The One Big Difference Between Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses

 

The other morning I was cleaning the kitchen when I heard a knock at my front door. I thought it was strange since the only people who usually knock on our front door are friends and neighbors—and they were all at work or school.

I opened the door and, to my surprise, I was greeted by a well-dressed elderly man. He’d come to invite me to an event at his church. He was kind and friendly. Yet something felt off when he said, “You know, a lot of people think the resurrection of Jesus is the most important part of the Easter story, but actually it’s his death that is most significant.”Watchtower_Bible_&_Tract_Society_(world_headquarters)

I replied, “Well, yes, His substitutionary atonement was significant…” He didn’t react. And that was okay because behind me was my three-year-old son waving a broom like a Color Guard charging into battle…so I had to go before something or someone got hurt.

The gentleman put a booklet in my hand with some information about the event and then left. I opened it and saw that the booklet was a “Watchtower” production inviting people to come to the local “Kingdom Hall.” “Oh, he’s a Jehovah’s Witness,” I thought.

Now, to be honest, I don’t know a lot about Jehovah’s Witnesses. I can’t tell you every tenet of their theology or what it’s like to attend one of their “churches”. They seem like nice people. And they seem really committed to their beliefs. But I do know one big difference between Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. And it’s a difference that breaks my heart.

According to their website, www.jw.org, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe “God created Jesus before he created Adam.” For them, Jesus is the literal firstborn of creation. Simply put, God the Father is eternal. God the Son [Jesus] is not. Which means, for them, Jesus is not fully God in the same way God the Father is fully God. Instead Jesus is “the divine Son of God” and Jehovah is “the only true God.”

To be fair, people have believed such things about Jesus since Jesus first walked the earth. But in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea Christian leaders from around the world agreed that such a belief was not biblical. At that meeting they affirmed that Scripture teaches and Christians believe that there is

“…one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

The big difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians is that Christians believe that Jesus is fully God and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not.

Why does this matter?

If Jesus is not God, then Jesus sinned. And if he sinned then his sacrifice cannot save us.

In John 10:30 Jesus proclaims to the Jewish authorities, “I and the Father are one.” Now, just in case there was any question about what he meant in that statement, the next few verses make it clear:

“Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’” (John 10:31-33)

The Jews knew he was claiming to be God. And Jesus did not correct them.

Similarly, after Jesus had been raised from the dead, his deity is affirmed. When Jesus appeared before Thomas (aka Doubting Thomas), Thomas was so taken aback that he worships Jesus saying, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

Again, Jesus does not correct him. Jesus, it seems, believed that he was, in every way, God.

Now, if Jesus knew that God the Father [Jehovah] was “the only true God” then Jesus committed the sin of blasphemy when he let people think he was equal to and worthy of the same worship as “the only true God.”

This is a real problem.

For if Jesus sinned [by committing blasphemy], it means Jesus’ sacrifice/atonement on our behalf was meaningless. Because a person in debt has no means to pay the debt of others. So, too, a sinner cannot pay the debt of other sinners. Only a perfect and righteous person has the means to pay off the debts of sinful people.

It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus was sinless. But if Jesus wasn’t fully God that can’t be true.

The important question is, was Jesus right to let people think that he was God and worship him?

If he was fully God—Yes!

If he was not fully God—No!

If Jesus was not fully God then Jesus sinned. Period.

This is why the one big difference between Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses breaks my heart.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have put their trust in a version of Jesus—a Jesus that may be son of a god, but who is actually not really a god at all. And because of that, they are looking for salvation from one who does not have the power to save them.

Only a Jesus that is in every way God is worthy of our worship. Only a Jesus that is in every way God has the righteousness to pay for our sin. Only a Jesus that is in every way God can actually save us.

And so I pray for the gentleman who came to my front door. I  pray that he will come to know Jesus—the real Jesus. And I pray that one day he might come to Jesus and, without reservation, say, “My Lord and my God.”

 

To learn more about Jehovah’s Witnesses and how you can respond when they come to your door, check out https://carm.org/jehovahs-witnesses

The Best Way to Honor and Support Christians Dying For Their Faith

 

The headlines this last week have been gut-wrenching. ISIS ‘Systematically Beheading’ Children in IraqIraq: Hell has broken out here and nobody caresChristian boy “cut in half” as Islamic State invades Christian town .

The question on everyone’s mind has been, what can we do?

An article on Christian Today provided  five great things we can do to help. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. It is a helpful list.

But I would like to add one thing they left out.

I’d like to add a sixth thing we can and should do, not only to help those who are suffering, but also to honor those Christians who have been martyred.   In my humble opinion it is the best thing we can do for them.

What is it?

It is to die with them.

I am not talking about mass suicide or even taking up arms. I mean our willingness take up our cross and die with them.

Let us die to our need to be liked.

Let us die for our need to be normal.

Let us die to our need to stay hidden.

Let us die to our desire to fit in.

Let us die to struggle to keep up with our neighbors.

Let us die to our excuses.

Let us die to self-centeredness.

Let us each and every day take up our cross (whatever that might be) and die. With Jesus. For Jesus. In order to boldly proclaim  Jesus.

When we do this we will (in a small way) identify with them. We will remember to pray for them. We will be led to give what we can for them. And we will honor them.

Yes there is persecution of Christians in America…but let’s be honest, no one is going to kill us or our family for talking about Jesus. At the very worst they will give us a cold shoulder. Or maybe make fun of us.

But often that is not even the case. Most of the time a person will listen and talk with us politely.  If we are kind to others they are more often than not kind to us.

We must take advantage of this freedom!

This freedom may not always exist. There may be a time when sharing our faith will get us thrown in jail, or put us in danger of violence. And if that happens it will only serve to help us identify with our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are daily going through the same things. Not to mention it will  further serve to help us identify with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the innocent one who suffered brutally on our behalf.

But that time is not here yet.

So let us not waste the time and freedom we have been given. Let us honor the deaths of our martyred brothers and sisters by standing for and, if necessary, dying for the same Jesus they were killed for.

Imagine what our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq would say to us who live in a country with such minimal threats. What would they have us do with our freedom?

I imagine the saints that have been martyred,  who are now in the presence of their King, would say one thing to us…

It  was worth it.

Do not hold back, do not be scared.  Jesus is with you.

He is worth living for. He is worth dying for.

You will not be disappointed. You will not be ashamed.

He is worth it. More than you could ever imagine.

Jesus is worth it.

 

 

Christian boy “cut in half” as Islamic State invades Christian town – See more at: http://www.biblesociety.org.au/news/christian-boy-cut-half-islamic-state-invades-christian-town#sthash.XKcsdfLn.dpuf