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Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. I remember the first time that I really encountered something that I knew was by the Jehovah's Witnesses and not really the things I'd heard at church. I was at a hospital. This was many years ago. I was a brand new believer.
I wasn't married yet. I was not aware that God would call me into the ministry, but I was at a hospital to visit somebody from our family who was having surgery, and in the waiting area was a magazine. And it said, how can I know God's plan for my life?
That's a question that people grapple with. So I picked up this magazine and I began to read. And even though there were some nice platitudes about how God loves you and God has a plan for your life, it was just, for lack of a better word, a check in my spirit. And then I began to read about how Jehovah's Kingdom was coming. This is what jumped out at me, although I was a young believer, didn't really know much of anything. It said that Jesus is not God Almighty, and that the Bible doctrine of the Trinity has no scriptural basis whatsoever. And one of the passages that they used was John 14.28 where Jesus said, I'm going to the Father, and the Father is greater than I.
Well hi, Alex McFarland here. And on this edition of our program, we're going to continue our series talking about cults. Now there are theological and sociological traits of cults. The theological litmus test that all true cults transgress is they deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Now, over and over in the New Testament, we read that Jesus claimed to be God incarnate. And in fact, this was the early church's perception of Jesus Christ going all the way back to within weeks after the cross and the resurrection, the early church perception of Jesus was that he was in fact the Son of God.
In fact, there was a famous scholar, Dr. Larry Hurtado at the University of Edinburgh, and he said about 17 or 18 years ago, he said there was a big bang, quote unquote, in other words this theological bombshell, quote, at an astonishingly early point, basic convictions about Jesus had become widely shared in various Christian circles that amounted to treating him as God, as divine. So from the very earliest times, the church's perception was that Jesus was the Son of God. In fact, every New Testament writer refers to Jesus as Christ or Messiah. In fact, the terms Messiah and Christ appear over 500 times in the New Testament. And then there are other titles Son of God, Savior, Lord, God, and Son of Man, which we'll talk about in a little while.
But the Jehovah's Witnesses are out there and we need to know what they believe. Let me say, if you're not a Christian, true Christianity involves, as Paul said in First Corinthians 15, 3 through 5, I delivered unto you that which I first received, how that Christ died, was buried according to the Scriptures, rose again the third day, was seen, risen from the dead. And Paul goes on, he says, by faith in him the risen Lord, L-O-R-D, Lord Jesus, were saved. So I remember getting the Watchtower magazine there in the hospital lobby, and the more I read into it, especially the denial of the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, just really, really jumped out at me. And then the other thing that I want to point out is that the New Testament book of Jude says in verse 3 that we are to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Now what does that mean?
Earnestly contend? Well we are to know what we believe, we're to stand up for it. And notice it says THE, definite article T-H-E, THE faith. Not a faith, not one of many options, but THE faith once delivered to the saints. Now there's a certain fixedness and finality in what the Gospel is. That in fulfillment of prophecies, the Son of God took on a human body, came to earth, lived a sinless life, taught about the kingdom of God, fulfilled all the prophecies, born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, came out of Egypt from hiding as a child. When Jesus read the scriptures at the temple, you know, he said, it says at 12 years old he read those scriptures from Isaiah, every eye was fixed on him. And he said, this day scripture is fulfilled in your ears. And then finally, at Passover was crucified, the wrath of God that you and I deserved was poured onto Jesus.
And by putting our faith in Jesus, what he did, and when you become a Christian that's what you're doing, you're accepting who he was and what he did. Now who was Jesus? The Son of God.
God incarnate. Now we're going to come back to that, Jesus' claims to his own deity. But what did the God-man do? He went to the cross, and the appropriate measure of God's wrath that you and I deserved was poured onto Jesus. And either you pay for your sins, or you accept that Christ paid for your sins. Now if you pay for your own sins, that means separation from God eternally in hell. But if you put your faith in Jesus, you say, Lord I admit that I am a sinner, and I do believe you're the Son of God as you claim to be. And in John 8 24, Jesus said you have to believe that he is the Son of God in order to be saved.
