith in God's prophet and son, the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom God spoke to us. (Hebrews 1:1, 2; Matthew 13:57)
How many people know the truth about Jehovah God and about Jesus Christ? God used the prophet Moses to organize Israel as a nation dedicated to His service, and through this channel of communication, the Israelites came to know Jehovah as their God. By the first century AD, God used His son, the Great Prophet, to teach the Israelites about God and His righteousness, and after Jesus' death and resurrection, God poured out His holy spirit upon Jesus' disciples so that a new spiritual nation came into existence (was born again) and thus the Israel of God, spiritual Israel, became God's channel of communication. It was through this channel that the word of God went on growing and Jesus' disciples kept multiplying. (Acts 6:7)
Although it was God's channel of communication, the Christian congregation had until 49 AD been teaching wrong views about circumcision, which issue was decided by the governing body in Jerusalem. Those that didn't like the decision it made to resolve the issue no doubt left the truth, left God's sole channel of communication -- maybe they got upset with one or more of their brothers, feeling that their view on matters was not given consideration, was disrespected -- but whatever happened, the point is that God's wisdom was being made known throughout those first century congregations. (Ephesians 3:10)
In 1876, Charles T. Russell, who had been associated with the Congregational Church, had become acquainted with Jonas Wendell (1815-1873), who had been associated with the Second Adventist Church; Nelson H. Barbour (1824-1906), who had been associated with the Millerites Adventists; George Stetson (1814-1879), who had been associated with the Advent Christian Church; Henry Grew (1781-1862), who had been associated with the Orthodox Church; and George Storrs (1796-1879), who had been associated with the Methodist Church.
God's spirit had been working through all of these men, but death and other circumstances brought Russell and Barbour together, until it became clear through the growth of the members of Russell's group that Russell and Barbour had to go their separate ways, especially when it became evident that God had been blessing Russell's efforts to champion Bible truth. However, Russell gave credit to the help he received from his associates and, as in the congregations of the first century AD, so from 1879 until Russell's death in 1916, Russell's group continue to grow, despite the fact that many wrong views were being taught. It was after Russell's death that God made His wisdom known through his sole channel of communication, by raising up faithful men, albeit imperfect ones, to take the lead in championing Bible truth as did Russell among the congregations of God's 20th century organization.
Although none of the brothers taking the lead in God's organization over the years since Russell and including Russell were inspired, they would nonetheless make a diligent study of the Scriptures and make whatever changes or adjustments it deemed necessary to nourish the household of faith with spiritual food at the proper time and as it did so, God's blessing was evident as word of God went on growing and the organization kept multiplying. The controversy over the meaning of Jesus' words at Matthew 24:34 isn't the issue that some are making it out to be. It's like that circumcision issue that was decided by the governing body in the first century AD in order to unite the brothers in one teaching. Jehovah didn't approve of His people obtaining divorces from their wives on just any ground (i.e., "my wife 'carmelizes' the food on a regular basis and I feel I can do much better than she as a wife"). But Jehovah bided His time and waited until the appointed time to correct the matter, and so today we can read how Jesus stepped in and resolved this divorce issue.
It's important to note here that these men to whom Jesus spoke were members of the Jewish sect known as "the Pharisees," and clearly they sought to tie Jesus up in knots over what they had been teaching to have been a matter of personal opinion as to what constituted indecency on the part of a wife, and this was a male-dominated society. Jesus was a prophet greater than Moses, so he told them: ''Now Moses, out of regard for your hardheartedness, made the concession to you of divorcing your wives, but my decision is this: Whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery.' (Matthew 19:8, 9; Deuteronomy 24:1)
Now were the Pharisees left with any knots to untie? Were they left in any doubt as the seriousness of marriage? Do you think any of them wondered as to how"something indecent" is to be applied as grounds for severing the marriage bond? Jesus told them that the grounds for granting a divorce wasn't a subjective matter, and we read of no dissent at all by the Pharisees that had been condoning divorce "on every sort of ground," but using God's word, he was "teaching [even] them as a person having authority." (Matthew 7:29)
Now who in God's visible organization today is infallible? No one is infallible. The Law appointed men having weakness as high priests (Hebrews 7:28), and today is no different; Jehovah continues to use imperfect men in this organization "to gather ... the things on the earth" together in the Christ (Ephesians 1:10), for "the things on the earth" will form the nucleus of the new world society. There are imperfect elders in God's organization and many of them have said some zany things. Some of these have been dismissed as being unfit to be recognized as being one of us for having committing Manasseh-type sins and having copped an attitude when confronted by one of these zany elders and now both are gone.
Emotions run quite high when the disfellowshipped one is a relative of ours, but when we recall that Korah, Dathan and Abiram had to be "disfellowshipped" for rebelling against God's rulership, those that put family before God were executed right along with them. (See "If a Relative is Disfellowshipped...," w81 9/15, pp. 26-31, ¶22-26)
Although some might describe disfellowshipping as death, it's a spiritual scourging, which is Jehovah's way of disciplining those He loves, and no one is expected to find enjoyment in being scourged by Jehovah. (Hebrews 12:5, 11) Jehovah doesn't want to have to destroy any of us, "but desires all to attain to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Thankfully some of these have demonstrated a change of heart and attitude, have repented and turned around, and so have returned to us, and those of us that are mature among us pray often for those that need a readjustment in their thinking so that they remember we'll all of us imperfect people and yet Jehovah wants to use all of us to accomplish His will, but we do this privately in order that those not as mature as we might not stumble. (See "Questions from Readers," w01 12/1, pp. 30, 11)
Some have committed gross sins on a par with those of King Manasseh-type sins and some have left the organization because of a negative perception involving one or more elders over the way in which a certain matter was handled. (Acts 15:39) As mentioned earlier, some didn't appreciate the way in which the circumcision issue that was decided by the governing body in 49 AD over which there was "no little dissension and disputing" (Acts 15:2).
This issue as to what Jesus meant by his reference at Matthew 24:34 to "this generation" will also be resolved, at the latest after the great tribulation, but behaving like the Pharisees when they tried to tie Jesus up in knots is not at all going to prove Jesus to have been mistaken when he said at Matthew 24:36, "Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father," so why would anyone be welling up with tears, tripping all over themselves about this? If you believe Jesus to have been telling the truth, then Peter's response to Jesus' question is very appropriate here: "Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life." (John 6:67, 68)
There is but one channel of communication that God is using on earth, and God has never used more than one. Indeed, no other channel on earth has "sayings of everlasting life."