Saturday, May 24, 2014

Who is the Great Crowd?

  • "for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
    "a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands." Revelation 7:9
    The people "out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation", is the great crowd!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cult characteristics:

A lot of people that argue against the JW or who leave the JW are in another cult. Here are some things to watch out for:

Cults twist the word of God to say what they want. For example, they will claim that true worship disappeared for a time and had to be restored, which contradicts Jesus' words at Matthew 16:18 and 28:20. Or they will teach that Jesus has appointed them
to teach in His place which contradicts Hebrews 1:2, 1 Timothy 2:5, and 1 John 2:27.

They focus on a message other than the gospel that Paul preached, and put heavy burdens on the people.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." Galatians 5:4,1

They focus on things that we should fear.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18 (and Romans 8:15)

They teach that salvation and survival of the end times relies on our own efforts.
"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness." Romans 4:4-5 (and John 6:29)

"Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (and Romans 5:9)

Now that you know some ways that cults contradict the Bible, take a look at my other cult characteristics page which takes a secular approach:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Korah rebelled against Moses...

This is a quote from the writer of Seventh Day Adventist doctrine Ellen G. White, does it sound familiar to Jehovah's Witnesses?

“If you seek to turn aside the counsel of God to suit yourselves, if you lessen the confidence of God’s people in the testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as were Korah, Dathan, and Abriam.” Testimonies 5, p. 66.
E. G. White compares herself to Moses, when Korah, Dathan, Abriam and others rebelled against the leadership of Moses, God destroyed them (Numbers 16). EGW was using fear to control people, and also in effect, calling herself their Mediator from God.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cult Characteristics:

Cult members do not realize that they are in a cult. Because all cults have different beliefs, cult experts have identified common characteristics of cults, which they use to identify new cults. University of California at Berkeley (19 Characteristics)
1. Deception - Group identity and/or true motives are not revealed. The group leaders tell members to withhold truth from outsiders.2. Emotional Leverage/Love Bombing - Instant friendship, extreme helpfulness, generosity and acceptance...Group recruiters "lovingly" will not take "no" for an answer-invitations impossible to refuse without feeling guilty and/or ungrateful. "Love", "generosity", "encouragement" are used to lower defenses and create an ever increasing sense of obligation, debt and guilt.
3. Exploit Personal Crisis - They use an existing crisis as a means of getting you to participate. They exploit vulnerability arising from:
  • Broken relationships
  • Death in the family
  • Loss of job
  • Move to new location
  • Loneliness/depression
  • Guilt/shame
  • Stress/fear
4. Crisis Creation - They employ tactics designed to create or deepen confusion, fear, guilt or doubt. i.e. "you aren't serving God the way He intended." Questions areas of faith never before examined or explored and attack other faiths specifically.5. All The Answers - Provide simple answers to the confusion they, themselves, create. Support these answers with material produced or "approved" by the group.
1. Intense Study - Focus is on group doctrine and writings. Bible, if used at all, is referred to one verse at time to "prove" group teachings.2. Opposer Warnings - Recruiters are told that "Satan" will cause relatives and friend to say bad things about the group to try to "steal them away from God." Recruits soon believes group members, alone, are truthful/trustworthy.
3. Guilt and Fear - Group dwells on members' "sinful nature" (many use public confession). Guilt and fear arising from "failing God" are magnified to manipulate new member.
4. Schedule Control & Fatigue - Study and service become mandatory. New member becomes too busy to question. Family, friends, jobs and hobbies are squeezed out, further isolating the new member.
5. Attack Independent Thought - Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful, blind acceptance encouraged.
6. Divine Commission - Leader(s) claim new revelation from God, within past 200 years, in which all but their group are rejected by God. They, alone, speak for God.
7. Absolutism - They insist on total, unquestioning obedience and submission to the group, both actions AND thoughts. Group "love" and acceptance becomes dependent upon obedience and submission. Unconditional love...isn't.
8. Totalism - "Us against them" thinking. Strengthens group identity. Everyone outside of group lumped under one label.
1. Motive Questioning- When sound evidence against the group is presented, members are taught to question the motivation of the presenter. The verifiable (sound documentation) is ignored because of doubts over the unverifiable (presenter's motives). See Opposer Warnings (#2 above).2. Information Control - Group controls what convert may read or hear. They discourage (forbid) contact with ex-members or anything critical of the group. May say it is the same as pornography making it not only sinful and dangerous but shameful as well. Ex-members become feared and avoidance of them becomes a "survival issue."
3. Isolation, Separation & Alienation - Group becomes substitute family. Members encouraged to drop worldly (non-members) friends. May be told to change jobs, quit school, give up sports, hobbies, etc.
4. Coercion - Disobedience, including even minor disagreement with group doctrine, may result in expulsion and shunning.
5. Phobias - The idea is planted that anyone who leaves goes into a life of depravity and sin, loses their sanity, dies, or will have children die, etc. Constant rumors of bad things happening to people who leave. No one ever leaves for "legitimate reasons."
6. Striving for the Unreachable - Group membership and service are essential for salvation..."Work your way into God's favor." NO matter what you do, it is never enough.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

