Jehovah's Witnesses ARE Christians, why do so many ex JW's deny this?

by nicolaou 114 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    Non-acceptance of the Nicene creed is hardly a "tenuous reason" for placing JWs outside of Christendom. It's a very longstanding and widely held definition of Christianity that JWs, Mormons and a few other "heretical" groups fall outside. It is a definition which has a very long history, and was in no way invented simply to exclude JWs.

    In the end there is no correct answer to the issue of whether JWs are Christian. A person's position on the issue tells us more about that person's own views than it does about JWs or Christinaity.

    To a JW they are Christian because they believe they follow the Bible, in fact they believe they are the only Christians.

    To many Christians JWs don't count as Christian because they don't accept the Nicene creed.

    To some liberal Christians JWs may count as Christians because they are liberal and simply don't like excluding people.

    To some onlookers JWs behave in ways that don't seem very "Christian".

    To some former members JWs are not worthy of the name Christian for a variety of reasons from false teachings to harmful practices.

    To some atheists JWs might as well be called Christians because all Christians believe nonsense anyway and have harmful practices, so why single out JWs as non-Christian?

    There is no right or wrong answer to the question are JWs Christian? It depends on your perspective.

  • cofty

    Christianity predates the Council of Nicea by three centuries.

  • slimboyfat

    So what?

    Rejection of the Nicene creed is the reason other Christian denominations place JWs outside the scope of Christendom.

    Whether the Nicene creed is an appropriate boundary for Christendom can of course be disputed. It doesn't change the fact that it is a dominant definition of what counts as Christian and it's the reason JWs are generally not accepted as Christians by other denominations.

    There is no right or wrong answer to the question, are JWs Christians? Your answer to the question tells us more about your own position than it does about JWs or Christianity.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    There is no right or wrong answer to the question are JWs Christian? - I think this is brushing the human right of self-identification under the carpet. Surely you believe that JWs have a right to identify as Christians?

    This thread could benefit from a healthy dollop of common sense.

    The OP implies that JWs aren't mainstream Christians but says that they are a group that prays to God in Jesus' name, that believes that Jesus' sacrifice provides forgiveness of sins, and that holds up Jesus' life as an example to follow.

    With the above in mind, it's very hard to avoid the conclusion that, at least in some way, JWs are a Christian group.

  • slimboyfat

    Self-identification is one way of looking at it. It all depends who you think gets to define such things. There are instances where many would object to self-identification. A prisoner says he's not a criminal but a judge says he is. A psychiatrist says a patient is a schizophrenic but the patient insists he's not. A JW says he's a Christian but a Chritian minister says he's not. A person claims to be a citizen but a border agent says he's not. Who gets to say who is what? Always the person themselves? Not so easy. It's a bit more complicated than that.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    There are instances where many would object to self-identification. A prisoner says he's not a criminal but a judge says he is - true, but we're talking about a religious group whose members routinely pray in Jesus' name only, believe Jesus' shed blood allows forgiveness of sins, and hold up his life as an example to follow.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ...

  • slimboyfat

    Well that's one argument for calling JWs Christians. There are arguments on the other side too. And it depends what you think "Christian" means in the first place.

    To some people to be a Christian you need to adhere to the Nicene creed.

    To others being a Christian is about being a kind person.

    To others Christians are simply people who hold a variety of erroneous superstitious beliefs about a man called Jesus from first century Palestine.

    The old appearance/reality distinction raises its head when you invoke quacking ducks. I still like the Groucho Marx quote best:

    I may talk like an idiot and act like an idiot. But don't let that fool you, I really am an idiot!

  • LoveUniHateExams

    There are arguments on the other side too - yes, there are. But considering the other side here may be made up of ex-JWs who've become Christians of another denomination, the arguments might be coming from a biased perspective "JWs aren't true Christians", etc. Let me give an example: some Sunni Muslims will confidently say that Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims aren't actually Muslims. But those Sunnis would be biased, and the arguments would likely be ridiculous, like arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. You and me don't have a dog in that fight, so we would much more objective.

    it depends what you think "Christian" means - surely Christian means 'those who profess to follow Jesus Christ'?

    JWs obviously aren't an Islamic religion, they obviously aren't a Hindu religion, they obviously aren't a Judaic religion because they accept that Jesus is the Messiah.

    So what type of religion are they ...

  • Heaven

    I have always thought of JWs as pseudo Christians or semi-Christians. I have told people that JWs are actually "Jehovans with a side-order of Christ" as they adopt some of the Christian beliefs but reject others (as in they don't believe in Hell, they don't celebrate his birth, and the others mentioned in this thread such as not taking the emblems, denying the belief in Christ's divinity, and the GB usurping Christ's position as mediator).

  • Pistoff

    The problem with this is: what is the definition of a christian?

    Mainline christians, catholics and protestants, generally believe that Jesus was god incarnate.

    (Those looking in from outside of conventional belief status would say that Jesus came to be regarded as God as a replacement or reimagining of God, as opposed to the one portrayed in the OT. Jesus, no eye for an eye; no slavery to rules, no strict social boundaries.)

    With the weight that JW"s give to the OT, what they call the Hebrew Scriptures, they hew closer to orthodox Jewish belief.

Share this