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Jehovah's Witness (Way of the Master)

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Jehovah's Witness is the title of the seventh episode from season three of Way of the Master.

This episode is primarily all covered by James White, and a bit of Ravi Zacharias. Ray and Kirk play a very minor role, so much that it seems that this was not meant to be their show.

Below is more on Jehovah's Witnesses.

Episode Synopsis

(0:00 - 1:14) The Episode begins in NYC Time Square, people going about on their daily lives.

  • Kirk "New York City's Time Square, billions of people are on this earth, and it is likely that many of them are here walking on this sidewalk. they are just like you and me, with hopes and dreams and families. And they are busy surviving. They are not thinking about God and heaven or eternity, they are thinking about mortgages and rents, where their meal is coming from. But the Bible says that the gospel is good news, that is the real understanding of eternity. I mean there is no better good news than the gift of god and eternal life. So if you are a Christian, start spreading the news!

How can eternal life be 'good news'? What would you do with yourself? The first thousand or so years may be fun, but what about the billion after that. And the billion after that. And it just goes on and on and on. Doesn't rarity increase value? A finite life is a meaningful life.

(1:24 - 2:57)

  • Kirk "Have you ever had something like this ever happen to you? You are sitting in your house when all of the sudden, there is a knock at your door and someone you do not even know..."

Scene switch to a stranger knocking on Ray Comfort's door. Ray Comfort answers the door and kindly greets the stranger (a subtitle calls Ray Comfort "Evangulus-Unpreparadus"). The stranger turns out to be Kirk Cameron, with glasses and a nice suit (a subtitle labels Cameron "Witness Enthusiastist"). Kirk responds nicely to Comfort, and then informs Comfort that Kirk invited several of Ray's neighbors to a Bible study to find true happiness and was wondering if Ray would be interested in joining them. Ray first responds what organization is Kirk with? Kirk says he is a Jehovah's Witness. Ray says he is already a Christian, in which Kirk happily responds that he is too. Kirk then tries to share some literature with Ray and exchange in conversation, but Ray says "I'm born again, I love the Lord, I appreciate you stopping by, but I do not have time to talk right now, so you have a nice day." Kirk, with a smile on his face, says goodbye and walks off.

Even though they were acting, notice Ray did not even say "god bless" when they departed.

  • Ray "have you ever had that experience, where a Jehovah's Witness comes to your door and you really don't know what to say? Many Christians tend to avoid confrontations with Jehovah's Witness because they know they could end up in endless arguments. But the truth is we care about these people and we should care where they spend eternity. Instead of avoiding them, we should be prepared to speak the truth to them in love.

The scene ends and the WOTM intro commences with pieces of questions from WOTM's dishonest tactic are you a good person?

Episode Walkthrough

(3:49 - 5:55)

  • Kirk "The Jehovah's Witnesses, a group perhaps best known for going door to door talking about their religion and handing out their literature. No doubt they have been in your neighborhood and knocked on your door."

Thankfully, some of us have not encountered a Jehovah's Witness knocking on our doors.

  • Ray "In fact, the Jehovah's Witnesses have been to 1.2 billion houses in 2005 by spreading the good news of Jehovah and his kingdom. Why do they knock on so many people's doors? What do they believe in? What is the attraction to their religion? That is what we are going to look at so that next time you encounter a Jehovah's Witness, rather than closing the door on them, you can be a loving and affective witness to Jesus Christ."
  • Kirk "The Jehovah's Witness religion began about 130 years ago by a young man named Charles Taze Russell. As a teenager, he left his church because he did not believe in the existence of hell. He reasoned that when a man died, he simply stopped existing. He also did not believe that jesus was God in human flesh, he denied the Trinity, and other essential Christian doctrines."
  • Ray "When he was 18 years old, Russell started a Bible study to spread his beliefs. Then he published his own magazine known as the Watch Tower. Some people were fascinated by his religious teachings. In 1884, he started his own organization right here in Brooklyn, New York. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society."

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen..." Isaiah 43:10 ASV.

  • Ray "The Watchtower boldly claims to be the only channel of truth in the world today, and teaches apart from society, no one can find true peace and happiness in this life or the afterlife."

The Bible, Koran, Torah, the Vedas, and the Watchtower are not the only "channels to truth."

WOMT shows a piece from the Watchtower, which reads as; "Only this organization functions for Jehovah's purpose and to his praise." (The Watchtower, July 1, 1973, p. 402)

  • Kirk "Now lets smooth in and take a closer look at what the Watchtower teaches about Jesus Christ."