Well, and then you are forgiven, and not only are our sins washed away when we enter a relationship with Christ, but the righteousness of God is attributed to us. But the Jehovah's Witnesses say something different. And I want to give a little background, and we'll delve down into this, not only the history of the movement, but the doctrines, and why Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It is not New Testament Christianity. It is not salvation.
And it is not the message nor the means by which a person can have a new life, born again relationship with Jesus, the one and only Savior. They knock on doors, they come, and we want you to be ready. So when we come back on the Alex McFarland program, we'll continue talking about how to interact, what is helpful, we hope, in interacting with the representatives, the witnesses from the Watchtower Society, commonly known as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Stay tuned. We'll be back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.
Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Are you tired of liberal agendas ruining our country, but you don't know what to do about it? That's why Truth and Liberty Coalition was founded. We want to equip you to take back our country and impact the world. As Christians, we are called to make disciples of nations. Together, we can change the course of our country for good.
Join Truth and Liberty to connect with believers and organizations who not only want to see a change in our nation, but a community that is actually doing something about it. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Hi, Alex McFarland here. Thanks for listening. Welcome back to the program.
What do you do when that inevitable knock comes on the door? You know, I wish that Christians had the ethic of witnessing that these religious but lost non-Christians have the Jehovah's Witnesses. Okay, I said in the previous program that in the middle 19th century, the Second Great Awakening was much more emotional than the First Great Awakening. The First Great Awakening, the colonies saw a great religious movement. In fact, we're feeling the ripple effects to this day, something like 1748 to 1760. Much less emotive, but much more cognitive and scriptural under people like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and out of that came some pretty amazing leaders like Schubel Stearns that was used by God to start the Southern Baptist denomination.
But in the early 19th century, I mean some good things happened. There was an amazing 20,000 person prayer meeting in the early 19th century in Charlotte, North Carolina. And it was great how God began to work.
But people realized, look, it's been a long time since those Great Awakening days that we've heard our grandparents talk about, and the nation was really divided during the Civil War. There were some people God raised up, like E. M. Bounds. Maybe you've seen his famous book, Power Through Prayer, and Bounds ministered on both the North and the South, both sides of the Civil War divide. But in 1870, there was a man named Charles Taze Russell, who began to have a Bible study, and he called it the Watchtower Society. He died in 1916, by the way, and he was followed by a man named Joseph Rutherford, who really began to use the term Jehovah's Witnesses. But Charles T. Russell taught the Bible for a lot of years.
He traveled and preached, and he basically set forth the doctrines that we now know are the Jehovah's Witness doctrines. And Russell said, and the Watchtower says, that Jesus is not God incarnate. That Jesus was created as an archangel. Actually, they will say that Jesus was the archangel Michael.
And when Michael the archangel took on a body, he was renamed Jesus. Now, the Holy Spirit is not, as Christians would say, the third member of the Trinity, with will and mind and all that we've taught about the Holy Spirit, and my teachings on the Holy Spirit are extensive. But to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the Holy Spirit is more like a force. Now heaven, you know, Paul wrote that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. But Jehovah's Witnesses believe that we don't really go to the abode of God, but those who are either the 144,000 or others, and it's really in a way a kind of universalism that everybody will ultimately live on kind of a restored, redeemed planet earth. The other thing, or another thing, although there are many places we could jump on to the JW doctrinal mistakes, they don't believe in absent from the body to be present with the Lord. Remember from the cross, Jesus told the penitent thief, today you will be with me. But they believe that those that die go into some form of sleep, and they remain kind of in this soul sleep until Christ's second coming. Now you may be thinking, well wait a minute, if Jesus is just this created angel, Michael renamed Jesus and he's not really divine, what's this about his second coming? Well, theologically, they're very much all over the map.
And I want to say this. Look, in critiquing the theological teachings of a movement like this, we're not attacking anyone, it's not a personal slam on anybody, but sincerity and even feigned empathy and caring, that's fine, but we're talking about the souls of people here. We're talking about where you and I will spend eternity. And so please don't let niceness lull you into thinking that their teachings are biblical, or true. And the question is, what anybody says, what I say, measure what I say against the word of God, is what somebody says scriptural. In other words, does it comport with God's revealed word, and is it true?
