the truth about Jehovah’s Witness, part 3

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

December 18, 2007

In this series, I have already pointed out some flawed interpretation that leads to some of the core beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witness faith. I have also discussed how the quality of translation of the “Scriptures” used also gives reason to doubt the fundamental doctrines of this belief system. This time I’d like to take another look at some flawed interpretation, but this time it will focus on some of the practices as opposed to the core beliefs.

The practice that I would like to look at is that of how the Jehovah’s Witness faith relates to the government. Jehovah’s Witness consider themselves as politically neutral. Because they view the Kingdom of God as the ultimate authority in their lives, and a legitmate form of government, they consider any allegieance to another earthly governement wrong. In fact saluting a flag, or singing the national anthem would be considered idolitry, an act that is forbidden by the law of the scripture. While they are expected to obey the laws of the land (including the payment of taxes), they refuse military service, and will not run for or hold any elected public office. This political neutrality also means that memebers do not even vote in public elections!

While refusing to involve themselves in the affairs of the government, serving in it in any way, and refusing to recognize it’s authority, the Jehovah’s Witness organization continues to use the system of government to establish and help enforce their rights. Much of this work is done through the court system. The Jehovah’s Witness organization has fought numerous Supreme Court cases in order to secure their rights. Jehovah’s Witness seem to demand the freedoms and benefits that government provides, while refusing to put in the effort that is required to maintain the governmental system that provides these things in the first place.

My first response to this is in regards to the apparent hypocrisy that this displays. And aside from my beliefs on government, I believe that this type of hypocrisy is anti-scriptural. A word study on the word hypocrite shows exactly how Jesus felt about this type of behavior. Jesus is also clear on His message about service as well. He modeled leadership by washing the feet of His disciples, making himself a servant. Jesus also taught that you reap what you sow. Or in other words, if you don’t put anything into it, then don’t expect anything out of it. So, I believe that one cannot pick-and-choose which parts of government they want, and reject the rest.

Beyond the hypocrisy issue, I believe that there are some fundamental interpretation flaws that also need to be addressed. One of the greatest New Testament references to government happens in Romans 13:1-4. In this writing, Paul urges the Romans to submit themselves to the governing authorities. He continues to point out that resiting the governement is equal to resiting God, because God is the one who has given them authority. On the surface, one could say that the Jehovah’s Witness is in compliance with this because they do obey the laws of the land. However, at a slightly deeper level, this passage indicates that even the earthly governement is an extension of God’s authority. Therefore the idea that the Jehovah’s Witness submit themselves to the rule of God’s government, and not the earthly government is flawed.

But then a good Jehovah’s Witness might even argue that everything has changed since the Kingdom of God was established here on earth back in 1914. In order to understand this, we need to look a little more at some of the historical context of Paul’s message to the Romans. First of all, Jesus declared that the Kingdom of God was at hand. When Jesus spoke of this, he referred to the reign of the Messiah over heaven and earth. So without getting deep into eschatology, the Kingdom of God has already been established, and was established even during the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans. This means that Christians at the time of this writing were under the rule of Christ, but were still being urged to submit to the authority that is passed down to earthly governments.

Another aspect of this submission to governement is that it was not a conditional command. The Christians in Rome at the time of Paul’s writing faced great persecution under the rule of the Roman Emperor Nero. Nero was the first to start state-organized persecution of the Christians, and often burned (set on fire) them at parties as entertainment. Even in the face of such horrible persecution, Paul still urged them to submit to this authority because it is only given by God. My point here is simply that there is NO condition given in scripture that it is okay to not recognize the rule (or authority) of even the worst secular government over us, as it is still an extension of God’s rule no matter how much one may disagree with it.

Furthermore, the interpretation of John 18:36 is really misused as a command to not participate with the military. The first problem in this interpretation is that it is based on a narrative of a conversation that Jesus had. Jesus was not literally teaching in this passage that people should not serve in the military, but He was declaring where His authority and power comes from. It was more of a statement about His spiritual nature, and not the statement of a doctrine to help guide us. This is a gross misinterpretation of this passage, and is a good example of the type of interpretation that leads to this and other flawed beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witness.

Regardless of what you believe a person’s role (especially a Christian’s) should be in government, it is clear that this core belief an practice of the Jehovah’s Witness organization is incorrect. Personally, as a Marine Corps veteran, and a Christian, I am proud to have served the country that gives me my rights. I further believe that there are few things that one can do to honor God more than taking an active role in the systems and structures that HE established, and commands us to submit ourselves to. One cannot pick and choose which parts of government that they like, just as one cannot pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to believe in…

 

Stay tuned for more in this series…

 

Other posts in this series:

10 Comments

  1. channelofhealing

    Umm will wait for the next part , insightful posts.. although I do know about the Jehova Witnesses in my area that when we are about to pray the keep their eyes open instaed of closing them.

    Godbless

    Reply
  2. channelofhealing

    Umm will wait for the next part , insightful posts.. although I do know about the Jehova Witnesses in my area that when we are about to pray the keep their eyes open instaed of closing them.

