[Cont..] Our conversation outdoors then took us into the small eating area inside the grocery store. My friend Richard had to leave, which left the conversation to Just David and I.
Discussing the Anointed
At this point I asked David: "Listen there are many things that we can talk about, we have already discussed the cross versus stake, we have talked about worship emblems, but when you boil it all down, none of these topics relate to whether or not we are saved. I mean, If Jesus died on a "X" or a "T" or an upright pole makes no difference to the action on that tree.
Maybe you will agree with me here, but maybe we should talk about something that separate's our beliefs, that deal directly with our salvation?"
[David] Yeah I agree.
[Me] Ok, one of the things that I think the majority of people can say when a JW comes to the door, is their familiarity with what JW's DONT believe. Such as Holidays, Birthdays, Christmas etc... However Not much is understood about what they DO believe? Matthew 24 says that the "Good News" will be preached throughout all the earth. What is that "Good News"?
[David] .....hmm interesting question. Are you talking about like when somebody gets Disfellowshipped?
[Me] No, not at all. All I am asking is, what is the POSITIVE message that you bring as a minister of the Watchtower. What is it that Seperates you as a Jehovah's Witness from everybody else?
[David] Oh I see.. I think it would be the preaching of Gods Kingdom on the earth.
[Me] Ok, what about it?
[David] Well, we are required to preach Gods Kingdom on the Earth Just like Jesus did [Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven] The point is, we all have the prospect of being apart of Gods Kingdom in the near future. That's the message I bring.
[me] ok, well how do I get into Gods Kingdom?
[Daivd] Well it starts with Baptism. [David then gives me a JW.ORG business card]
[Me] [I look at the business card and smile] So David..tell me [As I point to the emblem] Do you worship this emblem?
[We both Laugh]
[me] I know I was just joking....Ok, So I have to be baptized, is that it?
[David] Well no, its a recognition of Jehovah's purpose on the earth right now. Jesus is the ruler who has given authority to a small group of Anointed followers.
[me] oh ok, so salvation is intertwined with recognizing Anointed leadership?
[me] Your statement seemed to suggest that you follow Anointed individuals, am I correct in assuming that there are ones who you consider Christian that ARE NOT Anointed?
[daivd] Yes, there are two classes, the Anointed 144,000 and the "Great Crowd" of other sheep.
[me] What is the difference between those two groups of people in terms of Spirituality? Is one more enlightened then the other?
[David] well, they are chosen by Jehovah to represent his will on the earth. They aren't the pope or a prophet, they are just normal men who study the scriptures.
[me] ok but you said they are anointed. So there must be some spiritual difference between you and them. Do they have the Holy Spirit and you don't?
[David] Well ... we are all "Guided by" the Holy Spirit, but we don't believe that the Holy Sprit is a person. We can be influenced by Gods Active Force.
[me] so what your telling me is, there is no difference PRACTICALLY between somebody who IS anointed and somebody who isn't?
[David] ........ well, no.
[me] Ok, just so I understand your position. You are following a group of men who have no PRACTICAL spiritual authority over you, who do NOT have Gods spirit, and share no spiritual difference between you and them?
[David] well, I think its a lot more complicated then that, but I get what you are saying. The point is, they are in a position of authority because Jesus has assigned them this role as "Faithful Servants"
[Me] Ok this is really an important topic, because as far as I know, when the bible speaks about being "Anointed" this is directly tied into salvation. Try and track with me here ; because if your wrong about this, it has HUGE implications as regards to salvation.
Read Romans 8. In there its very clear. You are either in the SPIRIT or in the FLESH. Those in the Spirit are Born of the Spirit, in other words, they are anointed. If you are not apart of this "Anointed" you are not Christian. What it says is "Those operating in the Flesh cannot please God, nor can they."
Its very black and white. You either have the sprit or you don't, you are either a Christian or you aren't. Those are the only two classes I see in Scripture. What you are purposing is a third class of salvation...
Discussion about Mediator
At this Point David was very intrigued about learning new information on 3 classes. All of this time he had assumed that 3 classes of salvation was just a given. I mean, Revelation 7 seems to show 144,000 and a separate vision of the Great Crowd in front of the throne. This is when the discussion changed from Watchtower Dogma, to what the bible Actually says.
I started to tell David how I read the bible, I said: "I have a general method of interpreting scripture, feel free to criticize my method, but I take into account a few things for interpretation:
1- What is the Historical Context of the verse
2- What is the nature of the book [Poem, song, Historical account, letter, prophecy, etc..]
3- Any evidence of Symbolism, figures of speech, idioms, if not interpret literally
4- Who is the Author speaking to? or what is his audience? [this can influence how you interpret the scripture]
5- What is the immediate and surrounding context of the verse?
When I interpret scripture in this way, you are much more consistent with application. For example, when reading the book of Revelation, specifically in versus 7. You have to first ask yourself "Is the number 144,000 literal or spiritual? However you answer this, you have to be consistent thought the immediate context as to how you interpret the "Great crowd"
And if you do switch the interpretation, is there any evidence in the scripture itself WHY it should be switched?
[David] Ok, I will have to do some research on this. I see your point.
[me] Well, this has huge implications. Because if there is a three class system of salvation, the burden is on YOU and the Watchtower for being able to show the COVENANT of that third class from scripture.
Whenever Jehovah speaks to his people, he always has a SIGN followed by a covenant. Noah had a covenant [I will not destroy the earth with fire] and the sign of that covenant was the rainbow; Abrahams promise was that his seed will multiply, the sign was Circumcision; Moses covenant was the law, followed by the sign of the 10 commandments; same way with Christians. We were given a new covenant by means of Jesus fulfilling the law , the sign was accompanied by his death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit dwelling in each believer.
If it is asserted that there is a third class of Christians that can be saved, surely you should be able to point to that covenant and sign in the scripture?
If you cannot do this, you are simply relying on the Authority and word of a group of men who simply SAY you have a covenant without the Holy Spirit.
I hope you can see the implications of such a doctrine. If your wrong about salvation,All of your "Good Works" are meaningless. Because you are not operating in the Spirit, you are operating in the flesh as Romans 8 discusses in great detail.
****At this point David was writing down all of the scriptures down that we discussed. There was much more to the discussion, and I simplified most if not all of Davids comments, but at the end of the day, he was challenged. He saw the fallacious doctrines of the Watchtower. What followed was a final discussion on Jesus being God, his misunderstandings of the Trinity, and a realization of the flaws of the New World Translation. But I will save that for Part 3**