Apologetics Research Resources on Religious Cults, Sects, Religions, Doctrines, Etc.

Jehovah's Witnesses

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society

Home / A-Z Index / "J" / Jehovah's Witnesses
In This Entry

» At A Glance
» Introduction
» Watch tower/Watchtower
» JW Publications
» God's Only Organization?
» Tight Control
» Doctrinal Beliefs
» New World Translation

About this page            Color Key
 Blue border = Quoted material

Research Resources

» Articles
» Books
» Books Online
» Book Reviews
» Discuss
» FAQs
» Glossaries

» Multimedia
» News
» News Archives
» Profile
» See Also
» Sites

Doctrinal Beliefs

Jehovah's Witnesses consider their organization the only true Christian organization. They also view themselves as God's righteous people who are persecuated by goverments and traditonal Christian groups ("apostate Christendom"). Witnesses believe that the truths of Scripture were lost through an apostasy that occured centuries ago; then God used C.T. Russell to bring to light and restore many of the Christian teachings that had been lost . A few of Russell's doctrines have been kept, others have been modified over the years, and some have been discarded altogether. Jehovah's Witnesses deny many of the cardinal doctrines of historic Christianity: the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the physical resurrection of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. They also deny a concious eternal punishment for the wicked, the immortality of the soul, and the subtitionary atonement of Christ.
Source: Charts of Cults, Sects, & Religious Movements by H. Wayne House, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000, page 150.

There are many books that provide an indepth look at the doctrines of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses). Here, we will simply quote a brief overview of some key issues:

When an organization like the WTB&TS claims to be the only true religion and the sole source of correct Bible teaching, we must carefully examine its beliefs. If its doctrines are true, they will be found in the Bible, and its teachings will be consistent and unchanging year after year. Jehovah's Witnesses, however, deny or twist many of the Bible's basic teachings, and their beliefs conflict with those held by orthodox Christians down through the centuries. Consider the following comparisons.

The Nature of God. The Bible teaches that there is only one true God (Isa. 43:10-11; 44:6,8). Father, Son and Holy Spirit are identified as distinct Persons within the one Triune Godhead (Matt. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 13:14). Throughout the New Testament the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as the Father are separately identified as God. The attributes and prerogatives of Deity are ascribed to each (Son: Mark 2:5-12; John 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Holy Spirit: Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 3:17-18).

By contrast, the WTB&TS denies the triune nature of God and teaches that such a belief is inspired by Satan.14 It teaches that Jehovah, the name of the one true God, corresponds only to God the Father. The Society also denies that Jesus is God (see next point). They deny the Holy Spirit is a person, and instead teach he is merely God's active force, analogous to electricity.15

Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh, and is the Creator of all things (John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:16). While never less than God, at the appointed time He laid aside the glory He shared with the Father and took on a human nature (John 17:3-5; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 2:9). Following his death, Jesus Christ rose bodily from the grave, appeared to and was recognized in his body by over 500 people. This fact was crucial to both the preaching and faith of the early church (Luke 24:39; John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:6, 14).

By contrast, the WTB&TS denies the deity of Jesus Christ and teaches that Jesus is a created being. He first existed as Michael the archangel then later was born as a perfect man. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. Jesus was raised a spirit creature and "materialized" a fleshly body to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is again known as Michael the archangel.16

Salvation. The Bible teaches that the atoning work of Christ alone provides the solution for man's sin problem. Jesus Christ took the personal sins of all men past, present and future in his own body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24), and as perfect God and perfect man he fully met the demands of Divine justice for us (Rom. 3:22-26). Therefore, any and all who receive him by simple faith (John 1:12; Acts 16:31), can be forgiven, declared righteous and restored to fellowship with God (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:24-26).

By contrast, the WTB&TS teaches that only an elite group of Witnesses, known as "the 144,000," or the "anointed ones" are presently credited with Christ's righteousness. Only the 144,000 are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of remaining Jehovah's Witnesses, known as the "other sheep" or the "great crowd," the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth.17

The Bible also teaches that we are saved by grace alone apart from any self-righteous works; salvation is God's gift. There is nothing we can do to contribute to our salvation because apart from Jesus Christ we are "dead in our sins" (Eph. 2:1-9).

By contrast, the WTB&TS teaches that we must earn our own salvation; salvation will "depend on one's works." A person must first "come to Jehovah's organization for salvation"18 and then comply with everything they teach. In this way, a relationship with the Jehovah's Witnesses organization, rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, is presented as the basis of salvation.

The Human Spirit & Eternal Punishment. The Bible teaches that the human spirit continues to exist consciously after death (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8; Philippians 1:23-24; Rev. 6:9-11). Those who have rejected God's gift of eternal life will suffer conscious eternal punishment (Matt. 25:41,46; Rev. 14:10,11; 20:10,15).

By contrast, the WTB&TS denies eternal punishment and teaches that man does not have a spirit that survives the death of the body. Witnesses believe that death ends all conscious existence. Hell refers to the grave, and those who are ultimately judged by God will be annihilated and simply cease to exist.19

The Bible. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit's anointing enables individual Christians to understand God's Word and properly apply it to their lives (John 16:13; 1 John 2:27).

By contrast, the WTB&TS teaches that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Watchtower Society, and no individual can learn the truth apart from them.20

As noted, the tract quoted is available online. It can also be obtained in printed form in English, Spanish, and various other languages.

Watchman Fellowship adds:

Other Doctrines
  1. Since its very inception, the Watchtower has made false prophecies about the end of the world. Predicting the end in one form or another for the years 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975 and 1989 has caused its membership to maintain a steady upward trend.

  2. Rejecting the medical practices of vaccinations, organ transplants and blood transfusions, the Watchtower has caused the deaths of many of its members throughout its history. Interestingly, vaccinations and organ transplants have now been acknowledged by the Watchtower as acceptable practices, contradicting their previous doctrinal position.

  3. The Watchtower has maintained a long standing policy of denying its members any involvement in political causes or service in the Armed Forces.

  4. Believing many customs in traditional families to be pagan in nature, the Watchtower rejects the practices of celebrating personal birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mothers' and Fathers' day as well as most other holidays.

Previous Page   Next Page   In This Entry   Research Resources

About This Page:

• Subject: Jehovah's Witnesses : The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
• First posted: Oct. 2, 1996
• Last Updated: Jul. 8, 2004
• Editor: Anton Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index

Bookmark this entry
• Copy link to clipboard
» Copyright and Linking Policy
» How to use this site

Home / A-Z Index / "J" / Jehovah's Witnesses

Kingdom of the Cults
More info

The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say to a Jehovah's Witness
More info

Apocalypse Delayed
More info