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Author Topic: What are the heresies of Jehovah's Witnesses?  (Read 5901 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 02, 2009, 03:31:47 PM »

I am taking a religions class, and we are currently learning about New Religious Movements. We have to write a 3-5 page paper on a specific NRM of our choice. I decided to choose Jehovah's Witnesses since I've lived around Mormons all my life (and know a good deal about them) and I wanted to point out the various similarities between Witnesses and early Christian heresies.

So my question is...

What are the various early-Christian heresies that Jehovah's Witnesses fall under? So far I've noticed Arianism (Which was pretty easy) but I didn't know any others.

One of their main doctrines that I was sure was an early Christian heresy is the idea that Christ isn't even God, that he is simply created. But I don't know the specific name for this heresy.
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2009, 04:02:18 PM »

What are the various early-Christian heresies that Jehovah's Witnesses fall under? So far I've noticed Arianism (Which was pretty easy) but I didn't know any others.

One of their main doctrines that I was sure was an early Christian heresy is the idea that Christ isn't even God, that he is simply created. But I don't know the specific name for this heresy.

That is Arianism.  So maybe the concept is not as easy as you thought it was...

"There once was a time when the Son was not."

To be fair, they were Christians, so it's not like they would have said he was simply a created being.  He was specially created, in their framework.
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2009, 04:10:50 PM »

A form of Adoptionism, Socianism (I believe), some Gnosticism, etc.
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 04:11:45 PM »

Well, I am not a specialist in the ecclesiastical history, but here are some elements of the teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses that strike anyone as departing greatly from the Orthodox theology and even from theology of the majority of the Heterodox Trinitarian Christians:

1. Neo-Arianism (which you already mentioned) - the belief that Logos is a created being, that there was a time when He was not.

2. Chiliasm, or "milleniarism": the teaching that the "one thousand year reign" (mentioned in the book of Revelation) will be the reign of Christ on this planet Earth, with Christ's earthly capital in Jerusalem.

3. The teaching that some people - the "heavenly class" - will be resurrected in immaterial heavenly bodies, while other people will be resurected in material earthly bodies and live on the planet Earth, making it into the "Paradise Earth." (THis belief is based on the literal interpretation of the figure 144,000, mentioned in Revelation; JWs teach that these - including the 1-st century Christian saints and their Watchtower "governing body" - will be the citizens of Heaven or the "little flock" mentioned in Luke 12:32, while the "other sheep" mentioned in John 10:16 are the future dwellers of the Earth - simply righteous people, subservient to the "heavenly class.")

4. The belief that the second "parousia" ("presence") of Christ is already occuring, because Christ invisibly returned to Earth in 1914. (This one is perhaps close to some Docetic heresies of the 2-nd - 4th centuries A.D.)

5. The belief that there is no such thing as a soul living separately from body of a human being.

6. The belief that those who oppose God will be simply exterminated, extinguished, rather than subjected to eternal torment.

7. The belief that archangel Michael is one of the names of Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2009, 04:12:16 PM »

Well I was saying the JW say he was simply created. He was created, but as a perfect human who is now higher than the angels because of his resurrection.

Thanks for the help everyone!
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2009, 04:43:22 PM »

^^You are most welcome. Yours truly "studied" the Bible under the direction of one local JW elder in 1999-2000, when Lesya and I were separated (lived in different cities because I was appointed assistant prof. in Mississippi while Lesya was still a postdoc in Seattle). They are very compelling and can be even charming, show you that they are interested in you, understand your problems, etc., and they can also make an "air" of being "academic," scholarly. However, if you look a bit closer, you see that they in fact are very authoritarian sect and they are totally helpless when you directly ask them to show you in the Bible, just where does it say that Logos was created.
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2009, 05:23:07 PM »

However, if you look a bit closer, you see that they in fact are very authoritarian sect and they are totally helpless when you directly ask them to show you in the Bible, just where does it say that Logos was created.

