December 18, 2017

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Salesmen of Falsehood

Stewart Custer

Although God highly honors a faithful witness (Revelation 2:13), He warns most solemnly “a false witness shall perish” (Proverbs 21 :28). The Jehovah’s Witnesses that often go from door-to-door regularly speak of themselves as though they were God’s only witness to the truth in the world today. Since these Jehovah’s Witnesses are trained in salesmanship at their “Kingdom Hall,” the average Christian is sometimes at a loss to know how to answer these representatives of a false religious system. Yet there are many clear examples of falsehood in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Falsehood of their Founder

If you want to know what an organization is like, find out what kind of person the founder was. The founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was Charles Taze Russell, a thoroughly dishonest and unprincipled man. In the records of the High Court of Ontario. In the case of Russell versus Ross, “Defamatory Libel,” March 1913, there is clear evidence of Russell’s character. During the court trial while Russell was under oath, an attorney asked him, “Do you know the Greek?” Russell answered, “Oh, yes.” The attorney then produced a copy of Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament and asked Russell to identify the letters of the Greek alphabet found on page 447. Russell could not. The attorney then questioned, “Now, are you familiar with the Greek?” Russell replied, “No.” This is clear evidence of perjury under oath. Anyone may consult the court records for proof of such dishonesty. The five-hour-long cross-examination in that trial demonstrated that Russell claimed to be ordained and finally admitted that he never was; that he claimed that his wife had not divorced him and then admitted that she had; that he claimed that he had not been ordered to pay alimony to her and then admitted that he had. It was not a matter of merely finding a minor inconsistency, but of demonstrating that the whole fabric of Russell’s life was one of falsehood. His libel suit was thrown out of court. Therefore, how can a man of such disreputable character be taken seriously as a religious teacher?

If this evidence were not sufficient, there is much more. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle printed clear testimony that the “miracle wheat” that Russell sold for a high price was an ordinary grade of wheat and not at all miraculous (January 27, 1913, page 3). The same newspaper printed evidence that Russell claimed to have preached sermons on his world tour that he never, in fact, preached (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 19, 1912, page 18). After reading this evidence, it is easier to understand how Russell could Claim that one who read only his writings would come to the light, whereas one who read only the Bible would come to darkness (The Watchtower, September 15, 1910, page 298).

The Falsehood of their Literature

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for selling millions of copies of their literature. Their magazines, The Watchtower and Awake, have been a familiar sight as they attempt to distribute them door-to-door. Many of their publications refer to the truth in their titles, but all of them are devoted to the falsehood of contradicting the truth of the Bible. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity, that there is one God in three persons (The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, pages 22-23); they claim that Satan originated the doctrine of the Trinity (Let God Be True, pages 82, 101); they deny that Jesus Christ is the Almighty God (The Truth Shall Make You Free, page. 47); they claim that formerly He was the archangel Michael (Ibid., page 49); they claim that Jesus Christ was a Jehovah’s Witness in their definition of the term (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, page 9); they claim that God was the Father of Jesus in the same sense that He was Adam’s Father (The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, page 51); they will not use the term A.D. (meaning “in the year of our Lord”) in dates; instead they use C.E. (“Common Era”) in their literature (Is the Bible Really the Word of God?, pages 158- 159); they claim that death is annihilation, that Hell means the grave (Let God Be True, pages 72-73); and they claim that the second coming of Christ is in visible, for Jesus is not a man but a spirit being (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, page 30).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of the Bible, The New World Translation, systematically mistranslates passage after passage in order to establish their interpretation of Scripture. It terms Christ “a mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6), but in the same context translates the identical phrase “the Almighty God” when it refers to Jehovah (Isaiah 10:21). It arbitrarily inserts a period into the middle of a verse to keep the Apostle Paul from calling Jesus God (Romans 9:5). It makes Stephen address God as “Jehovah” (Acts 7:60), but will not allow him to call Jesus this when he uses the identical word in the same context (Acts 7:59).

The Falsehood of their Hope

The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that this age will soon end with the battle of Armageddon, which will slaughter all who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses; the 144,000 true Jehovah’s Witnesses will then reign from Heaven in spirit existence (Let God Be True, pages 256-257). Since there are more than 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world, this teaching has been a source of worry. In 1935 the Jehovah’s Witnesses decided that there would be a great multitude of “other sheep” who would share in the millennial reign on the earth in physical bodies (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, page 140). These “other sheep” are other Jehovah’s Witnesses who will not make it to Heaven!

Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot promise anyone. salvation. None of them can be sure that their door-to-door selling secures salvation; they only hope for “favor” from God. Contrary to this, the Bible teaches “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5-6). The real truth is that “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This is the true Gospel; there is no other. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are false witnesses, for they have perverted the truth of the Word.

Dr. Stewart Custer served for many years as chairman of the division of Bible at Bob Jones University. He has authored many articles and booklets, including Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Contradict the Bible?

This article first appeared in Faith for the Family, July/August 1975. It is republished here by permission.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

Submit other comments here.