    Godbless

    Reply
  3. channelofhealing

    Umm will wait for the next part , insightful posts.. although I do know about the Jehova Witnesses in my area that when we are about to pray the keep their eyes open instaed of closing them.

    Godbless

    Reply
  4. Guest

    Great series, Dan! It gives a very good insight into what the JW actually believe. I didn’t really study what they beileve in, so this is great education.

    I had a JW mate during Basic Military Training. Somehow he decided to enlist, but when it came to the presentation of the rifles (the trust M16), he declined and had to serve 7 years in the detention barracks (our term for the military prison here).

    God bless, and Shalom!

    Reply
  5. Sicarii

    Great series, Dan! It gives a very good insight into what the JW actually believe. I didn’t really study what they beileve in, so this is great education.

    I had a JW mate during Basic Military Training. Somehow he decided to enlist, but when it came to the presentation of the rifles (the trust M16), he declined and had to serve 7 years in the detention barracks (our term for the military prison here).

    God bless, and Shalom!

    Reply
  6. Hopeful Spirit

    The hypocrisy is magnified when you discover how many of the JW’s WORK for the government on every level. They are happy to “feed from the public trough,” reaping health care and pension benefits, just to name a few. But then won’t serve in the military to defend the privileges that they enjoy on a daily basis. Indeed, they live off the taxpayers who send THEIR sons and daughters to die for America.

    Can you tell that it makes my blood boil?

    Reply
  7. FishHawk

    The depth of explanation is most impressive; and it is good to see something through you on this site again. I was afraid that you may have been struck down for reading what I sent you. Hope to hear back from you soon.

    Reply
  8. BibleDude

    Thanks for the encouragement regarding my efforts to discover and expose the false doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witness organization! It has been wonderful and quite eye-opening to explore this belief system, and I am glad to see that people are benefiting from my research in the area.

    Reply
  9. BibleDude

    Alexander,
    I accept your apology, but also recognize that you are entitled to your opinion. I don’t expect everyone to like me, but I do study this stuff alot, and am also entitled to my opinion. It is what it is, and I understand that you don’t have to agree with it.

    Regarding my writing in this post, it is my opinion, which is why I use statements like “I believe”, etc. I am not trying to make a case that one side is right and the other wrong. I am simply sharing my understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures. I also believe that just because Paul went to prison like he did, that this nullifies the point that I was making. People are persecuted every day for standing up for Christ.

    I guess another point that I could make is around a prayer of Jesus where he stated that we not be separated from the world, but protected from the evil one. I guess I just believe that there is more Scriptural support for embracing the government that God has ordained, than there is to separate from it (where it is convenient).

    I take it that from the nature of your comments that you are Jehovah’s Witness yourself. If this is the case, then I encourage you to read the entire series, especially the last post which really clarifies what my heart is with this. I don’t encourage you to sway you from your beliefs, but just so that you better understand what I am trying to communicate.

    I also refuse to remove your comments, because I would hate to be the kind of guy that simply censors out what he doesn’t like. While I do not like being called names, I really respect your right to express yourself. I do however feel that it is rude to walk into someone’s house and start insulting them. It is my hope and prayer that God releases you from that hostility.

    I am happy to continue this conversation if you are willing to.

    Dan

    Reply
  10. Larry Souza

    I see that there are no comments past 2008. Interesting. I have to tell you first that I am not a member of JW but I am a witness for Jehovah as the bible states.

    I have been through their study and have attended their meetings for several years now. You won’t find them defending their belief as they are not that arrogant. They are the only organization that I have been a part that does not base it’s belief on what the people want to hear so as to receive money to find riches as many other religions do.

    They believe they were relieved from tithing when we entered into the new covenant along with sacrificing animals and other such laws (the old law). One thing I know about them for sure from being a member of other religions prior, is that they are the only ones I know of that try their best to actually live a Christian life. Every day, every minute. Everyone is involved in learning, teaching, printing of all the free literature, and all the hundreds of duties including building the Kingdom Halls completely volunteer. No wages paid to any of the eight million members.

    These people are the most sincere, loving, actual followers of Christ that I have ever met. If I were to join a religious organization again, I would surely join them. Who else comes to your door the spread the Good News to everyone that is drawn by God, giving of their personal time day after day so more might be saved? They want to bring you to God whether you become one of them or not, you are always welcome and loved. Other organization leaders wait for people to walk into their extravagant buildings to find God. JWs only follow the commission given by Christ to his disciples and they are truly…disciples. I can only say that you are very uninformed in your opinions about serving in the military etc. United States do not battle and kill only non-Christians. They Kill their brothers in Christ. Is that what the Word teaches us?

    Reply

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  6. the truth about Jehovah’s Witness, part 4 - BibleDude.net - […] of their “bible”, flawed interpretation of core beliefs, and flawed interpretation of religious practices. Now I want to take…

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the truth about Jehovah’s Witness, part 3

by Dan King time to read: 6 min
16