Talk:Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses/Archive 1

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The information under the heading "Controversies about changes in religious doctrine" makes valid points but it isn't NPOV and isn't entirely relevant, as it appears to be discussing religious organizations in general, not just Jehovah's Witnesses. I hesitate to delete it, but wonder if it doesn't belong on another page. Jpb1968 19:49 31 May 2003 (UTC)~

Its a fact that during their early years they were not only "alert to the possibility" of Armaggedon happening on 1914, but they publicly predicted it. Only after it didn't happen they changed the significance of 1914 to the crowning of Jesus as King of the heavens and the expulsion of Satan to earth. To just present their revised explanations is not honest.--AN

Please present your evidence then. --Clutch

And what will you consider evidence? It is quotes from early publications enough? There are many online places with quotes, a few of them even with facsimiles. Is that enough? I tried to get a hold of some early books by Russel in my library, but there were unfortunately "missing". I make a call to those with access to large libraries, to make a search for Charles Taze Russell publications, so that we have a few direct quotes, without passing through online sites.--AN

Direct quotes should be sufficient, provided they contain enough context. --Clutch

Their beliefs regarding the Trinity should be explored, especially with reference to Arius. I don't think this is controversial. Wesley

The Witnesses are sometimes accused of changing their doctrines.

I wasn't aware that changing a church's doctrine was a crime. So let's not say "accused of".

If there is a source that criticizes the group for a particular change, we should say something like X objected to their change of Y1 to Y2, because:

  • X believes Y1 and considers the change erroneous
  • X sees the change as disproof of the group's claim to inerrancy
  • (put other reason here)

My 2 cents. --Ed Poor 17:21 Oct 10, 2002 (UTC)

I think the controversy is over whether they change doctrines. It goes something like (oversimplified of course):
Critic: "JW's believe X, which is wrong"
JW: "No we don't"
Critic: "Ok, your current publications say you don't, but your older publications say you do"
JW: "But our actual doctrine hasn't changed."
The fact that JW's and their critics disagree about whether such changes took place, shows that both sides recognize the significance, and and that the controversy is over whether it changed. So I think it might actually be fair to characterize the claim as an accusation. Wesley

I think I was in that conversation ;-) But, to me it just means that both participants need to catch up on their reading.

Perhaps the issue is: how significant is a particular doctrinal change? If X is the world will end in 1914, so sell your farm (or run up a huge debt because you won't have to pay it) -- then it sounds pretty important to me. But what if X is a really just a variation of E -- that is, the world will end real soon (any decade now!), either in 1914, 1960 or 2002.

I think what remains unchanged is their sheaf of major beliefs: E; as well as the idea of 144,000 saved; along with the idea of living forever on earth without those horrid old age spots.

Mormons used to have a belief about white people and church authority -- I'm a little vague on just what they did teach -- but they "listened to God's voice" and changed mended their ways.

I daresay in 2,000 of Christian theology there have been many changes: enormous revolutions, major upheavals, minor revisions and itty-bitty tweaks like allowing amplified vs. acoustic guitars.

What's the real issue here, Wesley? --Ed Poor

Well, there are at least two issues, one on topic and one off topic. :-) First on topic: if this is an issue that JW's and non-JW's disagree about vehemently, then the disagreement is worth documenting from an encyclopedia's perspective.
Now off-topic, not especially relevant to this article (apologies to LMS and others): NOT changing core doctrines is an essential element of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, of which I am an adherent. From that perspective, our doctrines are right because they were handed down from God himself in the person of Jesus Christ, to the apostles, who handed them on to their disciples, and so on in unbroken apostolic succession. The doctrines have been developed, expounded on, but never flat out reversed. It's called building on the same foundation. If someone teaches something that is clearly contrary to the teaching of the Church over time (apostolic tradition), that teaching cannot be called a teaching of Orthodox Christianity. This can generally be documented as a matter of history as well. Incidentally, this does not make Orthodox Christians "better" than anyone else, simply because we were not given this faith because of any virtue we possess of ourselves.
The above rationale isn't necessarily the rationale of the (mostly) Protestants hosting the anti-JW web sites though. You'd have to ask them or one of their reps why it matters to them.
Returning to the topic slightly, it can be very frustrating to debate someone who changes their position in mid debate, or who refuses to be consistent in what they stand for. Some of the 'accusations' of changing doctrines probably stem from this kind of frustration.
Peace, Wesley 18:16 Oct 10, 2002 (UTC)