Well, plenty of things that the Orthodox practice aren't "in the Bible" either.  You have to appeal to outside sources to make a convincing argument.
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2009, 05:33:53 PM »

I am taking a religions class, and we are currently learning about New Religious Movements. We have to write a 3-5 page paper on a specific NRM of our choice. I decided to choose Jehovah's Witnesses since I've lived around Mormons all my life (and know a good deal about them) and I wanted to point out the various similarities between Witnesses and early Christian heresies.

So my question is...

What are the various early-Christian heresies that Jehovah's Witnesses fall under? So far I've noticed Arianism (Which was pretty easy) but I didn't know any others.

One of their main doctrines that I was sure was an early Christian heresy is the idea that Christ isn't even God, that he is simply created. But I don't know the specific name for this heresy.


1.)Arianism

2.) Chillism

3.) They believe the Holy Spirit to be a force. I forgot the name of the ancient heresy that denied the Holy Spirit being God.

4.) Soul sleep (I don't know if this was an ancient heresy or not....I really don't know)

5.) They believe Jesus is the Arch Angel Micheal (I don't know if there was an ancient group that believed that....probably not)

6.) They believe the wicked will be destroyed/annihilated in Hell. They see Hell as temporal. They believe people will burn to a crisp in Hell then not exist anymore.

7.) They are suppose to hate Icons and stuff like that.



That's all I can think of right now. But they came from the First Day Adventists, and the First day adventists came from what was called the "Millerite Movement".

The Millerite movement produced both the First day Adventists, Seventhday Adventists, and the Worldwide church of God international (Armstrong).

The JW's also came from the city of Pittsburgh. I was told that the founders tomb stone was an Egyptian paramid.


uhm, this is all I can say for now. Maybe later I will think of something else.





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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 05:38:42 PM »

3.) They believe the Holy Spirit to be a force. I forgot the name of the ancient heresy that denied the Holy Spirit being God.

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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2009, 05:44:34 PM »

3.) They believe the Holy Spirit to be a force. I forgot the name of the ancient heresy that denied the Holy Spirit being God.

The Pnevmatomachoi

Thanks,.......wow! I know there is no way I could ever spell that word correctly!!! Thank you!





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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2009, 06:08:52 PM »

Quote from: jnorm888 link=topic=21063.msg316654#msg316654

That's all I can think of right now. But they came from the First Day Adventists, and the First day adventists came from what was called the "Millerite Movement".

The Millerite movement produced both the First day Adventists, Seventhday Adventists, and the Worldwide church of God international (Armstrong).


Not to start a tangent, but I think the Millerite movement also produced the Branch Davidians, made infamous by David Koresh in Waco Texas.
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2009, 08:49:39 PM »

However, if you look a bit closer, you see that they in fact are very authoritarian sect and they are totally helpless when you directly ask them to show you in the Bible, just where does it say that Logos was created.

Well, plenty of things that the Orthodox practice aren't "in the Bible" either.  You have to appeal to outside sources to make a convincing argument.

Not really, but that's besides the point: Orthodoxy doesn't hold to sola scriptura.  The JWs claim to do so.

Btw, one heresy not mentioned yet: Judaizers.  They claim to hold a lot of Jewish practices, for instance, the only holiday they celebrate is the passover (they have some crackers and grape juice I think. It's the only time they have "communion" and its only for the 144,000).
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2009, 10:36:19 PM »

Btw, one heresy not mentioned yet: Judaizers.  They claim to hold a lot of Jewish practices, for instance, the only holiday they celebrate is the passover (they have some crackers and grape juice I think. It's the only time they have "communion" and its only for the 144,000).
And, in so doing, they make a big deal out of the 14th day of Nisan (the date of the Jewish Passover).
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2009, 09:10:16 AM »

However, if you look a bit closer, you see that they in fact are very authoritarian sect and they are totally helpless when you directly ask them to show you in the Bible, just where does it say that Logos was created.

Well, plenty of things that the Orthodox practice aren't "in the Bible" either.  You have to appeal to outside sources to make a convincing argument.

