For many decades now the Jehovah's Witnesses have been preaching a gospel that has reached untold many millions with their message. This message has been responsible for bringing many lives in accordance with wonderful bible principles that are righteously designed, as God's Word the bible teaches. This message includes the coming kingdom of God, which will end all human suffering and rid the earth of wickedness, including an end to the satanic governments which have led to vast levels of human suffering, even despite some efforts through the centuries to eradicate disease and suffering of many sorts.
The message of the Jehovah's Witnesses, as established early on by their individual leaders and later by Governing Body members have resulted in many lives turning to God Jehovah and removing from their lives things that God disapproves. By such, many have seen their lives transformed from a once promiscuous life to one of moral goodness in the sight of God. Ones have seen the incredible transformation from drug abuse and addiction to a life free from such things as they turned their life around to please God and minister to others to assist them in achieving a life transformed by the love of God. For others, they have removed themselves from a life they have been taught by the Witnesses as something detestable to God, such as killing during times of conflict and war, through military involvement. And yet others have removed themselves from deep political involvement that they believed the scriptures clearly do not support.
Yes, many millions of lives through the decades have been greatly improved and brought in to harmony with the scriptures on many levels, so as to be pleasing to God. Are we to believe that all of this was simply the result of man's influence on others through the printed page of religious literature, fervor, and guidance from the leading authority of the Governing Body - and not God? To believe such a thing would be to limit God's hand in His desire to see millions of lives changed over to serving Him. It is clear that such religious movements as the Jehovah's Witnesses have seen the hand of God work to deliver people to a life of moral goodness and spiritual cleanliness. It would be ignorant and a shortening of the hand of God to suggest otherwise. But, does this mean that the Jehovah's Witnesses, in view of such wonderful things, including such scripturally accurate teachings such as the "kingdom of God," among other teachings - have been solely chosen by God of all religions to be His? Are the Jehovah's Witnesses "God's organization?" Are they Jehovah's "unique channel" on earth?
THE WRONG CAR
If you have ever been to New York city, you have likely been on a subway train. The subway system in New York has hundreds of subways running hourly throughout the city and its underground railway system. But there is something interesting about this massive subway system, as likely the case with other cities around the world that have a similar system of travel. When the train arrives, you must make a quick decision as to what car you're going to get on. There could easily be ten or fifteen different cars to choose from, with automatic sliding doors opening to allow the passenger's off and the boarding passenger's on. The entire event from the moment the train stops to the time in departs usually only lasts for seconds. A passenger may be limited to only seconds to decide which car to get on. As is usually the case, the passenger's preselect the car they are going to get on by standing at a particular location before the train even arrives. Once the train stops, the passenger must very quickly decide to either get on the car in front of them, or quickly move to one adjacent - all within seconds, lest the automatic doors begin to close and the train starts on its way, leaving the passenger waiting for the next.
Each individual car generally has a different number of people on it. Because many lined up on one particular place on the platform before the train arrived, there could easily be some cars on the same train with all kinds of sitting room, while other cars are stuffed to the hilt with people standing shoulder to shoulder. As a passenger, you may find that you have boarded a car that has limited air conditioning because the system isn't working well, whereas you may have all the other cars in which the a/c is functioning very well. In some cases, this alone can make a world of difference what kind of experience you have on the train since the stop you need may be long down the line.
We could liken the truth of the gospel to a train full of various cars. The train is the message of Jesus, and the locomotive (or engine) is the primary force responsible for the movement of the train to get the passengers where they need to go. The owner of the train would be our heavenly Father, Jehovah. The conductor would represent Jesus, duly assigned to be the chief of the Christian congregation. The individual cars represent the individual Christian churches or congregations around the world. The car occupied by the Jehovah's Witnesses in this analogy should have, as explained in God's Word the bible, elders or overseer's that feed the people on board, and look after them. But in this analogy, the Governing Body have assigned themselves the kind of authority relative to that of the conductor - establishing parameter's, rules, policies, law that make the experience of the "spiritual ride," so to speak, one filled with a measure of leadership that is simply not supported by the bible, and certainly not approved by the conductor, our Chief Agent Jesus. And this begins with the very message of the gospel that the Witnesses have been teaching for decades.
THE RIGHT MESSAGE?
