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by Dr. Suhento Liauw Translated by Mrs. Krista Ang
If since the beginning, Jehovah s !itnesses "J!# had entered Indonesia $ust as other deno%inations did without being inti%idated by the govern%ent, then &erha&s they would only have had a s%all nu%ber of churches $ust li'e Mor%on and (hristian Science. )urther%ore, if only *rotestant churches had taught their %e%bers about the %isleading doctrines of J!, &erha&s this %ove%ent would only have gathered a s%all nu%ber of followers. +ut the *rotestants too' a wrong &olicy, in which they used the hand of govern%ent to &revent this %ove%ent fro% o&erating o&enly. This forced the% to o&erate underground. In the end, it was no longer a secret that the %e%bers of this %ove%ent wal'ed two by two visiting (hristians ho%es, ,uestioning their faith, and s&reading their doctrines. The result is that their nu%ber beco%es so astounding and their networ' e-tensive. The habit of using the hand of govern%ent was not only ineffective but also &roved that the users of it did not have any counter argu%entations against this %ove%ent. )urther%ore, it also created a challenge to this %ove%ent to fight harder. It s better for the churches who thin' the%selves %ore biblical than J! to hold se%inars or &ublish tracts and boo'lets in order to strengthen the faith of their congregations and e-&lain the false doctrines of J!. A Short History of Jehovah’s Witnesses (harles Ta.e /ussell was born on )ebruary 01, 0234, in *ittsburgh, *ennsylvania. Since he was a teenager, he o&&osed the belief on the e-istence of hell as a &unish%ent for &eo&le. 5e also o&&osed religious institution "church#. At the age of 02, in 0267, he gathered &eo&le to study bible, and in 0262, his study bible grou& a&&ointed hi% as *astor. )ro% 0261 until 0262, /ussell wor'ed as an assistant editor in a %onthly %aga.ine in /ochester, 8ew 9or'. 5e then ,uit his $ob because of the controversy of his writing about Christ’s Salvation. After leaving his $ob, he &ublished The Herald of the Morning "026:#, which today beca%e The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. This &ublication was started with 1,777 co&ies only. Today, it is &rinted in 47 %illion co&ies and translated to %ore than 077 languages. ;ther &ublication fro% Watchtower with the title Awake! is &rinted %ore than 03 %illion co&ies and translated to %ore than <7 languages. +ut (.T. /ussell, being a very confident &erson, even though he attended school only until 6 th grade, tried his best to teach and to lead. It was no wonder that his teaching was a &artial truth and not a co%&lete har%onious truth that can be inter&reted fro% all verses in the +ible and is based on the true %eaning of each word in its original language.
In June 0:04, the +isho& of Ja%es Street +a&tist (hurch in 5a%ilton, ;ntario, /ev. J. J. /oss, &ublished a &a%&hlet that described the i%%oral life and the su&erficial theological 'nowledge of (.T. /ussell. ;f course, /ussell was furious and sued /oss to court on the charges of discrediting hi%. +ut, une-&ected by /ussell, this case beca%e a boo%erang that caused hi% further hu%iliation. It s because the court s verdict was in favor to /oss, since all that he wrote about /ussell &roved to be accurate. It was true that /ussell was not a very good husband and head of the fa%ily, since he was divorced. It was also true that he did not attend any university, learn theology for%ally, nor understand 5ebrew or =ree' languages. The funny thing was that when /ussell was as'ed whether he understood =ree', he answered yes. +ut when the lawyer o&ened a =ree' bible and as'ed hi% to read the to&%ost word, he ad%itted that he could not do it. ;f course all the &eo&le in the court roo% e-&loded in laughter. 5e finally had to ad%it, with great hu%iliation of course, that he did not understand =ree'. >!alter Marth, The Kingdom of the Cults, Minnea&olis? +ethany 5ose *ublishers, 0:23, &&. @4A@6B. Another sur&rising fact was that /ussell was never ordained by any organi.ations but he called hi%self, and his followers called hi%, C*astor.D !alter Marth said that as a &reacher, he fascinated %any &eo&le, but as a theologian, his char% did not wor' on anyone, es&ecially learned theologians. 