by RR 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • RR

    THERE are many churches [Gr. Ekklesia's], bearing a great variety of names, and holding to many shades of belief with respect to the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. When considering these differences of viewpoint it is not out of order, I think, to inquire as to what the church really is, and what the divine purpose is concerning it. Is there any way of knowing which is the true church, or do all the denominational groups together make up the true church?

    I welcome your thoughts!

    Less Religion and more Jesus!

  • outnfree


    First, there has to be the underlying belief that the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is truly the Word of God.

    IF that is the premise, then my thoughts are that the real "church" is a group of true Christians who make up the body of Christ. These come out of ALL of those denominational buildings you mentioned, although not everyone in each of those buildings is part of the Body. There are such things as false Christians, and I believe it has more to do with their lack of a personal relationship with Jesus and his Father, than with the shades of belief or differences of viewpoint. In fact, there are likely true members of the body of Christ who do not belong to ANY church group, but who live a Christ-like existence and perform good works out of deep devotion to God and neighbor.

    What is the divine purpose concerning the church? More difficult to say. Maybe it's as simple as God trying to elevate humans to a higher loving, giving, merciful plane of existence by putting the example of Messiah the Man in their view through the Scriptures?

    Most Christians agree that Jesus was the Anointed Son of God, died in order for anyone who does believe to be declared righteous (and thus allowed to approach God), and was resurrected by God to a heavenly life. Those who truly BELIEVE this and TAKE ACTION in their daily lives to be more godly, likely are living out God's purpose.

    So, no, there is really no way of knowing which is the true church, IMO, if what you mean is whether or not there is one denomination which has the message 100% correct.

    Just my opinion at this stage in my life and, frankly, I'm still struggling myself to see whether or not it's my "final" answer!

  • Gopher


    I just stopped attending meetings 5 months ago. After reading this board, Freeminds, and Crisis of Conscience, I have come to the EXACT same conclusion you did. (Great minds think alike? LOL) You worded it very well.

    I have opened my eyes to see that there are truly many very kind people of other denominations or even are independent, and yet have a strong faith in Jesus Christ. The details may differ, but the Bible basics are the same.

    It reminded me of an old WT study article about Jesus' illustration of the dragnet. The churches have been used to expose people to the Bible, and then suitable fish are brought in to the Kingdom, whereas the unsuitable ones are discarded.

    So, many religions which use the Bible do actually attract right-hearted people to the good news about Jesus Christ. As to who is a candidate for salvation and who is not, I shall leave that up to Jesus. I will just try to display the faith necessary to win his smile of approval.


  • agent2863

    I believe the church is actually the believers themselves. God inhabits his people. The buildings we go to are convenient places to meet. All the denominations we have I think are mainly born out of man's varying views on certain scriptures, so they take their ball & go play somewhere else. This was not God's original idea. I believe the scriptures teach a difference in opinions is OK to an extent, but it's caused a lot of confusion for an unbelieving world that doesn't know which way to turn when it wants answers to lifes big question. You don't see all these denominations in the bible, just faith in Christ. The best a person can do is know God's word & find the place they feel is being faithful to correct teaching. I do believe it is essential to a strong spiritual life to have a place to gather together with other believers for support & fellowship & so that you can be a support & a friend to others too. This also is taught in bible.

  • outnfree


    I think I was able to see that there were good Christians in other religions sooner than most departing Witnesses, because my husband is Catholic (you know, that AWFUL religion that the WT spurns ) and my children have gone to parochial schools all their lives. I have met people of varying faith commitment at school, and I was convinced that many of the parents I came in contact with were living a truly Christian existence SOMEPLACE OTHER than among Jehovah's Witnesses!
    And my mother could be described as one of those believers without a church.



    I agree with you that the various denominations are the result of diverse men taking their ball to go play somewhere else. Also that support & fellowship is vitally important for oneself and one's fellow believers. It strengthens all, but also helps each individual to look outward to see how they can be useful -- practically AND spiritually -- to others.

    Thank you, RR -- maybe your tag line says it all?

  • RR

    So the question is How does one join the church? The church, that is, which was established by Jesus and the apostles?

    Acts 2:47 reads, "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." This indicates that becoming a member of the Lord’s church depends upon him. This, I believe, would be conceded by all Christian people. But just how does the Lord add members to his church, and what qualifications must one possess in order to be recognized by the Lord as belonging to his church?

    The Scriptures indicate the steps of approach to the church as being, first, a repentant recognition of the fact that we are members of a sin-cursed and dying race, and could therefore have no standing before the Lord in our own righteousness. (Mark 2:17; Acts 26:20)

    Next, the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Redeemer and Savior, realizing that only through the merit of his shed blood can we be acceptable to God. — Acts 13:38,39; 16:31; Rom. 3:22; 5:1

    Then, upon the basis of our confidence in the merit of the shed blood of the Redeemer, we are invited to present ourselves in unreserved devotion to do the will of God. We could speak of this as making a consecration of ourselves to God. And Me us emphasize that this consecration is made to God, not to man, nor to an organization of men.— Rom. 12:1,2

    The Scriptures are very explicit as to what this consecration will mean in our lives. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me [be my disciple], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24)

    To deny self does not mean merely the giving up of some petty pleasure or satisfaction for a short period of time, or even for all time. It is, rather, just as the expression implies, a complete denial of self. It is the same word that is used concerning Peter’s denial of Christ, when he said that he did not know Jesus at all. So to deny self is to deny ourselves the right to recognize our own wills. We renounce our wills and accept instead the will of God as expressed through Christ and the Word.