In other words, does it correspond to reality? Now, it's interesting, I was in the St. Louis airport one time in line, and it was amazing, there was a long line to get through security, and the Jehovah's Witnesses had a booth in the St. Louis airport. And it was just like this table, and you couldn't help but go by, so the line wasn't moving, and I was across the little stanchion, the rope there, and I began to talk. And I was like, what do you believe? And they said, well we are a Christian denomination. And I said, what is Christianity? And they said, well we all have our opinions about it. And I said, well apart from people's opinion, you know, biblically, what is Christianity?
And the man said to me, and many of the witnesses will say things like this, that what you've heard, Jesus the Son of God who died on the cross, that's wrong. And what the early church believed was wrong. Now just hit the pause button, much like Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York in 1830, who Smith of the Mormons believed that he was restoring the church that had been lost for two millennia. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, beginning in 1870, they were finally the truth after all other churches had been corrupted over the years.
Isn't that a rather bold assertion? I mean, think about this, if the Watchtower is correct, then for nearly two thousand years there was no true witness of God on planet earth. Now, back to the theological and sociological characteristics of cults. Theologically, cults deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Theologically, cults deny that the Bible is enough for you to read and find God. Sociologically, there's pressure to join, pressure to remain. But also sociologically, there is the teaching of one person. Not, as Proverbs says, in the multitude of counselors there's safety. But there's one prophet.
In the case of the Watchtower, it's Charles T. Russell. So we've got to take a brief break. Stay tuned, we're going to come back. Alex McFarland here. Our analysis of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and how with prayer and the Holy Spirit, you can begin to put a stone in their shoe, perhaps, and make them honestly rethink their doctrines and beliefs.
Stay tuned. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics. Teaching in more than 2200 churches around the world, schools, and college campuses, Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com.
He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here.
We're talking about the Jehovah's Witnesses, and we'll continue in just a moment. I do want to encourage you to check out the newly revised alexmcfarland.com website. There's a lot there, and my speaking schedule is really filling up. I praise God for all of the invitations at churches and universities and some schools where I'll be over the next several months, and then we've got a number of things coming up next year that I hope you'll pray about and attend. We are working on four major conferences around the USA for 2023. We're also partnering with a number of camps. We had a very successful camp this past summer with 26 people saved at one camp, and we were in total in front of about 650 youth around the USA during the summer of 2022.
We're going to be doing at least five and maybe more like eight or nine camps next summer, and so we'll be keeping you informed about how to register. But what we're doing through events, publishing, and broadcasting, we're doing our best to stand up for God and country and to equip people of all ages, especially young people, to love the Lord, to care about America, and to know how to defend the Christian faith. So we appreciate your prayers, your support, your interest, and so much we could say, but I want to use the bulk of our time to talk about what we've been responding to, the Jehovah's Witnesses. Now, I mentioned finding that magazine in a hospital the other time that I really was confronted with the JW's. I was online, and you know there are a lot of Bible websites we use like BibleGateway.com and also BibleHub.
These are really good websites. But I was Googling a Bible verse like I do, and a Bible verse came up and I knew it from memory and it didn't read correctly, and I realized though the coloring, the background colors looked a lot like BibleHub.com, I wasn't on BibleHub. I was actually on one of the Jehovah's Witness websites where they have their Bible online, and they really kind of take pains to make it look like some of the other Bible search sites. So be careful folks, you need to understand that to peddle their unscriptural teachings, they have to really put the bait under deceptive looking designs. So one of the things that we need to get out there is this. When the Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking on the door, or like I saw in the airport, the man that was there with his booth, and when I began to talk to him about the fact that the gospel, Jesus, God incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, he became very adversarial and then just hurriedly picked up his folding table and moved to the other side of the airport. Sometimes they can get a little bit adversarial, and we don't want you to ever do that. I mean when you're witnessing for Christ, you know you can win the argument but lose the person.
So be polite, be composed, but don't give up any ground. Let them know that the word deity, that Jesus is God incarnate, is a core part of the gospel. I mean think about this folks, and I want to talk about these titles, seven titles in the New Testament, and they're used by the earliest and the latest Christian writers. Now let me say this, every New Testament writer, if you want to look at all the people that wrote the entirety of the New Testament, you've got Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter, and Jude, and also whoever wrote Hebrews.
