While it does tell much truth of the organization's more new efforts to appear to focus more of Jesus and bibical themes than on the organization itself, the prime question the Fundamental Baptists asked here of JW's efforts to appear more mainstream, could also be asked of the Fundamental branches of Protestant and especially the contemporary neo-Pentacostal churches.
The Following artilce,"JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES' NEW IMAGE," was written by Fundamental Baptist Information Service, which is by BOB JONES UNIVERSITY.
"This is a listing for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Our goal in this particular aspect of our ministry is not devotional but is TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR."
Now is not this statement interesting? That this news source is created for "Fundamental" Baptists", and/or "other "Fundamentalists Christians". And noticed the VERY JW-like phrase, "Apostate".
June 10, 2000
Fundamental Baptist Information Service
"The Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to be reinventing themselves into a more "evangelical" image, and it will not be surprising to find soon that they, too, are being accepted into the mainstream of the ecumenical movement."
Indeed, the JW Organization HAS made efforts to "appear" more tolerant, while still remaining equally fundamental as before. Yet, can this not also be said of such fundamental contemporary neo-Pentacostal churches as FourSquare Gospel, Vineyard Christian Felllowship or Calvary Chapel? Breaking off from their un-comtemporary Assembly of God roots, these fundamental/neo-Pentacostal Lite churches have made great efforts to appeal to the young with great contemporary sounding Christian Rock, and letting people dress normal instead of like a Mormon...
But has Calvary Chapel suddenly lifted it's ban against allowing women to be preachers? Have these churches changed their "Left behind" scare tacticts or hellfire? Have they stopped tagging their moderate and mainstream Protestants cousins as "Unsaved" and "unorthodox"???
Speaking of deceptive tactics...what's with these churches like Calvary, Vineyard and FourSquare removing the name and indenity of their denomination from outside their churches and instead replacing them with non-denominational names like, "Southcoast Fellowship", and the like? Is this an attempt to appear more mainstream and less fundamental in nature, while still underneath reamining as equally fundamental in nature as before?
Newsflash: JW's have had an "Evangelical image," all along, and more so, "Fundamental" image all along. But no, JW's will never be accepted into the "ecumenical movement," for the same reasons that Southern Baptists won't. Because,
(1) Like, the Fundamental Baptists, JW's believe THEMSELVES to be "The True" unsullied version of bibical Christianity, while deeming ALL OTHERS as FALSE..and therefore would never WANT to try and join others outside their faith group because they deem them all false christians anyways, and because of this...like the far right Fundamental branches of Protestants, with their obvious elite additudes, this is why Progressive ecumenical movements would never invite them.
"In recent weeks I have published reports on how the Mormons and the Seventh-Day Adventists are already being accepted."
That is because LDS and SDAs have ASKED these ecumenical movement if they may join. JW's, like the extrem fundamental branches of Protestants, have never asked, or wanted to, and even 'if' the fundamental branches of Protestants DID ask, unless they proved that they HAD changed in a way that these innerfaith movement required, they would have been rejected. No one here denies that.
But again, have not the more far right fundamental branches of Protestants been doing the same thing? The point is: Is this a case of Calling the Kettle Black? Maybe these fundamental Baptists should try removing the roadblock of intolerance infront of their eyes eyes before trying to do corrective eye surgery on JW's and Mormons.
"For some time now, everything coming out of Brooklyn headquarters has been tailored to fit this new image, as Jesus is given greater prominence in Watchtower books and magazines. Christian-sounding terminology is now being used as if it applied to all Jehovah’s Witnesses, not merely to the elite remnant of 144,000 anointed ones. Controversial policies are either being abandoned or swept under the rug. Compromise is taking the place of opposition to worldly governments.The Jehovah’s Witness organization’s new image campaign has been in the making for some time, but it has taken a while for the policy shift to become clear. However, an unmistakable pattern has now emerged. . . ."
NEW FOCUS ON JESUS
"Jesus became the focus of a JW book for the first time in 1991, when the Watchtower Society published The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. This marked a sudden reversal of the trend the organisation had been following for the previous hundred years, a trend that had been characterised by less and less emphasis on Jesus Christ. . . . Both in printed discussions and in colourful illustrations, Christ has become more prominent in Watchtower publications.
The result is that new visitors to JW Kingdom Halls are less likely to notice the tremendous distance of the cult from mainstream Christian practice. This is probably the reason for the change -- to make Jehovah’s Witnesses appear more mainstream. However, the change is only skin deep, since there has been no published change in Watchtower theology. Christ is still, in the official JW view, merely the first angel God created. The Society’s increased public emphasis on Jesus resembles Mormons’ outwardly Christian appearance which masks their official view of Jesus as one of many gods and goddesses."
