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Greg Stafford is one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
He is considered one of today's top Jehovah's Witness apologists -- even though he rejects some of the teachings and practices of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the faith's formal organization.
From a Christian theological perspective the Watchtower Society is a cult of Christianity.
As such the publishers of Apologetics Index consider Greg Stafford to be a cult apologist.
Stafford is the author of Jehovah's Witnesses Defended: An Answer to Scholars and Critics. At the time of the writing, October 2009, the book is in it's third edition.
Christian apologist Rob Bowman writes:
For those who are not familiar with Stafford, he is an unusually sophisticated Jehovah’s Witness who debated both me and James White earlier in the decade. The first edition of the book, published in 1998, ran 393 pages and was easily the best defense of Jehovah’s Witness theology ever published. (Page lengths cited here include front and back matter.) The second edition in 2000 was 654 pages in length and cemented Stafford’s reputation as the leading apologist for the Jehovah’s Witness religion. This third edition, which Stafford had announced was due out at least a couple of years ago, is 676 pages long.
In all, there are almost 200 pages of new material.
In order to add all of this new material to the third edition, Stafford has dropped almost as much material from the second edition.
According to his Introduction to the third edition, he will eventually reprint this omitted material elsewhere.
From time to time, I will post some additional comments on Stafford’s book. I feel something of a responsibility to do so, because I am the number one target in his book. In fact, in a number of places in the third edition Stafford cites Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (Kregel, 2007), which I co-authored with Ed Komoszewski.
- Source: Greg Stafford defends Jehovah’s Witnesses from the margins, Rob Bowman, Parchment and Pen, Oct. 12, 2009
Stafford's book is described as...
A defense of the teachings and beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses concerning the divine name, the identity of the biblical God Jah, and Jesus of Nazareth.
Also included are discussions about various social and other issues, including uses of blood, sexual orientation, abortion, as well as what the Bible teaches concerning mankind's salvation and the freedom and sovereignty of Jah God.
This book also contains extended discussions about biblical monotheism, the preexistence of Jesus Christ, and of his identify as God's "Firstborn."
Extended discussions of translations issues related to John 1:1, John 8:58, and other important biblical texts are also presented, particularly as these relate to the New World Translation.
Finally, the book further introduces the Christian Witnesses of Jah, Jehovah's Witnesses who reject traditions of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society which are not based on the best available evidence.
- Source: Amazon.com product description for Jehovah's Witnesses Defended: An Answer to Scholars and Critics by Greg G. Stafford
In 2007, Greg G. Stafford officially disassociated from the Watchtower Society, the official name of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.
He continues to refer to himself as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and continues to defend the religion's unique teachings -- but also addresses what he considers to be doctrines and practices for which, in his view, there is no biblical support, but which are nevertheless taught by the Watchtower Society.
Such dissent is not possible within the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which refers to itself as the "faithful and discreet slave' organization" -- a reference to Matthew 24:42-46
Thus in Oct. 2007 Stafford introduced the term "Christian Witnesses of Jah" -- a loosely-defined fellowship of Jehovah's Witnesses who do not accept the Watchtower Society's un-biblical, man-made rules.
In an article on his web site Stafford explains:
Come now the Christian Witnesses of Jah. Who are we? We are Jehovah’s Witnesses! We are Jehovah’s Witnesses who reject traditions of men that invalidate the Word of Jah Jehovah (Isaiah 12:2; Matthew 15:6). It is our desire to serve Jesus Christ and to worship his God and Father “with spirit and truth” (John 4:24). True, this is the stated intent of many religious groups, though few of them give prominence to the name of God, to the name of “Jah.” But Christian Witnesses of Jah are born out of an intense desire to
worship Jah and to serve his Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, without teaching “commands of men as doctrines” (Matthew 15:9).
For several years now, and in particular since July, 2006, when I wrote an article entitled, “Worth Another Look” (IN MEDIO, July 1, 2006), I have given a considerable and what I believe is a sufficient amount of time looking back again within the religious domain of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and its associated agencies. This I did because I believed, as I still do, that there is much there that can be built upon, that Jah can use, in answering those who taunt him and who deny his name and the name of his Son (Proverbs 30:4; Psalm 74:10). But there is also much within that domain that is unacceptable, that can be shown to be erroneous and without justification. However, while that Society is more than willing to speak about and to highlight what is right within it, it does not appear willing at all to openly discuss things that might be wrong,
things that might be bringing reproach upon Jehovah’s name and the name of his Son. That is not acceptable. That is not the way of Jesus Christ.—Matthew 18:15-17.