I can't comment on the history of Orthodox Christianity, because I know less about it, but I know that Roman Catholicism also makes the same claim about itself (that it never reverses its position), and this is patently false. For example, Roman Catholics completely reversed their official position issued during the Middle Ages that "there is no salvation outside the church". Vatican II clearly reversed this position, and more recent statements concerning salvation for Jews, not to mention Protestants, has also clearly stated an opposite position. But getting a Catholic to admit that this is a reversal of position is like pulling teeth--they just won't do it, because it is so ingrained in their theology that doctrine never reverses itself, that it all stems from apostolic succession, and so forth. This is despite the fact that, to any human being who doesn't have an agenda of preserving institutional authority, this is quite clearly a reversal of position. For the Catholic Church to admit that it reversed itself on a position apparently would call into question all the self-important claims that it makes about itself being the official repository of divine truth, so of course they will fight tooth and nail to defend this position.
Yes, both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have to defend this claim, or else everything crumbles. The Eastern Orthodox have a slightly easier time doing this, if only because they have more wiggle room. We haven't had an 'official' Ecumenical Council since the eighth century, and we don't have a single Pope. Any individual patriarch, bishop, etc. can be mistaken about something; they'll be 'corrected' sooner or later. The Orthodox Church only really claims infallibility for the doctrines in the first seven ecumenical councils, and of course any later ecumenical councils it manages to convene. The Roman Catholics have called several more councils they recognize as ecumenical, including (I think) Vatican I and Vatican II, as well as the pope's officially infallible statements. Wesley
What "crumbles" is their claim to institutional authority, but then that is what is being defended at all costs in the first place. When an institution sets up a grandioise and self-serving claim of infallibility, it has no choice but to cling to its alleged infallibility at all costs. If you don't set up such a claim in the first place, there is no reason to take a defensive posture to the point of self-deception and even denying that your church has reversed itself when it clearly has. This is true regardless of the justification that is being used for its claim of infallibility--apostolic succession, or something else. soulpatch
However, the claim to "institutional authority" was set up by Jesus Christ when he promised to preserve his Church such that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it, and to be with it to the end of the age, etc. That claim is made at the founding of Christianity by Christ himself. If a council is in fact in error and reverses itself, then that council would be non-representative of the Church, and hopefully the Church in general will recognize and correct that in time. There are probably other ways to deal with that as well. But the claim to the infallibility of the church is not one made by a self-serving institution, at least not when the church is at her best. Wesley 21:25 Oct 10, 2002 (UTC)
Well, I don't want to argue with you about Orthodox Christianity; I realize that your faith is important to you. However, I want to state that I never claimed that the Catholic and Orthodox churches don't offer a justification for their purported authority over deciding what is true. People and institutions that claim to hold exclusive authority for themselves almost never do so without offering something to bolster their claim. While I understand that mine is a viewpoint that doesn't jibe with your point of view, I have to be honest about my own point of view on this subject. I disagree that a claim of infallibility on matters of doctrine is not self-serving. An inability to admit error on one's part is, in my view, an extreme act of hubris, and I don't think you can get much more self-serving that to claim that "we, and only we, are the guardians of truth". This kind of hubris is a big problem, I think, with a lot of religions. And I think it leads to the sort of thing that began this whole discussion, namely a fear that once you admit past error, then your entire faith will crumble. But if you don't set such an impossibly high standard for yourself in the first place, you have no problem with admitting error. I think a lot of people who seek that kind of absolute certainly will indeed leave the denomination if they find any error whatsoever, but denominational loyalty is a funny thing, and a lot of people with stick with it anyway. Look at all the Jehovah's Witnesses who remain with their church despite the failed predictions of the end of the world. soulpatch

I think you're missing the point. It's not a "fear" that the entire faith will crumble, it's a logical consequence. On the one hand, Christians and most religions claim that there is a god or some kind of divine entity or realm, and that they have received some kind of revelation from it, typically because of the divine's self-revelation to humanity. If you start from that premise, you have to continue to maintain that the received revelation was accurate, although it may have been limited which would allow the possibility of subsequent more complete revelation. ("progressive revelation") Once a believer says the supposed divine revelation was in error, or not really divine at all, the belief system can no longer be kept internally consistent. It may seem more humble to say that nobody is right and nobody has any divinely revealed truth, but that also leaves you either without a god, or with a god (possibly gods at this point) about whom you can't know anything because you don't have any reliable revelation from or about that god. So the 'grandiose claims' really boil down to nothing more than belief and faith in divine revelation. Religions differ as to which revelation(s) they believe and trust