5e did not have a theological argu%entation with strong base. +ut, solely de&ending on his wits, s&eculations, cleverness in &laying words, he bravely %ade state%ents and taught %any doctrines which were in conflict with the doctrines of %ost churches without sufficient argu%entation. In the &ublication of Watchtower on Se&te%ber 03, 0:07, &age 4:2, /ussell stated that it was enough for &eo&le to read his writings without reading the +ible since his writings have e-&lained the +ible and even had the sa%e authority as the +ible. 5e told his followers that they were unable to understand the +ible clearly, but he was able to, so he would e-&lain it to the%. According to /ussell, if all &eo&le agreed with his teachings then the hu%an race would i%%ediately enter a 'ingdo% full of &eace. 5is teachings gained %o%entu% since not long after that there was a conflict that resulted in the !orld !ar I. 5e even beca%e %ore fa%ous since %any &eo&le suffered de&ression after !!I. After his death, on ;ctober <0, 0:01, the Watchtower Societ was lead by Jose&h )ran'lin /utherford, a $udge in +oonville town, Missouri. 5e was a great writer. In his life he wrote %ore than a hundred boo's. +esides /ussell, /utherford was the best contributor in develo&ing the false teachings of J!. At the ti%e of /ussell, his organi.ation was not yet called J!. This na%e was introduced at the ti%e of /utherford. 5e then died on January 2, 0:@4 in (alifornia because of cancer. I%%ediately after the death of /utherford, they chose 8athan 5o%er Knorr as the &resident of J!. Knorr was a rector fro% =ilead Missionary Training School "=MTS#, in 8ew 9or'. The teachings of =MTS were not based on the +ible, since it only served as the training center for an ar%y of boo'sellers who went fro% door to door. This school would not &roduce a theologian who could thin' by hi%self, but only a theologian who de&ended on the writings of his leader in the for% of boo's and tracts. Knorr died in June 0:66. The leadershi& of J! then &assed on to )rederic' !. )ran., a well 'nown %e%ber in the J! society.
Deviation in Their Tea hin!s !e are very sorry for the &eo&le who give the%selves to the teachings of a &erson who never attended any theological schools, who could not read the +ible in its original language, and who suffered a 'ind of &ressure during his childhood that %ade hi% declared that there was no such thing such as hell. It is not %y intention to declare that anyone who never attend theological school or anyone who cannot read the +ible in its original language can never inter&ret the +ible correctly. 5owever, if so%eone bravely %a'es a conclusion which is in contrast with the o&inion of the %a$ority, that &erson has to have a very strong foundation. 5is or her conclusion has to be based on the original language of the +ible since the translated +ible contains the ris' of changes in %eaning related to the riches of that language which is different fro% one to the other. The teachings of J! are the result of %isinter&retation of %any +ible verses. They are li'e a co%%unis% school of thought which is indoctrinated by the leaders to their followers so intensively and syste%atically that the followers of J! hold fast to those teachings $ust li'e the co%%unists hold fast to their belief. )irst of all, their na%e, Jehovah s !itnesses, shows their lac' of understanding about the biblical conce&t of (hristianity. The na%e of Jehovah was the na%e chosen by The (reator as the na%e "sy%bol# of 5i%self when 5e introduced 5i%self to hu%an beings, es&ecially to the Israelites. After the fall of %an to sin, hu%an race could no longer live side by side with The Most 5oly ;ne. Sin %ust be dealt with, and the settle%ent of sin is through &unish%ent. =od &ro%ised to send a savior, who will bear the &unish%ent deserved by hu%ans. +efore that savior ca%e, =od ordered a sy%bolic worshi& to describe 5i% and 5is &ro%ise. In relation to that sy%bolic worshi&, the na%e of Jehovah was given as a sy%bol that &ointed to The (reator. !hen =od s &ro%ise to send a Savior was fulfilled at the co%ing of (hrist, who is also =od 5i%self, 5e did not use the na%e of Jehovah, but instead 5e used the na%e of CJesus,D which %eans Savior. If J! %e%bers understand this truth, they should na%e their %ove%ent as Jesus !itnesses, not J!. If they wanted to be J!, then they should have been born before =od s &ro%ise of a Savior was fulfilled. Second, there is a %isunderstanding about Jesus who is =od clothed in hu%an body. There are %any verses in the +ible, not $ust one or two, which are directly or indirectly state that Jesus the Savior is The (reator or Jehovah 5i%self. !hen John the +a&tist was as'ed about who he truly was, he said that he was not the Messiah, but he was Cthe voice of one crying the wilderness, *re&are ye the way of the Lord, %a'e straight in the desert a way for our Go"D "Isaiah @7?