Well either Paul or one of his associates because Hebrews 13 23 talks about Timothy our brother, so that's very Pauline language. But every New Testament writer refers to Jesus as the Christ or the Messiah. Hebrew Messiah means anointed one. Christ is the Greek translation of that title. The word Christ is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word Messiah, and these titles appear over 500 times in the New Testament. In fact every New Testament book except 3 John uses these titles Messiah and Christ. But even 3 John in verse 7 encourages quote, living for his name's sake.
Now then there are four others for a total of six at this point. Son of God, Savior, Lord and God. Now the earliest New Testament writings were by Paul, the last were by John, the book of Revelation. And yet Paul in Galatians, John, in the Gospel of John, used the term Son of God. Paul in Philippians uses the term Savior. Paul in Romans uses the word Lord, L-O-R-D, I mean Jesus the Lord. In fact Christ himself said you call me Lord and so I am.
Isn't that something? Jesus referred to himself as deity. Paul calls Jesus God in Romans 9-5 and Titus 2-13. So does John the Apostle in John 1-1, which believe me I know they're going to quibble over in John 20-28.
But then there's this other title. And by the way Luke and Peter use these four titles. Son of God, Savior, Lord and God. Luke and Peter use those. Hebrews uses Son of God, Savior, Lord and God. And also the title Son of Man. Now one of the ways to sort of get your foot in the door, you have to try to get the witness to doubt the accuracy of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
That's just one of the keys. And one of the ways to do that is to help them understand how often they've been incorrect about their prophecies regarding the end of time. I mean they predicted Christ's return in a number of years like 1917, 1925, 1944, 1975.
They predicted that Christ would return and he didn't because if he returned in 1975 then you know we are 47 years into the tribulation and I'm being facetious of course that's impossible. But Jesus also 82 times referred to himself as quote the Son of Man. This is a reference from Daniel 7, 13 and 14.
The Son of Man who was co-equal with God the Father, the Ancient of Days. But one final thing, let me say besides the fact that the Jehovah's Witness Bible has been tampered with and by the way that new world translation is not an accurate translation. And I would encourage you please do not take their Bible, do not read their Bible. They will try to say that the Bible you have has not been translated correctly. That's absolutely false from over the last 500 years some of the best scholars that have ever lived in church history have endeavored to get the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts accurately translated into English. And when you read whether it's the King James Bible or the New King James or the New American Standard you are reading the Word of God accurately translated. But I just want to say this, when Jesus was in front of the high priest in Mark 14, 61 through 64, he quotes two very key Old Testament scriptures to prove his deity.
He quotes Exodus and he quotes Daniel. And understand this, in Mark 14, 63 and 64 the high priest when Jesus said, I am, and he said, you will see me returning the Son of Man at the end of time on the clouds of heaven. The high priest said, why do we need other witnesses?
You have heard his blasphemy. You see if Jesus didn't claim to be God, then why did he get crucified? I mean, because ask people this, what was Jesus's main message? And invariably they will say, well the coming kingdom of Jehovah or love your neighbor. Well here's the thing, to say God is coming, that doesn't get you executed. To say love your neighbor, you know, be godly, love your neighbor, be a nice person. Jesus was nailed to a cross because he claimed to be the I AM, Mark 14, 62, Luke 22, 66 through 71.
It's amazing. Matthew 23, 43, he said he was the one who sent the prophets to Israel. Isn't that something? He said, search the scriptures, they testify of me. Another just amazing thing is that he claimed to be Lord, John 13, 13, you call me Lord and so I am. Finally Mark 2, 28, he said that he was, L-O-R-D, the Lord of the Sabbath. Isn't that something? That Sabbath that Jews had piously observed for centuries, Jesus said he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Well folks, we're out of time. Let me encourage you to pray, try to help the person on your front porch understand that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is not the voice of God on earth.
They've been wrong on so many things, but worst of all, wrong on how you can know God. And the Bible says that we are His, 1 John 5-1, by believing that He is the Son of God. If we can help you further, please visit my website, AlexMcFarland.com, check out my many books on any of the online book sites. You can find the content that we've created. I thank you for listening, may God bless you, and like Jude 3 says, earnestly contend for the faith once delivered. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at AlexMcFarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD-1. That's 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
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