Has the Watchtower Ever Lied, Covered Up, or Changed Important Doctrines, Dates, and Biblical Interpretations?/Program 4
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Lorrie MacGregor; ©1989|
|The Jehovah’s Witness’ claim that they are the only true religion on earth today. All others are false. Their translation of the Bible called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.|
Ankerberg: Welcome! During this program we’re going to be examining a new documentary film that has just come out entitled Witnesses of Jehovah. And it’s about the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses here in America.
Tonight we want to look at a portion from this film that deals with the Jehovah’s Witness’ claim that they are the only true religion on earth today. All others are false. And they base this in part on their authoritative document, their own translation of the Bible. Now, they call their translation the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. And what we want to find out is, is this a good, accurate, honest translation of the Greek and Hebrew words?
If you read the Jehovah’s Witnesses Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, which I’ve got in my hand here, if you read the appendices, if you read the footnotes, you will find they quote many Greek scholars. One of them is Julius R. Mantey. In this segment coming up, he will give his thoughts about what he thinks about the Watchtower Society quoting him as being in favor of their view of John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was a God.” You will hear his remarks. Please listen very carefully.
Excerpt from Witnesses of Jehovah
- Narrator: Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain that theirs is the only true religion. All others constitute the worldwide empire of false religion, the “Whore of Babylon” spoken of in the book of Revelation. The Watchtower says these religions are guilty of spiritual fornication with the political and commercial rulers of the world, and will all be slaughtered by God at Armageddon. Only the true Christians – Jehovah’s Witnesses – will survive. F. M. Gipe, a Watchtower spokesman and member of the headquarters staff explains:
- F. M. Gipe: Well, we feel Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only true religion, otherwise we would be teaching something else. But the reason is because we follow the Bible completely.
- L. Chretien: To support its beliefs, the Watchtower organization has published its own version of the Bible called the New World Translation. To lend credence to this translation, the Watchtower society has deliberately misquoted a number of well-known Greek scholars. Dr. J. R. Mantey, an eminent Greek scholar, was one of the authorities quoted out of context. The Watchtower Society has implied that he supports the New World Translation. Dr. Mantey disagrees.
- Dr. Julius R. Mantey: I have never found any so-called translation that goes so far away from what the Scripture actually teaches as these books published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are so far away from what there is in the original Hebrew and the original Greek.
- L. Chretien: Dr. Mantey called the Jehovah’s Witness Bible a “shocking mistranslation, obsolete, and incorrect.”
- Mantey: You can’t follow theirs because it’s biased and it’s deceptive because they deliberately changed words in a passage of Scripture to make it fit into their doctrine. They distorted the Scripture in many passages… scores and scores of passages in the New Testament dealing with the deity of Christ especially.
- L. Chretien: To find additional support for their altered Scriptures, the Watchtower has even turned to the occult. The New Testament, a Bible translation by Johannes Greber, has been used as an authority in many of their publications. Johannes Greber was a spiritualist, heavily involved with the occult. His translation was completed under the direction of “spirit messengers” with the aid of his wife who was a self-professed spirit medium.
- Ankerberg: Alright, here’s the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and if you want the Greek with it, the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures looks like this. In the back, if you want to see their comments about Julius Mantey, you can find it under John 1:1. And I’d like to read just a portion of Dr. Mantey’s letter to the Watchtower Society, dated July 11, 1974. He said, “There is no statement in our grammar that was ever meant to imply that ‘a God’ was a permissible translation in John 1:1.” He goes on to say, “You quoted me out of context. On pages 139 and 140 in our grammar, we stated, ‘Without the article, theos [the word for God] signifies divine essence.” And concerning the words theos en ho logos, John 1:1, “The Word was God,” that’s the way it’s usually translated, this is what Mantey says: “theos en ho logos emphasizes Christ’s participation in the essence of the divine nature. Our interpretation is in agreement with that in the New English Bible and Today’s English Version, namely, ‘What God was, the Word was,’ and with that of Barclay’s translation, ‘The nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God.’” [See entire letter in the Appendix.]
- Now let me ask you, Lorri, is the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation an accurate, honest translation? If not, give us the evidence that Jehovah’s Witnesses can investigate.
- MacGregor: Right. Just before beginning, John, I want to mention that this purple Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures has set so many Jehovah’s Witnesses free from the organization, that they have now put out a new one which is navy blue, and they have more cleverly covered up their distortions than ever before. Ones that are clearly visible here are not visible in the new navy blue one. So, get yourself a purple one. There are still lots of them around. Remember that.
- The Society has made many lofty statements about the accuracy of their translation: How careful they’ve been. In the foreword of the Interlinear they make the statement that, “We don’t paraphrase Scriptures. We’re going to assign one meaning to each word and we’re going to stick with that throughout.” They promise that they will give the most careful attention to the tenses of verbs, and they also say, “We are restoring the divine name of God which has been lost.” And so these are quite “highfalutin’” sounding claims.
- But the fact is, they are paraphrasing on so many occasions. And a paraphrase is not a word-for-word translation, it is what the writer thinks the Scripture should say. For instance, The Living Bible is a paraphrase, it is not a word-for-word translation. And you simply do not teach out of a paraphrase, you teach out of a word-for-word translation.