You continue to set up an either-or duality that just doesn't exist. You assume that a revelation is either "right" or "wrong", with nothing inbetween. The opposite of nobody being absolutely right isn't, as you assert, that "nobody is right and nobody has any divinely revealed truth". That is, quite frankly, utter nonsense. This gets back to my point about the need that some people have for absolute certainty. You are at least partly right that the crumbling of a religion is a natural consequence, but only if you set up an absolute duality in the first place. If you tell the world that a set of doctrines must be accepted in toto, or the entire thing will crumble, then of course it will crumble as soon as you accept that something is in error. This is the same error in logic that the fundamentalists use in their advocacy of biblical literalism--they claim that if the Bible has any error in it, then it can't be trusted at all. This kind of reasoning sets up all sorts of straw men that don't need to be there. But there is another concept, that comes from the world of the philosophy of science: verisimilitude. Uncertainty is not the same as saying that noone is right. But I think that people who need certainty in their lives also need to cling to a religion that tells them everything that will be and doesn't give them any wiggle room for thinking for themselves. It makes their lives easier. soulpatch

Again with the self-serving thing, all of the Church father throughout the ages have insisted that humility is the only defense against not only pride, but from slavery to all of one's desires. The vestments of a priest include symbolic manacles. The ordination rituals and others are designed to humble the people and exalt God. I'm not just talking about a couple good apples I've been lucky enough to run into. Sure there can be and have been abuses, in Orthodoxy as well as Catholicism. But the religion's teaching and most prevalent practice has not been characterized by excessive overweening pride, nor is that the rationale behind maintaining the same doctrines over time. Many times in history, it would have been far easier to adjust the doctrines to stay in touch with the times or the prevailing culture, if social influence and power were the goal. Examples: under the Ottoman Empire, the iconoclastic controversy, or even fourth century Arianism, when Arianism was more popular for a time. Wesley

Where the self-serving part lies is not in expressing what you believe to be true in general matters of theology, but in the claim that only the church has the authority to know what is true in matters of theology. It is self-serving because it gives to itself as an institution, and in particular its leadership, a special divinely sanctioned role that is denied to those outside the power structure. The resulting suppression of dissent (even if it is a doctrine that is "more popoular for a time") is also self-serving. It is a system that sets up a chain of command and claims that divine revelation is reserved to a powerful few who then set up a self-perpetuating system to make sure that the power hierarchy is never challenged. The fact is that, however humble these individuals might be in certain areas, they have asserted their power in matters of theology; just consider the way the Pope has stacked the Catholic hierarchy with people who share his conservative theology, thus making sure that future examples of "progressive revelation" will go the way he wants them to. And hey, once a conservative church leadership takes the church in a direction that they want it to go, they can't go back on that, because that would undo that "progressive revelation", which you can never do because the church is never wrong. Quite a neat little trick, there. Hand pick your successors to make sure they see things your way, and then new revelations that your successors come up with can't be undone, in perpetuity. Sorry, but I see that as horribly self-serving. soulpatch
Unfortunately, this is the problem with religious denominations that make such grandiose claims about itself, and certainly Roman Catholics aren't alone on this score. Other denominations have the same problem. But it does illustrate why it is so important for a lot of denonimations to deny that they've ever been wrong about anything. soulpatch
Yep. The alternative is to admit that whatever truths they have come from mere human knowledge and experience, at which point everyone is free to make up whatever they want. Wesley
This is not really the place to debate this subject, but I have to comment on this, because I don't think I possibly disagree with you more. It simply isn't true to say that there is only one alternative to institutional authority over all matters of doctrine, namely to "admit that whatever truths they have come from mere human knowledge and experience" and that if we don't accept some institution's authority over divine truth then we are just left with "making it up". That statement makes all sorts of tacit assumptions about the nature of divine revelation, none of which are necessarily true. Now maybe it is the case after all that the Catholic and Orthodox churches are right about what they assume to be the nature of divine revelation, but to claim that their assumptions are the only way that divine revelation can conceivably be understood is nonsense.
Well, sure. What I meant was that given the claims made by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, the trustworthiness of the Tradition that's given to us must be maintained, else the entire faith falls apart. It's a question of internal consistency. Wesley
I would add that this is the flip side of the fundamentalist view of the Bible--they claim that if the Bible isn't all true, then it must be useless. Similarly, those institutions that make self-serving claims of authority, say that if they don't hold the keys to Divine revelation, then it is all useless and everyone is just making it up. A lot of people crave theological certainty, and if they can get it from a church or from a scripture, that satisfies their needs, because there is a lot of fear that theological uncertainty is some kind of slippery slope. But in reality, it isn't, and not all people require that in their religious lives.
My brief experience in Orthodoxy is that the "higher" up the ladder the priests and bishops are, the less freedom they have. At least for the most part, they are not self-serving, and I have trouble not being insulted on their behalf. Of course there are other sources of truth; God reveals himself in many ways. The early church fathers pointed to Plato as in some ways anticipating Christianity, and more recent Orthodox theologians have found foreshadowings of the Trinity in the writings of Lao Tzu. Wesley
I think what it boils down to--as far as the subject of Jehovah's Witnesses goes--is that there is a lot of fear that if a church admits it is wrong in one area, it will think that people will assume that it is wrong in other areas. And Jehovah's Witnesses, my guess is, is one of those denominations that is really, really big on offering theological certainty. So from that point of view, it is understandible why they would not want people to think that they ever got anything wrong, just as Catholics don't like consider that their church ever reversed itself. soulpatch

