[Please keep in mind that the author of this document is only offering her or his _opinion

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[Please keep in mind that the author of this document is only offering her or his _opinion_, and this sould not be considered or taken as fact in any way. If you want to know about the Jehova Witnesses, and what they "believe" in, then ask ONE OF THEM. -- DMR] filename : JEHOWIT2 added : June 6, 1988 Christian Information Exchange 714-531-3834 Fountain Valley, CA Sysop : Mike Wallace "P" = PAUSE, SPACEBAR = EXIT COMMENTS ON THE JW FILE, AND A RESPONSE TO MURRELL SELDEN by Eric Pement The file entitled "The History of Jehovah's Witness" [should be "Witnesses"], does have a few problems with it, as was pointed out by Murrell Selden. However, Mr. Selden does not always identify the right problems, and some of Mr. Selden's own statements in rebuttal to the JW file are not always accurate either. Murrell begins by saying, "The file on Jehovah's Witnesses does not report the beliefs of JW's!" I agree--the file does not report the beliefs of JW's. On the one hand, I might reply that the file was not intended to: it is entitled "The HISTORY of ...", not "The DOCTRINE of ... " But on the other hand, I feel that if you carry only one file on Jehovah's Witnesses, you ought to have a more well-rounded discussion of JW doctrine. The file focuses on only a single belief, their doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, and other Watchtower distinctives are omitted. A few are hinted at in the fifth sentence--denial of "the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Bodily resurrection of Christ and the existence of hell." Although Charles Russell and present-day Jehovah's Witnesses would agree on the first three elements of this series, they might balk at the fourth, "the existence of hell." Technically, Russell and his successors define hell as "the grave," and they do not deny the existence of the grave. They do, however, deny the existence of eternal, conscious torment of the damned. REGARDING CHARLES T. RUSSELL: I do not agree with Selden's assertion that the file "makes abusive statements about three JW's." While Charles Russell is described as being linguistically deficient, guilty of perjury, and divorced, these statements, IF THEY ARE TRUE, should not be considered "abusive." The simple reporting of history, and the honest reporting of sins, is not abuse. The file contains no name-calling or angry words, such as "dirty liar," "slob," "Satan-inspired," etc. The closest the file comes to abuse is in quoting the statement of the Judge of the High Court of Ontario, specifying his reason for granting a divorce to Mrs. Maria Frances Russell. In fairness to Mr. Selden and to the truth itself, I must point out a couple of errors. First, Russell was never charged with perjury or found guilty of perjury by any court. Inspection of the transcript of a trial called Russell v. Ross (Ontario, 1913) reveals that Russell said (under oath) that he knew the Greek alphabet, but when tested on the spot, he was unable to identify various Greek letters. Technically, this is evidence that he lied about his ability to read the Greek alphabet, but the court never charged him with perjury. It did, however, rule against him. Second, Russell's wife was not given a decree of divorce, she was given a decree of "separation." The judge was not Judge of the High Court of Ontario (that was Russell v. Ross in 1913), it was Justice Orlany, Superior Court of Pennsylvania, ruling in the case of Russell v. Russell (1908). His actual words were, "His [Russell's] course of conduct towards his wife evidenced such insistent egotism and extravagant self praise that it would be manifest to the jury that his conduct towards her was one of continual arrogant domination, that would necessarily render the life of any Christian woman a burden and make her condition intolerable." (Records of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, Vol. 37, page 348 [1908]). REGARDING JUDGE RUTHERFORD: It is true that Joseph F. Rutherford, along with seven other Directors of the Watch Tower Society, was incarcerated in Atlanta for anti-war sedition in 1918, and released in 1919. It is also true that the conviction was overturned and this fact should have been noted. I would like to correct Mr. Selden on one minor point. Rutherford was not "exonerated of all charges in the U.S. Supreme Court". The U.S. Supreme Court became involved in this case in March 1919, when Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis directed that Rutherford and his co-Directors, all incarcerated in Atlanta, be released on bail. The Supreme Court declaring that they had a "right to bail" is not the same as declaring them innocent. One month later, April 1919, the Federal Second Court of Appeals in New York held that the eight men had not received a "temperate and impartial trial" in 1918, and "for this reason" it reversed the guilty verdict rendered the previous year. This court was not the Supreme Court, and their verdict was not an "exoneration of all charges," but instead an admission of mistreatment by a previous court. REGARDING NATHAN H. KNORR: There is certainly no abusive language here about Knorr. It should have been noted that Knorr died on June 7, 1977, and was succeeded two weeks later by the current president of the Watchtower Society, Frederick W. Franz. REGARDING THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES' POSITION ON THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: Murrell Selden stated, "It is claimed that Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Jesus assumed a fleshly body (Gk., soma) during the forty days following his resurrection. That is not true! Jesus did assume a fleshly body ... " In this case, Mr. Selden did not read carefully. All the author of that file did