Posts Tagged ‘jehovah’s witnesses’

3 John 1:9-10
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church

Here, John writes of a man named Diotrephes who had made it his ambition and desire to ‘have the preeminence’ among the people within this particular church. As a result of his own pride, haughtiness, and thirst for power, he had evidently refused to share an epistle from the Apostle John which had been addressed to this congregation and, adding insult to injury, he even refused to allow the people access to John or any of the other elders who were acquainted with him. In his description of Diotrephes, John presents us with a picture of a man possessing a desire to control people for the purposes of accomplishing his own agenda and for his own glory, rather than the Lord’s. Due to his deep-seeded disdain for (and, no doubt, jealousy of) the disciples and their rank in the Kingdom of God–coupled with his strong desire to be the sole recipient of honor and allegiance from those under his authority–he had not only forbidden the people from fellowship with John and other true Believers in Christ, but also sought to turn the peoples’ hearts against them through the devilish means of slandering them with malicious words whenever the opportunity arose.

In case that wasn’t enough to achieve this devious goal, Diotrophes also retaliated against any who dared disobey his unreasonable and ungodly commands by making public examples of them in casting them out of the church. Though he may not have physically thrown them out or even demanded that they leave in every circumstance, he would have no doubt made remaining in his presence (and under his authority) unbearable for those who would not bow to his self-centered demands and, in a sense, would have ‘driven them out’ via hostilities and abuse. Hence, if these dear saints were not ‘cast out’ in word and deed, they were certainly done so in spirit; being forced to choose between remaining in such a hostile environment or departing in the interest of their own spiritual and physical self-preservation (which is really no choice at all). It is a terrible thing when those who are charged with the nurture and care of the Lord’s sheep take it upon themselves to become ‘Lords over God’s heritage’ and, as a result, become tyrants and taskmasters over those whom they have been charged to love and protect. Such is the sign of a wicked and perverse generation which is to precede the coming of the Lord. As it was in John’s day, so it is in ours.

Diotrephes’ overbearing behavior is reminiscent of the type normally associated with many of the modern day religious cults that seem to be popping up everywhere nowadays. Normally, when we hear the term ‘cult’, we usually think of the more obvious and most extreme examples such as the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies, Scientologists, Branch Davidians, Jim Jones, etc. However, many of the same unhealthy and destructive behavioral patterns found in these groups have crept into many mainstream Christian churches where they are cultivated, promoted, and at times, even celebrated (though often inadvertently and in more subtle, less obvious ways). Here are some warning signs to look for which may indicate that you are indeed part of a cult:

1) You are told not to question what is being taught because the leaders are honest and want the best for you, so you must trust them.

2) Someone in your group has replaced you as the one who makes your choices in life.

3) You are told not to ask questions why anyone left your particular group or church. Rather you are to accept the answers the leaders give you such as: ‘they fell into sin’, ‘they didn’t receive correction’, ‘they weren’t open’, or ‘they had a bad heart and didn’t want to be disciples’.

4) You are told that you must be with their certain church or group to be saved (rather than by faith in Jesus Christ alone).

5) If you want to leave, you are being told there is no other church/denomination that practices truth and you will be led astray or go to hell in doing so.

6) You are constantly being made to feel inferior, having your past failures brought up again and again in a non-constructive and condemning fashion.

7) You are taught to have an excessively exalted view of the leaders of your group or church via their use of (primarily Old Testament) scriptures that are taken out of context in order to discourage you from ever challenging them and as a means of making themselves appear above reproach.

8) Those in authority put down other churches (and people) as a means of building themselves up or making themselves look better.

9) Your leaders call those who leave their particular group or church ‘fall aways’, ‘enemies of the cross’, ‘dogs returning to their own vomit’, etc. while using the examples of Korah and Judas or citing Bible verses out of context (such as I John 2:19, Romans 16:17-18, 2 Thessalonians 3:14, and Hosea 4:17), as a means of discouraging you from fellowshipping them.

10) They recommend for you to primarily be around their people, expecting you to be at all the group activities; if you aren’t, your spirituality and dedication are questioned.

11) Those in authority defend or justify all that they do (sometimes to irrational and absurd lengths), even though it can be unbiblical, harmful, or wrong.

12) The leaders of your group lack humility in their shepherding duties and arrogantly demand that you blindly obey what they say. In addition, there is subtle manipulation in the way they deal with you (and others) on an individual basis via statements such as: ‘real Christians obey their leaders’, ‘if you were truly following Jesus you would see what I’m saying is right’, or ‘true disciples did not question Jesus’.

13) The personal preferences/opinions of those in authority are taught as doctrine and forced upon the hearers, who are then expected to adhere to them with the same (or greater) esteem as that of actual sound Biblical truths.