    And what is the divine will for those who, responding to Jesus’ invitation, deny self? It is expressed in his further invitation, "Take up the cross, and follow me." Jesus used the symbolism of cross-bearing to denote going into death. When Jesus gave this invitation he was himself laying down his life in sacrifice. His sacrifice was completed at Calvary when he cried, "It is finished."— John 19:30

    Those who accept Christ’s invitation to take up their cross and follow him, likewise lay down their lives in sacrificial service. They are not all literally crucified, although in the beginning of the age some were. Many suffered martyrdom in other ways. In the case of every follower of Jesus, the will to serve and to suffer regardless of the consequences must and will be present.

    Following in the footsteps of Jesus is described by Paul as being "planted together [united] in the likeness of his death." (Rom. 6:5) Before we came to Christ we were 'dead' in trespasses and sin. But through obedient faith in the merit of his shed blood we are released from Adamic condemnation. Yet we die, not as sinners, however, but as joint-sacrificers with Jesus. Paul expressed the thought when he wrote, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service."—Rom. 12:1

    When one is ready to make such a decision, they tell the Heavenly Father in prayer, symbolize their consecration by water immersion to fellow believers, and are adopted as 'Sons [or daughters] of the most high God, Jehovah. Plain and simple, no organization to join, except God's organization, which is in the heart of true believers.

    "Church" simply means "called out ones," we have been called out of the world, when we consecrate we are sanctified or set apart, there are no buildings to build, no organization to form, just fellowship with fellow believers!

    Less Religion and more Jesus!

  • Gopher

    Well stated, RR. I really enjoyed this thread. Lots of interesting comments are contained therein.

    I just had one sincere question. I understand the consecration / dedication requirement. But does the requirement of water baptism signify a certain formality? Do the established church organizations help satsify that need, or would it be, in your view, valid if the baptism were performed by an already-existing member of Christ's body?

    BTW, this is just hypothetical. I was baptized as a JW. In my heart I devoted myself to a GOD and a religion on that day in 1977. The dedication to GOD still holds.


  • pomegranate

    Excellent RR. Well put...

    I like to reflect on the Israelites. The "church" to them was the temple. We each now are a "temple/church" as individuals to the Lord.
    It's now a matter of those "body parts" of Christ to recognize each other. Who is really "attached" to the Son, by way of the Spirit? It is individual men/woman, not man made organizations that get "attached.".

    Christ is the HEAD organization of which we are part in body sense. Man made organizations fall way short in corruption, in pretense they stand where Christ alone should stand, in the doorway between the Holy and Most Holy.

    1 Cor 3:16-17, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple".

    1 Cor 6:19-20, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

    Eph 2:20-22, "In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

    Like links on a chain, we become attached to Christ and become one with Him, as a new creation in the spirit. The Apostle Paul graphically depicts the depth spiritually of that "One-ness"

    1 Cor 6:15-17, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." 17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

    Paul graphically depicts contrast in the many member sexual union with a prostitute as a disgusting union. Each becomes one with the filth. In contrast, he shows that a many member union with Christ in the spirit is a good union. In fact, it is a "new creation" where we all become one with Christ.

    2 Cor 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

    Gal 6:14-16, "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation."

    John 14:20, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

    John 17:21, "...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

    John 17:22-23, "...that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

    Are you comfortable with becoming one with God? What does it mean to you to become one with God? If the "two become one flesh", (even in prostitution) and each of us in Christ become one spirit, a new creation, and Christ is attached to the Father as one...well, it seems it's going to be one big happy "God" family doesn't it.

    A pillar in the temple of God. Wow. What an undeserved reward.

    Luke 6:23, "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven."

    I hope I'm not going to deep for everybody...


  • RR


    BTW, this is just hypothetical. I was baptized as a JW. In my heart I devoted myself to a GOD and a religion on that day in 1977. The dedication to GOD still holds.

    I once believed as you did. When I was baptised, it was before the revisions of the baptismal questions. I had correctly dedicated my life to Jehovah God and His Son. However, I did not feel I was called of God as a son at the time. Although I always felt different, can't explain it, just a feeling.

    In time through the help of C.T. Russell's "The New Creation" book, I understand the real significance of what God was doing, that there was only ONE call, to follow Christ and run for the high calling.

    It was around 1991/92 that I re-evaluated my consecration to God and accepted his offer for sonship!

    A few years later, around 1994, I got re-baptized, as a symbol of my consecration, in front of fellow believers. Why did I wait a few years? Because my wife had not professed the high calling, and in time she did, partook of the memorial, and decided to get baptized, I wanted to share in her rejoicing, and it was a way of "washing away" the Watchtower.

    Less Religion and more Jesus!

  • Gopher

    RR, Thanks for the reply. I shall "store it away".


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