That's right, but the Orthodox, unlike the JWs, do not claim that EVERYTHING we believe is "in the Bible." They (the JWs) do. And it is possible to show them that they repeat a statement that is simply not true. The notion that the Logos was created is NOT in the Bible.
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2009, 09:15:27 AM »

However, if you look a bit closer, you see that they in fact are very authoritarian sect and they are totally helpless when you directly ask them to show you in the Bible, just where does it say that Logos was created.

Well, plenty of things that the Orthodox practice aren't "in the Bible" either.  You have to appeal to outside sources to make a convincing argument.

Not really, but that's besides the point: Orthodoxy doesn't hold to sola scriptura.  The JWs claim to do so.

Btw, one heresy not mentioned yet: Judaizers.  They claim to hold a lot of Jewish practices, for instance, the only holiday they celebrate is the passover (they have some crackers and grape juice I think. It's the only time they have "communion" and its only for the 144,000).

That's true. They call it the Rememberance Day. They gather in their Kingdom Hall and pass the wine and the unleavened bread between each other, and then only those of them who claim to have a "heavenly calling" eat the bread and drink the wine. Formally, they say that anyone can expreince this "heavenly calling"; yet, in actuality, only their elders receive the approval of the organization and are considered the "heavenly class" (i.e. those who belong to the 144,000). To be an elder, one must either be born to a JW family, or "come to the Truth" early in life, in childhood, and to have a very extensive record of "field ministry" (going door to door).
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2009, 10:03:01 AM »

Oh, and one more striking part of the JWs' teaching: a phobia of the Cross. They always talk about some "research" that, allegedly, showed that the Cross is an ancient pagan sexual symbol, that the "true Christians" never used it, etc.
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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2009, 10:12:48 AM »

Peace mate,

HH Pope Shenouda III has a book on this:
http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/jehovwit/index.html
(Perhaps it has been published under multiple English titles or else there may be more than one book.)

If you're interested, here's the Watchtower's former Cross and Crown symbol which they clearly labelled:
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/2919/russ3.html
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2009, 02:19:27 AM »

They believe our Lord was crucified on a stake rather than on a cross!
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2009, 05:25:53 AM »

This is a fantastic thread! Really good information!
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2009, 07:10:23 AM »


JWs refuse to salute the flag, which they consider a form of idolatry.

JWs refuse to pay taxes and do military service since they believe that they must serve only the Kingdom of God JW, not an earthly state or nation.

JWs object to blood transfusion. (because of the law that prohibits drinking blood in Genesis)

What a negative and incompatible faith system  Grin
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2009, 01:07:14 PM »


JWs refuse to salute the flag, which they consider a form of idolatry.

JWs refuse to pay taxes and do military service since they believe that they must serve only the Kingdom of God JW, not an earthly state or nation.

JWs object to blood transfusion. (because of the law that prohibits drinking blood in Genesis)

What a negative and incompatible faith system  Grin

Are you sure they "refuse to pay taxes?" My impression was that they are very law-obedient people, as a group, and they do pay all the taxes.

About not saluting a flag - yes, that's true; but I do not salute any flag, either, and I do not put my hand on the heart when they play an anthem. Same thing military service - if it were compulsory in the USA and I would be drafted, I'd serve; but as long as it is not commpulsory, I am very happy not to have to do anything with it. I am a total pacifist.

About not participating in blood transfusions - yes, that's barbaric, here I am totally not with them. If there is indeed a need to transfuse blood, I am completely in favor of doing it. However, it has to be mentioned that there is actually only ONE situation when a blood transfusion is necessary - an acute hemorrage with loss of >25% of the circulating blood. Doing repeated blood transfusions, for example, to treat vitamin B12 deficiency, is not a good idea. Any blood transfusion is always a sensitization of the recepient's organism to foreign antigens. Red blood cells express a whole slug of polymorphic antigens like MNSs, Lewis, Kell, and other; the AB0 antigen system and the Rhesus antigen are only a "tip of the iceberg."
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« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2009, 03:23:38 PM »

I have noticed that "heresy" is a pretty popular word on this forum.
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« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2009, 03:47:40 PM »


Are you sure they "refuse to pay taxes?" My impression was that they are very law-obedient people, as a group, and they do pay all the taxes.


