Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Comparing Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses

I know this is a generalization, but I was thinking of a few things, and it struck me how a pseudo-Christian cult such as that of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses), with all of its lies, is actually more "Christian" than most Christians in how they approach the world. I am not saying they are believers, but I am saying that there are qualities among the Jehovah's Witnesses that shame us as the Body of Christ.

1. Jehovah's Witnesses are evangelism-minded; Christians are self-minded.

This is not to say the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's from here foreward) are not selfish, fallen creatures like all of us, but when I evaluate my impression of the JW's I see a group that is very motivated to influence the community, to educate, and to spread their message (even if it is heresy). They do this very directly -even though it could be argued that door-to-door ministry is ineffective or an invasion of privacy. Christians, on the other hand, are generally more consumed with finding their "shape" or "purpose" or "keys to success". There is some zeal to evangelize, but it is different. I can't really place my finger on it, but my impression of Christians is not primarily one of local evangelism. We send teens to Mexico and such, but overall I do not see an emphasis on Christians going out to spread the message of the cross. Maybe it's just me -maybe I am just saying this because I see the Christian side from behind the scenes and only see the Jehovah's Witnesses on the surface. This brings me to the next point...

2. Jehovah's Witnesses are educated and discipled in what they believe; Christians are generally not.

I have met numerous people who said the reason they began listening to the Jehovah's Witnesses is because the Jehovah's Witnesses gave them answers. Of course, we know their answers are mostly lies, but still... when someone asks a question, are we really ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15)? Most of us are not. We waffle, spout out ridiculous things that are obviously shallow, flimsly, and not well-thought-out, or we simply avoid situations that might put us on the spot. As for discipleship? Christians tend to forget that discipleship is not just hanging out, having pot-luck dinners, and having youth-group trips. Fellowship is critical, but so is systematic teaching and training. Jehovah's Witnessess, for the most part, come across as being trained -Christians, overall, are not. We have a few people who are trained, mostly because they are our pastors, and a few self-taught people in the congregation, but are there really systematic training mechanisms in place in most of our churches? I don't believe so, and I don't see an emphasis or encouragement for lay people to be trained. It is like we are reverting back to medieval Roman Catholicism where the "priests" have the Word, are trained, but the layity are totally ignorant. Many people say, "I am not an academic person" as an excuse for why studying the Scriptures and doctrines we believe from the Scriptures is not for them. I don't see that with the Jehovah's Witnesses. In my limited knowledge, I see an expectation of Biblical/doctrinal literacy

3. Jehovah's Witnesses come across as unified; Christians can't seem to agree on anything.

I don't mean this just as someone who is a Christian and sees all the squabbling. I mean that the world sees it, and they take note. There are some significant differences in doctrine among various Christian groups, and in many cases that cannot be overlooked, but sometimes it seems we are preoccupied so much with the finer points of doctrine among our greater minds that we neglect having a unified mission to reach the lost. I remember reading a Phil Johnson blog that said something about Calvinists in particular... something like how today we have mostly academics and polemicists rather than evangelists and preachers. So, it is ironic that the visible church of Christ, which contains both His sheep and some goats, acts often as a headless entity, a flock with no Shepherd, while the packs of wolves that surround us are strategic in their attack on and evisceration of their prey.

4. Jehovah's Witnesses generally come across as chaste and self-controlled; Many Christians come across as unconcerned, vain, and un-controlled.

I don't want to spend too much time here. I know this is entirely subjective because there are many, many Christian men and women who do not resemble this at all. But there does seem to be a trend toward being more "free" in regards to those "old-fashioned" virtues such as humility, modesty, chastity, being slow-to-speak, etc. It is much more fashionable to speak freely, to pierce our faces into oblivion, and to look just like everybody else -except for slapping a "Real Men Love Jesus" bumper-sticker on our car. Is that the only way people can tell we belong to the Lord? Sad. It is a "new breed" of Christianity where we show to the world that we can be cool, too. To me it sounds like service to the world and not service to Christ. I know for the Jehovah's Witness the reason behind these qualities is legalism, not loving service to God, but it would not hurt us as Christians to remember that we serve the Lord, He is our King, and everything we do and every way we are reflects upon Him. Let everything we do, as Paul reminds us, be done for the glory of God! I am not saying we need to be perfect or even can be, but if we are His, then we love Him, and if we love Him, then we will want to be faithful ambassadors in every way. We will want to avoid things that, even if they are fine with us, lead others to mock the name of Christ.

I don't know. Maybe I am way off. I think we are starving for the Word, for Christ, and need to stop feeding the sheep fodder and garbage. We need to wake up and stop being so concerned with ourselves and finding success and happiness. It is funny. I generally find that those who have nothing, those who suffer with illness or with death of loved ones, are the most motivated in what matters most. I'm just rambling at this point, but maybe someone will read this and take offense in a good way.

1 comment:

DAO said...

Good word Tim,
It certainly appears that way huh?
Hey, please continue to pray for me, I am considering starting a Bible study in my house, with just a few along with Cyndie and I. Since I am reading through Ezekiel...I may do that book!
I am insane? wondering if God is directing there. Many in our day speak much of the redemy without much backdrop of the problem. Well, certainly Zeke speaks to the problem, with no flinching...and proclaims incredible promise. I am in ch 12. virtually took 11 chapters of serious woe to get to a potent promise in 11.17-20!

how are things on your end.