Here is an email i received from one of my friends who is still a JW. She would like to know my feelings on the matter of organisation now that im disfellowshipped. I have written my thoughts below the email. Please read and see if i could add anything else, particularly if you can think of anymore scriptures in the New Testament which refer to Jesus as the only means of salvation. Thanks, Timmy xxx
I understand your feelings in this because i know that one of the things you have great trouble with is placing your full confidence in the organisation that goes by the God given name Jehovahs witnesses. (as you mentioned in chapter 1) but please, be like the bereaons or however they spell it, once youve examined it thoroughly allow the holy spirit to help you to trust. if you look at it logically, the congregation today is the direct successor of the early christian congregation that we have been reading about. is anyone else using Jehovahs name? or preaching the good news of his kingdom under Jesus, all over the world, in hundreds of languages, and in every country, so that all people who want to can hear? is anyone else teaching the truth about what Gods kingdom is? or telling people that they dont have to die and go to heaven to experience the good things Jehovah has promised? as John 6/68 says- who shall we go away to? you have sayings of everlasting life!
I think I should clarify my feelings on this. Firstly, I would like to say that I’m only searching for the truth which I know to be in Jesus. If an idea doesn’t seem credible to me, then I reserve my feelings on it. Also, I respect what anyone else believes, whoever they are.
I think I should start with the point you mentioned about the Bereoans. What a good role model they were. I have been taught a lot as a JW but I think it would be both wise and prudent to ‘carefully examine the scriptures’ which were used to see ‘whether these things are so’, just like the Bereoans did (Acts 17:11 -12). This scripture shows that such an attitude is good for a Christian. I have always had this attitude even as a young person. If I cannot see scripture which backs up statement, then I would always reserve my feelings on whether it is true or not.
I also believe Jehovah has an organisation. He is clearly organised and he always has been. He organised Noah to build and ark, he organised Moses to lead his people, and there are many other examples as the bible clearly points out. If you didn’t follow who Jehovah was using at the time then you were screwed basically. As the scriptures point out in the New Testament, Jesus was the new arrangement and covenant. The scriptures CLEARLY point out that salvation is through Jesus and that ANYONE who calls on his name will be saved – The running theme throughout the entire New Testament. In my trying to emulate the Bereoans, after scrupulous research, the following scriptures testify to this fact (I’m sure you will see why I like the book of John):
1 Corinthians 3:11
2 Corinthians 5:21
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
1 Timothy 2:5-6
2 Timothy 1:9
1 Peter 1:8-9
1 Peter 1:18-19
1 Peter 3:18
1 John 1:7-9
1 John 2:1-2
1 John 2:12
1 John 4:11-16
1 John 5:9-12
I’m sure you don’t doubt ANY of these scriptures. I think it’s interesting to note that Jesus never said that people had to be part of a congregation or organisation to be saved. He and his disciples distinctly made it clear that salvation was through Jesus and Jesus ALONE! I certainly believe however, that Jesus has a congregation of which he is the head (Acts 20:28 , Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:19-22). If all the scriptures listed above are so adamant that ANYONE who believes that Jesus is the ONE AND ONLY means of salvation, then it makes sense that they are united with him in his congregation.
I suppose it depends on whether you think that the congregation of Jesus Christ is literal, figurative or both. In Ephesians, Paul writes that the congregation IS the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23 ). He later speaks of unity and oneness in the congregation (Ephesians 4:4-5). Personally I believe (as do bible scholars) that this congregation is figurative in the sense that those who sincerely put their faith in Jesus will be a part of it. If they put their faith in Jesus sacrifice then they are certainly united in Christ, God, Spirit, faith, belief and hope. Whether the congregation is literal or not, it is UNDENIABLE that ANYONE who exercises faith in Jesus will be saved regardless of their religion or church.
The original Christian church was set up for one purpose: to assist those members to put faith in Jesus Christ. They could meet there, discuss Jesus teachings, listen to its applications in their day and encourage each other (Hebrews 10:24 -25). Similarly today, churches and congregations around the world exist to provide support and encouragement to those who truly wish to follow Jesus and put faith in him. Whether they do or not is entirely their own business. These churches must understand that they only have the truth which they can distribute to their members (John 17:17 ). They are not themselves truth. Likewise, no church today is the means of salvation, but they have the means of salvation – having faith in Jesus. Like I said, whether they do or not is up to them and their members. I’m sure that out of the 2.2 billion Christians in this world and even the other major religions, they are being taught that salvation is through Jesus and are being helped in that respect. They have flaws but so de all religions and organisations.
The members of these churches must understand that all the scriptures in the New Testament which speak about salvation through Jesus are referring to individuals not groups of individuals. Each one will render his own account towards Jehovah (Romans 14:12 , 2 Corinthians 5:10 , Galatians 6:5), and if he has put faith in Jesus then he will be saved. Again these scriptures testify to the fact that being a part of an exclusive group means nothing to Jehovah – it is by your own personal actions and faith that you are saved.
After considering all these things many times, like the Bereoans, I tried to understand why the JW’s teach that we need to be in this organisation to be saved. I just can’t get my head around it after reading all the above scriptures which clearly DON ’T say such a thing. I can’t see any reason why Jesus and Jehovah would have suddenly changed their plans and decided to use a specific group as the new means of salvation. The bible clearly states in 1 Timothy 2:5 that Jesus is the ONLY mediator between God and man. The scripture does not speak about a group of men who would mediate between us and Jesus, yet that is what this organisation supposedly does.
Nonetheless, I don’t think that this means the JWs don’t have the truth because I believe they do. Many religions and churches in the world have both positive and negative points to them. I very much applaud the JWs for their preaching work as I think it’s very important. Likewise, I think its good they recognise Gods name. However, I believe it is incorrect to believe that they alone have the truth and no one else does. That is not what Jehovah purposed. Each member must make sure that he is putting faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and work along with that, if he wants salvation. As you rightly say, who else can we go to for he has saying of everlasting life (John 6:68).