About Jesus and Michael the Archangel:

Lets take a look at the book of Jude:

3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who savedc a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 

*notice it does not say that the Father saved them, 
it does not say that Michael saved them, 
but it says Jesus, Jesus saved them.

6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,d serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

9But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

*Let's compare this to verse 4. Verse 4 says that Jesus is our only Lord. 
Now Michael is acknowledging that Jesus has more authority than he. 

In Revelation 22:16 who sent the angel to the congregations? In verse 6, who sent the angel?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Christ Crucified

The key to understanding scripture: "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2"For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified"- 1 Corinthians 1:23

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How could I join a church after being a Jehovah's Witness?

There for a while I got hung up on proving that there were no better denominations. Then I realized that I can rest in Jesus and not research every denomination out there. I can just ... be home.

I am already saved.
I am done searching and/or proving. My faith is in Jesus, not a church. And the church reminds me of that. So this shirt illustrates nicely how I came to join a church. Just calm down, shut up and get in the pew!

Finding a faithful church that brings peace instead of fear, and calming down enough to attend or join is something that is a challenge for most ex-Jehovah's Witnesses. (Please be aware that this isn't about finding the perfect denomination!) So in this blog, I am going to devote some posts to talk about how we can go about finding a church and determining if we should stay there.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Trinity Doctrine and how we know God

When we understand who Jesus is, we understand who God is.

"Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?" -- John 14:8-9

This is the affect of the Trinity doctrine on an ex-Jehovah's Witness: 

Instead of seeing God as a distant dictator who sent others to do His dirty work, we see God coming to us, He loves us so much that He was willing to give up His glory, walk among us, eat with us, touch us... and even wash our feet, even when He knew we wold betray Him. The Trinity doctrine causes us to realize that God does not sit on a distant throne giving orders to others and expecting us to struggle, struggle, struggle to Him. No... He comes to us.  Jesus ate dinner with thieving tax collectors, prostitutes, and dispicable cowards. Jesus was not proud, constantly judging in a harsh manner.   Jesus said that He came to save us rather than to condemn or destroy us, and He proved it with His actions. The Trinity doctrine makes us more like Christ because it teaches us who God is.
Does your God wash feet? Love and help sinners? Do you?

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being,- Hebrews 1:3

Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself - Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also."- John 8:19
The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.- John 12:45

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ.- 1 John 5:20

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness. So why did I get baptized again?

In a Jehovah's Witness baptism the one seeking baptism does a lot of studying on Jehovah's Witness doctrine and passes a test to show that they understand it. Then the day that they are baptized they are asked two questions:

1. On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?
2. Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization? Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism." -Watchtower - 1985 Jun 1 p.30

Then they are dunked. Nothing is said upon dunking.

So you see, when I was a JW I was not baptized into Jesus, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So when I was saved, one of the first things I wanted to do was to get baptized the right way. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:35-37)

Getting baptized in a Christian church automatically results in disfellowshipping, so I waited a few months so that I could use that time to share the gospel with my family before they cut me off. I was saved, had received, and was even filled with the Holy Spirit during that time.

I was baptized at a Baptist church about 6 months after I was born again. I was baptized into Jesus. (Galatians 3:27) I now go to a Lutheran church. Since I have been baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, into Jesus, there is no need for me to be baptized again. Knowing what I know now, I would never get baptized into a church. Only into Jesus. 

It is possible to be born again (saved) prior to baptism, (John 5:24; 7:38-39) and I know that I was. But I also believe that baptism applies Jesus' death and resurrection to me personally. (Romans 6:3-9) I can look to my baptism for assurance that I have indeed been born again, because this is God's promise to me. (Acts 2:38-39) I have no problem with baptizing my children, even infants, because I have no problem telling them that Jesus died for them. I also see that God's Word says that baptism saves. (1 Peter 3:21) And if there is anything that I can put my faith in, it's God's Word.