Monday, June 13, 2011

Question #28

The WTS makes the claim, "Like the Primitive Christian Community - the religious publication 'Interpretation' stated in July 1956: 'In their organization and witnessing work, they [Jehovah's Witnesses] come as close as any group to approximating the primitive Christian community..."- Jehovah's Witnesses- Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pg 234, and on pg 677 of the same book, a caption appears titled "Like the early Christians". Do Jehovah's Witnesses pray the "Our Father" (Mt 6:9-13), break bread together (celebrate the Eucharist) frequently (1Cor 10:16-17, 1Cor 11:26-27), come together on Sunday to break bread (Acts 20:7), confirm the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:15-17, 19:5-6, Heb 6:2, 2Tim 1:6), ordain (appoint) priests (elders) through the laying on of hands (Acts 6:5-6, 13:2-3), pray to Jesus (Mt 11:28, Acts 7:59-60, 1Cor 16:22-23, Rev 22:20), anoint the sick with oil (Mk 6:12-13, Jas 5:14), often kneel down to pray (Acts 9:40, 20:36, 21:5, Lk 22:41), consider themselves to be witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8, 10:39, 13:31), have deacons (1Tim 3:8, 10, 12), fast from than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12), celebrate Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 20:16, 1Cor 16:8), have special people that look after widows and orphans (Acts 6:1-4, Jas 1:27), occaisionally drink wine (1Tim 5:23)? If not, then how can Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves to be like the primitive Christian community?

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Many of the practices cited by the questioner were customs associated with the MiddleEastern culture of antiquity, as well as Judaism, such as anointing the sick with oil. Not only that, but certain practices were phased out, so to speak. For example, all of the original Christians were Jewish, but when Gentiles began to be anointed with holy spirit then it gradually dawned upon the Jewish Christians that they were no longer under the Law, so customs associated with the Sabbath and other festivals, like Pentecost, were no longer observed. Not only that, but the miraculous gifts of the spirit would eventually cease as well.

Jehovah’s Witnesses may consider themselves similar to the primitive Christian community in that they are an evangelical organization. Like the original Christians Jehovah’s Witnesses have gone out into the world preaching the messages of God’s kingdom, in obedience to Christ’s command. Like the first century Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a true brotherhood. Also, Jehovah’s Witnesses are distinguished by the fact that they are no part of the world. Mainstream Catholics and Protestants are no only part of the world, they are the world. 

As for eating the Lord's evening meal, that was an annual affair to commemorate the death of Jesus.  Jehovah's Witnesses have deacons too, they are called ministerial servants. 


As for praying the so-called "Our Father," in the very same breath Jesus instructed his followers not to be like the people of the nations who pray the same thing over and over. So, Jesus did not intend for his followers to simply recite the the Lord's prayer. It is an outline or a model prayer, not something to be repeated by rote. By their doing so Catholics betray themselves as being the people of the nations who do not know God.

But certain things listed by the questioner are merely personal matters. For example, some Christians may prefer to knell when praying in private. Also, some of Jehovah's Witnesses drink wine. And for certain, Jehovah's Witnesses witness for Christ and are exhorted to be mindful of widows in the congregations. 


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