Frankly, I am not sure. In a book I read several years ago it was said that they did not want to pay taxes because they believed the secular world to be inherently satanic. However, according to a wikipedia article, they are said to be instructed to pay taxes:

Jehovah's Witnesses believe their allegiance belongs to God's Kingdom, which is viewed as an actual government. Thus they refrain from saluting the flag of any country or singing nationalistic songs. They believe that these acts are tantamount to worship. The political neutrality of Jehovah's Witnesses is also expressed by their refusal to participate in military service – even when it is compulsory – and by their detachment from secular politics.

Still, members are expected to obey all laws of their native governments, so long as these do not violate what they view as God's law. They are instructed to pay all taxes of the country in which they reside, considering the government to be solely responsible for how they are used
.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_and_governments

I may have been mistaken or that certain book is to be blamed  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2009, 04:03:42 PM »

I have noticed that "heresy" is a pretty popular word on this forum.

As well as "ultramontanism."
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2009, 04:16:59 PM »


One thing that I have noticed through the years which I always thought was a bit strange is that all Jehovah Witness Kingdom Halls everywhere have absolutely no windows on any of the outside walls or doors through which natural sunlight can pass to the inside of the building!  Shocked

Always makes me wonder about what goes on in there. Hmmm!

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« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2009, 04:20:23 PM »

I have noticed that "heresy" is a pretty popular word on this forum.

As well as "ultramontanism."
Really? I have to disagree
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« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2009, 04:23:30 PM »

I went to one of their "Kingdom Halls" (NOT A CHURCH!) years ago, and nothing too weird went on.  But it was strange that they had boom mics so that people in the congregation could interact with whoever the traveling speaker was that week.  Little boys would walk around with the boom mics and lower them to people in their HERETICAL PEWS so that they could ask questions or reaffirm whatever the speaker was saying using their Watchtower jargon.  
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« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2009, 04:29:42 PM »

 Little boys would walk around with the boom mics and lower them to people in their HERETICAL PEWS so that they could ask questions or reaffirm whatever the speaker was saying using their Watchtower jargon.  
"Hereitical Pews"!!! LOL. I wish there was a rolling on the floor lauging emoticon because I am just about there. Smiley Very witty.
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« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2009, 04:30:17 PM »

Quote
5.) They believe Jesus is the Arch Angel Micheal (I don't know if there was an ancient group that believed that....probably not)
I read somewhere that the Shepherd of Hermas partially embraced the idea that Jesus was archangel Michael.

Quote
Always makes me wonder about what goes on in there. Hmmm!
I've also got informed years ago and it seems that they are literally brain-washed as Alveus Lacuna wrote. In other words they do these three things:
1) They chant some hymns to Jehovah (for a certain period Russel had hymns to Jesus sung, but Rutherford eliminated them as "idolatry")
2) The elder reads an article from "The Watchtower" and "Awake!" magazines.
3) The elder asks the questions at the bottom of each article in the aforemantioned magazines and waits for them to read at once in a loud voice the answer the Watchtower Society gives (which is nothing but a condensed version of the article in Q&A format)
How said...

Quote
Posted by: ChristusDominus  
Insert Quote
Quote from: Alveus Lacuna on Today at 04:03:42 PM
Quote from: Papist on Today at 03:23:38 PM
I have noticed that "heresy" is a pretty popular word on this forum.

As well as "ultramontanism."

Really? I have to disagree  
PS: Please guys, keep the conversation as calm as possible, before it degenerates as on the already-existent topics (there are 3 or 4 open for that). This is not a thread on Orthodoxy and Catholicism, or on ultramontanism, but on the heresies of Jehovah's Witnesses. At least on this subject, RC and EO believers can share a large consent, huh?