The wrongs I speak of are not just “minor” misinterpretations of certain prophecies that can work themselves out over time. What I am referring to are serious misrepresentations of Jah’s commands and of the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament, commands and teachings that are fundamental to Christian faith. These errors are not just harmless preferences for social behavior, but they are often fatal positions that have no basis in Scripture and in some cases no basis even in science or in medicine, though they claim to be so based. When a group has some, even many things right but at the same time also has wrongs that it tolerates or refuses to correct in spite of evidence that is provided to it that reasonably shows certain teachings are wrong, and when those false teachings are hurting people’s faith, destroying families, and even causing loss of life, then Christians, Witnesses of Jah, have no business remaining part of that group unless it is to help correct such wrongs. And when it is clear that such wrongs are not or will not be corrected, then for the sake of Jah and Jesus Christ Christians must reject those who tolerate such things. That is why I am not a Trinitarian. That is why I reject Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. That is why I reject witchcraft and magic. That is why I do not worship Allah. That is why I will no longer associate myself with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It is why I am a Christian Witness of Jah.
I have sent letters, I have written articles and books, and I have made myself available in a number of ways and to a wide variety of people who support the Watchtower Society as God’s appointed servant body, and yet the things I believe are wrong continue. In fact, they are encouraged. They are tolerated. Therefore, I can no longer work with that Society or its associated agencies in Jehovah’s and in Jesus’ names, unless they “bear witness concerning [my] wrong” (John 18:23) or repent of their false teachings (Revelation 2:16).
So, who is the Christian? Who is the Witness of Jah? Ultimately, Jah and Jesus will decide such things. For now each of us must individually consider the reasons, evaluate the beliefs, and then decide what is true, or most likely true, based not on fear of men but on love for truth. But there will be no group of men in control of all or most all of what the Christian Witnesses of Jah believe. There will no more be a rigid, inflexible, or in any manner unnecessary structure of worship to which others will be required to conform. There will be no schedule of meetings, no defined pattern of service, or enforced style of dress and grooming other than what we can appreciate through clear biblical teachings and principles. Christians with God’s spirit will know when to meet, they will know how to preach, and we will know what we should wear when we come together or when we reach out to the world with glory to Jah and Jesus in view (1 Timothy 2:9-11).
- Source: Christian Witnesses of Jah , Greg Stafford, In Medio, Volume 2, Issue 8, October 2007
An official website for Christian Witnesses of Jah was announced in 2008 as part of Stafford's Elihu Books web site. However, at the time of this writing -- Oct. 13, 2009 -- only a graphic, copyrighted 2008, shows there.
ElihuBooks.com is Greg Stafford's official web site:
The history and purpose of Elihu Books is in many ways the history and purpose of Greg Stafford, a Christian Witness of Jah, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who rejects teachings and traditions of men where these contradict what for good reasons can be shown to be from the biblical God Jehovah, or Jah (Psalm 68:4; Isaiah 12:2; Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6). Elihu Books was founded by Stafford in 1997 to publish information about Jehovah God, his Son Jesus Christ, and those who bear witness to the truth concerning them. In 1997, and even before his baptism in 1990, Stafford was an advocate of many of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses as presented in literature published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Today he still advocates many of these same doctrines, but not all of them.
Stafford did not establish Elihu Books or write publications in defense of Jehovah’s Witnesses for those committed to the Watchtower Society. He founded Elihu Books and began publishing information for those who were uncertain about the teachings of the Bible respecting the God Jah and Jesus of Nazareth. Stafford also felt the need to give “an answer to scholars and critics,” as the subtitle of his Defended book reveals, in harmony with 1 Peter 3:15. This was particularly the case for Jah, for Jesus, and for Jehovah’s Witnesses, this in spite of many controversial positions and teachings published by the Watchtower Society, a corporation closely associated with many who claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The history of Elihu Books took a sharp turn in 1998-999, when the Second Edition of Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended was being prepared. It was during this time that Stafford came to realize that some of the Watchtower Society’s teachings were not defensible. Foremost among these for Stafford was the Society’s teaching regarding the use of blood. Though it took some more time to fully understand the history and range of errors published by the Watchtower Society concerning the Bible and blood (which history and errors were presented in Stafford’s Three Dissertations on the Teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Third Dissertations, pages 170-196), shortly after the publication of the Second Edition of Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended it was clear to Stafford that some of these errors were far more than just simple mistakes.
Because of this realization and a failure by those in positions of responsibility within the Watchtower Society to respond to Stafford’s complaint about this an other issues (compare Matthew 18:15-17), Elihu Books is now a part of the ministry of the Christian Witnesses of Jah, a ministry that seeks to put loyalty to Jah and to Jesus Christ above loyalty to any man, or woman. This ministry also intends to challenge many of the traditions of Christendom, including those found in groups like the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Evangelicals, Mormons, as well as other beliefs about God that are not based on good reasons, such as we find in Islam and in other faiths.
- Source: About Us, ElihuBooks.com, last accessed Oct. 13, 2009
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