Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

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Jehovah’s Witnesses are not always accepted by traditional Christian religions. They arose from a Bible study group in the late 19th century guided by a gentleman called Charles Russell. Like many religious groups of that period, they were dissatisfied with the old time religion that seemed to have failed and looked forward to a new beginning in the millennial return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Their movement is best categorized as a restoration movement in Christianity.

They claim exclusivity in correctness of doctrine and practice. They are tightly controlled doctrinally by a small group of men based in Brooklyn, New York. They believe in only one God, and that his name is Jehovah.

They believe that the Earth was created by God in a perfect state known as the Garden of Eden and when Adam and Eve sinned, they destroyed the world God made, bringing in evil and making it necessary for Jesus, the son of God, to pay a ransom to save mankind. They believe that when God returns to the earth to rule in righteousness, that the earth will be restored to its paradisiacal glory, and that it will be like the Garden of Eden was meant to be from the beginning.

Taking pride that they are not part of the larger Christian community, they proselyte and share with others why their beliefs are more correct.

How are Jehovah's Witnesses Different? A scan of Awake! Magazine.
A Scanned image from Awake! Magazine. Issue January 2011

Their rejection of the Trinity creed and their concept of Jesus being the Son of God, but not God, is where they receive many accusations that they are not authentic Christians. They believe that their translation of the Bible, called the New World Translation, is the most correct, and that their interpretation of the scripture is the most correct in the world today.

For more on their beliefs visit Wikipedia or their website.

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2 Thoughts to “Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

  1. Plur Ad:

    It’s well-written and accurate. Any beefs I might have are quite trivial, matters of phrasing and whatnot. But I’m not so sure about this:

    They are tightly controlled doctrinally by a small group of men based in Brooklyn, New York.

    Lends it a sinister overtone, does it not? But, in fact, such was the nature of Christianity in the first century, which JW’s take as a pattern to follow. The Christian package came complete with visible, human guidance. Christians then were “tightly controlled” by a small group of me based in Jerusalem..

    One might reflect upon Acts 16:4-5, for example:

    “As they [representatives of the Jerusalem ‘governing body’] traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” NIV

  2. Thank you for the comment. As I read through the tracts that are presented by the Witnesses traveling door to door, they read as if the editors have a pretty firm on what is correct or incorrect doctrine. I imagine the sheer volume of what is published gives a pretty tight control over official doctrines.

    Being an outsider I am not personally familiar with how alternate doctrinal views are dealt with within the meetings at the Kingdom Hall. I imagine that the actual beliefs of those active in the movement may vary to an extent, but the presentation at the door and in the homes seems pretty tightly crafted as there is a right way and a wrong way to understand the Bible.

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