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2009, 04:54:50 PM »

PS: Please guys, keep the conversation as calm as possible, before it degenerates as on the already-existent topics (there are 3 or 4 open for that). This is not a thread on Orthodoxy and Catholicism, or on ultramontanism, but on the heresies of Jehovah's Witnesses. At least on this subject, RC and EO believers can share a large consent, huh?
In Christ,     Alex

I wholeheartedly agree. Heorhij, moderator, Free-For-All (Religious Topics)
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« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2009, 05:22:08 PM »

<font color=green>I wholeheartedly agree. Heorhij, moderator, Free-For-All (Religious Topics)</font>

LOL!  Somebody stealing your thunder?
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« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2009, 05:43:53 PM »

<font color=green>I wholeheartedly agree. Heorhij, moderator, Free-For-All (Religious Topics)</font>

LOL!  Somebody stealing your thunder?

No, it's just my first work day as a Mod. Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2009, 05:55:05 PM »

<font color=green>I wholeheartedly agree. Heorhij, moderator, Free-For-All (Religious Topics)</font>

LOL!  Somebody stealing your thunder?

No, it's just my first work day as a Mod. Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2009, 06:12:28 PM »

<font color=green>I wholeheartedly agree. Heorhij, moderator, Free-For-All (Religious Topics)</font>

LOL!  Somebody stealing your thunder?

No, it's just my first work day as a Mod. Smiley
kinda like a "newbie" Mod?   Smiley

Yes. Or a "baby Mod."  angel
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« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2009, 07:54:11 AM »

Hi people!
Since somebody "unvoluntarily" brought forth the theme of ultramontanism, now I'll be dealing with Montanism (an entirely different thing) which has been partially adopted by JW's among the other heresies.
According to Wikipedia, the doctrines of Montanus condemned by the church are these:
Quote
The beliefs of Montanism contrasted with orthodox Christianity in the following ways:

The belief that the prophecies of the Montanists superseded and fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles.
- The encouragement of ecstatic prophesying, contrasting with the more sober and disciplined approach to theology dominant in orthodox Christianity at the time and since.
- The view that Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed, also in contrast to the orthodox Christian view that contrition could lead to a sinner's restoration to the church.
- A stronger emphasis on the avoidance of sin and church discipline than in orthodox Christianity. They emphasized chastity, including forbidding remarriage.
- Some of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman" ("fourteeners"), preferring to celebrate Easter on the Hebrew calendar date of 14 Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it landed on. The orthodoxy held that Easter should be commemorated on the Sunday following 14 Nisan. (Trevett 1996:202)
You can find the entire article here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montanism#Differences_between_Montanism_and_Catholic_Christianity

Now let's analyse them.
On point #1: the Watchtower Society claims to have a direct contact with Jehovah, who explains to the Directive Body how to interpret the Bible in a correct way. This is a sort of "private revelation" that needs no more justification through the Bible. "Listen and obey" is the key sentence in this case. They also claim to be able to prophetise the end of the world and even said that they have been revealed that Jesus has been crowned invisibly in 1945.
On point #2: it is well known that in the JW's interpretation of eschatology, only and exclusively the Jehovah Witnesses will be saved why all of the others will be destroyed once and for all after the resurrection. They also impose to eliminate all unnecessary contacts with the "apostates" and with what they believe to be Satan's people (i.e. all non-JWs)
On point #3: JW's are one of the most rigid religious systems in the world. They invoke the inferiority of the wife to the husband, and admit divorce only in case of adultery. They aren't allowed to make blood transfusions and menace dismembership/excommunication for those who might have sexual relationships outside of marriage.
On point #4: they celebrate only one festival, the Day of Remembrance, to commemorate Christ's passion on Nisan 14, as many of you already stated.

So, in one way or the other, Jehovah's Witnesses not only are arians and macedonians, but also montanists.

In Christ,   Alex

« Last Edit: May 16, 2009, 07:55:12 AM by AlexanderOfBergamo » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2009, 09:02:58 AM »

the Watchtower Society claims to have a direct contact with Jehovah, who explains to the Directive Body how to interpret the Bible in a correct way. This is a sort of "private revelation" that needs no more justification through the Bible. "Listen and obey" is the key sentence in this case. They also claim to be able to prophetise the end of the world and even said that they have been revealed that Jesus has been crowned invisibly in 1945.