I decided long ago that one sure sign of me being right and the other fellow wrong is when he changes his position in mid-debate. Which is way I've said all along that the 'accusation' thing is an important issue that should stay in the article -- gotcha! ;-)

But seriously, are we talking about the frustrations resulting from personal debates? Or do JW's both (A) make significant changes in their doctrine and (B) deny ever making significant changes in their doctrine? If it's A+B then the accusation would not be A but C (meaning come on, can't you see the contradiction?) -- a subtle but important distinction; critics would be saying that JWs change doctrine while denying that such changes have taken place. --Ed Poor

Very good question. I don't know the answer ... that would require research. ;-) Wesley

They predicted the start of the war of Armageddon in 1914. This prediction failed, and the date was reset, respectively as each prediction failed, for 1918, 1920, 1925, and 1975. The Witnesses have now stopped setting dates for Armageddon, declaring that God alone knows the date.

Someone else, you need to prove your case. To the best of my knowledge, the Watchtower Society never gave an exact date for Armaggedon itself, only for events leading up to it. --Clutch 23:45 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)

Let's see... just looking about the net:

Zion's Watchtower, Jan 15, 1892 "The date of the close of that "battle" is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914.
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures II - The Time Is At Hand: "we present proofs that the setting up of the kingdom of God is already begun .. and that the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Rev. 16: 14) which shall end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership .. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God's word."
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures IV - Battle of Armageddon (aka The Day of Vengeance): "We have seen that God has a set time for every feature of his plan, and that we are even now in this "Day of Vengeance," which is a period of forty years; that it began in October, 1874, and will end in October, 1914.

I'm not particularly concerned whether the word 'Armageddon' is used or not. I assume you are not contending that predictions were not made for 1914 that had to be 'reinterpreted' once they had failed. Exactly what is it that you contend was predicted and did not occur? Someone else 00:19 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

The book of Revelations mentions several "battles", among other events, before Armaggedon itself. Thank you for those quotes, but if you could find any that mention Armageddon by name, that would be helpful. As it is, without more context, the quotes you provided above don't represent evidence that the Watchtower Society predicted the date of Armageddon. --Clutch 01:14 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)
What do you think they were predicting, then? Someone else 01:35 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)
Without more context, I wouldn't care to hazard a guess. My experience of JW's is that they attach dates and significance to all sorts of prophesies and snippets of prophesies. --Clutch 07:39 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)
They predicted the end of the current world order, or as they put it, the end of the 'Time of Gentiles' and expected the collapse of all human led government in the very near future. When this failed to occur at the predicted times, a new deadline was set, and something 'intangible' was claimed to have occurred at the previous deadline. This repeated itself many times: 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, and 1975.
Personally I think the fairest to the JW's was the way I had it written, adapting it to leave out Armageddon, which you object to:
They predicted the imminent end of the current world order in 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, and 1975, and acknowledged the failure of these predictions.They assert that this was never a matter of doctrine. According to their current beliefs, the Bible says that only God and Christ know the time for Armageddon and that a Christian should be prepared for the event to happen at any moment. Someone else 10:31 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