So, as always, the fundamental branches of Baptists issue or concern with JW's and Mormons is NOT about the lack of social justice, such as women being accepted and treated as equals, and the like but rather merely based on their refusing to embrace the trintarian view.
"Christian-sounding terminology is another feature of the campaign to make Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to be a mainstream Christian church. Since Judge Rutherford’s day the sect has openly taught that only the elite remnant of the 144,000 anointed ones are born again and declared righteous in Christ. The great crowd of other sheep are privileged to associate with these members of the Bride, the body of Christ, but are not actually part of His Church.
The expression "in Christ" (or "in union with Christ" as it is rendered in the JW New World Translation) was reserved exclusively for the "heavenly class." The millions of rank-and-file JWs were taught to respond to such New Testament promises by saying, "That does not apply to me, for I am one of the ‘other sheep’ and not begotten of God’s spirit" (Life Everlasting -- in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966, p. 153)."
Indeed one the major reasons JW's come under fire, even by me, is their teaching that a selected board of imperfect humans are the channel to Jehovah, while "The Organization", the JW leadership board has direct line to Jesus Christ. However, this usually also leads to the typical debate of anti-restored earth theology.
It is ever so typical that both fundamental Protestants and Catholics, as well as non-JW Bible Students will complain that JW's remove the heavenly calling hope and replace it with a restored earth destiny instead. While I myself do not believe in telling individuals where they are going to spend eternity or where 'I' believe they should DESIRE or where they should 'WANT' to spend eternity....
what these complainers fail to tell you is they themselves, on the flipside, have removed the option of individuals desiring to live on the restored and removing this belief option and replacing it with a "heaven-ONLY" teaching. THEY tell people that THEY do NOT have a choice and that THEY CAN ONLY choose heaven. My question is: should either side be telling others where 'THEY SHOULD WANT' to spend eternity? If you ask me, this is none of our buiness.
ALLOWED TO VOTE
"Compromise with worldly governments that was previously unthinkable is now the rule for the sake of corporate financial advantage. The organization’s ban on members voting, for example, has been cited by various governments when denying the Watchtower Society special tax advantages given to other religious organizations. A 1997 US State Department report said the JW organization in Germany had been denied the special status of a "public body" (and the accompanying tax benefits) due, in part, to the sect’s stand on "public elections."
Hints of compromise showed when German JWs found that they were now allowed to vote in non-political school or labour union elections.Then French JWs told us the organisation was encouraging them to register and vote even in political elections, but to cast blank ballots. Now, a "Questions from Readers" article in the November 1st, 1999 issue of The Watchtower asks, "How do Jehovah’s Witnesses view voting?" It says voting in a political election is a "personal decision" that each JW must make "based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the state."
This IS VERY interesting and 'I' think..this may also be the very same issue in which the org said the same thing about birthdays of which I would LOVE to research.
"Outsiders may take these words as granting JWs freedom of choice, but Witnesses themselves know the implication of this statement. . . . If a Jehovah’s Witness not under pressure from an unbelieving husband or hostile government were to cast a ballot at all, he or she would certainly lose "privileges" at their Kingdom Hall and might face judicial action by the elders. . . . The seemingly liberating changes are all form and no substance, to give an impression of orthodoxy. . . ."
"Outsiders are often confused by tricky wording about "personal decisions" and "free choice" used in Watchtower publications for public consumption. But the Witnesses know the wrong "choice" will lead to the punishment of disfellowshipping."
Or at the very least social or emotional verbal abuse by being labled "spiritually week." JW's play down the effect of this name calling but it has been proven to be a very effective means of controll to silence those who may not share the society's so-called "Suggestions." Indeed, how can advice given be TRUELY considered a mere "Suggestion," if by one "Freely chosing" not to follow it is called names such as "Spirituall Weak"? Or "Rebellious"?
[The previous is excerpted from "The Watchtower’s New Image" by David Reed, from the Sword & Trowel, 2000, No. 1 [Metropolitan Tabernacle, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6SD. 020-7735-7076 (voice), SwordTrowel@MetropolitanTabernacle.org (e-mail)]
Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368, email@example.com
Very interesting observations by the Bob Jones University....Let us now take a look at Larry King's Observation on BOB JONES...
The Far Fundamental Protestant Right Wing Lecturing JW's
What Progressive Have Said About This