If I recall correctly, the latter claim is a bit different. Their Brooklyn leadership made some peculiar calculations based on the book of Daniel, and concluded from these calculations that the second "parousia" ("presence") of Christ has started, invisibly, in 1914. That was also the year when the archangel Michael (=Jesus Christ) threw Satan from the heaven down on the earth - and that's why the First World War began. As for 1945, I do not recall any special things about that particular year - but there can be something, because the Watchtower keeps making these calculations and "retrospective" prophesies all the time.

On point #2: it is well known that in the JW's interpretation of eschatology, only and exclusively the Jehovah Witnesses will be saved why all of the others will be destroyed once and for all after the resurrection. They also impose to eliminate all unnecessary contacts with the "apostates" and with what they believe to be Satan's people (i.e. all non-JWs)

That's not quite true. They indeed believe that all "enemies of Jehovah" will be killed, either during the soon-to-start "Battle of Armageddon," or after the general resurrection of the dead (because the latter will concern both "righteous and unrighteous," Acts 24:15). However, that does not mean, according to the Watchtower teachings, that only the baptised members of their organization will remain living. Jehovah is merciful, and so he will give everyone a chance to "learn the truth" and live; a person will be destroyed only if this person deliberately opposes the "true teachings" and deliberately harms the members of their organization.

As for the apostates, oh yes, the JW's attitude to those who were baptised in their organization and then left it is extremely strict. Based on 2 John 10, they are fobidden to even greet the apostates - even if those are their closest relatives, children or parents or siblings. JW's are instructed not to take any phone calls from these former members of their organization, or even as much as nod to them when they meet them on the street. These same rules apply also to the baptised members of the organization who are temporarily "disfellowshipped" for committing an illegal act or an act of sexual immorality. However, these temporarily disfellowshipped people can be admitted back into the fold, usually after a period of several (1 to 5 or more) years.

On the other hand,the attitude of JWs to non-JWs - that is, to people who were never baptised in their organization - must be (and often really is) extremely friendly, the reason being that these people still have their chance to "come to the truth" (Luke 13:6-9). This includes even those who "studied" with them and then quit. I happen to be one of those people; to this day, every now and then I see a JW elder who used to spend time with me, explaining me the Bible from their "angle" back in 1999-2003, and his wife, somewhere on the street or in a supermarket or at a gasoline station. They do not come to me directly (maybe waiting for me to make the first move), but they both always wave, smile, and have this "air" of total friendliness.

On point #3: JW's are one of the most rigid religious systems in the world. They invoke the inferiority of the wife to the husband, and admit divorce only in case of adultery. They aren't allowed to make blood transfusions and menace dismembership/excommunication for those who might have sexual relationships outside of marriage.

This is quite true. Actually, one of my first "wake-up calls" in those years when I "studied" with this JW elder was when he told me that in a real Christian marriage, the husband is like a captain of the ship (there can be only one), and the wife is like a "first mate" - actively working on various things, but always completely submissive to the husband, never assuming the commanding role. When I rendered this story to my wife, she suddenly said, "look, isn't THAT enough for you to sever all communication with these IDIOTS? Do you have any of your intelligence left? Do *I* look like your "first mate" to you???" Grin Grin Grin

So, in one way or the other, Jehovah's Witnesses not only are arians and macedonians, but also montanists.

Yes, perhaps they are a bit of each of these heresies. However, to me the most important thing is that they do not understand Incarnation the way we do. If the Logos Who became man is not God, then pretty much all the rest is different from what we believe. All this strange sectarian behavior, all these Judaizers' traits, all this obsessive-compulsive eschatology, etc. - seems quite secondary and not decisive in the separation between them and us, I think.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2009, 02:18:05 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2009, 03:57:00 PM »

They believe our Lord was crucified on a stake rather than on a cross!

I don't understand how such a belief is "heresy"? Is it dogmatic to believe Jesus was crucified on a perfect looking cross like we have behind the Altar? He could have been crucified on a tree (which is in line with some hymnology). Romans used just about anything they could get their hands on to crucify people, trees, crosses, stakes in the ground etc.