Clutch, is there any way to get along with you? What is an evangelical? And how is a Jehovah's Witness "best" described as an evangelical? Mkmcconn

JWs are very evangelical in that evangelism is a central and important part of their faith; they do a lot of evangelism. I don't see how there could be any confusion. --Clutch
Stop playing childish word games, Clutch. You know full well that you can't define a word by using that very same word. Your attempts to evade the issue mark your changes as suspicious, if not dishonest. RK
It seems that Mkmcconn is thinking of a branch of Christianity, while Clutch is thinking of "preaching the word." Correct? Q
Yes Quintessent, that is correct. --Clutch

It is a popular but ignorant use of the word, to make "evangelism" and "evangelical" equivalent. Please use words in their historical sense - or qualify the peculiar use. Mkmcconn

What would you recommend instead? --Clutch

I made my recommendations, and you have deleted them. What do you want? What is the secret to getting along with you? Mkmcconn

Please read the Wikipedias own link on Evangelism, it describes the Evangelical movement in a way that is clearly inclusive of Jehovah's Witnesses? I note that Evangelical is not even a stub yet; hopefully someone can fill it in? --Clutch

Clutch, I agree that the ideologies are the same, but I think Mkmconn's historical distinction is appropriate. Mormons believe in missionary work, but I wouldn't use evangelical there either. Q
The reason Mormons aren't Evangelical is that only the young men go on missions. In Evangelicals, everyone is expected to teach the Lords word. --Clutch

I think this page is locked till people calm down a bit -- this is not a place to get into unpleasant semantic quibbles to the detriment of the articles, and that appears to be what's happening here. JHK

Ok, I found the link to Evangelicalism. The articles discussion still clearly includes Jehovah's Witnesses. If there is some other, different historical meaning to the word, please tell us. Better yet, incorporate it in the evangelicalism article. --Clutch 21:50 Dec 10, 2002 (UTC)

Clutch, it must be that you are not fully familiar with these terms, or I can't imagine why you would insist on this. You defined "evangelical" as "evangelistic" - so I changed the word to "evangelistic" and you changed it back. What do you want, really? My problem here is that the article claims that this is the best definition of the Jehovah's Witnesses - but I would think that to be "best" it should not be confusing to people who are familiar with the subject. Mkmcconn

"Jehovah's Witnesses have only two doctrines" Can someone substantiate this? Right now the articles use the word "doctrine" in the general sense--something taught and believed by a religion. If a narrower definition is to be used, then can someone link to some material on the subject. Q

The problem with "doctrine" is that it has a hidden definition used by many denominations to attack each other. That definition is: "A belief which, if invalidated, proves that the whole religion is false and was deliberately acting in error". I don't think it's appropriate for the Wikipedia to make such judgements about any denomination, eh? Hardly neutral, after all. JW's have many beliefs, but the two mentioned as doctrines are the ones they stand behind without exception. All their other beliefs have to bee in agreement with the two doctrines. --Clutch
The job of NPOV as I understand it is to report such judgements and attribute them to those who hold them. If a lot of non-JWs criticize them for what they perceive as unjustified changes in teachings, then the job of the Wikipedia is to report this view (perhaps with examples). Its job is also to then explain the JW position that their teachings don't have to be perfect--that their understanding of the Bible increases as they receive greater light. Isn't that the most neutral approach? Q

Why is this page protected? Any one mind if I unprotect it? --Uncle Ed 23:32 Jan 23, 2003 (UTC)

I'd like to see something mentioned about how JW's dispute the theory of evolution. They have entire books devoted to this subject, and I think it is worth a sentence or two for someone trying to understand this religion.

