When I asked my Father of Confession certain activities to do during the summer, one of them was to provide an essay stating the many heresies of Jehovah's Witnesses and to show how we can respond to them. I have finished it, and I need opinions before I show it to him. It is quiete long, a little over four pages, so I ask of your patience and help.
As a general overview, Jehovah’s Witnesses were established by Charles Taze Russell. As a teenager, he left the Presbyterian Church (branch of the Protestant “Church“) of his parents and moved on to the Congregationalists. He soon however moved on once again to the Seventh-Day Adventists as he come upon a Bible Study through them. They soon fell into disagreement and he left them and went on a search to find the “true” interpretation of the Bible. Little did he know how wrong he was and how far away from the truth he had strayed.
In 1879 Russell started writing the Zion’s Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence periodical. Then he started and lead the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society. He later began his writing on his seven volume interpretation of the Scriptures. However, Russell’s personal life started to deteriorate. He lost a lawsuit he against a Baptist pastor, and was later successfully divorced by his wife due to improper conduct with other women. Russell died 1916, yet his heresies continued in the minds of his victims.
He was succeeded by Joseph Rutherford, a lawyer and judge. In 1931 the name of Russell’s followers changed from the “Russellites” to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The name Jehovah is the name of God in the Old Testament, meaning “I AM“. When Nathan Knorr became president of the Society, he produced a new and heterodox version of the Holy Scriptures called the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. A commonly known fault in this version is in John 1: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was a god,” I ask one question alone, how can you come along, after 1900 YEARS and claim that the Scriptures the saintly Fathers provided are incorrect? Especially the verse above, it contradicts everything else in all four Gospels, as I will explain below. Are we trying to imply that the Bible is a story the four Evangelists made up, and that is why they contradict each other? Far from it, rather they all correspond to each other. Yet the change made in John 1:1, this opposes what the rest of the Gospel says, that Christ was not a God, meaning a creation, but rather one of the persons of the Trinity, the ONLY God.
Witnesses know God as God the Father alone. They recognize Jesus Christ as God’s first creation with the Archangel Michael, a heresy that serves as two in one. Jesus Christ cannot be created, as the correct version of the Gospel according to St. John which Christians have perceived for centuries states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is clearly the Word of God, being born of him before all ages. Many times Christ says in the Scriptures, that Him and the Father are one. As Jesus Christ prayed on Gethsemane, he said, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are,”; John 17:11. Also, when the Apostle Philip asked Jesus Christ to show them (the apostles), the Father, Christ responded by saying, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?”; John 14:9-10. Also in Luke 5:21, the Pharisees questioned the authority of Christ to forgive sins, saying, “ The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” There is no doubt that Christ forgave the sins of many on earth, which proves that he is one of the three persons of the Trinity. Also, John 5:18 says, “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.,“ The part “making himself equal with God” means one of two things, that either Christ truly was God, or that there is more than one God. Surely Christianity is monotheistic, believing in one God alone. And so this verse must mean that Christ is one of the three persons in the Holy Trinity. As the Holy Scriptures clearly prove, the Father and the Son are one. And to prove that Christ is not a creation, I provide the following: John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was,”
Witnesses teach that Christ was burned on a stake, as they despise the cross, being a symbol of paganism. This clearly shows their ignorance, as despite the fact that the Jews crucified Jesus, they were under Roman (and in turn pagan) rule. Pontius Pilate, the governor who ordered the crucifixion was pagan. Aside from all this Matthew 27:32 clearly states,” As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and forced him to carry the cross,” There was only one cross, and this was it. John 20:25 says, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were ,and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” How can there be nail marks in the hands if he was burned on a stake? If Christ really was burned on a stake, then there were no nails, nor anything else lifting the Lamb of God. If there was nothing lifting him, then he wasn’t crucified to begin with!
Another heresy claims that at Christ’s resurrection, he transformed into gases and was recreated into a spirit. This couldn’t be any more wrong, as the Saint and Apostle Thomas felt the holes left by the nails and the side of Christ. He also ate with the disciples several times, ex.: John 21:11-14 and Luke 24:41-42. Spirits do not eat nor drink, nor can anybody touch them.
And here is a heresy that has been fought against since the early times: “Mary was not perpetually a virgin, but rather bore more children after Jesus.” This defies everything the Apostles have taught us through tradition. From the beginning of the Coptic Orthodox Church, which received its doctrine from St. Mark the Apostle himself, we have learned from eyewitnesses that Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ was the only child to St. Mary. Let us also look at it from the logical point of view. On the cross, Our God Jesus Christ said to St. John the Theologian and Beloved to take St. Mary as his mother, John. 19:26-27. If St. Mary already had other children, why would Jesus Christ need to comfort her by giving her the disciple he loved as her son? There would be no need, for children that she held in her womb would be there.