Considering Jerusalem was a major city in the Empire, and executions went on regularly, they probably did have permanent crosses they used for executions, and so historically, it's non unlikely the traditional iconography isn't far off from the reality, but at the same time it "could" have been a stake, or an old dead tree, even a scaffolding of sorts. (as shown in the TV mini series Jesus of Nazareth) I don't see that as heretical.

 Granted JW's have some strange beliefs, but I don't think this particular one is heresy, per se. It certainly is "cross phobia" as someone else said, but heretical? The early Christians, (or so I have read) almost never portrayed the crucifixion in iconography because it was such a present reality in their world.

Now their understanding of the crucifixion and "who" was crucified, that's definitely heretical. Wink With that said, some of the nicest people I've ever met are JWs, even if they believe things I disagree with. Smiley




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« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2009, 04:17:37 AM »

The biggest bummer of them all; They don't celebrate Christmas Shocked

(and no birthdays either)
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« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2009, 04:32:38 AM »


I don't understand how such a belief is "heresy"? Is it dogmatic to believe Jesus was crucified on a perfect looking cross like we have behind the Altar? He could have been crucified on a tree (which is in line with some hymnology). Romans used just about anything they could get their hands on to crucify people, trees, crosses, stakes in the ground etc.

Considering Jerusalem was a major city in the Empire, and executions went on regularly, they probably did have permanent crosses they used for executions, and so historically, it's non unlikely the traditional iconography isn't far off from the reality, but at the same time it "could" have been a stake, or an old dead tree, even a scaffolding of sorts. (as shown in the TV mini series Jesus of Nazareth) I don't see that as heretical.

 Granted JW's have some strange beliefs, but I don't think this particular one is heresy, per se. It certainly is "cross phobia" as someone else said, but heretical? The early Christians, (or so I have read) almost never portrayed the crucifixion in iconography because it was such a present reality in their world.

Now their understanding of the crucifixion and "who" was crucified, that's definitely heretical. Wink With that said, some of the nicest people I've ever met are JWs, even if they believe things I disagree with. Smiley

If it isn't a heresy, it's pretty close to one. There are numerous prefigurations in the OT of the Cross: Moses stretching out his arms to form a cross with his body as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea while it was miraculously parted; the brazen serpent which was mounted on a cross-shaped staff which was a source of healing from the snakebites plaguing the Israelites, to name but two. Look up the Vigil service for the two feasts of the Cross (third Sunday of Great Lent and September 14), and you will be left in no doubt that Christ was indeed crucified on a cross, and not a pole. Even the root word crux cannot mean anything other than two linear elements brought together in the shape of a cross.
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« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2009, 08:15:09 AM »

The biggest bummer of them all; They don't celebrate Christmas Shocked

Well, that's funny, but it is hardly a heresy in a strict sense. American Puritans did not celebrate Christmas either. And I doubt that the Church unanimously celebrated Christmas in the era of the first Ecumenical Councils...
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« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2009, 03:15:26 PM »

The biggest bummer of them all; They don't celebrate Christmas Shocked

Well, that's funny, but it is hardly a heresy in a strict sense. American Puritans did not celebrate Christmas either. And I doubt that the Church unanimously celebrated Christmas in the era of the first Ecumenical Councils...
I'll look into that, Sir.

Them not celebrating Christmas may not be considered a heresy, per se, but a bummer it sure is! Undecided
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 03:16:43 PM by ChristusDominus » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2009, 03:24:37 PM »

And I doubt that the Church unanimously celebrated Christmas in the era of the first Ecumenical Councils...

They celebrated the Nativity and Baptism of Christ on the same day, the feast of the Theophany, on January 6th, as the Armenians still do today.
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« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2009, 03:58:59 PM »

I think a few things had not yet been established in the first centuries of the Early Church. A prime example is the Canon of the Holy Bible. Many books were circulating the Churches, yet not everyone knew whether they were all to be considered divinely inspired or not. Many dubious texts were circulating along with authentic texts. It wasn't until the 4th and early 5th century, through subsequent Ecumenical councils, that this dilema was finally put to rest.
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There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials. - Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
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