This article appears to still be protected (I don't know how long it's been in this state, but there have been no edits since December). I'm unprotecting it now. --Camembert 15:22 Feb 22, 2003 (UTC)

RK, I'm not going to object to your streamlining the text some, but please do not be unnecessarily antagonistic by labeling something as an "utterly false claim" when a more careful reading of the text indicates that no such claim had in fact been made. SCCarlson 23:32 Mar 4, 2003 (UTC)

I removed the final section for the following reasons: (1) It is a general treatise on doctrinal change in religious organizations in general, and is therefore only loosely related to the theme of the article, (2) it misses the point - Witness literature doesn't deny that doctrinal changes have taken place, and sometimes even presents this fact in a positive light, i.e. as evidence of God's blessing. This aspect is ignored in the final section.

Perhaps the deleted selection could be put in a new article.

I have removed the items in the "doctrinal change" section relating to "vaccinations forbidden", "blood transfusions forbidden", "organ transplants forbidden" because they were not doctrinal changes,. The word 'change' implies a different previous doctrine, and evidence for such is lacking. I am not objecting to this information being included in the Wikipedia, as it is indeed included in other entries. But I don't think that this is the right place. Jpb1968 22:22 14 Jul 2003 (UTC).

I am replacing them. Doctrine is what is taught: when what is taught changes, doctrine changes. When a new teaching is introduced, it is a new doctrine. This is the right place. -- Someone else 22:41 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
If that is your criteria then all religious organizations have changed their doctrine on blood transfusion, as well as on organ transplantation, cloning, and probably a host of other matters. Before these techniques were discovered, they too taught nothing about their morality. According to you, whatever view they adopted was a change of doctrine. If that is the case, then if 'The Watchtower' had published the opposite of what it said about blood, that would have been a change as well. Before 1944, the Watch Tower didn't teach one thing or the other about transfusions; there is simply no comment.
I reiterate that I am not against the inclusion of facts - positive, negative or neutral - about the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, as long as this is done in a . I am not going to join in an edit war, and have neither the time nor the inclination to debate the matter, but I really don't see how the inclusion of such 'information' here will contribute to an informative, balanced Wikipedia article. Jpb1968 08:15 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Most religous organizations don't HAVE a doctrine on blood transfusion, before or after 1945. The Witnesses are so unique in their insistance on this matter that it has become a hallmark for which they are well-known. Yes, religions base their new formulations in prior doctrine, but the new formulation is no less new for that. -- Someone else 08:45 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I cringe every time I read "fundamentalist, evangelical", together with "non-trinitarian", in the opening sentence. This combination reduces the first two terms almost to nothing, and makes Jehovah's Witnesses something almost unrecognizable. They are very solidly doctrinally comparable to (not the same as) Unitarians, Socinians, and Arians, and in terms of a mystical view of revelation and attitude toward the world, comparable to Gnostics, and Anabaptists. They are not Fundamentalist (they purport to be a restoration of the original, not a more serious version of the more lax mainstream). They are not Evangelical (this term almost always refers to their most vigorous opponents). There are some more superficial, cultural analogies to fundamentalism and evangelicalism (attitude toward Scripture, busyness with evangelizing, for example), and the remoteness of this comparison should be made much more plain, or it practically looks like an attempt to deceive. Comments Please! (I made several attempts in the past, to fix this, and the then owner of the page would not permit it). Mkmcconn 13:08, 6 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I quite agree. Those Christians in the U.S. who are most commonly known as Fundamentalists or Evangelicals are all trinitarian. At the same time, I wouldn't call Catholics or Orthodox Evangelicals either, even though both are trinitarian and share some of their other characteristics, including efforts to evangelize. The opening sentence as it is now is misleading in this regard. Need to work on a suitable replacement; I'm inclined to delete it ONLY until such a suitable, agreeable replacement is found; I don't want to swing the pendulum too far the other way and spark an edit war, either. Wesley 12:47, 9 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I have changed the first paragraph to reflect the above-mentioned views, which are in my opinion quite valid. I'm not sure what the original writer meant by 'fundamentalist', but it could be that he was referring to the moral code espoused by Jehovah's Witnesses, i.e. their stance on sex before marriage, homosexual relations, abortion, etc., which is why I put in the bit about a stringent moral code. I also agree that the word 'evangelical' is ambiguous with regard to Witnesses, hence the rephrase. I'm surprised that this is considered controversial, Witnesses definitely don't consider themselves fundamentalists. By the way, I don't want an edit war either. Jpb1968 23:33, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Thanks, that seems to be a decent middle ground. I couldn't think of a good replacement. On a separate note, I see several external links embedded in the text. Isn't the usual Wikipedia convention to put those in an "External Links" section at the foot of the article, or has that convention shifted? *shrug* I haven't followed all the formatting discussions, so I'm not sure... Wesley 07:41, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The change in regard to JW's sharing some views of the "afterlife" is, I believe too ambiguous. The Belief in reincarnation is what seems to be referred to here, which is not the belief held by JW's. I intend to clarify but will wait for a reply or to see if the author decides to make the change.