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 20]:

Greetings Soldier,

I am sorry to see that Mr. Reardon did not attempt a reasoned response to the challenges you put forth to his position but, rather, has chosen to ignore the questions and respond with an argument against the Trinity. As a positive, this is confirmation that he has no good reasons or answers for the inconsistencies and discrepancies that have been brought to his attention regarding the Jehovah’s Witness organization/cult. Despite his unwillingness to respond to you, it is important for you as a Christian to exercise a higher standard and make every attempt to provide a reasoned response to intellectually honest inquiries and objections with meekness and fear, per the admonition of 1 Peter 3:15. Therefore, here is my recommended response to his arguments provided in a point-by-point fashion for clarity:

~Mr. Reardon,

Thank you for your comments. Though you have not yet addressed my previous challenges to your position, as a born again Christian who holds to the doctrine of the Trinity as an essential part of true theology, I am commanded to provide a reasoned defense of the Faith whenever possible. With that said, I would like to address some of the fundamental problems in the arguments that you have presented against the doctrine of the Trinity and why they are based upon flawed premises. If I may elaborate:

1st) You said:  “I am a father, a son and a husband. But, none of these TITLES is my name, and I am NOT three different people! These are separate and distinct positions, roles or offices that I occupy and function in, as ONE PERSON! At times I speak and function as a father. At times I speak and function as a son. And at times I speak and function as a husband.”

Your analogy here is a false one, though, as at no time are you your OWN father, son, or husband. Jesus claimed that God was HIS father many times while on earth and even AFTER He was glorified in heaven (which means He was no longer in the flesh–Rev. 3:5, 12). Likewise, God Himself announced openly that Jesus Christ was HIS son numerous times, and this is confirmed over and over again in the Scriptures . Unless you are arguing that Jesus was His own father and God was his own son (which is absurd and un-Biblical), this argument has no merit. Besides, Jesus Himself stated that if you are married, then you and your wife are ‘one flesh’. Surely, you don’t take that to mean that you and her are the same person do you? Rather, you understand Jesus to mean simply that the both of you are ‘one’ in unity. The same type of consistency must be applied to our understanding of the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (the term ‘Trinity’ literally means Tri-unity or ‘Three in unity’).

2nd) You said:  “Many Christians are always bringing up ‘the Trinity this’ or ‘the Trinity that’. I defy you to show me where the word ‘Trinity’ is found anywhere in the Bible. Here’s a hint for you:  It isn’t there!!”

With respect, you seem to be arguing that since the word ‘Trinity’ is not found in the Bible, then it therefore does not/cannot exist. Using that same logic, one could argue that automobiles, cell phones, grandfathers, and even the Bible itself cannot exist either, since none of those words is found in the Bible. Surely, you would agree that such a conclusion is absurd, no? Likewise, hopefully you can clearly see the problem with your own argument as well. Although the word ‘Trinity’ is not mentioned in the Bible, the concept of ‘three in one’ is (1 John 5:7; Eph. 4:4-6; ). Not to mention the litany of times that Jesus used the terms ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’ to describe Himself in relation to the Father along with the crystal clear instances at Jesus’ baptism and Stephen’s martyrdom/stoning where all 3 members of the Godhead are present and are individually recognized and described.

3rd) You said:  “Unauthorized changes were made in 325 A.D. when Emperor Constantine and his “scholars” introduced the doctrine of the “trinity” to the world, and established it as the official doctrine of the church of Rome … with the emperor being its head.”

I would say that this is the most troubling argument of all. Here, you are asserting that, at some point in time, the Bible was changed and is therefore not accurate in its description of the Triune nature of God. If that’s the case, how do you know that ANY of what the Bible says is reliable? How do you know that Jesus really was the Son of God who was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead on the third day if the Bible isn’t reliable and doesn’t really mean what it says? Frankly, Mr. Reardon, it seems all too easy for those who disagree with what the Bible says to somehow try to undermine its authority in order to validate their own doctrines and beliefs. This is but one of the distinguishing marks of a Christian counterfeit and/or cult.

As a born again Christian, I hold the Bible to be the infallible, inspired Word of God. It is my ultimate authority and the foundation of my reasoning. The Bible is the lens through which every Christian should interpret the world around us, and not vice versa. I’m sure you would agree that, never should we try to make the Bible ‘fit’ our individual beliefs, but rather we should adjust our beliefs to fit the truth of the Bible. I do not deny that there are some difficult doctrines in Christianity, but the doctrine of the Trinity is undeniable IF we study Bible in a consistent, straightforward manner and interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture. One God existing in 3 persons is not in any way unfathomable, as even water exists in 3 totally distinct, different forms at certain temperatures, yet it still remains H2O at all times and one egg can be separated into three distinct parts, yet it remains ‘one egg’.  I hope that this has provided you with some more food for thought (pardon the pun) and some items to consider with regards to this crucial topic. Consider the very sobering forewarnings penned by the Apostle Paul regarding the satanic deception of the times in which we live:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;    ~1 Timothy 4: 1-2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
~2 Timothy 4: 2-4

I pray that you will give this some serious thought and am here to help you think through these issues should you need me. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hopefully this will aid in helping him come to see the error of what he is doing and repent of it. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’