And IC will "smooth in" to double check to see if WOTM are presenting a logical and honest case. Based on past reviews of WOTm, we will not be holding our breath.

Who is Jesus?

Interview with James White (5:57 - 6:39)

  • White "Jehovah's Witnesses, when they talk to the Lord, are going to tell you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They are going to use very high language. What you need to understand is that they do not believe he is truly deity, they do not believe that he rose from the dead (they believe he rose spiritually as opposed to the true Resurrection, where he rose physically), and what is more important is Jesus Christ is the first and greatest thing Jehovah God created. In fact, according to the Watchtower society, Jesus is the only thing that Jehovah directly alone created - that through him, created all other things.

Many Witness teachings and narratives present the resurrected Jesus as having a physical body, so it's not quite true to say they don't believe in the physical resurrection. At best, their literature is inconsistent and their doctrine is unclear. The neutral BBC confirms some of what Ray says on The beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Interview with Ravi Zacharias (6:40 -

  • Zacharias "Jehovah's Witness, fascinating system of thought. Again, it takes away from the authority of the Scripture. Although, it will say to you that it is an authority from the Scriptures. The principle denial in the doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses, is the divinity of Jesus Christ himself. They take away "in the beginning, there was the Word and the Word was with God" and the Word was "A" God and they do that on the basis that in the original Greek there is no definite article there. There is no definite article there, and if there were a definite article there it would say "in the beginning was thee God" but they say since there is no "thee" there therefore it has to be "A god." If you go down the first chapter of John, some verses in 17 and 18, the Father himself is referred out the definite article. So are they going to make him also a god? The use of the language is very plagued with linguistic trickery. They use the language with tricks and original Greek which the Greek scholars themselves would not actually subscribe themselves to. Then they talk about 12,000 tribes from 12 tribes, 140 ft. entry into this no realm and all of that. It is one messed up system of an eternal realm. I believe that where Jehovah's Witnesses went wrong is failing to accept the divinity of Jesus Christ. Once they remove the divinity of Jesus Christ, now the entire Old Testament is under suspect because whose authority do we go on for the New Testament ultimately to Christ himself. So, again, it is a cult. What is a cult? A cult is that which claims to be based on the historic truth, but actually deviates the person and work of Jesus Christ. So it is cultic in that sense, and wrong in its final source of authority."

WOTM then provides a quote

Jesus never claimed to be God. Everything he said about himself indicates that he did not consider himself to be equal to God in any way...Jesus was created by God." (Source: "Should You Believe in the Trinity?" Watch Tower Bible & Trade Society of Pennsylvania, 1989. Track book, pg. 18.)

Back to James White,

  • White "They identified Jesus as Michael the Archangel. Michael the Archangel, the greatest of all of God's created things, and the master worker through whom to the rest of creation is made. He is only a spirit and then that spirit ceased to exist when Jesus was born on earth. Because, according to the Watch Tower Society, men do not posses a spirit. And so Michael ceases to exist through all things that have been made, Jesus existed for 33 years, he dies, and Michael is recreated in Heaven. And so the person they look up to as Jesus is actually Michael the Archangel."

...Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ himself." (Source: Watchtower, 12/15/1984 p. 29)

  • Ray "That is what the Watchtower teaches about Jesus. Let's now compare that to God's word..."

"Another source also claims that JW's believe Jesus is Michael. [1]