<#. The 5ebrew word for Go" in this verse is Jehovah. !ho was %eant by Isaiah as Jehovah whose way was to be &re&ared by John the +a&tistE It was Jesus (hrist, the ;ne who introduced 5i%self with the na%e of Jehovah in the ;ld Testa%ent, and then introduced 5i%self with the na%e of Jesus in the 8ew Testa%ent. The difference is that when 5e introduced 5i%self as Jehovah, 5e did it in the %iddle of the te%&est and thunders, while when 5e introduced 5i%self as Jesus, 5e did it through hu%an birth and the natural growing &rocess of a %an. !hen John
the +a&tist stated that he ca%e to &re&are the way for Jesus, he ,uoted Isaiah @7?<, thus he stated that Jesus was the Jehovah who ca%e clothed in hu%an flesh. To who% is this verse &ointed, C)or unto as a child is born, unto us a son is given? and the govern%ent shall be u&on his shoulder? and his na%e shall be called !onderful, Co#nse$or, The %i!hty Go", The ever$astin! &ather, The 'rin e of 'ea eD "Isaiah :? 1#, if not to Jesus. And in the 8ew Testa%ent, I John 3?47 clearly states that Jesus is =od "theos#, C. . . in his Son Jesus (hrist. This is the tr#e Go", and eternal life. 5ow co%e that so%eone who is honest and faithful to the !ord of =od can conclude that Jesus is (hrist is not =od incarnateE +ut this is the belief that was created by /ussell who clai%ed that he based it on the +ible, although in fact he only based it on several verses that e-&ose (hrist s hu%anity and used it to build a co%%unity of followers who was then na%ed by /utherford as J!. +ecause his followers always receive challenges fro% the &eo&le who understand the +ible, and because %any ti%es they were at loss to res&ond to these, so later on, this %ove%ent &ublishes its own +ible both in FSA and in Indonesia. They %ani&ulate the words of the +ible to confor% to their belief then &ublish this C%odifiedD version of the +ible. ;ne of the J! followers told the writer that he could not find other well organi.ed (hristian organi.ations besides J!. Therefore, based on this fact, he gladly believed that J! teaches truth. +ut this thin'ing is very dangerous. /ussian co%%unis% under Stalin and Lenin or (hinese co%%unis% under Mao were very well organi.ed, and so is (atholic church under the *a&acy syste%. Does this fact $ustify that what they teach is truthE The &roble% is, of course, not on the Cwell organi.edD as&ect of the organi.ation, but on the confor%ity to what the +ible says. It should not be (artia$ confor%ity, but it should be o%($ete confor%ity instead. According to !alter Martin, in the boo' The Kingdom of the Cults, J! bravely %ani&ulated the %ain the%es of (hristian doctrines such as by teaching that there was no 5ell, although in the +ible =od said %ore about 5ell than 5eaven. =od sole%nly warn hu%an about 5ell so that 5e said CAnd if thy right eye offend thee, &luc' it out, and cast it fro% thee? for it is &rofitable for thee that one of thy %e%bers should &erish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into he$$. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it fro% thee? for it is &rofitable for thee that one of thy %e%bers should &erish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into he$$D "Matthew 3?4:A<7#. +ut J! denied the very e-istence of hell, &erha&s in order not to scare their %e%bers. ;ur beloved readers, the writer 'nows that this short article will never be sufficient to disclose all the deviations of J!. This short article is %eant to warn you to investigate %ore about grou&s or %ove%ents that give you the wrong signal. If you are driving, wrong signal can cause a terrific accident. In the s&iritual area, wrong signal can cause the loss of your soul in eternity. May =od give you wisdo% and the ability to understand and acce&t 5is truth and identify the wrong signals.
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