The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, as discussed above, have had a wonderful influence on society as a whole when it comes to their evangelizing efforts through the decades. Their message, overall, has been a correct one - one that often is not talked about, or preached about by other religious organizations around the world - namely, the kingdom of God! But their message also includes a false gospel, that at first appears scripturally well-founded to the new student, who likely does not have much understanding of the bible. For instance, the message of God's kingdom is a scripturally correct one. But their message also includes the message of a paradise earth in which the earth will be transformed into a paradise garden-like place after Armageddon. What is wrong with this gospel? We are admonished in the bible to follow in Jesus footsteps (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus did not preach a gospel that included such a teaching of a paradise earth. Neither did apostles, nor any of his disciples. In fact, no such message may be located in all of the gospels, nor the epistles. Therefore, the teaching of God's kingdom, overall, is taught properly by the Witnesses. But there are facets of it that are not spoken of in God's Word. Does this mean that the message, in the end, is the wrong one? Not necessarily so. Perhaps long into the future, the earth very well may be transformed into a literal paradise garden-like planet, as God originally intended. I am not suggesting otherwise. But God's Word cautions us about "going beyond what is written." (1 Cor 4:6)
So, much of the message about the kingdom, overall, is correct. But there are parts of it we should not be preaching if God's Word does not discuss it. And again, it was not part of the message of Jesus, nor anyone else that the earth will be transformed into a paradise, as in the beginning.
There are other teachings of the Witnesses that have great merit as well. Such things may include the following: God's hatred of violence, abortion, sexual appetite, homosexuality, and much more. These are all things scripturally taught by the Jehovah's Witnesses, and maintains scriptural accuracy. But amongst these many correct teachings exists a darker world of false teachings and proclamations that have resulted in untold millions of people and their families left suffering in unimaginable ways! The manner in which the leadership has forced their members to agree with every single policy/doctrine(s) they teach in lieu of being shunned and severely punished are NOT things that the bible teaches. Often, the leadership has interpreted, falsely, a literal translation of something when that is not what the message of the New Testament was. Often, they quote and used literal accounts from the old testament to support something that is otherwise NOT promoted, or in many cases not spoken of or permitted as Christians bound by the New Testament. It's as if the Governing Body has presented itself as a conductor of a train and invited you into their particular car with how wonderful things are inside. And at first glance, it looks true by peering through the window. But once inside the train car, things begin to change after a while as you observe the leadership of the car make many lofty claims about how important they are, and make little rules and policies that put great pressure and strain upon you - which eventually lead to strain with others around you. Before long, you begin to question the policies as something that are greatly burdensome, and in some cases rip you from the arms of those whom you care about most in this life, due to the sanctions imposed by the leadership of that car, the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses - just for disagreeing on a doctrine. And you are threatened by the leadership that if you get off that car - you will never see or hear from you friends, or family again! You are instructed that if you should decide to stay on the car, or get back on once you've gotten off, you will face punishment for years as a result of your disagreement to the many rules and policies you simply view as unscriptural. In this regard, the leadership have sent the message that they have the right to interpret the bible, even though the scriptures tell us, "do not interpretations belong to God?"
This is the over-reaching effects of the governing body and their "powerhouse" mentality. Millions of lives have been destroyed by the very men who dangled the wonderful hope of a paradise earth, filled with God-fearing people, people who love one another more than all else on earth!
THE RIGHT CAR
Many members of the organization have left over the decades. In many cases, even that of myself, have gotten off the car and moved to another (i.e. church or congregation) where the atmosphere is much different. Yes, there are some minor differences in belief than the car previous, but overall the experience is far more refreshing and inviting to those on it. And the religious leaders are more in line with the manner in which they lead, as brought out in the owner's handbook - the bible. As the analogy continues, we see far more happiness with those in the other cars than that of the car the Witnesses are on, because the men running the car of Witnesses (the Governing Body and its elders) have overstepped their God-given role and ecclesiastical authority in many ways. Even the owner's handbook was copied, and then made hundreds of changes to, in an attempt to support the teachings they have developed. Of course, by comparison we are speaking of God's Word the bible. Please see topic Governing Body - NWT Bias/Mistranslations?
It brings great conflict to the heart and soul to discover that the men running the organization have been misdirecting the sheep for decades on many topics, many of which are discussed above in the drop-down menu's. And they have figuratively "beat" their follower's into submission by unscriptural requirements of shunning and disfellowshipping - all in an effort to retain members. So while we laud the evangelizing work, and credit God for giving His spirit over a period of decades, we also recognize that God very well may not be blessing this organization any longer. That doesn't mean that the individual members may not receive God's spirit to reach others, but it also means that God is clearly working to expose the many false teachings of the organization so that its follower's may seek a more comfortable car and begin to heal from the countless wounds inflicted by the leaders in the previous car. In the end, we are all on the train, led by none other than our very reliable Chief, Jesus! May we never leave the train as many have done. After either witnessing abuse, or having been a recipient of it, many Witnesses have decided to get off the train and seek comfort from those who invite them into their world of atheism, or agnosticism. What a sad story to discover - that once loving Witnesses who loved God and His son have allowed themselves to be drawn into a world absent of Jesus.
May we all stay on the train. If we find that the car we are on is led by those who demand unscriptural policy, threaten our lives through punitive measures of removal of privileges, shunning or whatever else - may we be determined to never leave the train - but perhaps move to another car where we can thrive as one of our Lord's precious sheep.