respectfully, george m

It seems a little strange that the article has no mention of failed predictions. Q

The organization has modified this practice of making predictions, because some put full faith in them without doing their own investigation. The most significant and recent event was the suggestion that the world might end in 1975, based on the idea that the creative "days" were 1,000 years long, and that, using the patriarchal timeline, 1975 marked the end of the sixth creative day. Scores of followers expected Armageddon, and when nothing happened, many left the organization. Yet this in itself was not a Watchtower prediction, merely a suggestion that something MIGHT happen. Because of that event, the Writing Committee committed to being extra careful when discussing possible fulfillments of prophecies. No dates would be used. And believers are encouraged to study and research the Watchtower Society's printed materials on their own, so that they can see how the Society comes to its understanding. Failed predictions might be thought of as coming from the believers' zeal, and not the Bible itself. They've already shown that they trust the Bible more than human ideas, and that human understanding of the divine is not instantaneous.
by cobaltbluetony

Removed new stuff

An anon pasted a bunch of stuff in, without Wikifying or citing the source. It was just sort of dumped in, so I'm removing it. The cut is shown below. See my Talk for more info, as well as other cases of this from the same anon user. One-dimensional Tangent 03:32, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

               + jt pp. 12-14 What Do They Believe? ***

What Do They Believe?

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES believe in Almighty God, Jehovah, Creator of the heavens and the earth. The very existence of the intricately designed wonders in the universe surrounding us reasonably argues that a supremely intelligent and powerful Creator produced it all. Just as the works of men and women reflect their qualities, so do those of Jehovah God. The Bible tells us that “his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made.” Also, without voice or words, “the heavens are declaring the glory of God.”—Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1-4.

People do not mold clay pots or make television sets and computers without a purpose. The earth and its creations of plant and animal life are far more marvelous. The structure of the human body with its trillions of cells is beyond our understanding—even the brain with which we think is incomprehensibly wonderful! If men have a purpose in bringing forth their comparatively insignificant inventions, surely Jehovah God had a purpose in his awesome creations! Proverbs 16:4 says that he does: “Everything Jehovah has made for his purpose.”

Jehovah made the earth for a purpose, as he stated to the first human pair: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth . . . , have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) Because they became disobedient, this couple failed to fill the earth with righteous families who would lovingly care for the earth and its plants and animals. But their failure does not make Jehovah’s purpose fail. Thousands of years later, it was written: “God, the Former of the earth . . . , did not create it simply for nothing.” He “formed it even to be inhabited.” It is not to be destroyed, but “the earth endures for ever.” (Isaiah 45:18; Ecclesiastes 1:4, The New English Bible) Jehovah’s purpose for the earth will be realized: “My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do.”—Isaiah 46:10.

Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the earth will remain forever and that all people, living and dead, who will fit in with Jehovah’s purpose for a beautified, inhabited earth may live on it forever. All mankind inherited imperfection from Adam and Eve and, hence, are sinners. (Romans 5:12) The Bible tells us: “The wages sin pays is death.” “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Romans 6:23; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Then how can they live again to share in the earthly blessings? Only through the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, for he said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” “All those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—John 5:28, 29; 11:25; Matthew 20:28.

How will this come about? It is explained in “the good news of the kingdom,” which Jesus started to proclaim while on earth. (Matthew 4:17-23) But today Jehovah’s Witnesses are preaching the good news in a very special way.