  • White "When you look at what all the Bible says about Jesus Christ, no just portions of it but all of it, there are numerous streams of evidence that demonstrate that Jesus Christ is God/man. We cannot just pick and choose what we look at the New Testament, we have to let all of Scripture speak. When we do that, we see that Jesus Christ truly was man, he truly became flesh (in John 1:14, the Word became flesh). Flesh, that what we can touch and hold. Some of the earliest heresies in the church were people who did not deny that Jesus was God, they denied that he every truly became man. John is very concerned about that. So there is all sorts of evidence that Jesus truly became one of us, he entered into human flesh. No today, what you have is a bunch of people not denying that aspect of the Biblical revelation (they will say Jesus was just a man) they will deny the deity of Christ as various groups do. Where do you go to find evidence of that? Well, you have all the references that Jesus is called God in John 1:1, you have John 1:28 where Thomas says "my Lord, my God", you have Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 "the great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." so the term God is used in Romans 9:5 that is possible applying that same term to Jesus. But beyond that, you have all sorts of other evidences that the deity is Christ. You have the fact in Colossians 1, he is described as the creator of all things - not just all other things as the Jehovah's Witnesses are interpreting, but he creates all things. If you are the creator, then you yourself are not a created being. In Philippians 2, it said he is internally shared the very nature of God but did not regard that equality he had with the father, something he grasps or held onto, but laid that aside and took on the form of man. You have all these evidences and a tremendous testimony of the gospel of John, he is called the "I am" (that is the "I am in John 8:58 for Abraham was "I am"). He told the Jews in john 8:24 that unless you believe I am you will die in your sins, so when the soldiers come to take him from the garden when he says "I am" they fall back upon the ground. John could not make it any more plain than that. And while that does go back to Exodus 3:14 and the burning bush, it is even more closely connected to the very same phraseology he used in Isaiah and the minor prophets as a name for Jehovah God. You have the text that identifies Jesus as Jehovah. John 1 and John 2, numerous passages, then there is that which we Christians tend to unfortunately forget. And that is there are so many things that Jesus says -because we are used to reading the bible, we put them into a certain context- there are so many things he says that no created being could ever say: "Come unto me, all you willingly heavily. I will give you rest." Can you imagine Moses saying that? Can you imagine Isaiah saying that? Matthew 11:27 "No one knows the Son except the Father." Can you imagine Isaiah saying "I am such a great person that no one knows me except the Father...and no one knows the father, except the Son those whom he wills to reveal him"? Those would be words of blasphemy. And so there is this huge amount of information in all the gospels where Jesus says and does things; no human being who was not the God figure, could ever say those words. And so the testimony of Scriptures, Jesus Christ is the God of man."

"We cannot just pick and choose what we look at the New Testament" - some advice that is completely ignored by Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, James White, and virtually all Christians. The Bible has a large record of manipulation, forgery, interpolation, and such. So much change (all done by early Christians) that perhaps we do not have any of the real words of Jesus (if he existed) or his disciples (if they are who the Gospels say they are).

"We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

"The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel." -Bishop John Shelby Spong.

White in this piece talked about Titus and 2 Peter, what he does not share (whether he is aware or not of this problem) is that these two books were not written by Paul or Peter, rather they were written by forgers. This means these books were written under false names, thus lying to their audience.

WOTM quotes several bible verses

  • "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." 1 Timothy 3:16
  • "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
  • "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14
  • "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Does Hell Exist?

  • Kirk "Next, what does the Watch Tower teach about the existence of Hell?"

What does reality and the actual evidence say about Hell? Answer: It does NOT exist!

Jump to Ray Comfort interviewing a black male stranger. Ray asks the man what does he think happens when a person dies? The man says that he thinks they return back to the earth where they came from. When Ray asks about Heaven, the man says he believes in Heaven but only God resides in Heaven. When Ray asks about Hell, the man does not believe in Hell. Jump back to James White.

  • White "Hell for a Jehovah's Witness is non-existence. It is not continuous punishment, there is no conscious existence, it is simply being completely destroyed and no opportunity of resurrection. There is nothing left of that person, that person is wiped out. That is what Hell would be for a Jehovah's Witness."

"The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured eternally after death cannot be true...Those judged unrighteous will not be tormented but will die and cease to exist." (Source: "Let God be True" Watch Tower Bible and Track Society, pg. 99)

Back to the interview with the black male, who earlier said he believed in Heaven (just nobody goes there) but does not believe in Hell. When Ray asked the man who goes to Heaven, he says nobody goes to heaven, it is a place for God and his angels. Then Ray talks about no hope for an afterlife, but the man believes he is in paradise on earth. The man reveals he is a Jehovah's Witness.

  • Ray "The Watch Tower teaches that there is no Hell, you simply stop existing. What does the Bible say?"

The Bible says a lot of things (just to name a few: talking animals, flat immobile earth at the center of the universe [2], and a zombie invasion of Jerusalem [3]) but none of them has any evidence to support it's extraordinary claims - or is shown to be scientifically completely incorrect.

  • White "Jesus made it very plain when he came to us, he taught in Matthew 25 that certain people go a certain way into eternal life and others enter eternal punishment. The term punishment there sometimes Jehovah's Witnesses will say 'well that means cutting off.' That it is a old term meant to prove something, so they are just cut off. The problem is that they are just following the Watch Tower at that point, missing the fact that just as we have words that develop over time and meaning (for example, television has a certain meaning to us - it does not mean far-seeing with the root words going together) in the same way "punishment", while it once meant pruning a few hundred years earlier by the time of the writing of the book of Matthew, it had one particular meaning and that meant to punish. It was not just cutting off, it was not just pruning, it meant to punish."