was to quote Watchtower source material. He actually "claimed" very little, but let the Watchtower view speak for itself. The Selden/Watchtower problem hinges on the word "assumed." As Bible-based Christians, we maintain that the body of Jesus was RESURRECTED (i.e., raised back to life). The Bible teaches that "the body without spirit is dead" (James 2:26, New World Trans., 1984). I agree. Conversely, the body WITH spirit is alive. We are saying that the Bible's statements about the resurrection of Jesus simply mean that the body of Jesus was reanimated. In other words, Jesus' BODY came back to life (only with supernatural power and glory, such that it can never decay or die again). That's the whole point of the empty tomb. The corpse, the cadaver, is gone because Jesus got up and walked out of the tomb! The Watchtower Society teaches that at his resurrection, Jesus' body was destroyed (dissolved/disintegrated/etc.) not raised intact. Any appearances of Jesus in the New Testament are when Jesus ASSUMED (i.e., took on) a body, but the body in which Jesus appeared bore no real connection with the body which was slain. For the average JW, the reason Jesus assumed a body was to accommodate the weak faith and unbelief of the disciples. As evangelicals, we believe that IF God the Father had dissolved the fleshly body of Jesus, and transformed him into a spirit being, Jesus COULD have assumed fleshly bodies, just as angels do. This is possible. But instead, the Bible teaches that God the Father raised the fleshly body back alive -- the same body, only this time imbued with immortality. That's the point of John 2:19-21. "Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. ... But he was talking about the temple of his body." (NW, 1984) We agree with this scripture. However, if the Watchtower leaders are right, Jesus said it wrong. He should have said, "Break down this temple, and in three days I will dissolve it even more." Take some time to read Acts 2:24-32, 13:30-37, and 26:8. The emphasis is on the fact that Jesus did not remain dead, his corpse did not decay, "nor did his flesh see corruption" (Acts 2:31, NW). If the Watchtower is correct, then his flesh saw annihilation, disintegration, and TOTAL corruption. We Christians say his flesh was given immortality (i.e., deathlessness), and was raised to eternal life. What about going through walls (John 20:26)? Why couldn't they recognize Jesus normally (Luke 24:15-31, John 20:14)? Are those characteristics of a fleshly body, asks the Watchtower Society? Listen carefully now. (a) The Bible affirms that the nature of the resurrection body is immortal (not mortal), incorruptible, existing in glory, in power, and spiritual. The resurrection body of Christ and the resurrection body which God's faithful people will receive on the Last Day is a "spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44). It is with a BODY, not as a SPIRIT. There is the glory of God and the power of the Spirit of God infused in the resurrection body, and this is one reason why the resurrected Jesus could do supernatural things which mortal, unpowerful bodies--like mine--cannot. (b) Moreover, even mortal bodies which are subject to pain and death are capable of doing a lot more than you would think. The mortal body of Jesus could walk on water (Matt. 14:25), and could walk straight "through the midst" of an angry crowd without being seen (Luke 4:30, John 10:31). I also believe that a miraculous acceleration of a boat is involved in John 6:21 ("immediately" in the KJV, New International, and the Kingdom Interlinear). Of course, all these miracles are done through the power of God's Holy Spirit, working with mortal humans. If the Spirit of God could enable a mortal Jesus to enter a room with the doors shut (and to do other miracles), there is no reason to say that the Lord Jesus, with a glorified, immortal, tangible body could not also be transported into a closed room. (c) The objection about not recognizing Jesus is answered by simply reading the text. Luke 24:16 says "their eyes were kept [or held] from recognizing him." It doesn't say Jesus' face was altered, or the body he "assumed" looked different. It simply says their eyes were KEPT from recognizing him. The passage in John 20:11-16 also does not attribute Mary's inability to recognize Jesus to any changes in his face. Since nothing indicates a physical alteration in Jesus' features, we may assume that the reason indicated in Luke 24:16 (the power of God) was behind Mary's temporary lack of perception in this instance, also. One last point for the resurrection of the body of Jesus. If we look at John 20:24, we find Thomas' statement, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe." When Jesus showed himself to Thomas, alive instead of dead, he told him, "Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing" (John 20:27, NW). If Russell's teaching is correct, then Jesus' body really dissolved, and those holes in his hands and side which he exhibited to Thomas were not ACTUALLY created by the nails and spear. However, Jesus was leading Thomas to THINK they were. In essence, Jesus is deceiving Thomas about the origin of those wounds. This conclusion is inescapable if the Watchtower is right. However, if Jesus was not deceiving Thomas about the origin of the wounds, then those wounds in his body were created by the spear and nails. As biblically-based Christians, we acknowledge that the body of Jesus was transformed as it was raised back to life, and infused with spiritual power and glory, and that his resurrected body had genuine continuity with the body which suffered death on the cross. Thank you for considering these statements, and I pray that they have helped to clear up a few questions about the file on Jehovah's Witnesses. --- written by Eric Pement on 1/17/1986


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