Saturday, July 28, 2007

Loyalty to Jesus?

A man stopped by our office, curious about our religious research on different new American religious groups like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Within minutes he identified himself as a Jehovah's Witness and wanted to know what I thought about them. I replied that most Witnesses I knew were sincere, dedicated people, but I was concerned for them spiritually. When he asked why, I explained it was because they had been brought to a point where they were more loyal to the religious organization than they were to Jesus Christ.

He protested immediately and vehemently that this was not the case, that Witnesses were loyal to Jesus and Jehovah God, not to an earthly organization. I explained that I was familiar with JWs and had even attended their District Convention in my state a couple of weeks ago. He was surprised, and perhaps even a bit impressed, and as we talked I asked permission to ask a rather personal question. He graciously agreed.

"Suppose you in the course of studying your Bible," I began, "were to realize that the WT Society teaching on say, holidays like Christmas and Easter was in error. You realized that their reasoning on the subject was inconsistent and their interpretation of Scripture was incorrect. Because of this, you became convinced that celebrating holidays should be a matter of individual conscience and you now felt free to begin to celebrate Christmas or Easter with your family. None of your other doctrinal beliefs have changed, nor has your commitment to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. You still accept the Bible as the authoritative word of God for your life. However, when the elders at the kingdom hall discover your change in belief on this matter, they disfellowship you from the organization. You are no longer in good standing with the Watchtower Society. Will this place you in spiritual danger for when Armageddon comes? Are you now at risk of being rejected by Jehovah God, simply because the WT Society has decided they should disfellowship you?"

His countenance grew serious and troubled and he asked, "You mean I would no longer be in good standing with Jehovah's organization?"

"Yes," I replied. Your relationship with God and Jesus and your loyalty to them hasn't changed, only the acceptance of the WT Society."

He declared immediately, "Then yes, if I was no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses I would not have Jehovah God's approval. This would seriously affect my spiritual standing with Jehovah."

"So then," I said quietly, "your allegiance is primarily to the WT Society as an organization."

This led our dialogue into the realm of bad associations, and how important it was to have no association with anything worldly or pagan or evil, and so the WT Society as Jehovah's organization was the only place with which to associate for they were the only organization to keep themselves from such evil assocations. I asked him if he was aware that for many years the WT Society had been associated with the United Nations as an NGO (non-governmental organization) and had used that official relationship to help them with relations with other foreign governments. He was not aware. In fact he was disbelievingly not aware. I offered to get him a packet on this subject, and asked for his name and address so I could send it to him, but he refused to give it to me, saying he needed to be going, his wife was waiting outside for him (and indeed she had stuck her head in the door minutes before asking if he was almost done).

He did say I had piqued his curiousity on this subject, which he found very hard to believe, so he would do some research and would come back again to get more information on this.

I hope he does. I hope he pursues truth. I hope he is troubled enough by his loyalty to an organization that one day his loyalty will be first and foremost to Jesus Christ. I hope, because until that happens, he will continue to be the puppet shadow of a mannish, manipulative religious org. He will be unable to enter the sphere of reality where Jesus is his only Way, his only Truth, his only Life. But, once the strings to the org are cut, allegiance to Jesus will free him to life, love and relationships that are lived from the deep center of spiritual freedom and divine intimacy that he was created to know and share. That we all were created to know and share.

1 comment:

thanida said...

Thanks for sharing this great article with us.