You’ve probably had them come to your door or seen them standing outside near Walmart. These are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they make their presence known in the community.
On their website, under their beliefs about Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses say, “We are Christians.” But are they really a Christian organization? A quick examination of their beliefs makes it clear that they are not.
Christians disagree about a lot of things. Baptists and Presbyterians don’t agree about baptism or church government. The Church of God and Lutherans don’t agree on the Lord’s Supper. Pentecostals don’t agree with the Reformed church about spiritual gifts. But we’re all still Christians. That’s because, even though we disagree about secondary issues, we all agree about the primary doctrines of the Christian faith. Those doctrines include our beliefs about God, the gospel and the Bible. Every true Christian believes in the Trinity—the belief in one God who is revealed in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christians believe in gospel—that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone on the basis of our Savior’s life, death and resurrection. And every Christian believes that the 66 books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant words of God.
This is why we cannot say Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians. While they affirm the authority of the Bible, they have heretical views of God and the gospel.
First of all, Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity. While they affirm belief in one God—Jehovah—they deny that Jesus is God. On their website it states, “We have learned from the Bible that Jesus is not Almighty God and that there is no Scriptural basis for the Trinity doctrine.” That may be their belief, but they didn’t learn it from the Bible. Scripture is replete with the teaching that Jesus is God (John 1:1, 8:58, 10:30, 20:28, Acts 20:28, Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8). This is essential Christian doctrine because Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I AM you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Unless you believe that Jesus is the Great I AM (God in the flesh) you will die in your sins; which can only mean, you will go to Hell. That’s serious. This means the doctrine of Christ’s divinity is essential for being a Christian. I could go on with this subject, but suffice it to say, if you don’t know who God truly is, then you can’t claim to be a true believer (John 17:3).
Secondly, though Jehovah’s witnesses claim that “salvation cannot be earned”, other statements on their website seem to contradict that belief. For example, they teach that in order to benefit from Christ’s sacrifice, one must not only exercise faith in Jesus but “change their course of life.” Good works, then, seem to be essential for salvation. Furthermore, the JW’s position on baptism is unclear at best. In some places, they say that baptism is a symbol of one’s faith and dedication to Jehovah. In other publications it reads, “The Bible says that baptism is an important step to gaining salvation” and “The entire baptismal arrangement, including this public expression of faith, is essential for salvation.” At best, you could say they believe in baptismal regeneration—the idea that one isn’t fully saved until he or she is baptized. This is a misrepresentation of the Christian faith, because the Bible teaches that justification is by grace through faith alone in Christ (Romans 3:28, 5:1, Galatians 2:15-16, Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jehovah’s witnesses are nice people, but they are not Christians. They are very religious, but they don’t know Jesus. This means they are the mission field. If you’re a Christian, the next time they come to your home, invite them in. Allow them to speak to you about their religion, and then tell them the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ—that salvation can be freely bestowed upon them through faith in the God-Man and His perfect work upon the cross.
Thanks for reading!
Brandon Sutton (Pastor2334@gmail.com) is the Lead Pastor of Blue Ridge CU Church and New Life Church. Check out both at Blueridgecuchurch.com and Newlifeshelbyville.org.