WOTM quote another passage from the Bible,

  • "...who will render to every man according to his deeds: To those whom by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life; But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek." Romans 2:6-9

Ceasing to exist can be seen as a punishment that lasts forever. Incidentally what about people who can't easily lead a good life due to some types of brain damage? Is punishing them just?

  • Kirk "From where do Jehovah's Witnesses get their teaching? How do they form their beliefs?

What Are Their Holy Books?

According to experts who speak in this video Jehovah’s Witnesses get their beliefs from their New World translation of the bible which is considered inaccurate. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the bible is authoritative but according to Jehovah’s Witness beliefs only their organisation can interpret the bible with authority. Therefore Jehovah’s Witnesses also get their beliefs from Watch Tower publications which they believe give them the proper bible interpratation. Watch Tower interpretations of the bible are the work of fallible human beings and therefore in the opinion of in the opinion of Ray, Kirk and others who speak in the video Watch Tower publications do not give a true Christian message.

Ray, Kirk etc. are quite correct, the Watch Tower bible and other Watch Tower publications are all the work of fallible human beings. If Ray Comfort had any sense and any real humility he would see that he is also a fallible human being and his own bible interpretation is also fallible. Nowhere in this video or anywhere else does Ray Comfort show any sign of recognising that his bible or his interpretation of the bible may be fallible or inaccurate.

How do Jehovah’s Witnesses aim to get to heaven?

Speakers criticise Jehovah’s Witnesses because in their opinion Witnesses give too much emphasis on salvation through, baptism, works, particularly doing what the Watch Tower tells them to do. Ray Comfort and his experts believe there should be more emphasis on salvation through grace and trust in the lord.

The bible is contradictory, sometimes it talks about salvation through grace and other times it talks about salvation through works. There is no one definitive proper interpretation. Fortunately there is no reason to take the bible more seriously than other books of ancient mythology.

Ray Comfort then interviews a black Jehovah’s Witness and asks how a man with a knife in his back and a short time to live can get to heaven. The Jehovah’s Witness says if the man has exercised faith he should have no problems. Comfort wants to know what someone who has lived a bad life with a short time to live can do to be saved, the JW first says the dying man should affirm life. When Comfort criticises that the JW says there is nothing the man can do if he has left things so late. Comfort takes the JW through Are you a good person? and the JW insists on calling someone who lies and steals an imperfect person. Comfort convinces him that there are many sins he has done and asks him what he must do, the JW says he must ask to be forgiven. Comfort then reminds the JW about the thief on the cross beside Jesus who was promised that he would enter paradise and the JW seems to change his mind agree that a person who has lead a bad life can be saved. Comfort asks the Jehovah’s Witness why he did not give that answer earlier and the JW replies that he is an imperfect person and does not know all the answers. Comfort finishes by telling the Jehovah’s Witness to read the Bible and read a different version, not the New World Translation that the Jehovah’s Witnesses publish.

Picking on people who do not know all the answers and then blaming them for not knowing the answers is typical of how Ray Comfort operates.

External links

The Way of the Master
Season One Episodes:

1. The Firefighter   2. The Mirror of the Ten Commandments   3. The Motive of the Sinner   4. The Summary of Salvation   5. Practice What You Preach   6. Idolatry—The Darling Sin of Humanity   7. The Beauty of a Broken Spirit—Atheism   8. WDJD?   9. Blasphemy, Sabbath, Parents   10. Murder   11. Adultery   12. Theft   13. Lie and Covet

Season Two Episodes:

1. God's Wonderful Plan   2. Conscience   3. Alcatraz, Al Capone, Alcohol   4. True and False Conversion   5. When Things Go Wrong   6. The Satanic Influence   7. How to Witness to Someone Who's Homosexual/Gay   8. Evolution   9. How to Witness to a Loved One   10. The Fear of God   11. Ice Breakers—Gospel Tracts   12. The Greatest Gamble  13. How to Get on Fire for God

Season Three Episodes:

1. Battle for the Lost   2. Where Has the Passion Gone?   3. Joe Average   4. Caught in a Lie   5. The Divine Butler   6. Why Christianity?   7. Jehovah's Witness   8. Mormonism   9. Are You A Genius?   10. Last Words of the Rich and Famous   11. How to Find God's Will   12. What Scares You   13. Hollywood Be Thy Name

Cast
Ray Comfort — Kirk Cameron
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