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Belief Scriptural Reason

Bible is God’s Word and 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; is truth 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; John 17:17

Bible is more reliable Matt. 15:3; Col. 2:8 than tradition

God’s name is Jehovah Ps. 83:18; Isa. 26:4; 42:8, AS;

                              Ex. 6:3

Christ is God’s Son and Matt. 3:17; John 8:42; 14:28; is inferior to Him 20:17; 1 Cor. 11:3; 15:28

Christ was first of God’s Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14 creations

Christ died on a stake, Gal. 3:13; Acts 5:30 not a cross

Christ’s human life was Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; paid as a ransom for 1 Pet. 2:24 obedient humans

Christ’s one sacrifice Rom. 6:10; Heb. 9:25-28 was sufficient

Christ was raised from 1 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 6:9; the dead as an immortal Rev. 1:17, 18 spirit person

Christ’s presence is in John 14:19; Matt. 24:3; spirit 2 Cor. 5:16; Ps. 110:1, 2

We are now in the ‘time of Matt. 24:3-14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; the end’ Luke 17:26-30

Kingdom under Christ will Isa. 9:6, 7; 11:1-5; rule earth in righteousness Dan. 7:13, 14; Matt. 6:10 and peace

Kingdom will bring ideal Ps. 72:1-4; living conditions to earth Rev. 7:9, 10, 13-17; 21:3, 4

Earth will never be destroyed Eccl. 1:4; Isa. 45:18; Ps. 78:69 or depopulated

God will eliminate present Rev. 16:14, 16; Zeph. 3:8; system of things in the Dan. 2:44; Isa. 34:2; 55:10, 11 battle at Har–Magedon

Wicked will be eternally Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:6-9 destroyed

People God approves will John 3:16; 10:27, 28; 17:3; receive everlasting life Mark 10:29, 30

There is only one road to Matt. 7:13, 14; Eph. 4:4, 5 life

Human death is due to Rom. 5:12; 6:23 Adam’s sin

The human soul ceases to Ezek. 18:4; Eccl. 9:10; exist at death Ps. 6:5; 146:4; John 11:11-14

Hell is mankind’s common Job 14:13, Dy; grave Rev. 20:13, 14, AV (margin)

Hope for dead is 1 Cor. 15:20-22; resurrection John 5:28, 29; 11:25, 26

Adamic death will cease 1 Cor. 15:26, 54; Rev. 21:4;

                              Isa. 25:8

Only a little flock of Luke 12:32; Rev. 14:1, 3; 144,000 go to heaven and 1 Cor. 15:40-53; Rev. 5:9, 10 rule with Christ

The 144,000 are born again 1 Pet. 1:23; John 3:3; as spiritual sons of God Rev. 7:3, 4

New covenant is made with Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:10-13 spiritual Israel

Christ’s congregation is Eph. 2:20; Isa. 28:16; built upon himself Matt. 21:42

Prayers are to be directed John 14:6, 13, 14; 1 Tim. 2:5 only to Jehovah through Christ

Images should not be used in Ex. 20:4, 5; Lev. 26:1; worship 1 Cor. 10:14; Ps. 115:4-8

Spiritism must be shunned Deut. 18:10-12; Gal. 5:19-21;

                              Lev. 19:31

Satan is invisible ruler of 1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4; world John 12:31

A Christian ought to have no 2 Cor. 6:14-17; 11:13-15; part in interfaith movements Gal. 5:9; Deut. 7:1-5

A Christian should keep Jas. 4:4; 1 John 2:15; separate from world John 15:19; 17:16

Obey human laws that do not Matt. 22:20, 21; conflict with God’s laws 1 Pet. 2:12; 4:15

Taking blood into body Gen. 9:3, 4; Lev. 17:14; through mouth or veins Acts 15:28, 29 violates God’s laws

Bible’s laws on morals must 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Heb. 13:4; be obeyed 1 Tim. 3:2; Prov. 5:1-23

Sabbath observance was given Deut. 5:15; Ex. 31:13; Rom. 10:4; only to Israel and ended Gal. 4:9, 10; Col. 2:16, 17 with Mosaic Law

A clergy class and special Matt. 23:8-12; 20:25-27; titles are improper Job 32:21, 22

Man did not evolve but was Isa. 45:12; Gen. 1:27; Matt. 19:4 created

Christ set example that must 1 Pet. 2:21; Heb. 10:7; be followed in serving God John 4:34; 6:38

Baptism by complete immersion Mark 1:9, 10; John 3:23; symbolizes dedication Acts 19:4, 5

Christians gladly give public Rom. 10:10; Heb. 13:15; testimony to Scriptural truth Isa. 43:10-12

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EARTH . . . created by Jehovah . . . cared for by man . . . inhabited forever