It is known by those who specialize in cult ministry that the Jehovah’s Witnesses (henceforth JWs) refuse to believe that Jesus was executed on a cross; instead, their view is He was nailed to a tree. As if that mattered whether it was a cross or a tree.
In case you have doubts regarding the means of the Lord’s execution, I will say from the outset that it does indeed matter. I will address the terminology in part two of this article.
For quite some time I have been involved in an effective, but simplistic missionary strategy: it is an outreach that God has sent to my own front door. My work is quite simple, low cost, and takes little effort on my part: I debate and challenge the JWs who stop at my door. The Lord could not have made my job any easier!
One such man is Elder Dave, who has been coming to my house (usually on Saturday) to distribute Watchtower literature for the last three-four years. He travels with a variety of companions. Lately he has returned with the same fellow, slightly older than Dave, whose name I cannot remember at the moment.
Dave took a liking to me from the start. I never insulted his religion, nor did I ever question his sincerity in his quest to serve Jehovah. This does not mean I sat by and neglected my duty to my Lord either. I stood up for the historic Christian faith, never kowtowing or offering false flattery. I do my best to confront him with truth and love.
Dave and I have an informal, unspoken agreement. I will not insult his religion and he will reciprocate. Unfortunately, his friends, trained as attack dogs, must be reminded of this treaty on occasion. Dave keeps coming back and thus progress is made with each visit to propagate the historic Christian faith. I am sure he feels the same way about me.
During his visit yesterday it dawned on me that JWs do not preach the Gospel when they travel door-to-door. What is the Gospel? Saint Paul has summarized it here:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
Here it is again, found in the Book of Romans, in case you need it said another way:
… because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
So important is this message that Paul claimed
“… for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified …” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
The next time Dave stops by I think I will play the Max McLean recital of these verses or D. James Kennedy’s summation and ask him what he thinks. Does he believe this is The Good News or not? If so, why does he not preach it? For thirty years I have been listening as Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door and never did they speak of such things. Instead, they present doomsday scenarios or mock the corruption of American liberal churches and the Roman Catholic Church. They do have an opinion regarding a variety of topics, but they never preach the Gospel. If you ask about this they will assure you they are preaching good news when they present their version of the new earth and new heaven; but never, ever is the Gospel preached by JWs as it was presented by the Apostle Paul.
You might want to ask the JWs when they come to your door how to get to heaven. You will not hear the same presentation that the Apostle’s offered as recorded in Holy Scripture. Instead, they will tell you neither you nor they are going to heaven. Heaven: that place where God is and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, the Gospel according to The Watchtower is a life of bliss on a perfect earth without Jesus and without God, although the Lord’s indirect, remote rule will ensure one’s happiness. This is the kind of place even the most passionate pagan would love to find.
A future world without the presence of Jesus Christ does not sound like good news to me. That sounds like bad news. I want to be with my Lord.