- Colossians 1:16-17 is a case in point. This portion of Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the Creator: “By Him all things were created.” So, Jehovah’s Witnesses had to reduce Him to a chief agent, and so they inserted “by means of” and the word “other.” This is not found in the Greek side and Jehovah’s Witnesses can check this out. So Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible reads, “Because by means of Him [addition] all other [addition] things were created in the heavens, upon the earth, things visible, things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authority. All other things have been created through him and for him. Also he is before all other things and by means of Him all other things were made to exist.” So you see, they have downgraded Jesus Christ from a Creator to a chief agent who simply is ordered around by Jehovah God.
- Ankerberg: And it’s obvious why. That verse, “If he made all things,” He is God.
- MacGregor: And if He is before all things, He’s the Creator, He’s God.
- Ankerberg: But if He’s before all other things, then He was created, too.
- MacGregor: A good Scripture to write down next to that is Jehovah God speaking. Did He have a chief worker? Did He have a chief agent? In Isaiah 44 we find Jehovah God saying, “I, Jehovah, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens [With a helper? No.] by myself and spreading out the earth all alone.” [Isa. 44:24] This is the one God speaking. He said, “I didn’t have a helper. I was all alone. Jesus is Yahweh. Jesus is Jehovah.
- If you just turn over the page you see what I consider one of the worst distortions on the deity of Christ, and this is found in Colossians 2:8-9. This is where Jehovah’s Witnesses simply could not stand to have all the fullness of deity dwelling in Christ in the flesh. And isn’t it interesting that the warning is given in Scripture… and I’m going to read it correctly first. This is the truth. Colossians 2:8-9, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” And here’s the truth. Put a mark around it and believe it: “For in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” All is all. Full is full. Christ has all the fullness of deity even in the flesh.
- This one Scripture destroys JW theology. They absolutely couldn’t leave it there. So here’s their paraphrase: “Because it is in him that all the fullness of divine quality dwells bodily.” He has lots of divine qualities. You see how they’ve downgraded Him? Where is divine quality in the Greek? It’s not there. It says, “All the fullness of the Godship is dwelling down in Him.” Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are you going to believe? Are you going to believe the Word of God, or are you going to believe an organization that has tampered with the Word of God?
- Ankerberg: Lorri, I’d like to ask you a question and I’d like to ask every Jehovah’s Witness that is watching, I’d like to ask you this question, and that is this: Can an organization that deliberately distorts the Word of God by adding words that aren’t there to meet their bias, using a Greek scholar like Julius R. Mantey and twisting his words out of context to suit their own needs, can that organization be the organization that God is working through?
- MacGregor: Of course not. The test is in Zephaniah 3. It says the remnant will not lie and no deceit will be found in their mouth. [Zeph. 3:13] Jehovah’s Witnesses have to say, “Am I following the true remnant, or am I following man?”
- Another thing that I feel is really diabolical in their paraphrasing is that every single Scripture – and there are so many of them they’ve done this to I haven’t got time to go through them all – but every Scripture that speaks of the indwelling Christ, “Christ in you,” that’s all been paraphrased to “in union with you,” because they don’t want anybody to have a relationship with Christ. And yet what is the test of whether or not you’re in the true faith? And every person can take this test with me. It’s in 2 Corinthians 13:5 and here it is: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?” There’s the test.
- Ankerberg: Alright, the next thing we want to look at is, what is family life like if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness? And in particular, what is required of Jehovah’s Witnesses to receive everlasting life on Paradise Earth? What are their teachings? And then what are the ramifications on the family, even the children? Alright? Please watch this next excerpt.
Excerpt from Witnesses of Jehovah
- Narrator: Today, when the new Jehovah’s Witness is baptized, rather than using the biblical format of baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Witness is baptized “In the name of Father, the Son, and the Spirit-directed organization.”
- W.T.S. Rep.: This is a dedication to them that is without any reservation. They are now going to set their entire life aside to do their Creator’s will.
- Narrator: Thus baptized, the Jehovah’s Witness is now committed to slave for the organization until the world comes to an end.
- L. Chretien: Jehovah’s Witnesses exist in a rigid, structured “thou shalt not” environment. They are forbidden to vote or hold elective office, celebrate holidays, belong to the YMCA or YWCA, salute the flag, sing the national anthem, or participate in other patriotic activities. They can’t serve in the military or work for a military organization. They may not accept blood transfusions, read anything critical of the Watchtower Society, or associate with former Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are forbidden to even attend church.
- Narrator: If life is narrow for the adult Witness, the problem is greatly intensified for their school-age children. The Watchtower Society has published a book entitled School and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It defines for schools what activities Witness children are forbidden to participate in. Things like birthday celebrations, Christmas and Easter, sports, Mother’s or Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving, saluting the flag, or school dances, singing the national anthem or saying the pledge of allegiance.