Witnesses hold the Bible to be the only source of truth, a belief they hold with Protestants. But what they fail to see is that Christ visited his disciples and apostles continuously for forty days after his resurrection, Acts 1:3 proves this. During this period of time, Christ taught them everything they needed to know about building the Church of God. If all that he said and did was to be written down, all the books of the world wouldn’t be enough to behold them, as said in John 21:25.
Witnesses hold another heresy yet, that the Holy Spirit is not in fact one of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, but is actually a power of God. What they fail to see is that when Jesus Christ sent his disciples into the world to preach he said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”; Matthew 28:19. If the three were not equal and were not one God, then why would they baptize in their names? It would only make sense that people are baptized in the name of God, and Christ sent them to baptize “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”. Also, in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, it repeatedly says that the apostles “were filled with the Holy Spirit”. When Ananias and Sapphira desired to lie to the Apostles and seek glory, St. Peter said to him, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land…. You have not lied to men but to God.”; Acts 5:3-4. First St. Peter says that he lied to the Holy Spirit, and then he says you have not lied to men but to God”. This clearly proves that the Holy Spirit is indeed one of the three persons in the Holy Trinity.
There are no sacraments within their belief. They believe that all people are ministers, and so there are no sacraments. If there is a no such thing as priests and clergymen, then what is St. Paul talking about when he says in1 Corinthians 4:1 , “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God,” Are they all servants and stewards? Clearly not. And since there are stewards, there are mysteries; the sacraments. And these sacraments must exist, as I will explain below.
If there are no sacraments and no ministers, then why then did James the Apostle say, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the presbyters of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” - James 5:14-15. If we are all ministers, then who will the sick person call? And who will anoint him with the oil? This is the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and it is from one of the twelve disciples of Christ himself, who, according to Acts 1:3, received this from the Lord. Now, lets use logic, does oil forgive sins? Can anyone other than God forgive sins? Surely not, rather Christ has given his apostles the authority to forgive sins through him, as stated in John 20:22 -23, “And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven,“ However, can anyone at all forgive what he does not know? It is common sense. This is why the sacrament of confession exists, and why the priest has the authority, through God alone to forgive sins.
There is no doubt that to have forgiveness of sins and to be saved, you must be baptized. If there is no need for baptism then why does Jesus Christ tell his disciples to: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 If there is no need for baptism, why then did the eleven disciples baptize three thousand people on the day of Pentecost? When the disciples started speaking in tongues, many of the people called them drunk. For that reason St. Peter gave a sermon, and the three thousand believed. They asked what they shall do to receive salvation, and St. Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the Holy Spirit,” Acts 2:38. Therefore, after repentance, baptism must take place for remission of sins and receiving the Holy Spirit. Another sacrament necessary for receiving Holy Spirit is the Holy Oil, or as most Copts know it, the Holy Myron. St. John says in his first Catholicon, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth,” 1 John 2:20. And again he says, in the same chapter, in verse twenty-seven, “ As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” Therefore this anointing is not just oil, but that with receiving it, one receives the Holy Spirit, as said in my first quote. It is with this anointing that we receive the Holy One, the Spirit which teaches all things and divides the word of truth with a two-edged sword. It is only after receiving this anointing that we receive the Holy Spirit, as clearly said in 1 John 2.
If there are no sacraments, then why did Christ take bread on the day of Covenant Thursday and say, “ This is my Body given for you, do this in remembrance of me, “ and again, “ This cup is the new covenant in my Blood, which is poured out for you,” Luke 22:19-20. In these two verses, Christ clearly shows us three things, that this bread is his true Body, and that the wine in the cup is truly His Blood. The third thing that is showed is that we should do this continually in remembrance of him. Again, St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” Therefore there is a sacrament of eating the Lord’s Holy Body and drinking His Holy Blood, the sacrament of communion. What proves to me and everyone else that this is a sacrament from Christ, like all the others, is that St. Paul says, “What I received from the Lord I also passed on to you,” He has received this sacrament from Christ himself, and has passed it on to us. Christ himself talks about being the bread of Life in John 6: 48-51, “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,” Who now can argue that His Body is not given for us? Yet there is more proof. The importance of communion is expressed in later verses, John 6:53-56, “Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him,” As clearly observed, the Holy Body and Blood of Christ are necessary for life and abiding eternally with the compassionate God and King.
As you can clearly see, the belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses has too many heresies that anybody who reads the Holy Bible with concentration can clearly see and observe. To convince these people, we must give them from what they hold to be the only source of truth, the Holy Bible. Every single heterodox belief can be opposed and objected using the Holy Scriptures. We cannot twist Bible verses into what we want them to mean, but rather what they bluntly say and cry out for us to understand. May God give us the wisdom to accept his hold word with understanding and open mind, that we may comprehend the true truth.