- Marjorie Chretien: Children are real victims in this. Jehovah’s Witness children cannot participate in many of the normal school activities, and as a result are often mocked by their classmates. They are really torn, because on one hand they want to please their parents, and on the other hand they want to be accepted by their teachers and classmates. There is no way they can win. They are literally torn apart emotionally. I know this firsthand because my own daughter cried nearly every day in school from the first time she entered until an extremely loving teacher made her feel at ease in the 4th grade. The life of a Witness child is very isolated, because playing with non-Witness schoolmates and neighborhood children is considered “bad association.”
- Narrator: The Watchtower Society presents Jehovah’s Witnesses as clean, happy, and unquestionably moral.
- Gipe: The Bible has a lot to say about the family life and the reason Jehovah’s Witnesses have such happy families is because we try to apply the principles that are found in the Bible.
- W.T.S. Rep.: This protects them from many of the pressures and the problems that afflict family life today. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses, while not immune to the pressures and problems, are able to cope with the difficulties that husbands and wives face, that children are confronted with every day. And so we have a very low incident of families dissolving or juvenile delinquency, drug abuse and alcoholism. And that shows the benefit and the profit to following God’s Word closely.
- Narrator: Former Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree.
- Former Witness: Growing up as a child within Jehovah’s Witnesses I always thought that this was God’s clean organization. But when I got older, I found out that there were divorces, there was gross immorality within the congregations, and that we were actually no different than the ones we were condemning.
- Former Elder: As an elder I saw the seedy side of the congregation. Members would come to me with their problems and I found out that even elders were involved sometimes in crooked business practices and in immorality. And I began to discover that we were really no better than the people on the outside of the organization.
- Former Witness: When I left Bethel it was hard for me to even share with my mother and father what was going on up there. The drunken parties that went on, and the homosexuality and things like this.
- Narrator: Finally, the Watchtower had to admit that immorality had spread to the highest levels of the organization, saying, “Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife-swapping, and child molesting.” Alcoholism, depression, and mental disorders among Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to the attention of psychiatric professionals.
- Ankerberg: Lorri, as we’ve watched that very emotional excerpt from the tape, how can an organization that harms children and destroys family life be an organization that is God’s sole channel to speak to all of mankind?
- MacGregor: Well obviously, John, it can’t. It is not God’s channel. It is not God’s organization. Many times people do what they do within the ranks of Jehovah’s Witnesses out of fear and compulsion. They believe they must go to all these meetings. They must be isolationists. They can’t go to any family gatherings. The Society has cleverly, without biblical backing, done away with families getting together with others who might not be Jehovah’s Witnesses, by cutting out Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, funerals, weddings, you name it. The Witnesses are not allowed to attend.
- And the most traumatic thing I think that all Witnesses go through: a lot of people are willing to study, but that business of going out and knocking on doors, that’s really hard. And they force the young children from, you know, four years of age to go and knock on doors and do a little magazine presentation to earn their salvation. And I would say to Jehovah’s Witnesses, you have had read to you at the Kingdom Hall again and again Acts 20:20 to force you into going door-to-door. And it reads this way, “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house.” And on the basis of that Scripture they are driven out into the magazine-salesman work which is exactly what they’re doing, is selling magazines for an organization.
- If they will read this in its context, all they have to do is back up to verse 17, and you will notice who Paul was talking to. He called to him, who? The elders of the church. Verse 18 says, “He said to them.” Verse 20 said, “I did not shrink from declaring to you,” to “you” who? To you “elders.” And so according to the Scriptures, the onus is only on elders to go from house to house. And let me tell you, if all you publishers shut down, the whole magazine and book salesmanship organization would also have to shut down.
- So, all these things of not saluting the flag, not singing an anthem, not eating certain foods like hot dogs, everything serves to isolate them, to make them turn inward, only to each other, so that if they ever do want to leave they have no friends, no associates, and usually no family left.
- Ankerberg: But, Lorri, now, look. There’s a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses that are listening tonight, if they wanted to leave, they’ve got to face the very hard thing. They may lose their family. We’re going to talk about this more next week. But would you say a prayer that we could invite Jehovah’s Witnesses that are listening to say that would start them on a relationship with the true Christ of the Bible, and would get them into grace instead of salvation by works? Would you say a prayer, that if they would like to follow along, they could say it right where they’re at? And if they mean it with all their heart God will hear them and start something new in their life – not a relationship with an organization, but a relationship with Jesus Christ.
- MacGregor: Let’s pray together, then. “Jehovah God, you know how I love you and how I’ve desired to serve you with my life. And yet I am starting to believe, Jehovah, that I may have been misled. That perhaps Jesus Christ is not who the organization says He is. Perhaps I am doing works when I need to be saved by grace. I ask you, God of all mercy, who gave His Son, I ask that that precious Son, Jesus Christ, would come into my life and into my heart right now and reveal to me through the pages of the Bible who He is, and that He would save me by His gift of grace, and not by my works. Thank you, Jehovah, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
- Ankerberg: Next week we’re going to take a look at one of the most serious doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witness: their doctrine concerning the refusal of having blood transfusions. And we’re also going to look at their doctrine concerning ex-communication or disfellowshipping. So please join us.